Road Rage Rules, And Nobody Wins
25 September 2015, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Two Albuquerque men became embroiled in traffic-based altercation on the 25th and the end result is that one of them lost an eye and may lose a lung, while the other gets off scot-free.
Police are saying that Anthony Perez, 22, our Good Guy With A Gun acted in self-defense after he shot Jacoby Johnson, 34, in the eye and chest.
Johnson, determined by police to be the assailant, has told media outlets that the incident began when Perez swerved in front of his car, exited his car, and confronted him with a gun.
Strangely, police agreed with Perez and other witnesses who say that Johnson started the incident after parking at a stop light and coming after him. He shot Johnson because he was afraid for his life.
The Albuquerque Journal has gone out of their way, however, to paint the assailant in a sympathetic light, highlighting Johnson’s claim that the police blame him for the incident because he’s six feet tall and over 400 pounds and noting that he had his girlfriend and her developmentally disabled son in the car with him.
In fairness, though, the Journal has also noted that while Johnson was in the hospital, doctors discovered a heat-sealed bag of cocaine hidden in his groin area and has been charged with trafficking a controlled substance.
His girlfriend denies that Johnson sells drugs.
What are our lessons and concepts that we can take away from this tangled mess of an incident?
1. Road rage helps NOBODY. Regardless of whether Mr. Perez cut-off Mr. Johnson or vice versa, BOTH of our individuals had ample opportunity to disengage and go about their lives. No cars collided, no passengers or pedestrians were hurt, WHY was there even a need to exchange obscene gestures or get out of a car to discuss this? Just let it go. If it isn’t going to cost you blood or money, let it go.
2. Cocaine is a helluva drug. Coke-heads have a tendency towards being short-tempered and paranoid. Given the cocaine found on his person, is it really all that far-fetched to postulate Mr. Johnson being the aggressor in this incident, due to his potential cocaine problem?
3. Yes. There are some amazingly bad drivers out there. Unless and until the state governments crack down on people who abuse the privilege (NOT the right) of driving on the public roads and ensuring that the habitually bad drivers are permanently removed from the roads, you’re going to continue to see them and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Just let it go. Karma (carma?) will handle it.
4. If an unarmed (no weapons other than hands and feet) behemoth of a man gets out of his car and comes rushing at you: DO. NOT. GET. OUT. OF. THE. CAR! Keep the windows up and step on the gas.
If you run through the intersection, great! You got away!
If you run into the person in front of you, that may be the bump or loud crash needed to break the 2-person dynamic by bringing in the “OMG, someone just crashed into someone” thoughts. Would you prefer to pay a little extra in car insurance or live with the thought that you blinded a man?
5. Part of Being Your Own First Responder is realizing that there are ways to get out of many potentially violent confrontations without using violence. Running away is a perfectly acceptable option.