The side vent window of a silver Honda was shot out during a Palm Beach, Florida, road rage incident. Palm Beach Police Department Photo.
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A road rage incident in Palm Beach last Thursday illustrates why lawyers tell those who carry a gun for self-defense to control their anger and just learn to let stupid things go rather than let road rage get the best of them. Situations can escalate quickly, often from people misreading the actual events playing out around them, and it can become unclear who is in the right or worse, both parties can lose out big time, either financially, with jail time or even losing their life.

According to a Palm Beach Daily News, several cars were lined up on the street in the middle of the afternoon waiting for a car at the head of the line to parallel park. The car was apparently taking an inordinate amount of time to get in the spot—as parallel parking can challenge even some experienced drivers—when a 37-year-old man with two children ages 9 and 10 with him in a Hyundai honked. A person in a silver Honda in front of the Hyundai, even though he wasn’t the one parking and was waiting as well, took exception to the honk and flipped Hyundai Man the bird.

Hyundai Man, even more impatient after the bird was shot at him, decided to drive around the silver Honda, and passing with his windows rolled down, allegedly shouted, “I was not honking at you,” in hopes of setting the message of his impatience straight.

However, at that same moment, not sure what Hyundai Man was doing after Honda Man had flipped him the bird and seeing him driving up with his windows down, Honda Man, a 29-year-old, with a female passenger in his car, grabbed his silver and black Taurus 9mm and pointed it at the Hyundai.

Though it may not be called this by name in the statutes, flashing a gun without firing to frighten or intimidate is considered “brandishing” and is illegal in most states. Causing people to fear for their safety doesn’t always have the desired tactical effect either of making them run away. Sometimes they are armed as well, just as Hyundai Man was. And sometimes they pull that gun out and use it, just as Hyundai Man did.

Later telling police “he feared for his life and his children’s lives” after seeing the man pointing a gun at them, the man in the Hyundai quickly drew his own firearm from his console. The Honda drove away, but not before Hyundai Man fired a shot at it, shattering a vent window on the Honda. Hyundai Man followed the Honda.

Here’s where some people might look at what the guy in the Hyundai did by firing first and say, “He’s in trouble. He screwed up.” Well, maybe.

But from a legal standpoint, Hyundai Man, did at least one smart thing here. He made sure he was the first one to call 911. Self-defense lawyers often encourage their clients involved in any road rage incident where a gun becomes involved or any act of violence is committed to be the first one to call police as that is typically who police listen to more.

“Of the things that get many people I deal with arrested, probably somewhere between 85 and 88 percent is road rage,” Emily Taylor, with the Houston, Texas, law firm Walker & Taylor, PLLC says. “That’s not really the most common defensive incident. But it is the most likely to get you arrested by a wide margin.”

The reason why, according to James Phillips, a Florida self-defense attorney with the firm Katz & Phillips, P.A., is that often the person who instigated the road rage incident, causing the person to draw his or her firearm, immediately calls 911 and makes a false report.

“I would say, probably 75 percent of the time there are no shots fired,” Phillips says. “Usually, it is the gun being flashed to de-escalate. And the client thinks that because it’s de-escalated it’s done with, so he keeps driving. Then the other person calls 911, and when the client gets home the cops are showing up or they’re pulling him over down the road because the other guy gets his tag number.”

So Hyundai Man was smart to make that first call. Honda Man wasn’t.

When police arrived, despite the man in the Hyundai initially neglecting to mention that he had fired the shot, according to the Daily News, police soon discovered that fact when they quickly found the Honda and its occupants and saw the window was shot out.

“The driver of the Honda would later tell police that everything happened so fast, he didn’t know if he fired his gun,” the Daily News reported. He apparently didn’t. Just the man in the Honda did, and fortunately for him, even the woman in the car with Honda Man, pretty much corroborated his story.

She told police the man she was with has “anger management issues,” and confirmed when the guy in the Hyundai honked, both she and the man with her flipped the guy the bird and then the guy she was with pulled his gun out and pointed it at the other man as he drove up. They drove of when “the front vent window (of their car) suddenly shattered.”

“Investigators found that the 37-year-old Hyundai driver acted in self-defense when he shot toward the Honda, because ‘he believed his life and the lives of his children were in danger’ when the Wellington man (guy in the Honda) pointed his gun at them,” the Daily News cited from the arrest report.

For his part in being the first to pull his gun and point it in a threatening manner, the driver in the Honda is now facing three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and as of the time of the article, was being held at the Palm Beach County Jail on $150,000 bond.

There was no mention of whether the person trying to parallel park ever made it into that spot.

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  1. It may not be easy, but the best thing to do is drive on and forget it.
    A few seconds/minutes of delay isn’t going to make a major change in one’s life.
    Wonder what so many think the car horn is really for.

  2. What a shit show, but it usually is. My advice is to ignore the finger and do not display it. As for as “first to call”? Yeah, maybe. When I arrived at a scene I allowed the complaint to speak first. Without interruption from the other half if they were on scene. After that, if the other half was on scene, they were allowed to speak without interruption by the complaint. These were the ground rules. Violation of which would get you a comfortable view from my backseat before you could say, “Don’t do it.” I arrested many an asshole that said, “Hey, I was the one that called you!” I usually replied something along the lines of, “Yes. Thanks for making my job a little easier. We needed to clear that warrant off the board.”

    • Glad to know you arrested people for being assholes instead of actually breaking a law. You would have been a perfect officer to work Waco!

  3. Now you know why civilized countries’ outlaw carrying loaded guns in cars or on one’s person concealed or openly. When you put guns in the hands of savage naked apes they will shoot each other for the most trivial reasons.

    Most Europeans will not even vacation in the U.S. anymore because they know that the entire nation is a mental basket case these days with right wing nutcases shooting at anyone and everyone.

    • … most Europeans won’t even vacation in the US. But some idiots that think Europe is a Garden of Eden continue to sponge off of mom’s continuing maternal hospitality, living in her basement and typing out their continuous drivel from here in Capitalvania among us hairless apes.

  4. “There was no mention of whether the person trying to parallel park ever made it into that spot.”

    Parallel parking like cursive writing is sadly becoming a lost art.

    • Our kids learned to parallel park, and to drive a clutch, before we sent them to log the requisite hours in the State-mandated driver’s education program. They took their licensing tests in a car with a clutch too.

        • As one who sometimes drives at, or even below, the speed limit, it is the timid who drive me up a wall.

          Just pass already…

      • When I drove a company truck I was always told to never flip someone off. The guy you flip off isn’t the problem, its people off to the side that see someone in a truck with a big logo on the side that are the ones to call in. Just move over and let them go on their way. I’d rather follow them then have them tail me.

    • I just had to parallel park for the first time in maybe a decade or more. It was… not pretty. And I used to be good at parallel parking, too. Different car. Different times.

  5. Rick, you said a mouthful. A couple of years ago I was at a friend’s house. in the course of conversation it came out that their, old enough to drive son, could not write cursive. I was astounded. These are educated, upper middle class people. Landholders. There son was enrolled in an expensive private school at the time. I know. My kids went to the same school. My kids can write cursive. And parallel park. Times change.

    • Well, the kids won’t learn it unless they’re taught, and the schools needed that time to teach DEI, CRT, and alternative genders.

      • Cursive writing is obviously ‘white supremacy’ in action, they should be ashamed of themselves…

        (That’s sarcasm for the dense, like ‘lil deb…)

    • Cursive is not a thing required in most schools anymore. I couldn’t believe it at first when I heard that, but it’s apparently true.

      That didn’t bother me as much as the 16 or 17 year old barista at a movie theater I want to last fall who had no idea how to make change when I paid for my coffee with cash. The register told her how much I was owed but she couldn’t dole it out. It was like coins & bills were alien to her. She had no idea. I’m sure she is great with Apple Pay and Venmo, if course. But how do you get to be a sophomore or juniors in high school and not understand how American currency works?

  6. Unrelated, but I was watching the news. Three escaped prisoners from Grenada pirated a sailboat and ended up in Bahamas. Ship owners are missing. Piracy is alive and well. Sail armed, think about stainless and plastic.
    As an aside, I had already been discharged, but it was my old company that took that airhead from the Cubans. BTW Kevin, sorry about the AK round in the forearm. Mike told me about it.

    • Remington and/or Mossberg used to offer marine-grade shotguns when I was a teenager. Maybe still do. Don’t think they were stainless but they were coated with some silver-colored treatment for saltwater resistance. They also used to offer special blank shells and a rod you could insert in the barrel with a line (rope) attached to launch across the bow of another boat it for emergency use. I told my brother to buy and keep it below decks on his Grady White in case of Chesapeake Bay pirates/bandits.

      • “Mossberg used to offer marine-grade shotguns when I was a teenager. Maybe still do. Don’t think they were stainless but they were coated with some silver-colored treatment for saltwater resistance.”

        The 590 ‘Mariner’, they call the finish “Marinecote” :

        Full stock or pistol grip, a Butler Creek folder is available…

  7. Treat other vehicles like anonymous, uncommunicative electrons flowing through the circuit. Not something to interact with. Just avoid collision as you travel through yourself.

  8. Years ago some dipshit started pulling out from a stop sign just as I was passing by on motorcycle. I stopped and got off the bike and he got out of his truck with a baseball bat. I decided I would get back on the bike rather than having my helmet being a pop fly to right field. With my head inside. Even when others are in the wrong it’s best to chill out and move on.


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