road rage finger bird
This is not a good deescalation technique. (Shutterstock)
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In a recent video from Charlotte, North Carolina, we learn about a man who f***ed around and almost found out. Let’s first look at the video and then look at what we, as gun owners, can learn from it.

The cell phone video isn’t entirely clear, and it doesn’t show the full context, so it’s a good idea to watch the full newscast. What we end up learning is that one man honked at a guy who wasn’t going when the light turned green, and this resulted in several blocks of road rage. This culminated in what was shown on the video, with one man getting out and throwing water on the other man’s car. Then, someone ran to the other car and started hitting it with a stick. As he was getting back into his car, the other man shot a gun at him, hitting his car, but missing both him and his father who were inside.

The newscast briefly shows footage of the broken windshield, and it’s clear that the gunshot could have easily struck either of the men as it was likely intended to do. Some fragment of the bullet as it went through the windshield did hit his father’s face, narrowly missing his eye.

After seeing all of the consequences of his road rage, the man said, “I engaged instead of just letting it go, and it really ended with kind of something crazy.”

The man with the gun wasn’t found or arrested yet, and might not be unless someone had the presence of mind to catch a license plate or something.

What We Can Learn From This

First off, let’s look at what the man with the gun did wrong. Instead of accepting that he did something dumb by not driving when the light turned green, he instead chose to get angry and get a road rage incident going. Then, when it started to get out of hand, he pulled a gun and almost killed someone over his own bruised ego. He also managed to injure an innocent man in the other car.

Obviously, mistakes were made at every point, but it all comes down to ego. You don’t carry a gun to protect your pride. You carry a gun to protect innocent life. If you do something stupid (like we all do sometimes), be humble enough to accept that you made a mistake and leave it at that. That’s embarrassing, but it’s not nearly as bad as doing something that can land you in prison!

Going back to the perspective of the unarmed man who honked at the guy with the gun and ended up getting shot at in the end, his words were about right. Instead of engaging with the man who had a bruised ego, he really should have withdrawn from the situation. By the time insults and minor physical force was exchanged, he almost lost his life and his dad ended up with injuries to his face.

Again, a big ego was at play. Just because someone else makes a mistake and gets ugly when they’re corrected for it with a minor horn honk doesn’t mean you have to keep the exchange of nastiness going. One’s ego says to engage, while common sense says to withdraw. He also could have withdrawn early while still feeling like he did the right thing, which should be better for one’s ego.

Perhaps more importantly, be gentle when honking at somebody. I’ve found that a quick chirp of the horn or two is seen as a lot less aggressive than a long honk. The long honk might feel good to deliver to some moron with their head up their apps who doesn’t go when the light turns green, but it could enrage that same kind of idiot. A gentle “beep beep” wakes that kind of person up without saying to them, “Hey stupid! What the hell is wrong with you, you MORON!”

In short, either person could have prevented this violent dispute by resolving it early. It pays to be mentally and spiritually well enough to be the adult early and often in life instead of joining the clown show and regretting it later.

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  1. This particular issue is getting more and more common.

    People sitting at a red light take that opportunity to check their phones for that last text message, etc., without watching for the light to turn green.

    This is especially problematic at traffic lights that are not the “through streets” where the light only stays green for a few seconds per cycle. This short distraction by one driver can cause several behind them to miss the light entirely, adding several minutes to their trip, which easily escalates feelings of frustration.

    • This has been a thing since cell phones have become more proliferated, so let’s say about 20 years now.

      • Yes, but the problem has increased lately as more states (including mine) have passed laws and stepped up enforcement of not using your phone while you are driving.

        When it was still legal to check your phone while driving, it was obviously more dangerous, but also less inclined to happen at a red light – they simply didn’t have to wait.

        In my state, it is still perfectly legal to use your phone while you are sitting at a red light, so that is when many drivers make that quick check, which often lasts longer than the red light itself.

      • “This has been a thing since cell phones have become more proliferated,…”

        People stare at their smartphone screen, not a pocket cellphone…

        • Last week I passed a woman driving from the center of her seat because she was involved in a face to face conversation on her phone, attached to the windshield, while doing 65 MPH in after work rush traffic…on the interstate (77). She just HAD to see her friend while driving home.

    • In Cook county I watch who I blow a horn at. Not so much in nearby Indiana. A coupla daze ago I did a workout & was coming through my neighborhood when a miscreant was doing maybe 45-50 mph barreling toward me(narrow street!) He missed me but a block later hit someone’s car turning at a stop sign(saw it in the rearview mirror). Absolutely honk at that doofus. I always have a gat ready.

  2. Just make one quick honk after giving them ample time to wake up on their own. The movie Unhinged should be required viewing.

  3. There is a protocol. When the first driver doesn’t move soon enough after the light turns green, a driver behind is allowed one short tap of the horn.

    Now, if they advance to the next light and the first driver fails to go again, then a longer honk is allowed.

    There are rules.

  4. Oh wow major red light delay…Should have been glad he wasn’t stuck in a bottlenecked six lane during rush hour; shooter best turn himself in or head to Mexico.

  5. I wonder if the “light green = instant honk” thing will go away as more and more of these stupid start/stop engined cars fill the roads.

    Last time I was in a city it’s literally instant honk. Occasionally a pre-emptive honk while the lights still red.

  6. If you can’t control your temper then you shouldn’t be driving. There are a lot of folks who shouldn’t be.

  7. Wonder what some people think the car horn is for. The horn should be used to warn someone of impending danger or to encourage them to make a move. Getting upset over a horn honk is foolishness. Is another minute or 2 going to really make that much difference in the honker’s life? Someone honking a horn at another is not a killing/shooting offense. The best policy is neither a honker or honkie be. Is one’s safety really worth getting bent out of shape over a horn honk… matter a beep or long honk. It’s still just a horn blowing and driving away is far less easier and risky, besides, most likely you will never encounter this person under the same circumstances again. Oh, and the bird sign is merely an expression of frustration and totally unnecessary. Ignore the bird. I do practice what I proclaim, but notice I never said it is easy. For me the purpose of my trip is to get from one place to another and arrive still breathing and I am not going to cave in to the pressure and upset myself over a bird or honk. Life is too short and at 81 it isn’t getting any longer. Chill.

    • Originally the car horn was to warn pedestrians, people on horses or in wagons that a automobile was approaching. They were called klaxons. Automobiles were also required to pull to the side and stop whenever meeting someone on a horse or in a wagon so as to not spook the animal.

      • The reason Americans drive on the right is it makes drive-byes harder. Especially for right handers. Just saying.

        • Why did America choose to drive on the right?
          New York, in 1804, became the first State to prescribe right hand travel on all public highways. By the Civil War, right hand travel was followed in every State. Drivers tended to sit on the right so they could ensure their buggy, wagon, or other vehicle didn’t run into a roadside ditch. My Ol’ man drove many teams of horses in his younger days on the farm and in the fields. When riding in a wagon or on an implement he sat on the right and while walking a team he did so on the left because the team was turned to the left at the end of the field making them easier to watch.

          • lol, now splain why limeys drive on the left…

            n why we sit on the left, while driving on the right.

            ot – if you have not, drop everything and go walk out the old stagecoach roads in (eg) BLM lands on the West Slope of CO. Holy crap, those folks were NOT SCARED, and knew horses. The way to find them is pull over and scan the ridge above you – you will see faint zigzag lines wayyyyy up there.

          • I never really thought about that too much. It seemed to make sense to have people manipulate the gear shifter with their right right since most people are right handed anyway. That might not be the reason.

    • The first documented appearance of the finger in the United States was in 1886, when Old Hoss Radbourn, a baseball pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters, was photographed giving it to a member of their rival the New York Giants. As a sign of defiance and disrespect.

      • I imagine the Boston Beaneaters were full of gas which may have accounted for the stink in the stadium! Besides a water break can be far messier.
        A commenter here use to say “keep your powder dry” was that you Darkman?

        • “The horn should be used to warn someone of impending danger”

          If you are spacing out at a green light, you are in danger.

          • If you are Not leaving space between you and the vehicle in front. You are in danger. Leaving a large enough space between you and the car ahead gives you room to escape in a SHTF situation. That’s one of the major rules you learn as a Security/Protection Service driver.

            • Drove my wife nuts every time I did it untill I had to hop a curb and drive around some dindu drama. That extra room to accelerate and change direction is critical.

  8. Incidents like this give the pinkos more encouragement to take away our rights. “Don’t be a f*ing a$$hole” is the lesson we should learn from this.

    Also, another reason I live in the boonies.

  9. A woman in a van honked at me the other day. I waved and smiled because it made me feel very good, however not knowing her personally, no condom, and having my girlfiend in the veehickle wouldn’t have worked out.
    Honk If Your Horny.

    • If she was nice enough to let you know she was about to run you over she may have done you and your girlfriend.

    • That was then this is now. Our government controls the populace today and will for the foreseeable future.
      Because 90years ago we the people did not depend on the government for our wants and needs.
      Our government depended on us for theirs.
      Eliminate for a day every thing we use and consume that is not controlled by government.
      No electricity, no fuel, no food,no water, no medicine.
      Even those free spirits who live on the streets are beholden to the government.
      Joseph Robinett Biden is the Greatest President America has or ever will have.
      Joseph Robinett Biden is the Greatest President America has or ever will have.
      Joseph Robinett Biden is the Greatest President America has or ever will have.
      Forever and ever Amen.

  10. Both acted with stupidity. I don’t jump on my phone at red lights. I do sometimes zone out. When someone hits the horn I raise my open hand to the rearview mirror in apology. I’ve never had a problem. Also, when someone gives me break in traffic I acknowledge them and give a break when I can. A few years ago I was sitting at a red light a few cars back from the stop bar. There was a car waiting to enter traffic from a business on my right traveling in my direction. When the light changed and the vehicles ahead of me moved, I didn’t. The car entered traffic as the driver gave me a wave. My companion, a New Yorker, asked, “Why did you do that!?” I replied, “Because, it was the polite thing to do.” Him, “No one in New York would do that.” Me, “Welcome to the South.” No one behind me blew their horn. Don’t misunderstand. We have our share of assholes. When I was in C.I.D. I drove an unmarked SUV. I got flipped off a couple of times and it was always the other guys fault. No need to get upset. I’ve got blue lights. I always opened with, “My, we’re having fun now, aren’t we?” Now I just ignore them.

    • That’s actually pretty normal here in the PNW. Nice to hear that other corners of the country have the same.

  11. Survived a shooting he instigated only later to succumb to the ravages of AIDS-related cancer/pneumonia.

  12. So Washington, How Well Are Those Gun Laws Working For You?

    Well, with all the new gun laws that we’ve passed in this state the last few years, we are probably now one of the safest states in the country, right? Wrong. Washington Gun Law President, William Kirk, discusses some very disturbing numbers from the FBI which once again shows that Washington is moving horribly in the wrong direction. Today we learn that Washington ranked 3rd in the nation for mass shooting incidents. But how can that be if we passed all these incredible new gun laws? Well, maybe these laws were never designed to make the communities safer, but rather just to disarm you, the lawful and responsible gun owner in Washington.

  13. 2A History, Battle Of Athens: Americans Used Their Guns To Fight Their Tyrannical Government & Won.

    The Battle of Athens was a pivotal moment in American history. It highlighted the true purpose of the Second Amendment and the people’s power to resist a tyrannical government.

    In this video, we delve into the post-World War II era when veterans of Athens, Tennessee, returned home to find their town under the corrupt rule of Democratic Tennessee politician Paul Cantrell.

    From voter suppression and dirty politics to an armed rebellion for justice, this is a story of bravery, democracy, and what the Second Amendment really is about.


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