TRAPPED IN MY CAR BY PROTESTERS
TRAPPED IN MY CAR BY PROTESTERS
“I have a question concerning what to do if I find myself in my vehicle blocked by protesters. I have seen a lot of footage lately of protestors blocking highways and vehicles being attacked. I wanted to know if there is a precedent for when it is ok to move through a crowd in a vehicle and when it is not. I am only concerned that, should I miss many other warning signs and find myself in a terrible situation, I have an idea of what to do.”
The question above was sent to CCW Safe by a member who like many of us are concerned about the risks posed by masses of persons gathered ostensibly for the purpose of group protest. In the last month, I have viewed a number of frightening videos of persons who were trapped within their vehicles by groups of highly agitated people calling themselves “protesters” only be pulled out and savagely beaten. I would not be surprised in the least to find out that some of the victims died at the hands of their attackers.
First and foremost, it is unlawful to run over people just because they are blocking the road. Second, there are three core elements of lawful self-defense that concealed carriers should be aware of before using force, lethal or otherwise, against another person or persons:
- Do the other parties have the ability to use force capable of causing severe bodily injury or death?
- Do the other parties have the opportunity to use force capable of causing severe bodily injury or death?
- Do the other parties have the intent to use force capable of causing severe bodily injury or death?
I take this a step further and recommend that concealed carriers never use less lethal or lethal force to defend themselves unless there are no other options. For me, this means that I will always attempt to disengage first (such as driving away or around), regardless of any applicable Stand Your Ground or Castle Doctrine laws.
It is my opinion that if the circumstances are such that a concealed carrier must use force, including deadly force, in order to protect themselves (and possibly their loved ones) from serious bodily injury or death, the exact tool used for that purpose is not limited to firearms. I plan to use my vehicle to escape from a crowd if my vehicle is completely surrounded by a hostile group of persons or otherwise unable to change directions even if it means using my vehicle to bump people out of the way if I believe that I am in imminent danger of being seriously injured or killed.
My goal is clear a path and not harm others, and I understand that indeed others might be injured or worse as a result of my taking such lifesaving actions. Reasons that might cause me such concern could be persons approaching my vehicle while holding a “Molotov Cocktail” (typically a glass bottle containing gasoline that will break on impact which has a burning piece of cloth inserted in the neck), persons attempting to break through the windows of my vehicle in such a manner that causes me to believe that they are trying to gain entry (as opposed to protesters vandalizing vehicles by throwing rocks or bricks), or persons threatening me with firearms.
One hundred percent of my defensive efforts will directed towards trying to escape, and if I can avoid making physical contact with rioters I will. It is hard to predict what an actual event might look like. I have seen attackers literally stand in front of a moving vehicle engaging in what appeared to be a lop-sided game of “Chicken” and apparently being both surprised and outraged when the driver refused to stop so that they could continue their assault. My preference would be to drive away from the attackers using steady movement, applying only as much force as is needed to push through the crowd by bumping people out of the way.
Again, the objective is to not to strike the rioters but instead to escape. It may require steady acceleration to accomplish this if surrounded or persons are trying to bring the vehicle to a stop. Concealed carriers should do all they can to the extent possible to minimize injuries to violent members of an agitated mob as well as avoid damage to their vehicle that might render it immobile. Modern automobiles are intentionally designed so that the occupants of the vehicle suffer as little injury as possible during car wrecks through the generous use of “crumple zones.” The methods used to absorb the energy resulting from high-speed impacts often causes such damage to the bodies, engines, and frames of automobiles that it renders them immobile or undriveable. The last place in the world that a concealed carrier probably wants to be is sitting in a stationary car while an angry crowd is closing in.
Steve Moses has been a defensive firearms trainer for over 26 years and is a licensed Texas Personal Protection Officer with 7 years of experience performing as shift lead on a church security detail for a D/FW area metro-church. Steve is a co-owner and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group, LLC based in Dallas, Texas. Moses is a retired deputy constable and spent over 10 years on a multi-precinct Special Response Team. He owns multiple instructor certifications, including Rangemaster Advanced Handgun Instructor and Defensive Shotgun Instructor, Red Zone Knife Defense Instructor and Adaptive Striking Foundations Instructor, Modern Samurai Project Red Dot Sight Instructor, and State of Texas Personal Protection Officer Instructor. Steve holds a BJJ Brown Belt in Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He is a content contributor for CCW Safe and writes weekly articles on various subjects of interest to concealed carriers. Moses shoots competitively and holds an IDPA Expert rating. Steve is an annual presenter at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference.