WHAT IF I AM TRAPPED IN MY CAR?
Over the years I have viewed a number of videos of persons who were trapped within their vehicles by groups of apparently agitated people who were then pulled out and savagely beaten. I would not be surprised in the least to find out that some of the victims sustained serious injuries or even perished at the hands of their attackers.
It is unlawful to run over people just because they are blocking the road. There are three core elements of lawful self-defense that concealed carriers should be aware of before using lethal force 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 would 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 try to disengage first (such as backing up, driving away, or driving around), regardless of any applicable Stand-Your-Ground or Castle Doctrine laws.
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. My best option if my vehicle is completely surrounded by a hostile group of persons and I am unable to change directions may be using my vehicle to move people out of the way if I am in imminent danger of being seriously injured or killed. My goal is to do no more than clear a path without harming others with the understanding that others might be injured or worse as a result of my taking such lifesaving actions. Reasons that could cause me such concern include persons approaching my vehicle while holding a “Molotov Cocktail” (typically a glass bottle containing gasoline which has a burning piece of cloth inserted in the neck) that will break on impact, 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 vandals throwing rocks or bricks), or persons threatening me with firearms.
One hundred percent of my defensive efforts will be directed towards escape, and if I can avoid making physical contact with other persons I will. I have seen attackers literally stand in front of a moving vehicle engaging in what appeared to be a lop-sided game of “Chicken” only to apparently be surprised and even outraged when the driver refused to stop so that they could continue their assault. My personal 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. The objective is to escape and not run over an attacker. Steady acceleration may be needed to accomplish this if persons surrounding the attacker are trying to bring the vehicle to a stop.
Concealed carriers should do all they can to the extent possible to minimize injuries to others and avoid damage to their vehicle that might make it immobile. Modern automobiles are 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 can cause damage to the tires and engines and make them immobile or undriveable.
Of course, it goes without saying that avoidance is the ultimate goal. Concealed carriers can often see masses of persons in the distance and change their route so as to avoid coming into contact with them. I am taken back by persons who see something that causes them concern who then ignore it because they “don’t want to be inconvenienced” or “it is a free country and I have the right to be here, too.”
Any time I am in my car around a crowd I want to make sure that the doors are locked, and if my vehicle is stopped, I want my seat belt disengaged. I do not want someone to suddenly open my car door, and if forced to bail suddenly from my car I do not want to get entangled in the seat belt.
I am of the opinion that concealed carriers should be mentally prepared to deal with persons whose actions can best be described as “unthinkable.” Violence on streets and roads has become another one of those scenarios that concealed carriers may face someday.
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.