The wrong car!

The wrong car!

This is a discussion on The wrong car! within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was returning to my car in the Target parking lot yesterday having just picked up a prescription. My car is a silver Sienna and ...

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Thread: The wrong car!

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array BenGoodLuck's Avatar
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    The wrong car!

    I was returning to my car in the Target parking lot yesterday having just picked up a prescription. My car is a silver Sienna and both my wife and son had decided to remain in the car while I ran in to get the prescription. I have to admit that my alert status was probably white, because I was looking at the prescription while I walked to make sure I had the right medication. Since my wife was in the car, I figured the car was unlocked and reached for the door and opened it... and realized I had opened the wrong car's door. There was no one in the car and I immediately shut the door. At this point I realized that my car was two cars over from where I was standing. The car door I had mistakenly opened belonged to a silver Odyssey.

    In thinking about what happened, I've come to several conclusions. First, I need to keep my awareness at Yellow, especially when walking through a parking lot. I remember checking for cars before crossing from the doors of the store to the parking area, but other than that, my attention was on the prescription and that lack of awareness caused me to enter the wrong car.

    Second, the person whose car I entered left their car unlocked. Bad idea, even if you're running into the store for something quick. If I had been a BG, I would have been able to enter the car unhindered and either stolen it, taken things from the car, or waited inside the car for the person to return.

    Third, and this is the hypothetical part, I've thought about several scenarios where someone mistakenly opens the door to the wrong car. There could be people sitting in the car, or kids, or a dog. How would they react to someone opening the car door and almost getting in. What if someone had been in the car and pulled a gun on me? What if a dog attacked me? How would I justify defending myself when I've just opened someone else's car door?
    Ben

    Cogito, ergo armatum sum. I think, therefore I am armed. (Don Mann, The Modern Day Gunslinger; the ultimate handgun training manual)



  2. #2
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    Array OldVet's Avatar
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    "What if someone had been in the car and pulled a gun on me?"

    That's why the "shoot first, ask questions second" isn't always the best option.
    beararms and Bad Bob like this.
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    Member Array tundra's Avatar
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    What makes you think you're going to have time to get your gun out? I have at least one dog who'd already have your arm ripped off before you had time to draw if you tried to get in the car while he's in there.

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    Member Array tomtsr's Avatar
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    There are 2 ways to learn a lesson. 1) The easy way is before you enter into a situation. Through the process of enhancing your SA you take a class, read books and material, or listen to the advise of others. Most wil use a combination of all of the above.

    2) You learn from errors you make. Too often the stage 1 lessons are marginalized to the point that "use it or loose it" is exemplified. Then you make the blunder and all the training or education comes flooding back. Problem is, it could be too late and you open tundra's door, or even worse.

    This is a #2 learning opportunity, and fortunately no harm no foul. Far too many fail on the retention of learning.

    Condition White should be reserved for very few places.

    Glad you are OK, and equally glad no one was in the car. Be safe.
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  5. #5
    Member Array CPanther95's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenGoodLuck View Post
    What if someone had been in the car and pulled a gun on me? What if a dog attacked me? How would I justify defending myself when I've just opened someone else's car door?
    I don't think you could justify it.

    Assuming you shot the guy after he pulled a gun on you, what you are left with is the owner of a car shot dead in his own car. If there is video in the parking lot, what a jury will see is you walking up to someone else's car, opening the door, and the shooting the owner.

    I think it's unlikely you'd get the shot off though. Most likely in condition white, thinking you are opening your own door, if he drew his gun before you realized your mistake - you'd run towards the back of the car instinctively anyway - hopefully.
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenGoodLuck View Post
    scenarios ... There could be people sitting in the car, or kids, or a dog. How would they react to someone opening the car door and almost getting in.
    Might well react badly. But opening a door isn't a full-fledged attack, and frankly anyone ought to be able to quickly discern that your motivations aren't violent and criminal from the moment you back away with apologetic demeanor and surprised face.

    What if someone had been in the car and pulled a gun on me?
    In most states, the legal justification is the "reasonable man" standard and legitimate fear of death/injury from the assailant's actions. Since all you've done is open the door then stop/reevaluate, IMO that hardly rises to the level of legitimate risk of death/injury for the occupants, though they might fear exactly that.

    Technically, then, you ought to be lawfully justified in defending yourself against a deadly attack against you. But you're obviously cognizant of the horrible landmine you'd be stepping on, in such a situation, you having been the one who gained entry to someone else's occupied vehicle. Getting a DA/GJ/jury to agree might be rough, innocent (and not assailant) though you are. From a practical standpoint, as viewed from the legitimate owners/occupants of that vehicle, you are the assailant, assailing them beyond mere entry or not.

    What if a dog attacked me? How would I justify defending myself when I've just opened someone else's car door?
    Same as above, though likely a bit more lenient given that it's "only" a dog.

    Still, in all of these types of "gray area" situations, I like to remember why it is I carry a lethal force weapon: it's as an absolute last resort. Though I don't subscribe to the must-retreat mindset, I try to be highly cognizant of the irreversibility of the death of another. There are no do-overs. Legal reality is, generally speaking, that if you're sustaining violence and harm from an active attack, and your seen in such a situation, then it gets much simpler to defend your defensive actions. Anything less than that, in which you've not yet sustained injury, you've not attempted to defuse the situation, or you've overreacted or reacted prematurely, you've got a tough row to hoe. Same as always.

    Solution, of sorts:

    This sort of situation is one of the reasons I completely appreciate key-fob, alarmed entry, because zapping the fob allows me to visually/aurally confirm that it is indeed my own car ... thus avoid such situations in the first place. As I NEVER leave my car unlocked, it wouldn't occur to me to reach for the handle without first having unlocked it. And if I'm going to be unlocking it, I'd just as soon be doing so from ~5ft away. Best of both worlds, IMO.
    BenGoodLuck likes this.
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  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array Arborigine's Avatar
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    I was working as tech in a german car shop in a multi-unit business complex. I grabbed a work order for a BMW 535 and walked out the front door to the common parking lot. I saw one 535 and went to it. The key unlocked the door, i got in. now I'm trying to figure out why the key wont unlock the ignition and i hear a woman screaming "my car!! he's in my car!! Whats he doing in there??". I look in the rear view, she is in the doorway of another business and the owners is coming to the door too. I got out, she ran back inside, and I discovered that the car I was looking for was behind a box van ten spaces down the line. She was kinda freaked that the key opened her door, but calmed down eventually, Glad she wasn't armed.
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  8. #8
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    Life is full of learning opportunities...consider this a lesson learned.

    Stay alert...stay safe!
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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array BenGoodLuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Solution, of sorts:

    This sort of situation is one of the reasons I completely appreciate key-fob, alarmed entry, because zapping the fob allows me to visually/aurally confirm that it is indeed my own car ... thus avoid such situations in the first place. As I NEVER leave my car unlocked, it wouldn't occur to me to reach for the handle without first having unlocked it. And if I'm going to be unlocking it, I'd just as soon be doing so from ~5ft away. Best of both worlds, IMO.
    Great idea and thanks for the detailed analysis.
    Ben

    Cogito, ergo armatum sum. I think, therefore I am armed. (Don Mann, The Modern Day Gunslinger; the ultimate handgun training manual)


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenGoodLuck View Post
    I was returning to my car in the Target parking lot yesterday having just picked up a prescription. My car is a silver Sienna and both my wife and son had decided to remain in the car while I ran in to get the prescription. I have to admit that my alert status was probably white, because I was looking at the prescription while I walked to make sure I had the right medication. Since my wife was in the car, I figured the car was unlocked and reached for the door and opened it... and realized I had opened the wrong car's door. There was no one in the car and I immediately shut the door. At this point I realized that my car was two cars over from where I was standing. The car door I had mistakenly opened belonged to a silver Odyssey.

    In thinking about what happened, I've come to several conclusions. First, I need to keep my awareness at Yellow, especially when walking through a parking lot. I remember checking for cars before crossing from the doors of the store to the parking area, but other than that, my attention was on the prescription and that lack of awareness caused me to enter the wrong car.

    Second, the person whose car I entered left their car unlocked. Bad idea, even if you're running into the store for something quick. If I had been a BG, I would have been able to enter the car unhindered and either stolen it, taken things from the car, or waited inside the car for the person to return.

    Third, and this is the hypothetical part, I've thought about several scenarios where someone mistakenly opens the door to the wrong car. There could be people sitting in the car, or kids, or a dog. How would they react to someone opening the car door and almost getting in. What if someone had been in the car and pulled a gun on me? What if a dog attacked me? How would I justify defending myself when I've just opened someone else's car door?
    You can't.
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  11. #11
    Member Array tolduonce's Avatar
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    Had a friend who did something sorta like this but worse. He couldn't figure out why his key wouldn't open his brand new car. Figured out it was the wrong car after the LOCKSMITH had opened it for him. Funny to us buddies immediately. Took him a few weeks to see the humor. Two morals to this story. 1. Be alert. 2. Don't share everything with your boys.

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    Many years ago, as a young bank loan officer I once repossessed the wrong car. It was a medium blue, four door hardtop '65 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Was on the correct parking lot. Color was right, key fit the ignition, so off I went. As I left the big city to drive the 30 miles back to the bank I decided to pull off the freeway and compare license plate and VIN to the photo-copies of my records for some reason. Nope, not the car I wanted. I drove it back up into town, put it back in the same parking space where I got it, walked around the corner and down the block to where I had left a bank vehicle and left.

    Seems there were far fewer different key combinations back then. I should have known. I'd previously experienced this phenomenon. The ignition key to my '69 Chrysler 300 and my parent's '70 Dodge Polara were the same as well.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

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    Senior Member Array Phillep Harding's Avatar
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    About '75 or so, I came out of the grocery store, unlocked "my" gold Chevelle, started it, and noticed a purse on the floor boards. Oops. My car was "over there".

    Prettiest car I ever owned. Wish I'd held on to it.

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    Member Array carracer's Avatar
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    Glad to see I'm not alone!

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    My husband's mother did a similar thing back in the '50's. The keys apparently worked, she drove off down the highway with her 3 boys and the State Patrol pulled her over!
    She had driven off in an identical car owned by a doctor and his bag of goodies was in the car (station wagon). He reported it stolen. All was explained and no harm done. Whew!
    "Good decisions come from experience;
    experience comes from bad decisions"

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