Armed citizens and the "escalation" bugaboo

Armed citizens and the "escalation" bugaboo

This is a discussion on Armed citizens and the "escalation" bugaboo within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Based on the discussion occurring in the road rage thread about honking to avoid an accident vs honking in response to a potential accident, I ...

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Thread: Armed citizens and the "escalation" bugaboo

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array WebleyHunter's Avatar
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    Armed citizens and the "escalation" bugaboo

    Based on the discussion occurring in the road rage thread about honking to avoid an accident vs honking in response to a potential accident, I pose the following:

    Is it possible for an armed citizen to ever express displeasure with the actions of another person without it being considered "escalating"?

    For example...

    You are in the park with you family when a small group of busybodies turns-on a loud stereo playing vulgar music. You ask them to turn it down, prompting a violent response that ends with one of them going to the coroner and you to the hospital. Did you escalate the situation, or do what a reasonable person would do in an attempt to continue their family's enjoyment of a public park?

    You and your neighbor are chatting in your front yard. Just down the street, a families are playing- bouncing balls, kids on bikes, etc. Up the street, a car comes blowing around the corner doing 40 mph in this 25 mph residential area. You and the neighbor both start yelling "SLOW DOWN!" and waving your arms. When the car gets to your driveway, it skids to a stop, and a couple of thugs get out with a pipe and a bat. The result is the same, and the coroner's schedule just got a bit fuller for the day. Did you escalate the situation, or do what a reasonable person would do in an attempt to slow down a speeding driver on your crowded street?

    Your thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Member Array oldfashioned's Avatar
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    If we just apply common sense to both of these situations I would say that if you took a reasonable, measured (if not necessarily polite) tone in each of these situations you'd probably come out OK. If on the other hand you threw in a couple of "MF ers" or other expletives along with your requests, yelled in what might be a threatening tone or made otherwise threatening gestures then the outcome might be different. In that case, maybe a prosecutor thinks that you intentionally pushed the people over the edge in order to be able to use force against them. Maybe a plaintiff's attorney thinks he smells a hate crime. Who knows? And who knows what a jury might think if it gets that far.

    I personally think your best bet is to be firm but at the same time reasoned and polite. No need to inflame the situation. Why be any part of letting it get really ugly? These things can get messy quickly and you gotta ask yourself if you really want to go there. I'd keep in mind too that eyeball witnesses will all likely see these incidents based on what they want to see, which could further complicate the outcome.

    Only one opinion; others will surely disagree.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Havok's Avatar
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    You honking, or telling the person to slow down isnt escalating the situation, them deciding to turn it violent escalates the situation.
    We get the government we deserve.

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    Array Mike1956's Avatar
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    As in most situations, all responses begin with "it depends"...

    In situation one, there is likely a difference between what is legal and what is prudent. Blaring vulgarity isn't a threat to anyone's physical safety.

    Situation two began with a threat to public safety by the pipe and bat-bearing motorists, and was escalated by them from the public thoroughfare onto private property.

    How well, or how poorly one articulates justification for one's lethal force actions can go far in determining outcomes.
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    Member Array gnius's Avatar
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    A while ago I heard a good expression for CCWs: "every fight you get into is a gunfight, because you chose to bring the gun". De-escalation is the name of the game. I also choose to always carry pepper spray for this reason.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array SouthernBoyVA's Avatar
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    I have used my horn many times over the years for a number of reasons. To alert someone of a change in traffic patterns (think not moving when a light turns green), someone edging over into my lane while I am either next to them or coming up close to them, someone pulling suddenly in front of me and hitting their brakes (when it doesn't appear to be an antagonistic move), and a host of other reasons. I do attempt to avoid confrontations, especially when armed, which is nearly always. I doubt that blowing one's horn in these situations would be viewed as escalating an encounter, though in truth you never really know, do you?

    BTW, I have also used my horn to get someone's attention to a situation they are close to entering when it is obvious they do not know this (think playing with a stupid phone or doing something else instead of concentrating on their driving).
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    Ex Member Array CG11's Avatar
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    All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. We are, in my opinion, somewhat obligated to call out those who would sacrifice our safety, our quality of life, and yes, our peace. As oldfashioned noted, it is how we express our concerns that will likely determine how our initiating of an incident will be viewed. I also think there must be a positive value in the action we take. Be as polite as you can, and pleasantly firm regardless. Then, too, how is the "threat" manifested? A lone vehicle speeds through your neighborhood, gone by the time you can yell "slow down". Why bother? They are gone, will not hear you, and your action accomplishes nothing but alert your neighbors that you are displeased about something they probably didn't see. But, if they are called to testify what kind of neighbor you are, will they remember that you yell at cars? Every situation is different, and has the potential to escalate at any provocation. Weigh all the factors. Think it through, if you are dealing with a stranger, everything is unknown. If it's your neighbor, you probably have some idea of who they are and what kind of reaction you will get. Adjust you approach accordingly. If someone is in danger, take the appropriate action as necessary. If it's just your pride that's calling for action, go back inside and forget it.

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    VIP Member Array Fizban's Avatar
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    I think that a good many people make the whole thing more difficult that it has to be. Honking a horn is a gesture... plain and simply. How it is taken depends on a whole host of things including the [make up] of the individual receiving it. For a hundred years, the honking of a horn was intended to draws someone's attention to your presence for the purpose of avoiding collision. Its not intended to voice your objection, convey your displeasure or to highlight your ire regarding something that has already occurred. I do not fault anyone for using a horn to avoid the potential for collision but using it for nearly any other purpose is simply poking the bear with a sharp stick. If you don't want to anger the bear, don't poke him with a stick and if you don't want to run the risk of insulting the sensibilities of someone else... don't interject yourself into their business. If an altercation ensues, its my opinion that the blame lands squarely on the person who has acted criminally in the face of a perceived insult but that does not mean that the initial causation is not a contributing factor. Good and bad are not always the same as legal and illegal.. a person needs to apply good judgment to the way they ultimately communicate with others. It may not be illegal to intrude into the business of other people or to convey your displeasure of others actions but in many instances, its not a necessary thing, smart thing or a good thing at all.
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  10. #9
    Member Array oldfashioned's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    I think that a good many people make the whole thing more difficult that it has to be. Honking a horn is a gesture... plain and simply. How it is taken depends on a whole host of things including the [make up] of the individual receiving it. For a hundred years, the honking of a horn was intended to draws someone's attention to your presence for the purpose of avoiding collision. Its not intended to voice your objection, convey your displeasure or to highlight your ire regarding something that has already occurred. I do not fault anyone for using a horn to avoid the potential for collision but using it for nearly any other purpose is simply poking the bear with a sharp stick. If you don't want to anger the bear, don't poke him with a stick and if you don't want to run the risk of insulting the sensibilities of someone else... don't interject yourself into their business. If an altercation ensues, its my opinion that the blame land squarely on the person who has acted criminally in the face of a perceived insult but that does not mean that the initial causation is not a contributing factor. Good and bad are not always the same as legal and illegal.. a person needs to apply good judgment to the way they ultimately communicate with others. It may not be illegal to intrude into the business of other people or to convey your displeasure of others actions but in many instances, its not a necessary thing, smart thing or a good thing at all.
    Extraordinarily well put.
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    Distinguished Member Array TSKnight's Avatar
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    I am not a lawyer. That said, here's my opinion.

    Both scenarios illustrate actions that reasonable people do on a regular basis to help maintain a safe living environment.

    Action versus reaction:

    Disregard for other's rights or safety. Action
    Request for respect. Reaction
    Threat of bodily harm. Action
    Attempt at de-escalation. Reaction
    Further threat/attack. Action
    Reaction etc. adnauseam

    It's not a bad thing to think about what/how to deal with common scenarios that could lead to an armed self defense incident. The downside is over thinking and causing yourself to pause or worse, freeze in a life threatening incident.
    Democracy:
    Two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.
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    VIP Member Array OldVet's Avatar
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    If I feel the need to honk my horn, I will honk my horn. If someone desires to take offense at that--it is upon them. The horn, required by law to warn vehicles and pedestrians, is there to be used for that purpose.
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    Distinguished Member Array CR Williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnius View Post
    A while ago I heard a good expression for CCWs: "every fight you get into is a gunfight, because you chose to bring the gun". De-escalation is the name of the game. I also choose to always carry pepper spray for this reason.
    Not necessarily. If the gun is not employed or even introduced, it's not a gunfight. Ain't buyin' this concept.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnius View Post
    A while ago I heard a good expression for CCWs: "every fight you get into is a gunfight, because you chose to bring the gun". De-escalation is the name of the game. I also choose to always carry pepper spray for this reason.
    Lots of things sound great until they don't. If I find myself in a fight, it will be because the fight chose me.
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    Distinguished Member Array CAS_Shooter's Avatar
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    I don't look to be in a situation where escalation finger pointing is being done. I prefer to consider what words or actions would achieve the objective and if I was not the appropriate messenger for that purpose. While honking could hardly be seen as "legal" escalating, it doesn't really matter what is legal if the the receiver reacts as if he thinks it is escalating. It doesn't matter how things should be. In managing risks, it only matters how things are. You have to factor the likelihood of mister unknown possibly psycho driver is going to react to your "hey slow down" suggestions. This is the issue. How much risk are you willing to accept. Not responsibility, but risk.
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  16. #15
    Senior Member Array CreedDryrot's Avatar
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    A honk can mean, "Watchout, I'm here!" or "You [email protected]#*!!"

    When you honk, you know what you mean. But you're trusting that the person who you just honked at to know what you mean as well.

    Is it 'right' that honking at a person, accidentally brushing against someone on the street, etc. can lead to an altercation due to the other party escalating it? Nope. But that's the reality we all live in. Choosing to ignore or accept that reality is the individual's choice.
    maxwell97 and Fizban like this.

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