Road Rage in Michigan

I’m sure most of you reading this have experienced road rage at one point or another in your driving career. I’ve become agitated in traffic and made obscene gestures or voiced my displeasure through an open window towards another driver. But never has the thought crossed my mind to physically harm another driver. As a matter of fact, soon after making a total rear-end out of myself I’ve come to my senses and felt like a complete idiot for having let my emotions get the better of me.

I can still hear my mother’s voice telling me, “Never antagonize another driver because you have no idea who they are or what they’re willing to do.” Her words of wisdom rang true as I read a recent news report out of Ionia, Michigan this morning.

Two drivers shot and killed each other last night in a act of road rage. The driver of the first car had pulled over to let the tailgater behind him pass. The tailgater, not being content to simply pass, also pulled to the side of the road, disembarked his vehicle and began shooting at the first driver with a handgun. The first driver, who was also armed with a handgun, returned fire in defense of his own life. The bullets fired from both mens guns found their mark as each man fell to the ground mortally wounded. Worse, an innocent female passenger in the second car began screaming for help prompting two men in the area to come running to their aid. When the rescuers arrived both men were still clinging to life, but both soon expired.

According to news reports, both men were legally armed and possessed valid concealed carry permits.

Anti-gun forces have long argued that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons would result in running gun battles in the street. While such incidents are exceedingly rare, as this story shows, such acts of violent idiocy do in fact occur.

My last act of “road rage” took place over 5 years ago. My first son was born at this time which prompted many changes in my behavior including taking the advice of my dear mom to not provoke other drivers. I should have came to my wits long beforehand and heeded her sound advice, but thankfully I avoided running into that one crazed lunatic willing take another mans life over being flipped the finger in traffic. My middle finger now remains calmly nestled between my index and ring fingers.

The moral to this story is to do your best to avoid conflict. Altercations in traffic are senseless and can escalate quickly. Be safe out there my brothers and sisters, and please, strive to be examples of responsible firearms ownership.

MAC

MAC is an avid shooter, former MCSF Marine, NRA member, Oath Keeper and is commissioned as a Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky. Known for his videos on the Military Arms Channel, he also writes for The Bang Switch, for Shotgun News (Be Ready!) and freelances for Guns & Ammo. MAC has been a life long shooter who has an interest in all things that go "bang" but gravitates towards military type firearms.

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  • https://www.facebook.com/scott.morgan.98434997 Scott Morgan

    Couldnt have said it any better Mac.I am next door to you in Ky. And we all need to strive for what you said. Really enjoy your channel keep up the good works we need more like you

    • http://www.military-arms.com MAC

      Thanks, Scott. I’ll be down your way this coming weekend. I’m heading south to the Bullpup shoot in Park City, KY. Come out if you can.

    • poseidon

      I live in Louisville and drivers here are horrible. I remember seeing on TV two drivers getting into a shootout in front of PNC bank because of the middle finger.

      • cRAIG smITH

        So I’m not imagining this. I too am a transplant to Louisville, and the drivers down here act like it’s the second to the last lap in a NASCAR event and they’re in second place. Pretty much everyone I know who came here from somewhere else has the same observation. No one uses turn signals because if you do the a$$H0(# in the lane you want to change into will speed up/and or slow down to prevent you from changing lanes. That’s just one of many examples of Kentucky Road Rude.
        They need to stop watching NASCAR.

    • Nate

      Esp in KY. So many bad drivers here.

  • agreensmudge

    One thing I don’t think is drilled into the student’s heads enough during CHL courses is that once you have a license you are no longer allowed to take anything personally. Especially on the road.

  • https://www.facebook.com/gstarpley Greg Tarpley

    As Tom Gresham frequently says, “Anytime you enter a confrontation, it becomes and ARMED confrontation.” so be wary of engaging people if you carry a gun for protection because it could very well end up like this story.

  • Eric Lopez

    Great words! Reading this was beneficial for me! Ever since I have been able to carry legally I have been very careful with everything that I do. I have learned that i have to always be the better person because I know how things can end.

  • booker

    Terrible. There was a fatal stabbing in my area following a traffic incident a couple years ago; it wasn’t even an collision it was simply one guy cut off the other. The one who DID the cutting off took offense to the cut-off-ee’s gesture/comment, had to show how tough he was, and wound up stabbing the guy in the neck with a pocket knife.

    This is tangential, but there is a problem among many people in our country where we have lost the ability to be civil even when offended. Many have lost or never learned how to deal with situations like adults, to accept that there are others who will affront us, but we need to let these small annoyances roll off our backs and keep it movin’ like grown men and women. My theory is that this is related to poor nutrition and medication that has been shoveled into the bodies of our youth since the 1980s, starting with the degredation of school lunches that are heavily processed and loaded with antibiotics and hormones, and the medication of any child that has trouble sitting still or is bored because the educational system fails to keep them engaged and challenged. These two things (poor food and psychotropic drugs) introduced into a growing and developing body and brain have, in my opinion, profound effects on the way that person develops, and likely retards the individual’s ability to think critically, to condsider consequences, and to be empathetic, ie, to consider situations from multiple points of view.

    Nice write-up; it is a shame that the NRA leadership doesn’t come out with similar statements decrying these irresponsible and senseless acts, with the same furvor and enthusiasm that they engage on other topics. It would go a long way to build legitimacy and respect for the NRA.

  • Bob Evans

    Two unfortunate points: First, that such an altercation happened to begin with. For their behaviors, the media will surely cover it, and the anti-gunners will have a field day. Second, it’s unfortunate that the vast majority of legal gun owners and carriers get virtually no press, and remain largely unnoticed by the general public. “Newsflash: lone gunman enters restaurant and orders food! Film at 11:00!” That just doesn’t sell ad space for the media. Yet, it’s much more representative of what happens every day.

  • https://www.facebook.com/richard.turner.357 Richard Turner

    Hearing about things like this, I just have to shake my head. I don’t carry around my hometown of around 6 or 7k people because its a small enough community that everyone knows each other, or at least close relatives of each other. When I travel and I do carry, I go out of my way to be as polite and non abrasive as possible, whether in traffic or in person. I do not want to ever have to actually draw a weapon to defend myself or my family, and I sure as hell do not want to push someone else to cause a confrontation. Its mind boggling to think that someone would put themselves in that situation.

  • FJM

    Extremely tragic and totally avoidable. When the decision has been made to lawfully carry a firearm for defensive purposes, the ego needs to go away.

  • Mike

    This is unfortunate. The gentleman that pulled over did the right thing. got off the road got out of the way and tried to descalate the situation. The A$$ that was taligating should never have had a CCW. Why in the world did he pull over after the other guy let him go by.

  • steve

    I live not 30 miles from Ionia and was extremely dismayed to hear that they were both CPL holders. On the upside, it’s the first CPL idiotic confrontation I’ve heard of.

    • Dan

      I’m about the same distance. I believe I work with a relative of one of the men. Both were stupid for getting out of their vehicles, however the tailgater never should have pulled in behind him. I just don’t understand that.

      I’m not exactly sure what happened since I wasn’t there, but it seems to be they both share some of the blame. I CCW every day and where ever I legally can. If I pulled over to let someone pass and they followed me, I would continue on my way and call the police if that person continued to follow/harass me.

      I’m curious to know if they knew each other and if there might be more to the story (just a theory)

  • Joey

    Great write up as usual. I purchased my first handgun a few months ago for CC purpose and I personally don’t feel I am ready to carry daily for this very reason. I make a concious effort every time I leave my house to not let the small stuff get to me. My wife has started calling me Mr. Zen now that I try to calm her and my children when they start to get excited about petty things, so maybe i’m almost there. Until then my handgun is for range practice and my gun safe.

  • Del

    I don’t get it… Why did the guy pull over and stop to let the other driver go around? That in itself probably signaled an intent to engage in a physical confrontation IMO. I would have never stopped in the first place, just waive the guy to pass and leave it at that. Otherwise the guy will be tailgating at 20 mph until he figures it out. But he did stop, both intending to confront each other, overwhelming rational thought ending in an exchange of gunfire. Aggressor or defender makes no difference. I fault both drivers for escalating when they should have let it go.

    Both my CHL instructors were retired law enforcement firearms instructors and they hammered home the fact that you cannot carry a firearm and not reflect that responsibility in your daily activities. Avoid conflict or situations that could lead to conflict.

    • Craig Smith

      Unfortunately, pulling over and stopping is exactly what 911 operators tell you to do, and I have contacted them over aggressive drivers several times in Michigan and in Kentucky. They tell you to pull over and stop. He may have been in contact with 911 at the time and simply been following instructions.

  • Alex

    At the beginning of this year I started compiling a list on my blog of all of the DGUs I come across and sharing some of the better ones with my friends (http://2wolvesandalamb.wordpress.com/defensive-gun-use-stories/). Virtually none of these stories receive any significant press. Unfortunately, when things like this happen, it will be all over the news. It give the impression to the average person that concealed carry permit holders never use their guns for any legitimate purpose and are just a liability.

    I think that as gun-rights activists, we should all try to share some of these DGU stories over social media to start getting people to realize that there are law-abiding people using guns for legitimate purposes and that self-defense with a gun is not merely theoretical. Because the MSM have their own agenda, we need to provide the counterpoint to change some perceptions. Personally, I try to target one story a week and favor those that involve non-stereotypical gun owners such as young and elderly women and also refrain from sharing stories in which the criminal died – I do not want it to appear that I am celebrating a death. At the bottom of my page, I’ve listed some great sources for these stories. The Reddit DGU page is particularly useful (http://www.reddit.com/r/dgu/). As a bonus, this approach might start getting people to question why they aren’t being exposed to the other side of the story and wonder what else they might be being misled about.

  • https://plus.google.com/103676302262878007881 John Papadopoulos

    What a shame. I found that ever since I started carrying, I’ve actually been less confrontational and more weary about escalating a dispute because I know how easily it can become something that results in someone getting hurt or killed, justified or not. It’s like what they teach you in martial arts classes, just because you can kick ass, doesn’t mean you should. With power comes responsibility!

  • LeftThumb

    One of the fathers from Sandy Hook called for more civility in America. You can get mad all you want but it should NOT affect your driving. There’s never a good reason to drive angry. Living in Los Angeles area and at one time having a 140 mile round trip commute you see every manner of driver and idiocy.

  • ChisH.

    Sadly, news from my home State!! Thanks for posting. Tired of this…concern here that no matter the method without a louder responsible voice, events like this continue to derail our progress of educating.

  • PeterK

    Words of wisdom. Have been trying to be more patient all around in life. Don’t carry a gun, but am trying to be ready to when the time is right for me.

  • Ryan P.

    Darwinism at work. Its just unfortunate that stupid people breed much faster than they kill themselves off.

    • booker

      Your comment reminds me of a platitude I’ve heard before… “stupid questions get stupid answers.” Applied to this situation, act a fool and get lit up.

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  • Torrey

    Having a baby daughter has changed by driving habits for sure.

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  • D. Hide

    This is my first time hearing about something like this when the aggressor is also a CPL holder, and indeed, incidents like these are rarely heard of at all despite the mainstream’s heavy negative bias.

    Is there anything positive to come out of this situation? Not really… I mean, I guess the aggressor is not a problem anymore thanks to the fact that the victim used a gun in his own defense. Had the victim been unarmed, he’d be the only one dead and the aggressor would be active, with all that implies.

    No one needs to be told not to kill someone over road rage, that’s a given if you are a sane individual… But everybody can definitely benefit from being a little more forgiving and realize that our own vehicles are even deadlier.

    • booker

      The fact that it was a concealed carry permit holder is actually irrelvant to the story. Individuals have killed and seriously injured other drivers over road rage with and without guns, with and without knives, and with and without weapons of any sort. The issue is road rage and the individuals’ inability to deal with anger or pause and think about consequences of their actions, not the objects used. Again, the mental health, stability and disposition of the American people is what’s the core issue, and with the failing economy, going on thirteen years of persistent war, widespread unemployment, increasing healthcare costs, a broadening gap between the wealthy and the middle class, along with a host of other stressors, more and more people are going to be loaded up with a burden to the point where an otherwise insignificant roadway incident is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  • Risky

    No need to pull over to let a tailgater pass. Just hit your windshield washer fluid randomly until they’re tired of getting their windshield greasy.

  • natjohnb

    I live about a half hour away from where this happened. Hopefully this will be taught as a learning experience in all future CPL classes.

  • http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIPNHdOgSxlhMXWeoUMdiUw ghostwheel

    How about anti-terrorist rage? WARNING: Do not view while driving :P

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4cFIhndvrQ

  • Drmaudio

    There is nothing more important to the maintenance of our rights, then to be a good example of a responsible gun owner.

  • Rational Skeptic

    Boycott Captain America!!! He’s starring in a Class-Warfare movie made by Koreans! And he’s NOT defending the rich! Boycott not only Snowpiercer, but also Captain America and The Avengers! This lefty actor is a supporter of the poor, AND of eating the rich! Also, it’s being edited so viewers “…in Iowa” can understand it!

    http://screenrant.com/snowpiercer-deleted-scenes-us-theatrical-cut-version/

  • Aaron

    I live in Maryland, and we have the absolute worst drivers in the nation. I can’t count how many times some ego-maniacal driver has cut me off, beeped at me for not making a right on red, kept me from switching lanes, flipped the bird at me for doing the speed limit, and the list goes on. I’ve only been licensed for about 2 weeks. Whenever another driver’s stupidity spills out of their action, I can’t help but get angry and flustered. I don’t know how so many other people stand it here in this state can stand how many *(%^$#&*heads there are on the roads here. I am a new driver, so I guess I’ll just have to get used to it. But believe me, if some perp decides his ego is more important than road safety and decides to physically confront me in a way that demands self-defense, I won’t hesitate to break his middle fingers.

    P.S.– There is a spambot on your site’s comments section called “Rational Skeptic” that keeps blathering the same message over and over. I recommend blocking it.

  • Rich in MI

    This incident gives fodder to the anti CCW folks. Someone in this case took road rage and escalated it to an armed confrontation. Someone in this case should not have had a firearm. Now he and another person are dead.

    This incident kinda peeved me…