Hit and RunSteven Lieberman
Hit and Run
Well last Wednesday was fun.
Keeping your emotions in check during a stressful or aggravating event is the key to survival. It also ensures that you don’t find yourself boxed into something you wish you had avoided in the first place.
Last Wednesday I was sitting in my truck on Main Street in Santa Ana waiting for my daughter to get out of school. At 3:20 a Ford Excursion few past me just a little too close. It’s passenger rearview mirror smashed into, and effectively destroyed, my drivers side rearview mirror.
I was startled at first, then that feeling was quickly replaced with rage, as I realized that the driver had no intention of pulling over or stopping.
My reaction was to immediately go after him.
So let’s think about this for a second. I’m in a high crime area going after an unknown number of people in an SUV with blacked out windows that is purposely trying to avoid me. I have no idea if the people in the SUV have stolen the vehicle, are gang members, or are under the influence. What I do know is that they have just committed a crime by hitting my vehicle and are now fleeing the scene.
What the hell am I doing going after them?…. and exactly what am I prepared to do when or if, I catch up to them?
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Making bad ideas under stress seems to be a common theme among a lot of people…. including me.
A few months back a woman at one of our outdoor ranges was being “terrorized” by a common garden snake. She was about to kill it, so being the chivalrous knight that I am, I told her to back away and I calmly… with a combination of suave and swagger… reached down and grabbed the snake as close to the head as possible.
As expected, it coiled around my arm, but as it turned out I had not grabbed it as tightly as I should have.
It wiggled loose from my grip and bit me in the webbing of my hand. In pain, I grabbed it with my left hand and yanked it loose from it’s tooth hold. Starring at the bleeding wound in disbelief, it did not occur to me that the snake still presented a threat to me. I soon learned the error of my ways when it decided to recreate the attack on my left hand.
When it was all over we had 1) a snake that was probably injured after I threw it fifty feet into the bushes, 2) me standing there like an idiot with two bleeding hands, and 3) a woman looking at me trying to figure out what in the hell I could have been thinking in the first place.
So… back to my adventure chasing down the assailant in the vehicle.
He must have realized he was being followed, since he muzzled his way into the right hand turn lane and made a right on First street. Not wanting to loose him, I darted through a parking lot, turned left on Sycamore and then right again on First.
There he was, now only two cars ahead. I employed a little aggressive driving maneuvers and ended up at a red light directly behind him.
It then dawned on me that I was in possession of one of the most valuable tools that I could have, given the circumstances…. my phone.
I took a picture of his license plate, and then a second one of his own broken rear view mirror.
Then I realized that perhaps discretion was the better part of valor and I quickly broke off the pursuit.
A quick call to Santa Ana PD to report a hit and run, and arrangements were made to meet a motor cop in front of the Orange County School of Performing Arts to take a report. After all… I still needed to pick up Chaney!
Was it a particularly good idea to chase this guy down?
Did it work out in the end?
The license plate allowed Santa Ana PD to track the guy down. Turns out, he was not a gang member. He was just a negligent driver who did not realize that I was sitting in the truck when he hit it. He figured he had gotten away with hitting me and not reporting it… but while he maybe anti-social… he was not a predator.
Still, I had know idea of that at the time.
As much righteous indignation that we may feel at the daily offenses we suffer, we must keep our cool. Those of us that carry guns weather off duty, or under the auspices of a concealed carry permit, must always remember that any confrontation we find ourselves in, a gun will be involved.
We must always ensure that we are purposely avoiding a gunfight… not behaving in a way that may very well precipitate one.