Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Having a CCW Means...

Brad_in_ma sent me a link to this story, which has an update on a recent "road rage" incident that took place just outside of Boston. It appears that Joseph Fasano, a local firefighter (although I'm not certain why the media feels the need to plaster that fact everywhere; it's not like he was on duty), was traveling behind Robert O'Connell, the son of a prominent developer. O'Connell was allegedly slamming on his brakes, and pulled over to the side of the road. Fasano pulled over too, and got out of his vehicle and approached O'Connell, when O'Connell pulled a gun and shot Fasano in the stomach.

Those are the admittedly shaky facts as they have been presented thus far in the media. Given the media's propensity for screwing things up six ways to Sunday (all those layers of editorial oversight, don't you know), I'm not taking anything for granted here. My personal opinion is that Fasano was tailgating, flashing lights etc. and O'Connell responded by being a major richard-head. He had enough, and pulled over to let Fasano by, and Fasano decided to "teach him a lesson".

Here's the worst part, though, for the 2A community:
O'Connell was licensed to carry the weapons.

That's a big honkin' black eye for law-abiding gun owners right there. It's not so much the shooting - a rich, well-connected guy approached by a significantly larger adversary who has already shown violent tendencies stands a fair chance of avoiding significant jail time. It's the running away from the scene that seals O'Connell's fate. If it was a good shoot - if it were in fact a justified shooting - then he should have called 911, reported it, and waited for the authorities. Instead, he panicked and ran.

He missed the simple fact that having a gun is no substitute for common sense.

I've been involved in exactly one road rage scenario. I was coming back from the range when I came upon an accident at a traffic light. Two cars had collided in the middle of the road, and traffic was going around one of the wrecked cars on both the left and the right. The guy I was behind as we approached the light went to the right; I went to the left because of debris on the side of the road. I made it through the intersection first. He took umbrage at my apparent "cutting" of his place in line and started flashing his lights, swearing out the window, and shaking his fist at me.

Now, mind you, I have a loaded .357 Magnum on my person. I have a gun case with a .45, another .357 Magnum, and a .40 S&W. I still have at least 50 rounds of ammo for each gun. And yet I was scared senseless. I was petrified this guy was going to approach my car and threaten me - I actually started inching out into the intersection to have a clear lane to bolt if needed. The light turned green, I went one way, he went another, end of story.

But having a firearm on me didn't turn me into a badass - it made me realize just how serious I had to take everything. I couldn't hop out of my car and tell the guy to go screw - that's escalating the situation. Even taking the MA angle out of the picture, I have ZERO desire to drop the hammer on another human being, even if they're asking for it. I would much rather run like a frightened bunny than take another's life. Any day of the week, I'll take flight over fight if it's a gun fight.

Having a permit to carry a firearm doesn't make you a tough guy. It's not a license to shoot off your mouth, nor is it permission to let your guard down and be careless because, hey, you have a gun. It's a deadly serious proposition that means you have to man up, put on the big boy pants, and let the loudmouth think he won the battle of wits. You have to be prepared to humble yourself to the jackass that wants to be the center of attention. You have to be ready to walk away, and to hell with what anyone thinks.

Having that gun doesn't make you invincible. It makes you liable. If a fight happens, your best bet is to be in a different time zone. You don't want there to be any chance you could get caught up in the excitement and have to make a life-or-death decision. You need to keep a clear head, one unsullied by drugs, alcohol, or foolish pride. You have to be the better person, no matter what that little devil on your shoulder whispers into your ear.

You also need to know the laws of your state as they pertain to the use of deadly force. You need the number of a good 2A-friendly lawyer. You need to know what to say in the event you are ever forced to use your firearm in the defense of your life (hint: "I would like to speak with my attorney". END). You need to know your rights; you need to know when it's proper to assert those rights (in court, through your attorney) and when not to (when the officer is taking your statement, which, in case I didn't mention it, should consist of nothing more than "I would like to speak with my attorney".)

Training is just as much a mental process as a physical one, and it behooves us as law-abiding gun owners and CCW permit holders to train to avoid confrontations as well as survive encounters.

That is all.


Anonymous said...

I have to leave this story! Year's ago,I had the most mellow buddy on earth.He was driving down a 2 lane county road,same type of thing happened.He was doing the speed limit,a guy blazes up tailgating,too hilly to pass..They approached a stop sign,the tailgater got out,as did my buddy.The tailgater started doing the finger in the chest thing..My buddy did a snap kick across his jaw,knocking out a couple of teeth.Did I mention he was a brown belt??
Dean in az

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

you don't have to clam up and only say "I WANNA LAWYER" until AFTER they Mirandize you. But you probably should.

Unknown said...

This is something I've explained to others. I used to have a bad temper, when I was much younger. Something changed that, I don't know what: maturity, marriage, just plain geting smarter, who knows?
Anyhow, as I've told others, having a HCP makes me even calmer than normal, much LESS likely to get in trouble. I can no longer run, but I'll damned sure hobble away from a confrontation as fast as I can, rather than find myself in a situation where I might have to shoot someone. I'll defend myself if there's no other option, but there are other options, most of the time.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to New Jovian Thunderbolt, there is a doctrine in the law known as the Spontaneous Declaration/Excited Utterance exception. So what you first say upon arrival of the PD may be used later. This could include something like "I didn't want to do it" or "I don't believe I shot so many times" etc., which could be misconstrued as an admission of culpability. And, during any civil trial, the possible placement of liability. Given the severity of the circumstances, consulting an attorney would be the safest course of action, before, as well as after any Miranda warnings. And with all due respect to the LE community, at that particular point in time, the LEO is not your friend, there to help you through a tough situation, he's only there to do his job. What you say or do will be recorded, and there's no "do-overs" or "I didn't realize what I was saying" allowed to change things later. It's best to include thoughts concerning your actions immediately after the incident as part of your training/planing scenario. Obviously, avoiding any situation is the best of the scenarios, but if that's not possible, don't inadvertently make matters worse by an inappropriate statement.
P.S. I'm not a lawyer, this isn't legal advise, and I never played one on TV.

Rick R. said...

I'm in agreement with Jay G and Tennessee Bud. I act WAY more cautiously when I'm wearing a weapon. Because one of the last things I want to do is actualy draw the bloody thing in anger or fear -- much less fire at another person.

I carry, however, because there are things I want to do even less -- like bleed, or watch my family bleed.

Robert McDonald said...

A similar thing happened in AL 10 to 15 years ago (I had just moved to the state). One woman shot another who had approached her vehicle after she pulled over. She was convicted of murder inthe third, IIRC.

This happened before AL had a stand your ground law, and I think that may have contributed to the conviction. However, even if the law had been in effect I don't think it would have helped much. Both women had been 'raging' and were acting like complete idiots.

I've come across as blood thirsty to some people but I can not see myself ever shooting an unarmed person when I am inside my frickin' car and could easily drive away.

Anonymous said...

I saw this on a gunblog a couple of nights ago:

"When you carry a gun, leave your middle finger at home."


ASM826 said...

One very serious comment. You said and I quote "That's a big honkin' black eye for law-abiding gun owners right there.

No it's not. I am not responsible for the behavior of idiots. You and I don't have to own other people's behavior. They did what they did, we do what we do.

The anti-2nd Amendment crowd are always there, but they don't need an excuse. They hate guns and gun owners and will never stop.

Two examples.

1) If a gun had not been involved, and the guy had hit him with the car, would there be a cry to ban cars because of one person's behavior? This is no more a matter of him being a gun owner than it is about him being a car owner, something else that both of them were not mature enough to possess.

2) I have a penis, that does not mean I claim any responsibility for other people who share that characteristic, and I do not want be labeled as a rapist just because some other penis wielding bozo used his inappropriately.

Jay G said...

Your point is, of course, correct - the only one at fault here is Mr. O'Connell.

What I meant is that this will most certainly be used against us. The media is CONSTANTLY looking for stories of permit holders involved in "bad" shoots, and this one is gift-wrapped for the Brady Bunch.

About the only saving grace is that it *did* happen in MA, where they won't want to publicize that MA does allow CCW - for the rich and well-connected...

ASM826 said...

Now, about that you are correct. it will be used by the Antis. Just like everything else they can find, but that's to be expected.

DisabledDad said...

Ive got to leave this here for you, a video recording of a road rage indecent from both sides, its humorous but also enlightening it shows . I was involved in a road rage incident 3 years ago where I did have to use my weapon I will blog about it one day it turned out there was a lot of luck going around that day. And great blog, by the way ill have to put up some pics of the lil red express I'm restoring this winter!

Chuck said...

WRT the recommendation to have a 2-A attorney in mind, anyone have tips on finding a good one? I'm wonering if state-level groups (like GOAL in MA) have referrals...

Also I've wondered in the past if there's some way to connect with them *before* a 3am home invasion ends with lead flying? ..So they're up for taking the call when you do need it.

Phillip said...

I have an attorney's card in my wallet. I live in FL, so I don't need a specific 2A attorney, just a criminal attorney.

Find the best criminal attorney you can in the area. Pay a consulting fee to speak with them, and if necessary, put down a retainer. It may be a thousand dollars or more, but that will get them out of bed at 3AM to come get you. The consult doesn't need to be any more complex than "I have a CCW and carry a weapon. I want to find an attorney to represent me if I ever need it, which I hope I never do."