BLM Agitator's Advice Could Turn Road Blockers into Road Kill or Lifers
A (Caucasian, by the way) woman in a Black Lives Matter hat posted a video in which she describes a simple method for breaking a car window, cutting the driver's seat belt, and "removing" the driver "if necessary." It looks as though her idea will work in terms of (1) getting the driver beaten like Reginald Denny or (2) death or serious injury for the perpetrator along with potential felony burglary or murder charges. While nothing in this article constitutes legal advice, we will see how this individual has advised Black Lives Matter rioters (not "protesters") on how to commit acts that could turn them into roadkill or get them sent to prison for life. In addition, possession of the tool in question for forcible entry into (rather than escape from) a vehicle could be construed as possession of burglary tools, which can be charged as a felony in some jurisdictions and a misdemeanor in others.
It is a basic principle of armed self-defense that you can use deadly force only to protect yourself or others from an immediate violent threat, such as being dragged from a car and beaten, that would put the law's hypothetical person in reasonable fear for his life. You cannot use any kind of violence on somebody who is not a physical threat to you. Some states also require you to retreat from the threat (e.g., by turning your car around and going the other way) if you can do so in complete safety. Even if the state has a "stand your ground" law, you should try to avoid the confrontation. George Zimmerman's decision to stand his ground earned him a thorough beating along with devastating legal costs.
In addition, if you fire a handgun inside your car, you are likely to suffer serious hearing damage if you do not have hearing protection, which is illegal to wear in many jurisdictions. You should therefore, as depicted by Kenny Rogers in "Coward of the Country," walk (or drive) away from trouble if you can. Only if the aggressors leave you no other option do you need to proceed to the end of that song: "Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man." Then it's you or them, and whatever happens is both legally and morally on them.
Many states have a "castle doctrine on wheels," which treats an occupied vehicle like an occupied dwelling. Arizona, for example, imposes no duty to retreat from an aggressor who "was attempting to remove another person against the other person's will from the residential structure or occupied vehicle."
How a Car Window Turns Misdemeanor Assault into a First-Degree Felony
A man was shot after he punched a driver through the window of his car. The Democrat-run city of Seattle arrested the driver, but if I were on the jury, I would not even want to hear the driver's side of the story before I voted to acquit. Why waste my time, the defense lawyer's time that he is billing to his client, the judge's time, and the rest of the jury's time after the prosecution stipulates, as it will have to do, that the other man admitted to reaching through the car window to grab the steering wheel and then punch the driver in his face? This, along with the fact that Seattle is allowing looters and rioters to run rampant, is a strong argument for every working person and every employer to move out of the city and let it rot, and elect a Republican governor and Legislature to ensure that state money is not used to carry Seattle.
A Google search on this issue led me to Florida, where a car window turns what would ordinarily be misdemeanor battery into a first-degree felony punishable by life in prison. Fla. Statute 810.02 defines burglary as unlawful entry into a conveyance (like a vehicle) as well as a dwelling "with the intent to commit an offense therein." This escalates to a first-degree felony if, during the course of the burglary, the offender "makes an assault or battery upon any person."
It is a general rule in most states that a violent felony puts the victim in reasonable fear for his life, which is the prerequisite for immediate deployment of deadly force.
Suppose that X acts on the BLM woman's advice, breaks a car's window, and reaches inside to cut the driver's seat belt to remove him from the car. The driver is in reasonable fear for his life, so he floors his accelerator to get away from the threat and, as X is next to the car rather than in its path, X remains unharmed. The car, however, strikes and kills peaceful demonstrator Y, which puts felony murder charges on the table — not for the driver, but for X.
Remember that X has just committed what most if not all states define as a felony. Georgia defines felony murder as follows: "in the commission of a felony, he causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice," and also, "[a] person convicted of the offense of murder shall be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole, or by imprisonment for life." Another example might involve X shooting at a police officer who returns fire only to have a stray round hit and kill Y. As long as the officer's use of his weapon was reasonable and not reckless, the death would probably be on assailant X and not on the cop. Florida defines as second-degree murder "[w]hen a human being is killed during the perpetration of, or during the attempt to perpetrate, any ... burglary ... carjacking" and does not seem to require that the perpetrator do the killing.
This does not by any means entitle the driver to use indiscriminate force to escape the threat, but, as long as the driver's actions are reasonable, the aggressor's decision to create a "him or me" situation puts any resulting fatalities on the aggressor as far as I am concerned, and that would be my decision as a juror.
As a final note, I cannot give legal advice, so:
- Please review the deadly force laws that prevail in your state, including any duty to retreat and, regardless of whether you can legally stand your ground, retreat if you can do so in complete safety. That is a sure guarantee that you won't get beaten up or killed, and that you won't have to pay a lawyer because you had to kill somebody else.
- Know and obey your state's concealed carry laws. Some states permit open carry without a permit, but your "open carry" becomes concealed carry, and a crime if you don't have a permit, the instant you get into a vehicle.
- Take a concealed carry course from a qualified law enforcement professional and learn exactly when you can and cannot use deadly force.
- If silencers or suppressors are legal in your state, consider paying the federal license fee to get one so you do not destroy your hearing if you have to fire a handgun inside your vehicle.
- Exercise your discretion as a juror should a prosecutor charge the driver instead of the rioter in any incidents of this nature.
Civis Americanus is the pen name of an American Thinker contributor who remembers the lessons of history and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way.