Should Motorists Run Over Anarchists at Impromptu Roadblocks?

Anarchists' widespread use of roadblocks to attack motorists requires citizens, and especially potential jurors, to understand the full implications of these incidents.  This is especially true given the propensity of some district attorneys and prosecutors to, as I see it, virtue-signal by filing charges against the motorists rather than the potential carjackers and highway robbers.  A "hasty roadblock" as deployed frequently by anarchists can often be construed as prima facie evidence of violent intent, and, as motorists cannot read the anarchists' minds, they must act on the situation as they find it.

Another example of this principle is "suicide by cop" that involves pointing unloaded guns (see page 185) at police officers.  The shootings are nonetheless justified because the only thing that counts is what the cop knows when he has to decide whether to shoot, and he knows only that he is looking down the muzzle of a firearm.  There are rare exceptions in which the responding officer has reason to believe that a subject is suicidal and does not have a loaded weapon, but these are exceptions and not the rule.  This is something people need to understand before they are called for jury duty, because it is unlikely that a virtue-signaling prosecutor will allow them to learn about it once they are selected.  A dishonest prosecutor will try to second-guess the defendant by bringing in evidence that was discovered after the fact — e.g., the gun wasn't loaded or the rioters intended only to obstruct traffic without harming anybody.  "Reasonable" depends on what you know at the time, not what you or anybody else discovers afterward.

"Hasty Roadblock" = "Ambush"

The United States Army makes it emphatically clear that a roadblock can be a prelude to an immediate and violent attack on approaching vehicles and their occupants.  "An example of a hasty roadblock is a tree wrapped with enough charges to fell it across an approach route when the enemy comes within the ambush area."  Here is a fictional example from Sharpe's Honour starring Sean Bean.

There are videos of anarchists using "hasty roadblocks" to stop vehicles, which, at least as I see it, puts their drivers in reasonable fear for their safety.  This does not entitle drivers to take the law into their own hands by running over anarchists who are not trying to prevent them from escaping, or even those who have desisted from whatever violent acts they were committing but a moment ago.  In addition, motorists should try to retreat from a mob of anarchists if this can be done in complete safety, regardless of whether the state has a "stand your ground" law. As Kenny Rogers put it in "Coward of the County," "Walk [or drive] away from trouble if you can."

Here is an incident in which an individual deliberately threw his motor scooter in front of a car, whereupon the driver ran over the scooter.  I cannot see from the video that the driver had the option of retreating because of the people around his vehicle.  Not only should the driver not be held accountable for the scooter, but the owner's insurance company should not have to pay, either, because the loss was due to the owner's intentional misconduct.  The owner played a stupid game and won a stupid prize (no more scooter), end of story.

I will go even farther by saying that the driver would have been within his rights to run over the scooter's owner had he been sitting on it.  This is emphatically not legal advice, as I am not an attorney, but this is the decision I would make as a juror based solely on the video.  The scooter's owner deployed a "hasty roadblock"; the driver had no apparent way to retreat; and the presence of other unruly individuals created disparity of force — i.e., potential deadly force, so whatever happens is on them.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Suppose anarchist X places a roadblock in front of driver Y, and Y presses down his accelerator to escape, only to run over Z, who is not a party to X's attack.  My finding as a juror regarding Z would be, "Sorry, you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Y is not accountable to you unless he went out of his way to hit you intentionally as opposed to just trying to escape the danger."  I would also recommend that X be charged criminally and held civilly responsible for whatever happened to Z because X intentionally created the dangerous situation in question.

If you are a peaceful demonstrator or, for that matter, a bystander going about his everyday business, and you see anarchists blocking a street and threatening motorists, my advice is to keep to the sidewalk or, even better, leave the area entirely.  It's trouble waiting to happen.  In addition, should anarchists attack the police, the police might defend themselves with tear gas and/or baton rounds that, while aimed justifiably at the assailants, can easily make you into collateral damage if you are part of the target.  Distance yourself from the "protest" the instant you see even one person brandish a rock, bottle, firebomb, laser, or other weapon.

What You Can Do

There are unfortunately plenty of virtue-signaling prosecutors who would rather ingratiate themselves with Black Lives Matter and Antifa by forcing motorists (and police) to defend themselves against bogus criminal charges than prosecute rioters who instigate the violence in the first place.  Educate yourself and others about our society's generally accepted rules about use of force in self-defense.  The law usually says you can use deadly force if you are in reasonable fear for your safety, but not to take the law into your own hands.  Some states have "stand your ground," laws while others require you to retreat if you can do so in complete safety.  If the rioters do not give the driver the option of retreating, then I think it is reasonable to conclude that whatever happens subsequently is on them.  Many states also have "castle doctrines on wheels" which make vehicle invasions legally identical to home invasions.  Know that a prosecutor who is sufficiently unethical to charge the driver (or cop) in the first place is probably willing to lie to the jury and the judge to advance his career.  It takes only one holdout to hang a jury and make it clear to such prosecutors that they will be hitting a brick wall every time they try to bring such a case, and also to carjackers and highway robbers that juries will hang them out to dry every time.

Civis Americanus is the pen name of a contributor who remembers the lessons of history and wants to ensure that our country never needs to learn those lessons again the hard way.  The author is remaining anonymous due to the likely prospect of being subjected to "cancel culture" for exposing the Big Lie behind Black Lives Matter.

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