LucasMcCain wrote:I realize that it is easy to make judgments about the actions of others after the fact and say that we would have acted differently. However, I had an encounter recently while carrying on my motorcycle where someone was extremely inflammatory and insulting to me despite my having done nothing wrong. He yelled at me, cussed me out, flipped me off, and claimed to have called the cops on me. Before I got my LTC, I would have responded in kind. Because I had an openly carried Glock on my hip, I was polite and simply stated that I had done nothing illegal. I then watched him until he drove away and I could be sure that he was not a threat to my well-being. As someone else suggested, I smiled and waved and made sure that the multitude of witnesses present would be able to say that I didn't do anything insulting or threatening in any way, should the jerk decide to escalate the situation. I then altered my route to try to make sure I didn't encounter him again at a light further down the road. When carrying, I always want to make sure that I am viewed as the "good guy" in any confrontation. The idea that "I shouldn't have to take any flak from people because I have a gun" is the wrong mindset. My attitude is "I don't need to have the last word or respond to insults with insults, because I have a gun."
I had a similar situation a few weeks ago while I was driving to an IDPA match. A guy trying to merge into my lane almost hit my car. I was in his blind spot so I gave a quick tap on my horn. He ended up getting behind me, tailgating, then sped up, jumped in front of me and hit his brakes hard, all while flipping me off. I did what I always do in these situations. I got out of there.
I slowed down to create space, then took the next exit and sat in a parking lot for 5 minutes. When I got back on the freeway, the guy was long gone. Should I have had to delay my trip to evade this jerk? No. Did I have every right to get mad and flip him off as well? I guess so. But here's the thing. My primary objective at that moment was to end that encounter with no one hurt (including the other guy). I accomplished that objective. So I'll call that a win.
In the OP's case, a simple smile and a "thanks, have a nice day", may have lessened the possible likelihood that he would have to draw. Versions of this scenario will play out many, many times over the course of our lifetimes. Doing everything we possibly can do to de-escalate things from the get go may not matter all that much in most encounters, but it could make all the difference in the world in that one case where the other guy has severe anger issues, is armed, and just caught his wife with his best friend.
I once heard a line in a movie (I think) that sums it up pretty well. "The only way to win a fight is to not be there when it happens."