Random Violence

By on June 19, 2013


The above video from the Philadelphia Police shows kids hanging out on a street corner (actually loitering).  When a car pulls up, they walk in front of it.  One falls on the hood and the rest swarm the car.  One kid opens the passenger door.  At this point, the occupants of the vehicle are at the complete mercy of the gang.  Watching the rest of the video and reading the report, it seems that no one was hurt, lucky for the people in the video.

As someone that is reading this blog, I know that you are someone that sets out everyday with the intention of avoiding trouble.  I know that you don’t do stupid things, in stupid places, at stupid times, with stupid people.  The driver was probably doing none of these and still had trouble find him.  This appears to be a random act of violence.  The person in the car was the victim simply because he drove by and stopped at a stop sign.

We don’t go looking for trouble, but when it finds us, we need to have a plan and act.  The driver in the video made one huge mistake, he didn’t lock his doors.  You should be locking your doors anytime the vehicle is in motion.  A lot of new vehicles auto lock the doors when the car is put in gear.  Know what your vehicle does and doesn’t do, and then lock your doors.

In this situation, the locked doors would have given the driver more time and would help to prove the intent of the gang.  In this video, it seems their intent was simply to harass the people in the car.  If the door would have been locked, that would have been less scary to find out.  Once the thugs (I do say thugs because one of them pulled a gun on a girl walking by earlier in the day) found the locked door, then their intentions would have been made clear by their next actions.

If they started trying to break in your car after finding the doors locked, you should know that their intent has gone past a simple game or harassment and you are in danger.  If I pulled up to that stop sign, I would have already been watching the group (I watch anyone that gets close to my vehicle when it’s stopped).  When the first one flopped on the hood of the car I would have thought they were car jacking, lynching, robbing, or even going to kill me.  When I first saw the video, I had immediate thoughts when I saw the door open that these “Honor Students” were going to pull the people from the car, beat them and steal their car.  Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong.

If something like this happens to you, your first thought should be escape.  Get the H*** out of there.  Don’t run people over unless you have to, but with that many people, they could easily kill you if they can stop your vehicle.  Vehicles are great to buy you time.  It’s easy to break a window with something hard once the vehicle has been stopped.

I’m not sure how many people it takes to stop a vehicle, but it has happened many times during riots that enough people get together and can literally stop and overturn cars.  You have that short window to act.

Put the vehicle in reverse and get out of there.  If you can’t go in reverse, lay on the horn and try to drive around people.  If you can’t get around your attackers, the vehicle is bigger and stronger than any one of them.  They made that bad choice of trying to hurt you.

If the vehicle is still able to move, don’t get out.  The car will give you some protection from being hit or having things thrown at you.  It also allows you to out run the crowd.  My first thought in any self defense situation is escape.  Your car is a great way to escape quickly.  If possible, use it, and escape without hurting anyone.

Stay Safe,




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  1. J.Bradbury
    June 20, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    I think I learned the following from you: When driving, always make sure you can see the person’s back tires in front of you. This should give you enough room to get away if at a stop light. This rule doesn’t work for every car, but I think people get the idea.

    • Ben Branam
      June 23, 2013

      Leave a Reply

      That’s very true! Olive that some of the things we were taught in drivers’ Ed was actually right!

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