This YouTube video captures an entirely avoidable road rage incident involving a man named Marco Mazzetta. The incident is a perfect example of what can happen when we fail to control our emotions. As expected, things escalate rapidly. And when endangering innocent motorists on the highway with their reckless driving isn't enough, Marco shoots at the driver of the other car through his windshield.
Orange County Florida Road Rage Incident:
The incident started when the man and his friend were driving in his truck through Orange County. In the video, we see a Nissan approaching quickly and driving closely behind Mazzetta's truck.
Foolish Choice #1
According to Mazzetta, he “brake checked” the driver of the Nissan, who bumped into the back of the truck. Let's pause here and acknowledge, this is dangerous for you, the driver behind you, and people in nearby vehicles. If your concern is that someone is putting people at risk with their reckless driving, the solution is not to do the same thing.
Foolish Choice #2
Next, the Nissan zips around to the front of Mazzetta's truck. The driver of the Nissan then brandishes a handgun out of the window toward the sky.
Instead of slowing down and avoiding the Nissan altogether, he follows behind.
What's the plan?
As he follows behind the Nissan, he lets go of the steering wheel and fires several rounds at the vehicle through his windshield.
There isn't any indication that the driver of the Nissan fired back at Mazzetta. What if he had? What is the plan? A rolling gunfight on the highway? Over what? Your anger over someone's unsafe driving?
Is it possible the driver of the Nissan could fire back at Mazzetta? Sure, but it would be tough. Imagine trying to shoot your handgun at a target directly behind you while you drive at highway speeds?
Tactical and Practical Decision:
From a tactical and practical standpoint, Mazzetta's decision to follow behind and shoot at the Nissan was awful. He placed himself, his passenger, and other motorists in the area at far greater risk than the driver of the Nissan did.
Mazzetta had every advantage: He was the rear-most car, had the only clear shot. If you can call driving fast on a highway with moving targets “clear.”
It's been nearly a year since this incident took place. As is usually the case, there is no follow-up news story. At the time of the incident, the Nissan driver fled, and the police never identified him. No one came forward to claim any injury from errant rounds. And the police didn't arrest Mazzetta.
Consider Alternatives to Shooting:
First, it is by God's grace and not Mazzetta's actions that no one was hurt.
Secondly, we should NOT assume that because police didn't arrest Mazzetta, as a justification that his decisions and actions were morally OR legally justified.
The best course of action would have been not to break check the vehicle from the beginning.
Then when the driver brandished the handgun, he should have slowed down and AVOIDED the person.
If that Doesn't Work:
Suppose the driver of the Nissan slowed down and blocked Mazzetta's ability to evade (which ISN'T what happened here.) Then, avoidance may not be a viable option. At that point, engaging with the handgun may be an option, but it still may not be the best option.
Shooting through auto glass can change the trajectory of bullets. Trying to shoot accurately through a windshield is difficult, let alone when you and the target are moving at highway speeds (and you're the driver of the vehicle!)
And even if you are legally and morally justified in using deadly force, you HAVE to consider innocent people. I mean, isn't that the whole reason Mazzetta was upset enough to break check the driver? Because the Nissan's driver was putting innocent people in harm's way?
If you don't know what your bullet will impact and you've got potential innocent people around, you should not shoot unless not shooting outweighs the possibility of injuring innocent people. In this case, that clearly wasn't even close to what happened.
And let this also be a warning that brake checking people is not a smart move. As seen in this video, all you're going to do is anger someone who has anger problems. Letting the guy go around you without coming to a stop would be a good idea. Grab the plate number and vehicle description. Call the police and give them the info along with a location and direction of travel.
Learn From Our Mistakes?
Not long after the incident, Mazzetta stated a local news agency.:
I know this video doesn't capture my smartest moments but I hope any idiot criminal with a gun watching thinks twice before loading, brandishing & aiming their firearm at someone over a traffic infraction.
Not the smartest moments?
Sometimes the glaring lack of self-awareness is shocking. For example, Mazzetta was the ONLY one shooting rounds from a moving vehicle. That isn't “not smart”; it's dangerously foolish. And he accurately describes his actions during the incident when he describes the “idiot criminal.” He loaded, brandished, aimed (and fired) rounds at someone over a traffic infraction.
The driver of the Nissan is wrong as well and certainly doesn't get a free pass for any of his actions. I think that is pretty obvious.
In the “Heat of the Moment”
And, I am sure some people will say, you weren't there, don't judge the decisions Mazzetta made in the heat of the moment.
Sorry, I disagree. Mazzetta didn't decide to break-check in “the heat of the moment.” Mazzetta didn't decide to follow behind the Nissan in “the heat of the moment.” Even Mazzetta didn't decide to shoot in the “heat of the moment.”
These were choices Mazzetta made not because he needed to make split-second life or death decisions. Instead, he made these choices because he let bravado, ego, and lack of self-control win.
And these are the exact motivations of the guy in the Nissan.
If you want to be the good guy, don't behave like the bad guy.
Be the Reporting Party:
It's important to note that Mazzetta is the one who called the police to report the incident, which was a smart move on his part. Had he not called the police and the driver of the Nissan had things might have turned out differently. Similarly, imagine if another motorist reported this to the police: “a guy in a truck with plate number ### just shot at another car and drove off.”
Leave your thoughts on this in the comments below.
We hope you never find yourself on either end of a situation like this. But road rage is a widespread occurrence. So while evading is ALWAYS the priority, it may not always be an option.
Also, violent carjackings are on the rise across the country. We have a fantastic resource called Vehicle Firearm Tactics. The video course teaches best practices for using your handgun and fighting in and around your vehicle. It is available for digital download or DVD.