Video shows an intense standoff between two men and a woman in Florida. Despite the outcome, this incident underscores the importance of not being an idiot.
Florida Man Arrested in Road Rage Incident —
Like so many of these incidents, this all began with an intentional or unintentional traffic violation. Instead of trying to avoid conflict, the parties involved push the incident to an inevitable physical confrontation.
Apparently, a man called Rivera, driving a truck, cut off a motorcycle driven by a man with a female passenger. Reports are calling the motorcyclist the “victim.” I will not use the name victim in this post. Technically, because police arrested Rivera, they listed the motorcyclist as the victim. But let’s be clear, none of the people involved are without major blame for what happened.
Here is the full video:
The First Mistake —
After Rivera cut off the motorcycle, the motorcyclist admitted he followed Rivera, until Rivera stopped his truck on the side of the road. The motorcyclist stopped behind Rivera.
The video starts with Rivera and the motorcyclist standing next to Rivera’s truck on the road. The two were about 3 feet apart and both are displaying aggressive postures. A knife with an approximately 6″ blade is in Rivera’s right hand. The motorcyclist is wearing brass knuckles on his right hand.
Try to be a Solution, Not an Additional Problem —
We don’t see how the two men got to where they were, but it’s clear that the motorcyclist moved forward toward Rivera, because the men are in front of the motorcycle. This doesn’t mean the motorcyclist is the aggressor, but, combined with him following Rivera, doesn’t show a desire to avoid conflict.
We also can hear what I assume to be the female passenger’s voice. She does a fantastic job of escalating the incident by yelling obscenities and insults at Rivera. Neither of these actions is illegal. However, this behavior is extremely stupid and increases the danger to the motorcyclist.
Pride, and the Desire to “Be Right” —
As the two men square off in the street, Rivera tells the motorcyclist to get on his bike and leave. The motorcyclist isn’t about to let anyone tell him what to do. So he stands his ground with his brass knuckles ready to go. The group has an argument over the legality of River's knife. Yeah, it's that dumb.
Both men are brandishing weapons that can inflict death or serious bodily injury upon the other. Both are weapons of proximity, in that are used in close quarters.
It’s important to note that the motorcyclist and female stand in between Rivera and his open driver’s door. Not that he ever says he wants to leave, but it’s important to note that he’s lost one option of retreat.
Take the Out —
The men continue to argue about traffic laws and who cares less about their life. The motorcyclist steps closer to Rivera, when Rivera repositions and steps back. This is not tactically smart and again shows the unwillingness of the motorcyclist to back down. All this happens while the female continues to cackle away.
People who care about one another don’t encourage them to do things like this. They don’t escalate life-threatening confrontations. They try to be a voice of reason to encourage the person to avoid situations like this in the first place. If you solve issues with violence, be prepared to suffer the effects of violence; things like death, injury, and arrest.
Both Men Get What They Wanted —
The men reposition themselves, and when the motorcyclist moves his hands slightly, and moves forward. Without stepping forward, Rivera extends his arm forward slightly and swipes the knife at him. Because the two men are only about 4 feet apart, the Rivera’s knife almost slices the motorcyclist in the chest. Rivera backs up a few steps after swiping at the motorcyclist.
The motorcyclist reaches into his leather vest and brandishes a handgun. He walks closer to Rivera, pointing the gun at him. Still, only 4 or 5 feet separate the two men. Rivera takes several steps backward, away from the motorcyclist and the woman.
The woman, who has done nothing to deescalate the issue, continues screaming obscenities and arguing over who is wrong. She argues that the motorcyclist only pulled his gun after he (Rivera) swiped the knife. Okay, sure, that’s factually true, but what does she think screaming that will do? The woman proves that, like the men, she can’t control her emotions.
Let's pause and say, producing the gun had a positive effect in that Rivera backed away. The motorcyclist had the legal right to produce the gun before but chose not to. But instead of backing up and benefiting from the gun's ability as a weapon of distance, the motorcyclist advances closer to Rivera.
This is not wise from a tactical standpoint.
How to Make a Bad Problem Worse —
Absent any information to the contrary, armed only with a foul mouth, the woman advances closer to Rivera, who is still holding the knife. By closing the distance, she places herself between the motorcyclist and Rivera. She gets close enough to Rivera that he could easily have harmed her with the knife.
We can’t see the motorcyclist in this portion of the video. It’s possible that the woman obscured his ability to get a clean shot on Rivera. What if Rivera stabbed the woman? At the very least, she complicated the problem and placed herself at extreme risk. Don’t do this.
Finally, the motorcyclist and the woman return to the motorcycle, and Rivera gets his phone from his vehicle and calls the police, and the video ends.
What's The Point?
There are tons of tactical lessons we can learn from this. None of which we haven’t addressed in many other posts, here are just two:
We harp on the importance of avoidance and winning the fight before it even happens. Understanding the reality of violence and our purpose of using deadly force all go into developing a proper defensive mindset.
I’ll leave you with some of God's wisdom:
Proverbs 25: 28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
This is not only true in spiritual application, for what we allow into our minds shapes our thoughts and desires. In the physical sense, if we cannot control our emotions, we open ourselves up to consequences of choices and decisions made without a clear mind.
My purpose isn’t to place all the blame on either party.
It doesn't much matter that police arrested Rivera and not the motorcyclist.
Everyone in this incident acted like idiots, put their lives at risk, and the police could have arrested any of them for their actions. Yeah, it's their right to be dumb and to care more about being right than being alive. Maybe this is a lesson for them that will change how they behave going forward; maybe not.
I just hope we can learn from this incident.
Everyone is responsible for their own actions, and each person played a role in how this incident unfolded. Let’s do better than this. Not only is it smarter, and safer, but it’s the right thing to do.