VIDEO—Lunatic Car Thief and Heroic Bystander

I recently came across this video of an incident that went down in a parking lot. A female degenerate tried to steal a purse away from an elderly woman. When witnesses came to help, the malefactor jumped into the elderly lady's vehicle and tried to drive away. This is where it gets wild.

Screen grab from Inside Edition reporting on car theft incident.

Breaking Down this Video—

The car had a device called ‘The Club,” installed on the steering wheel. The Club is a device used to deter vehicle thieves from taking the car because it doesn't allow them to turn the steering wheel. With The Club installed, the car thief was unable to make her getaway. Instead, she just alternated between reverse and drive, pressing the gas pedal down all the while.

In the process, the criminal smashed into vehicles and put numerous others at risk of severe bodily injury as she narrowly missed striking them with the vehicle.

I don't know of any statistics on how often incidents like this happen, but at least anecdotally, I've seen it happen firsthand. I've also seen many videos and read stories of people using their vehicle as a weapon like the person in this video. This is especially true when the driver is fleeing from the police or during a road rage incident.

So I don't know if you're more or less likely to find yourself in a situation like this, or defending yourself against an armed attacker, but just consider that not everyone owns a gun. On the other hand, lots of unstable people drive cars, and we see people use their vehicles to take out aggression daily.

There are a lot of things we can learn from these types of videos. I'll just hit on two points, and encourage you, the reader/viewer, to draw your own conclusions on all that takes place in the video.

The Lunatic Car Thief—

While de-escalation is preferable because sometimes it can avert the necessity of using force, it isn't always practical or effective. Sometimes criminals will do exceptionally reckless and evil things while committing the crime, during the getaway, or to cover their tracks. It's hard to understand the mind of someone who would kill another person for something like disrespecting them.

Here, not only did the thief assault an old woman for her purse and vehicle. But when she realized she couldn't get away in the car, instead of stopping and running off, she violently and dangerously smashed the car into other vehicles and easily could have killed someone through her behavior.

I believe having a better idea about how criminals behave and think gives us insight to better choices on when to comply and when to resist, as well as when to avoid other people's problems, and when intervening is the right thing to do. This insight also drives how we train so we can respond smarter with a better chance at surviving.

car thief

Screen grab from Inside Edition reporting on car theft incident showing the moments after an initial assault on the elderly lady.

The Heroic Bystander(s)—

It's my belief that if we are able, we should look out for those who can't protect themselves, like children, disabled and the elderly. Here we see several people rush in to stop the initial assault, and then at various times of the demolition derby to get the driver to stop, and then at the end to tackle the thief when she bailed and tried to get away. The desire to help is noble, but as noted earlier, ideally we should understand the risks, our abilities, and the ways to help without making the situation worse.

Screen grab from Inside Edition reporting on car theft incident.

Some people involved here either unknowingly or knowingly placed themselves in dangerous positions as the woman recklessly smashed into vehicles. Again, the willingness to act and help is commendable, but if one of the people involved would have been run over trying to stop the woman, it would be a greater tragedy.

Besides the elderly victim and the thief, the guy who gets out of his vehicle once it's smashed and begins recording with his phone is definitely the guy in this incident you don't want to be. It is by chance he doesn't get smashed in between the colliding vehicles. Want to get that sweet video to give to your insurance company? Please. Recognize danger and, if you can, avoid it.

What About Using Deadly Force—

There are a lot of things we can learn from this video, but I did want to at least touch on two popular questions I saw asked in forums wherever this video was posted.

  • Can you use deadly force in this situation?
  • Would you use deadly force in this situation?

They are much different questions, and very difficult to answer outright because there are so many variables. Here is where the individual reader or viewer of the video would do well to think and consider their answer to these questions. Going through these ‘what if scenarios‘ absolutely helps should you find yourself in a similar incident?

First, can you use deadly force in this situation? Some people in the incident certainly have an easier justification for using it, and I think we all see that. But most likely people want to know, if someone who just rolled up, maybe just walked out of the store, would that person have justification to use deadly force against the driver?

Screen grab from Inside Edition reporting on car theft incident.

First, remember we know a lot more about the incident than what someone just walking out of the store might know. Could the driver be a criminal, intentionally running people down? Sure. Could they be someone suffering from some medical condition? That is possible too. Does it matter? Legally? Maybe, maybe not. Practically? Perhaps.

Laws dealing with the use of deadly force vary from state to state, but generally speaking, deadly force is justifiable in a legal sense, when the person using deadly force has a reasonable belief that if they do not use deadly force, they (or someone they are defending) are in immediate jeopardy of death or serious bodily injury. The force must be proportionate to the threat faced. They cannot be the initial aggressor and, in some states, tack on the duty to retreat if possible, before using deadly force.

Screen grab from Inside Edition reporting on car theft incident.

If you intervene for a third party and that person doesn't have the right to use deadly force themselves, you could open yourself up to legal issues.

This is a great interview with CCW Safe National Trial Counsel, and legal expert, Don West speaking about these issues.

Could someone legally use deadly force against the driver? At times, during the incident, I believe the answer is yes.

Second, should you use deadly force in this situation? Given the same premise—you just rolled up on the demolition derby part of the incident, should you use deadly force?

That is a question you have to answer for yourself. The answer might change the longer the person drives recklessly, or based on where people are in relation to the vehicle. If you don't have the answer to the second question right now, it's okay. These videos help us think about the considerations that go into major decisions like using deadly force. Hopefully content like this helps you get closer to determining what it would take for you to intervene with deadly force.

Training is a big part of developing the skills necessary to use a firearm, but attending training like the annual Guardian Conference exposes you to some of the best instructors in the self-defense industry all in one place. During the three-day conference you can choose from a verity of classes like legal considerations for using deadly force, less lethal tools, unarmed combatives, first aid and trauma, and of course live fire defensive pistol. Learn more about this training opportunity here.

About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.

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