This video has been around for a little while and you may have already seen it. It involves a man firing his gun in self defense from the front seat of his car while driving in Florida, and it provides us with many important lessons about self defense and road rage.

If we watch this video slowly we see several events transpire very quickly. Understanding these events is important for understanding how road rage unfolds, and why it’s easy to get caught up in a confrontation that doesn’t need to happen in the first place.

Our driver stated that initially he cut off the other driver. While we pretend that driving is a normal activity for us, the reality is that the human body did was not designed for highway speeds. When we in a car, we are moving through space much faster than our brains are designed to process. We have engineered cars, roads and rules in such a way to control this chaos, but when things start to go wrong, it is very normal for our brains to process immediately that we are in extreme danger. This recognition, even at a subconscious level, can trigger a response that can lead to drivers to overreact to the danger. Cutting someone else off is almost always a harmless mistake, but our brains don’t necessarily process it that way.

After cutting off the other driver, our shooter described the actions of the other driver. He said the other driver started to tailgate him. It’s common for drivers to have an aggressive response to the danger they were just in, and one way of demonstrating that aggression is to get physically closer to the other vehicle. Tailgating is not smart at all, but if we understand why people respond in this manner, we can take steps to deescalate. Unfortunately, tailgating tends to elicit the same aggressive response as cutting someone off. And our driver here admits to brake checking the other driver. Each driver continues to escalate instead of backing off.

At this point, our driver is feeling threatened enough that he pulls out his handgun. From the video, we can see that he isn’t waving it around to intimidate the other driver, he has it low and out of sight. This starts to change as the other driver pulls up beside him. The sequence of the next set of events makes it hard to tell what the driver intended, whether he was simply preparing to defend himself or if he was planning to wave or point the gun at the other driver has he passed. We can’t know because the other driver throws a water bottle at the vehicle as he passes.

The noise of the impact causes the driver to bring the gun up and wildly start pulling the trigger. His body language while firing seems to show a defensive posture, he’s slouching and pushing himself backwards. This would seem to lend some credibility to his statement that he believed he was being shot at. His reckless shots are not aimed and he endangers every other driver on the road while he believes he is defending his life.

This is a very good example of someone who hasn’t developed a responsible defensive mindset, has not trained, has not considered the risks of carrying a gun and has not developed a plan for self defense beyond simply carrying the gun in his vehicle. It’s also a good example of how small events on the road can quickly escalate to life and death fights.

If you carry a gun for self defense, you carry an immense responsibility to be a better person. You carry the ability to end someone’s life. That responsibility doesn’t go away if you ignore it. It’s always present. The question is, will you take it seriously?