A Las Vegas mother of four would still be alive today if she had simply returned home, gone inside, and called the police after a road rage incident last week.
Instead, after an encounter with an angry driver, Tammy Meyers got her adult son—and his handgun—and went hunting for the driver of a vehicle who had left his car to yell at her. The man had stopped his car in the road ahead of Meyers and yelled at her because Meyers’ teen-aged daughter had reached over and honked the horn at the man because she didn’t like how he was driving.
Angry at being yelled at by this driver, Meyers went looking for trouble, and found it. She just didn’t figure on it following her back home.
In a change from earlier accounts, police Lt. Ray Steiber said 44-year-old Tammy Meyers had her teenage daughter run in the house to fetch her armed son, who then went with her as she drove to find the driver who had earlier stopped his car in front of hers, got out and approached her with angry words.
“Mrs. Meyers is scared, but she’s upset,” Steiber said, adding that the intent appeared to be “so they can find who frightened them on the roadway.”
“I would never say that anybody went looking for trouble,” Steiber said when asked to characterize Tammy Meyers’ five-to-10 minute drive through the neighborhood. He said she found, and for a time followed, the vehicle she had apparently been looking for.
Tammy Meyers then drove home, Steiber said, where a vehicle described only as a four-door gray or silver sedan pulled up and someone inside opened fire.
“Unfortunately I cannot say what was in Tammy’s mind,” the police lieutenant said. “Tammy is the victim.”
Lt. Steiber is absolutely correct. Mrs. Meyers was the victim. But she wasn’t a perfectly innocent victim, was she?
In fact, Meyers helped create the situation that led to her shooting when she armed herself (through her son) and went hunting for the driver who yelled at her, instead of simply letting the incident drop. Never forget that it was the actions of her daughter honking the horn from the passenger seat that created friction with the other driver in the first place.
As gun owners, we make the conscious decision to arm ourselves against lethal force threats to ourselves, our families, and to wider extent, our communities and country. That decision to carry lethal force comes with the responsibility to use that force as rationally and dispassionately as possible, and only when absolutely necessary to defend human life.
We cannot and should not use firearms to solve minor disputes, nor can we afford to act recklessly and dangerously in the mistaken belief that if we can then use the threat of lethal force to get us out of trouble once we’ve allowed anger to rule us.
Tammy Meyers and her son made all of those mistakes.
Tammy Meyers got her armed son and went looking for the driver of a vehicle who yelled at her, escalating tensions instead of letting the situation simply end.
She found the other vehicle and followed it “for a time,” which the man inside the vehicle obviously interpreted as threatening behavior.
The other driver went way over any defensible line in response to Mrs. Meyer’s aggression when he turned the tables on her, followed her home, and opened fire with his own fearfully-used firearm. When he is captured, he will rightfully face homicide and attempted homicide charges.
But he wasn’t entirely unprovoked.
An angry Tammy Meyers went out looking for trouble, and she found it.