Sheriff praises concealed carry holder in road rage incident

A Florida man is facing charges after whipping out a knife during a confrontation with another motorist, and the concealed carry holder who was threatened by the man is getting praise from the local sheriff for his de-escalation of the violent encounter.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office released video of the incident, which shows 50-year old Rafael Vincent Rivera holding a knife in his hand as he argues with a couple over being cut off in traffic. The motorcyclist has on a pair of brass knuckles, but isn’t seen threatening Rivera in any way. Instead, as the three jaw and cuss one another, Rivera “stepped aggressively toward the victim and began slashing his knife at him”, according to the sheriff’s account. Only then did the victim draw his lawfully carried firearm and once again demanded that Rivera back away.

Ironically, Rivera himself was one of at least six individuals to call 911 during the incident, according to FOX 35 in Orlando.

In the video, Rivera can be seen swinging at the man and then proceeds to swing the knife at him. In response, the man pulled out a gun and pointed it as the man.

Rivera backs away and proceeds to call 911. “I just had a guy pulled a gun on me,” he told 911 dispatcher.

“Because you swiped your knife – and I have it on camera,” the man’s wife responds.

One deputies arrived and reviewed the footage as well as talking to witnesses, Rivera was taken into custody, and not for the first time. According to the sheriff’s post on Facebook, the 50-year old has four previous stints in the Flagler County jail on felony and misdemeanor theft and trespassing charges, though this appears to be his first arrest for a violent crime. Rivera is now facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and the sheriff says it all could have been avoided if Rivera had simply kept himself under control.

“Traffic disagreements should never result in violence in our streets. In this particular incident, the video captured by the victim’s wife clearly shows that her husband’s life was threatened. I applaud the way the motorcyclist handled this situation,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “After his life was clearly threatened, he lawfully defended himself and then de-escalated the situation. The offender is lucky he was not shot. I also remind the community to not take traffic enforcement in your own hands and control your anger. Call the Sheriff’s Office instead.”

It sounds like the sheriff believes the motorcyclist would have been justified in shooting Rivera to protect himself and his wife, but I’m glad that Rivera at least had the sense to back down once he realized he’d brought a knife to a gunfight.

Road rage incidents are on the rise across the country, and gun control advocates have been quick to blame the increase on a “spike in gun sales” (of course). As this case clearly demonstrates though, it’s not the tool, but the person using it that’s responsible for their own actions. The knife didn’t make Rivera swing it at the man he allegedly cut off in traffic, and the gun carried by the lawful gun owner didn’t decide on its own not to pull its trigger. It’s self-control, not gun control, that’s the real answer to reducing road rage. Well, that and having the means to protect and defend yourself if necessary.