A 71-year-old man who was shot and killed on Sunday appears to have been the initial aggressor in a road rage incident in Nashville, Tennessee, according to police. Authorities say the man had been aggressively driving in the Madison neighborhood, cutting off drivers and driving at a high rate of speed at times.
If that was all that Alden Jones had done I wouldn’t be writing this post. Instead, after pulling up to a stop light the 71-year-old left his car with his gun in hand and approached the driver behind him. As he was pounding on the driver’s side window, another motoris tried to verbally intervene, only to become the target of Jones’ ire.
Police said 36-year-old Ricky Frizzell was behind the car Jones was banging on. When Frizzell told Jones to stop, Jones then reportedly approached Frizzell’s car.
Frizzell then got out of his car and reportedly yelled at Jones to stop and not come any closer, saying he was also armed with a gun. Police said Jones ignored him and continued to approach when Frizzell shot and killed him. Frizzell told police he shot Jones because he was trying to protect himself and his wife, who was a passenger in their vehicle, according to investigators.
Metro police said Frizzell and his wife were fully cooperative with detectives and witnesses backed up their claims.
Authorities haven’t filed any charges, but say they’ll forward the results of their investigation to local prosecutors. Based on both the statements by the armed citizen and the corroborating accounts of eyewitnesses, however, it certainly sounds like the investigating officers didn’t find probable cause that a crime had been committed by anyone other than Jones.
Was it unreasonable for the armed citizen to believe that Jones presented an imminent threat to life or limb, given his behavior immediately before he was shot? My guess is it’d be tough to convince a jury that was the case, especially when Frizzell tried to do his best to diffuse the situation and gave Jones a verbal warning to stay away, but prosecutors have been known to bring forward some awfully questionable charges in shootings that juries later determined to be self-defense, so we’ll have to wait and see what the Davidson County D.A. decides to do here.
This is a sad situation all the way around, and one that could have been prevented entirely had Jones simply stayed in his car at the red light instead of getting out and accosting the driver behind him. We might not ever learn why Jones acted the way he did, but it’s hard to imagine any real justification for his actions. Let’s assume (even though we have no evidence that this was the case) that the driver in question had been acting like just as much of an ass behind the wheel as Jones allegedly was. So what? Just drive away.
As I said, though, there’s no indication that any motorist other than Jones was driving aggressively before the fatal encounter, and the driver he originally targeted couldn’t drive away. He had Jones’ car in front of him, another behind him, and oncoming traffic on the other side of the road’s dividing line. He was trapped with nowhere to go, which may very well have been the reason Frizzell felt like he had to intervene. It’s always better to avoid a violent confrontation if you can, but that might not always be a realistic possibility even when you’re behind the wheel of a car.
Which is another reason why attempts to ban licensed concealed carry holders from carrying in their own private vehicles, as we’ve recently seen in states like New Jersey and Maryland, are not only unconstitutional but unconscionable violations of our inherent right to self-defense; as well as a very good argument for Rep. Richard Hudson’s concealed carry reciprocity bill introduced in Congress. Whether your attacker is a 71-year-old filled with rage or 13-year-old carjacker, you should have the ability to protect yourself against deadly threats when you’re behind the wheel. None of your other constitutionally-protected rights disappear the moment you latch your seatbelt, so why should you lose your right to bear arms in self-defense as soon as your rear end hits the driver’s seat?