Self-defense isn’t always a good defense to a violent crime. In our society, people can’t walk around shooting someone every time they get scared. But we’ve all heard of situations where the use of force, even a gun, in self-defense was justified. I think a recent case is an excellent example of the unjustified use of a gun.
A few weeks ago, Carl Mintz was arrested for shooting Faith Said with a pistol on a busy Farmington Hills street. Prosecutors claim it was a case of road rage. Mintz claims he acted in self-defense. The Detroit Free Press reported that Said approached Mintz’s vehicle at a red light to confront him about his erratic driving. Said’s passenger may have also approached the vehicle. While Mintz was still in his vehicle, they began yelling at each other. Even though the light turned green, Mintz didn’t drive away, but continued to argue with Said.
Said claims that as he turned to walk away, Mintz shot him in the arm. The Free Press also reported that Mintz is licensed to carry a concealed weapon. He is charged with one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, with an alternate count of assault with a dangerous weapon, and one count of felony firearm.
As everyone knows a gun is a deadly weapon, its no surprise that the law requires that a person honestly and reasonably believe that their life is in immediate danger or there is a threat of serious bodily harm before they are permitted to use it against another person in self-defense. Also, if the person can safely avoid the use of deadly force, they must attempt to avoid using it.
In this case, Mintz may have honestly believed his life was in immediate danger when Said approached his car. But that belief certainly wasn’t reasonable, because Said was unarmed and didn’t attempt to pull Mintz from the vehicle. He merely walked to the vehicle and argued with him. If Said was retreating, that fact is especially important, because at that point, any fear of danger should’ve decreased. Additionally, when the light turned green, Mintz could’ve driven away, but he chose to stay. As a result, it’s inconceivable that he could rely upon self-defense to avoid criminal liability for the shooting