I posted this on utahconcealedcarry.com but thought people here might like to hear it as well.
This experience happend during the middle of the day while I was on my way to play 9 holes with a friend. I was in the passenger seat of my friend's new accura and we were driving to a golf course in West Valley. We were just talking and minding our own business when all of a sudden this big Chevy Blaser starts riding us and swerving at us, and the guys inside were flipping us off out their windows. My friend and I had absolutely no clue why they were doing this but, when the lane opened back up into two lanes, by friend kindly took the right lane so they could pass us on the left. As they came up alongside his car though, a big 64 ounce drink slammed into his window.
My friend, not a permit holder and not at all knowledgable about the responsabilities of carrying, lost his temper and pulled behind them as they signaled us to follow them into a parking lot. As he started pulling in, I objected and said "just let it go, we can go through a car wash. It's not a big deal". He persisted in following them stating that he wanted to make them pay for hitting his car. I told him it was a bad idea and i reminded him that I was carrying my gun (a SIG P229 .40) and we need to be responsable. He knew I carried, but he didn't understand the responsabilities associated with that, and he was now making us the aggressors.
We pulled into the parking lot and they pulled into a parking space and my friend parked right behind them to block them in (again making us the aggressors). He quickly got out of his car and I decided I better get out to hopefully de-escalate the situation before it turned ugly. We hadn't had a good chance to see who was in the Blaser, so we were pretty much going into this blind. And keep in mind, I'm only 5'9 165lbs and he isn't much bigger.
To make a bad situation worse, their doors opened and a group of very big, very mean looking, tatooed up polynesian guys stepped out of the blaser. I don't want to stereotype or anything but these guys looked like very mean gang bangers who wouldn't be afraid of beating us mercilessly, or worse.
Now I was in a real crappy predicament. My adrenaline was pumping and I had the feeling that this situation could turn very bad, very quickly if not handled properly. Because of my friend's stupid decisions, we were now the aggressors in this situation, therefore ruling out the possible use of my gun to defend ourselves if neccessary.
The guys who got out of the blaser immediately got in our faces and started saying, in no unpleasant terms, that they were gonna beat the living piss out of us and saying something about us cutting them off when the road first merged from one lane until two etc etc.
I was trying very intently to keep my cool, the whole time praying to high heaven that I wouldn't have to pull my gun. Especially since there was 4 of them and they could have been armed as well.
Luckily for me, my friend, upon seeing 4 big polys, kept his mouth mostly shut. I took charge and calmly told them that we didn't want any trouble and that we were just driving normally and didn't even realized we cut anyone off. I told them that my friend was just a little upset that they threw a 64 ounce coke at his new car, but that it was ok and there didn't need to be a fight over this.
I don't think that is what they expected to hear (I think they wanted a fight), and luckily for everyone, a few calm words seemed to slightly de-escalate things. They still acted tough and used alot of colorful words to make sure we knew they were tougher than us, but eventually they got back in their car and so did we.
I learned a few good lessons in this experience.
1. Avoid confrontation at all cost! I'm armed everywhere I go, but at the end of the day, I REALLY don't want to ever have to shoot someone. I train weekly and know I would have absolutely no problem pulling the trigger if neccessary, but going through the legal, social, and emotional reprocussions of taking a life would be a nightmare.
2. Things happen very fast. If they had decided to skip the talk, and just rush us, there would have been almost no time to make split second decisions. Train often so drawing and shooting is like 2nd nature.
3. Do whatever you can to de-escalate a bad situation. Dropping your pride and calmly backing down from a fight or confrontation is not only our responsability as CCW holders, but can in alot of instances, ensure that all parties make it home at the end of the day.