The Deadly Florida I-95: Road Rage or Trigger-Happy Mentality?
The deadliest Interstate Highway in the country strikes again. Within 24 hours, lives were lost in two separate incidents on the infamous I-95 that technically forms the backbone of the US Eastern seaboard. Netizens are quick to share their take on the incidents pointing to 2 things: road rage and a trigger-happy mentality.
In the morning of the 7th of February 2018, the daily grind on the Boca Raton stretch of the I-95 came to a screeching halt when a Nissan 370Z coupe hit a safety barrel, slid off the road, and finally coming to a halt on a shallow grassy median. Behind the wheel was the lifeless body of 29-year old Edvin Milkevic.
Here are some of the stories below:
Several hours later about 18 miles north of Boca Raton, another incident on the Lantana section of the I-95 took two lives, one of whom has been implicated in earlier shootings in Florida. The incident injured a number of people, left several vehicles in a total wreck, and shut down the busy interstate for several more hours.
Is it road rage or is it a trigger-happy mentality?
In a survey conducted by AutoVantage, South Florida happens to be the country’s road rage capital. As a matter of fact, more than 4 out of 5 Florida drivers express significant aggression, anger, or road rage. More than half of them purposely tailgate while almost half will yell at other motorists. A third of these drivers will make very angry or aggressive gestures. Thankfully, only 3 percent will purposely ram their vehicles onto another vehicle. But even this is something that most of us find unacceptable.
Looking at the two very recent incidents on Florida’s I-95, only one of these incidents can actually be classified as a form of road rage. Sadly, the circumstances surrounding the Lantana incident don’t even qualify as pure road rage since the culprit has already shot several individuals prior to his being gunned down by deputies.
If you were being chased by cops and with police and news helicopters flying above you, would you still be following traffic laws? I seriously doubt it. And it is for this reason that we really cannot classify the Lantana incident as being a case of road rage, although I must admit it does merit classification.
As for the earlier incident in Boca Raton, the victim was not over-speeding and he did not, as far as his family and friends are concerned, annoy anybody so as to warrant another person to shoot the victim. Police are also still baffled as to where the shot came from although there have been insinuations of a sniper being involved.
To hit a moving target requires a certain level of marksmanship. Should we entertain the possibility of an ex-military or maybe even an ordinary citizen with the invaluable skillset?
According to USACarry.com, the state with the highest percentage of gun owners in its population is Wyoming at a whopping 59.7%. As for Florida, it ranks number 41 in the country when it comes to the number of gun owners in the population with 24.5%.
I’d say this figure is misleading since you’re only looking at the percentage of gun owners. Let us try to put that into perspective. If Wyoming tops the list at 59.7%, then you have to consider its total population. As of 2017, Wyoming had a population of 586,000 giving us around 350,000 gun owners. On the other hand, Florida’s 2017 population is about 20,990,000. At 24.5%, this means you’re looking at 5.1 million Floridians as having guns. I’d say 5.1 million is still greater than 350,000, wouldn’t you agree?
But here’s the really scary thing. This 24.5% gun ownership rating of Florida only talks about those that are duly registered. When it comes to unlicensed or unregistered guns, the figures can actually double or even triple.
I remember the speech Gov. Jeb Bush gave to the NRA in 2015. He said that there are 1,384,756 holders of concealed weapon permits in Florida. Fast forward about 2 years later in March 2017 and the figure now stands at 1,735,961 for a 351,205 increase in just 1.5 years. That’s roughly an additional 19,500 every month. Regrettably, the figures also do not include rifles and other types of firearms that hardly qualify as ‘concealed carry’.
As for the number of people who put guns in their cars, we can only guess that the figure will be much larger than 1.3 million.
Road rage is dangerous enough since the offending motorist can definitely use his vehicle to inflict harm. Adding a gun into the already-volatile situation can easily turn into a very deadly cocktail.
According to a nonprofit news organization, The Trace, there were a total of 1,300 incidents of road rage that ended in gun violence for the period between January 2014 and December 2016. The data is nationwide. However, 146 or 11.2% of these incidents occurred in Florida, giving it the title of Road Rage Capital of the US.
This gives us a very troubling warning: don’t drive in Florida and lose your cool. You simply don’t know if the motorist in front of you is carrying a concealed weapon or not.
And while everyone is still trying to make sense of the recent events on Florida’s I-95, one thing is certain, the issue of road rage or a trigger-happy mentality or even a bit of both will still rule the roads of the Sunshine State.
We can only extend our prayers to those who have lost loved ones in these incidents and hope that justice will soon be served to whom it is due.