I recently linked to an article entitled "What Should You Do If Protesters Surround Your Car?" from U.S. Concealed Carry. The author of that piece started by giving a brief explanation of using a lethal weapon in self-defense because cars are almost always characterized as a lethal weapon if used to assault someone. The author then goes on to suggest calling 911, getting pictures or video of the event in preparation of your defense, and, as a last resort, attempting to drive away.
To me, the advice is sound only to the extent that you are surrounded by protesters, but lacking somewhat if you are surrounded by a violent mob. Some of you may remember seeing video of the L.A. riots following on the beating of Rodney King, and, in particular, the attack on Reginald Denny, who was pulled from a semi-truck and severely beaten. Older viewers may even remember the 1980 Miami riots, which had several incidents of people being pulled from cars and beaten or killed, including one incident where the driver was pulled from his car, shot, stabbed and beaten, before being run over.
In his book, The Truth About Self Protection, Massad Ayoob addressed this issue, writing:
... when someone threatens your life, your car is two things: It is an escape and a weapon. It can get you away from danger fast and if worse comes to worse, it's a multi-thousand-pound guided bludgeon that strikes with an impact force that makes a Magnum bullet seem like a hiccup. The .357 slug delivers about 350 foot-pounds of energy. A 4,000-pound car at 30 miles an hour delivers 120,000 foot-pounds of energy, and almost half a million foot-pounds of energy at 60 miles an hour.
* * *
It's most unlikely that you'll ever be caught up in a riot, like the race riot that cost a few people their lives in Miami in 1980. If that were to happen though, you want a car that's hard to pick up and turn over, and a car that nobody's going to want to stand in front of when you lay on the horn, put the pedal to the floor, and try to drive clear. ...
* * *
It may not be a fortress, but your car is still an escape avenue and a mobile battering ram, a weapon deadlier than any gun. Innocent people have died when they were surrounded by fanatical rioters and panicked--look at the horror of the Miami riots.
The Miami riots occurred while I was with several hundred cops at the National Law Enforcement Parade in Rhode Island. We watched it on our hotel TVs in the evening, we discussed it, and we agreed that none of us would be pulled out of our cars and stomped to death.
We would have driven clear, using our cars as mobile, guided bludgeons. Even if they tried to pick our sedan up with ten sets of arms, we would have accelerated when the first hands touched the vehicle, and would have driven through the mass of people who wanted to kill us and our innocent passengers with absolutely no compunctions.
If you ever have to do that, order your passengers to lie down sideways on their seats and be read to duck down yourself; an automobile will hit a standing man in the legs, and he could be catapulted right through your windshield with enough force that his corpse could kill you by its sheer impact.
Most of you have never seen what happens to a pedestrian hit by a fast-moving car. You are talking--no exaggeration--about literal dismemberment and decapitation and internal human organs that burst out of the body from the pressure of a 3,000-pound vehicle's wheel rolling over them for a fraction of a second.
You won't see that, though. If your life and the lives of your children in the backseat are on the line, you'll just drive, feeling the bumps through the steering wheel (it feels a lot harder than you'd think) and you'll keep driving. "Steer for the open sea," and head for the biggest, nearest open roadway where you can put on some speed and get away from the nightmare.
If you ever get caught up in the bloody frenzy of a riot, drive over the rioters. Sound your horn first, the universally understood warning signal, if you have time. If they will stand there ready to die for the chance to kill you, that's their decision, not yours. It's nothing you need to feel guilty about.