It may come instinctively for some to react in an emergency or try to prevent a crime from taking place, but there are some situations in which people need to leave it to police to catch the perpetrator.

Late last month, a robber who held up a convenience store in Sanford actually fired gunshots at the clerk who followed him out of the store, according to police.

The clerk, who the Journal Tribune did not identify by name, told police that the man demanded all of the cash in the register, and he had a small gun ”“ which didn’t look real, the clerk said.

Although the clerk said no, the robber took the entire cash drawer, then the clerk chased after him, to see where he was going. The clerk said he went down Harvard Street and was getting into his car “when he pointed the gun and he shot at me.”

The clerk was not hit by the bullet, but this story could have had a very different ending had the robber decided to respond differently.

It seems in today’s society people are becoming more and more unpredictable, and with easy access to guns and ammunition on the Internet and through gun shows, you never know who may be carrying a weapon ”“ and when they may use it.

In early January, a Maine man was shot and killed during a road rage incident in Pennsylvania. Despite calling 911 to report being chased and shot at, 28-year-old Timothy Davison of Poland was shot and killed, and no was has yet been charged in his death.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, Davison’s SUV was rammed by a pickup truck that was pursing him. His vehicle was then forced off the road and became disabled. Police said someone from the pickup then approached Davison’s vehicle and fired several rounds at him.

This is another case of senseless violence, and it seems this kind of violence is escalating in the country, which is why people need to be smart in their reactions.

There are times when a person should fight back and times when they need to leave it to authorities.

If the store in which you work is being robbed, give the robber whatever they ask for, police say.

In the Sanford case, Police Chief Thomas Connolly called the escalation in the level of violence troubling, and he said clerks confronted by those trying to steal from them or the business where they work should be cautious and calm.

“While obviously the clerk was very brave, we don’t want people to follow suspects and confront them, and raise the level of conflict any higher than it is,” said Connolly. “Be calm, talk softly, follow orders and give them what they want. Don’t put your life in danger for a couple of hundred dollars. Be a good witness and preserve the scene until police get there.”

The best way to stay out of incidents involving road rage is to avoid speeding, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation website.

If another driver trying to engage you, don’t react: avoid eye contact and don’t tailgate, accelerate, brake or swerve suddenly, according to the U.S. DOT.

The DOT also recommends:

Ӣ If confronted by an aggressive driver, go to the nearest police station if you continue to be hassled or think you are being followed.

Ӣ Lock your doors.

Ӣ When stopped in traffic, leave enough space to pull out from behind the car you are following.

”¢ Don’t start a fight or carry any sort of weapon. These acts may provoke an assault ”“ or worse.

It’s important to be safe and assess the situations in which you may find yourself. Above all, use common sense. We’ve all heard police say not to get involved in robberies by trying to stop the robber, because we never know how that person will react. Likewise, in a road rage situation or a confrontation outside of your vehicle, just let it go. Try to diffuse the situation and remove yourself from it. If the other person or driver does not give up, call the police and let the professionals handle it.

 

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Today’s editorial was written by City Editor Robyn Burnham Rousseau on behalf of the Journal Tribune Editorial Board. Questions? Comments? Contact Managing Editor Kristen Schulze Muszynski by calling 282-1535, ext. 322, or via email at [email protected]