In the mid to late 1970s I had a 28-mile commute from my hobby farm to work at a Federal Prison. Being a thrifty, some would say cheap, individual I used a 1973 Volkswagon Beetle to keep costs down. The good thing about the bug was that for the time it was very thrifty at 32 MPG. The bad thing is that it was an underpowered vehicle that had a bad time just getting out of its own way. There were three instances where carrying a Colt Combat Commander in the VW’s glove box saved me.
The first event happened on a summer Sunday, I was working a 2:30 to 10:30 shift in a psychiatric ward of the facility. Leaving the farm at 1:30 I had a uneventful trip, however on entering a four lane street with a turn lane in the middle, I found myself behind a late model Corvette that was cruising at a leisurely 25 MPH on a 45 MPH street. Being in a hurry I moved into a different lane to pass the Vette, but the Vette driver moved into that lane cutting me off. Again I tried to get around the Vette and again I was cut off. Finally after several attempts to pass this guy and being cut off, I sped up and passed him by using the center turn lane. For some reason the fact that I passed him seemed to “set him off.” The next thing I knew this moron was tapping my rear bumper with the nose of his plastic rat. This continued for about three blocks when we came to a stoplight where he started to get out of his Vette when the light changed. I didn’t wait around and got off the mark as soon as I could, only to have the Vette again begin bumping the rear of my Bug.
Trying to diffuse the situation and letting the Vette and its driver have a symbolic victory, I pulled off the road into a closed liquor store parking lot, hoping the idiot would just keep going and leave me alone.
Unfortunately, the Vette followed me into the parking lot, and parked behind me so that escape was impossible. The driver then got out, reached back into the Vette and pulled out a baseball bat put it on his shoulder and walked to my VW.
While he was doing his thing getting the bat I reached over to retrieve my Colt, racked a round into the chamber, put the safety on and waited to see what happened next.
When the Vette driver reached my VW he yanked the driver’s door open, raised the bat and I yelled, “STOP!” and came up to a firing position focused on the front sight and his midsection. He stopped, I then told him, “Turn around! Go back to your car! Do not drop your arm or I will blow a hole clean through you!” Thankfully he complied, walked back to his car with the bat held at an upright level, jumped in his Vette and was gone.
Second time I was driving down on an old route where you could encounter some hills. Again, going to work, I was attempting to pass a Chevy Impala going up a hill. He had been doing around 45 MPH in a 55 MPH zone and I decided to pass. As I pulled even with him in the on-coming lane he looked at me, grinned and began pacing with me. If I would speed up, so would he, if I would slow down, so would he. Looking ahead I saw on-coming traffic and I had nowhere to go except into a deep ditch which would certainly wreck my bug.
Again, reaching into the glove box I found the Colt, established a grip and pointed it in the direction of the other driver. His grin suddenly vanished and he floored the Chevy leaving me in the dust and allowing me to get back into the right lane without further incident.
Last but not least happened at a stoplight when a group of young thugs thought a single driver in a VW was easy picking. These folks had cased me by driving in front of, beside and behind me while displaying various hand signals and issuing verbal threats. Again the Colt played a vital role when we came to a stoplight and three of these misguided youths bailed out of their car and ran towards mine.
Reaching into the glove box, retrieving the Colt and simply placing it on my leg with the hammer back/safety on, the first hooligan to my car saw I was armed screamed, “He’s got a gun!” At that point they all turned around ran back to their car and blew through a red light to get away.
Thankfully I didn’t have to fire the weapon in these incidents. The paperwork would have been endless.