Road Rage in Pennsylvania

There is a story which happened near me, which has made the national news. It involves road rage, and murder. On Wednesday, June 28, 2017, Bianca Roberson, 18, was driving a green Chevy Malibu southbound on PA 100, south of Exton, PA. Also driving in the same direction was David Desper, 28, who was driving a red Chevy Silverado pickup truck. Authorities believe the two vehicles were involved in a ‘cat & mouse’ game (their words), as they approached the point where PA 100 merges onto US 202 southbound.

Desper, allegedly pulled along side Roberson, and shot her in the head through the driver’s side window with a .40 caliber gun. Roberson swerved off the road into the trees, dead. Desper fled. Three days later, Desper turned himself into police in the wee hours of Sunday morning, after an intensive manhunt.

The police or the media have not found much information on Desper. Other than a stray traffic ticket, he appears to have a clean record, at this time. It certainly appears as if Desper is a murderer. He has made no statements, and will not appear in court for at least a week, so we will have to wait to see if he admits the crime, or offers any sort of explanation. Maybe he is a racist, who wanted to kill an African-American girl. Maybe he hates green Malibus. Most likely though, is the theory the police are using: he’s an angry asshole with a gun, who lost his temper with another motorist.

Nobody is perfect. We all make driving mistakes. We fail to see an oncoming vehicle, misjudge distance, or someone is in our blind spot. We cut off another vehicle. We didn’t mean to do it, but it happens. But when it happens to us? Sonofabitch! Goddamned idiot! That’s my favorite, I use that all the time when someone cuts me off: ‘goddamned idiot’. I almost always just mutter it to myself. I don’t make a point of chasing the guy down, roll down the window, and scream “GODDAMNED IDIOT!!!!”

I say ‘almost’, because it has happened where I’ve engaged with another driver. I cut him off by mistake, or he cut me off, and the next you know, he’s giving me the finger, I’m giving him the finger, etc. I have flipped the bird to other motorists, and more recently than I care to admit. I have never driven aggressively towards another motorist. You know, the standard road rage maneuvers. Like getting in front of the other guy and slamming on the brakes, which is known as ‘brake-checking’ someone. Or riding 6 inches behind his rear bumper. Or getting in front of him, and going slow so he can’t pass. I’ve had all these things done to me. In all cases, I didn’t know what in the hell I did to aggravate the other guy. Like I said, nobody’s perfect, so in some of those cases, I probably cut somebody off, or didn’t give them enough room, or whatever.

What we all forget is, we are operating deadly machines, which kill 35,000 – 40,000 Americans every year. The best thing you can do is disengage with someone who wants to road rage, and get the hell away from them.

As for when someone cuts you off, or almost hits you? Just leave it go. It was probably a mistake; the other guy didn’t mean to hit you. There’s not some international conspiracy to get you. He wasn’t targeting you, it was just a mistake. Relax. Forgive. Yield. Stop jealously trying to protect your little piece of the highway. How dare that guy try to merge in front of me? He needs to get in line with everyone else! I’m not going to let him in! I’m going to teach him a lesson! Newsflash: just let him in. He probably just made a mistake, and didn’t realize his lane was ending. He’s not going get whatever lesson you’re trying to teach. Just let him in. Relax. Forgive. Yield.

One final thought. What I wrote above are just general thoughts about road rage. They are not intended to apply specifically to the Roberson murder. I have no idea if Desper cut off Roberson, or vice-versa. Nothing justifies or mitigates what Desper allegedly did. Nothing.

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