I know I don't have to tell the typical reader of the California Appellate Report not to commit random acts of aggression. Even tiny ones. We're generally mellow folk. Ish.
Still, today's opinion demonstrates just how even tiny things can get out of hand. With devastating consequences.
Thomas Marler goes to a Vons. As he's leaving the store, a green Ford pickup truck drives by him slowly. Maybe looking for a parking spot. Marler is annoyed, and slaps the back of the pickup with his hand -- a signal to speed it up.
Travis Lamb is driving the pickup. He's miffed. He follows Marler to his car, and yells at him "Why did you slap my truck?!" Marler tries to defuse the situation at that point -- or at least denies that he slapped the truck.
Marler went to the Vons with a friend, Richard Gilroy. Gilroy and Marler stand next to each other in solidarity. Lamb's their opponent, and he's outside the pickup at this point. Words are exchanged. In a heated fashion.
Lamb eventually goes back to the pickup truck, but then a shoving match ensues between him and Gilroy. So Lamb throws a punch. One punch. He hits Gilroy in the head. Gilroy falls flat, and hits his head on the pavement, fracturing his skull. He goes into an irreversible coma, and two weeks later, his family takes him off life support.
Gilroy's dead. Lamb's convicted of involuntary manslaughter and assault. And gets sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Not a good day. For anyone. All from an initial slap of a pickup truck.