Is this what the prevalence of guns in the United States is coming to?

My apartment complex has two parking lots connected by a one-lane driveway. Recently I was driving in the lane between the lots when a driver came in from the opposite end. There was no room to pass, so someone had to back down. Neither of us budged.

After a period of patient but unsuccessful brinkmanship on both our parts, the other driver, a young, burly man, got out of his car and started yelling at me with a lot of arm-waving, finger-gesturing and a rich mix of salty expressions. I didn’t want to hear this, so I reached down to turn the volume up on my radio and drown out the unkind expressions. Immediately, the man stopped waving and shouting and started back to his car.

My first thought was that he had finally said all he could and would now return to his car and back down. My second thought was a lot more frightening: He thinks I am reaching for a loaded gun in my glove compartment.

I didn’t have a gun in my glove compartment, loaded or otherwise, but maybe he did. Maybe he was going to get his gun and shoot me because he erroneously thought I would shoot him. I didn’t wait to find out. I shifted into reverse and backed out of the lane as fast as I possibly could.

Is there a moral to the story? In an incident of involving road rage, is it best to be armed or unarmed?

Richard Lampl, Rockville