Shooting for Self-Defense?

Sunday, April 18, 2010
Posted in category guns

First, a couple of news items that are actually something to cheer about concerning our rights to defend our liberties: Arizona is allowing concealed carry without a permit, and the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the University of Colorado has no authority to bar students or visitors from lawfully carrying guns on campus. This has got to make the megalomaniacs in the Obama administration livid. Both are big wins in times where gun ownership is being vilified.

Mainly, I wanted to comment on this shooting incident that happened near my home just recently. It’s being called the Farmington Hills road rage incident. A brief description from the story:

Mintz was reportedly braking several times on northbound Orchard Lake near 13 Mile around 4:30 p.m. Monday when a 20-year-old Commerce Township man behind him apparently became irritated, exited his car and approached Mintz at his car window. Mintz then reportedly pulled out a 38 Revolver and shot the Commerce man once in the arm, according to police. The victim’s injuries were not life threatening.

It’s hard to really know how things occurred, but one thing is known for certain: when a person leaves his vehicle in the middle of a crowded road to angrily approach another individual, who is sitting peacefully in his car, the intent is to do harm, or, to make the other person think he means to do him harm. Wrong. And yes, sometimes that can be a dead wrong decision. Someone giving you the finger, screaming at you, etc., is not a reason to leave your car and go nuts. A middle finger or shouting is not the same as an intent to do harm.

First off, on a daily basis I face aggression on the road, time and time again. People who cannot contain their anger or miserable state certainly take it out on others on the road. I learned, long ago, while in my 20s, that it was not worth it to mix it up with these people. They are not worth your attention, and certainly, why put yourself at risk over some nutjob that you’ll never come in contact with again? When people aggressively tailgate me – and this happens a lot where I live – I don’t tap my brakes (like I used to when I was younger). I slow down until they go raging by me. Sometimes they’ll swerve over back in front of me and slam on the brakes, but again, I’ll slow or stop and let them realize that there’s going to be no conflict here. Eventually, they lose interest and move on.

That Mintz was tapping his brakes was not the smartest thing to do, but evidently, he was sending a message his way: stop the unprovoked aggression. The other driver, who appears to have been the aggressor from the start, decided to take the conflict to a different level. A person who will get out of his car, in the middle of rush hour, and approach a vehicle to rage on, is a dangerous (and unpredictable) person. People are carrying guns and other weapons nowadays, and such an action really shows the aggressor’s ignorance and carelessness.

As to Mintz, here’s my beef – he was completely untrained in the use of his concealed pistol (as are most concealed carry folks). When you carry a loaded weapon you have to think far bigger than the other guy. You have to train to prepare.  You have to train to react under pressure and in varied scenarios. Mintz should have been watching the guy from the moment he stepped out of that car behind him, and he would have been able to determine if the guy was armed, either with a gun or some other makeshift weapon. He should have watched his every step, his hand and arm movements, and his approach to his vehicle. If he did, he would have known a lot more about the road rager’s intent. He would have seen if the guy was drawing a weapon. When the rager approached his car, he should have been looking for a way out; if he had nowhere to go due to a red light and no way to go around others, then, as the guy continued to approach his window, he should have drawn and chambered the firearm. After all, a person who has got to the point where he is inches away from your car window can do major damage very quickly. Seeing a firearm would typically end the approach and the conflict. Yes, I know that brandishing a firearm can be tricky, and interpreted by law in various ways. But I’d rather end a road conflict peacefully than carry it out to the extreme.

If the sight of a firearm does not end the conflict, and if no weapon is presented by the rager, Mintz would have certainly bought enough time for the light to turn green and traffic to start moving. Thus, he could have escaped the conflict. After all, this was not a robbery attempt, where the intentions are clear from the start. This is a case of a person momentarily going nuts, and that should be handled knowing that it can likely be diffused without shots being fired. If the aggressor started punching his way through the window, that’s when it is time to take the ultimate defensive stance.

Mintz had no training, no awareness, and no ability to understand how he would react to various events. It’s a shame that most people never take a bit of training beyond the very lame CPL course they take to get their carry permit. Granted, they have a basic right to carry a weapon, period, but common sense and self-responsibility should lead people to understand more about the weapon they carry and become proficient enough to determine how and when they should use it. That will likely serve to alleviate a time and place where you are sitting your butt in front of an unpredictable jury. You don’t just go off and shoot people because you are pissed.

If I were on the jury in such a case, knowing only what I know now, what would I do? I would say, without a doubt, that Mintz was scared and acted in self-defense, in spite of not being well-trained and prepared. The ultimate mistake, in my mind, was committed by the individual who got out of his car and aggressively approached another person, showing intent to do harm. In today’s world, that’s a really, really bad thing to do.

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22 Responses to Shooting for Self-Defense?

  1. AA says:

    April 18th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    “First off, on a daily basis I face aggression on the road, time and time again. People who cannot contain their anger or miserable state certainly take it out on others on the road.”

    Seems to be the case all over, Karen: small people with small minds taking advantage of an opportunity to make others miserable. Here in California the tailgating, aggressive driving, flipping the bird, and f-bombs are just a part of the daily drive to work (with men and women offenders). I just grit my teeth and tell myself that it is the price to pay for a “free” country.

    Maybe I’m biased, but I believe if people were allowed to concealed carry there would be a lot less grief on the roadways. Not knowing if the “victim” is armed or not would make the nutjobs think twice before attacking.

  2. Richard Laplante says:

    April 18th, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Training yourself to act safely and responsibly with (or without) a firearm is a great idea.

    Knowing how to defend yourself with a gun is more complex than shooting at the range. But I’m telling you what you already know if you have taken the time and effort to prepare yourself for self-defense.

    It is not possible to know how many potential disasters have been avoided by prepared and responsible people, but we do get a reminder once in a while of what happens when someone unprepared ‘expresses himself’ as Mintz did. At least the right guy was hurt, but it was avoidable, certainly.

    AA – I think this is not the price of living in a free country. This is the price of living in a country where most people carry repressed and unexpressed anger. It is the product of constant coercion and duress. Most people who think they are free, are slaves. Slaves tend to hurt each other rather than attack their masters. Good for the masters.

    Be careful out there.


  3. Michael says:

    April 19th, 2010 at 10:32 am

    @AA, remember, “an armed society is a polite society.” California, like Massachusetts has greatly restricted this fundamental human right; the right of self-preservation. I frequent New Hampshire often, where guns are surely carried more often than they are in Massachusetts, and my Granite State excursions are far more enjoyable and relaxed and those in the slave state of Massachusetts. (I can’t wait to move there!)

    Since choosing to carry on a daily basis, I noticed that my driving conduct has become much more passive, similar to what Karen describes above. Since maturing into an adult and becoming a husband and father, I decided to become less assertive when traveling by car or motorcycle – It just ain’t worth it. Shortly after my wife gave birth to our first, I decided to go through the bureaucratic nightmare in Massachusetts otherwise known as “getting your LTC”. It was really a watershed moment for me; the choice of carrying brings with it a level of responsibility that I never experienced before.

    In my 15+ years of driving, I’ve had two instances where I was confronted by other hostile motorists who left their vehicles, one time I was armed. Both times I was able to scoot around traffic in order to evade. Neither time I was followed, but on the last occasion, I was ready to defend myself if the situation escalated.

    Good points on getting more training Karen. I definitely need to do more than the quarterly trip to the pistol range!

    A seasoned gun instructor told me: “The best way to win shootout is to make it not happen.” Do not provoke. Drive passively. De-escalate. Evade. Do everything you can to get out of Dodge. Only use your pistol as a last resort.

  4. Aaron says:

    April 19th, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Hindsight is 20/20, Karen. The guy probably did the best he was able to do given his knowledge of the situation and what was happening. For all we know, the other guy was 3x his size and yelling obscenities the entire trip to the victim’s car.

    You people should leave your crappy states and move to Wyoming, last of the Free States. People here are a lot more congenial, there’s no traffic (except in Cheyenne, but it’s nothing like CA or even UT), and the question is never whether someone owns guns, it’s a question of how many.

  5. Karen De Coster says:

    April 19th, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Aaron, it’s not about hindsight – it’s knowledge, training, and ability that this guy didn’t have. Period. This guy had no self-defense training/preparation – would you like to make a bet on that?

    “Crappy” states? What defines that? Am I missing something here? We are talking about subjective valuation on the part of individuals, but where you choose to live is somehow superior? What defines a “crappy state?” Many folks would define Wyoming as crappy, right? I’ve been to WY, and I like it okay, but I think if I wanted to live (and _work_) in Wyoming, I would probably be there.

  6. liberranter says:

    April 20th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Aaron, would it be correct to assume that by “crappy” states you mean states with hyper-socialist governments? If my assumption is correct, then I think I can see where you’re coming from. However, the fact is that there are NO genuinely, completely free states in the U.S., at least not “free” in the sense that we libertarians interpret the meaning of the word. True, some are “freer” than others in certain specific respects, but all are ultimately controlled by that institution called “the State”, an institution that, in the end, still exercises its prerogative monopoly on coercive violence and confiscation of wealth and property, whether individual states are governed and populated in the majority by Obamunist Marxists or Red State pseudo-Christian Fascists. (Example: My state, Arizona, not only has some of [IMNSHO] the greatest weather, but is one of the most 2nd Amendment-friendly states in the Union. However, it is still heavily populated and governed by Red State Fascists who LOVE the military-industrial-corporate/prison-industrial complex and derive from both their primary sources of livelihood and revenue, believe in committing acts of extra-constitutional violence upon “brown people” who come here from our southern neighbor merely seeking better lives for themselves [and have, in the state's most populous region, repeatedly elected an egomaniac, law-breaking, self-aggrandizing county sheriff who makes Adolf Hitler look like an intellectual peace-lover], and has so many petty state commerce regulations on its books that anyone with entrepreneurial ambitions would be INSANE to start a business “above ground.” Yet I would prefer to remain here over living in other “civilized” states with their own sets of problems.)

    Karen, your point is also taken. For all of Michigan’s seemingly intractable problems, it probably offers lifestyle choices that aren’t found elsewhere in more “politically conservative” states such as Aaron’s, in addition to the fact that you’ve lived there most of, if not all of your life. Picking up and leaving when you’ve committed yourself to the place you’ve always known isn’t as simply as many people think. “Chacun a son gout,” as the French say. Also, I’ve never thought that “leaving” is a reasonable response to a feeling of unhappiness with a state’s political culture, which is why I resist the urge I often feel to ex-patriate. My feeling is “it’s MY home, and I’m NOT going to let a bunch of state-worshiping bastards take it over and ruin it without a fight to take it back!”

  7. clark says:

    April 20th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I wouldn’t want to be inside a car during a gunblast, ouch.
    Would it have been a story if it was a knife or machete?

    The gun laws aren’t all that great in WY, especially compared to Alaska, there’s a couple of other laws that WY has that caused me to scratch WY off my “move to list” but I don’t recall what they were.

    To me, it seems most of the states are pretty much equal, plus or minus an inch or two, except of course for that whole nutzo East coast area… it seems we’re all Helots.

    I read an article saying the (D)Gov. of Iowa will sign a bill this month allowing some form of open carry, increasing the time from one year to five for length of time for permits. I’m not sure what’s in it, but it’s a baby step, done to comply with the Supreme Court ruling creating some uniformity across the nation? I don’t know.
    I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t have a Tenth Amendment for gun manufacturers in the state, we just got several from Illinois who were driven out of that state by new laws there.

    Women are the worst road ragers, around me anyway, I kick myself when I forget to flash the OK sign back at them.

    Rats in a cage,… if you can’t pack heat, carry popcorn and a Big assed sharp knife… and a bucket of LOVE mixed with patience.

  8. Jeannie Queenie says:

    April 20th, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Karen, I think what Aaron meant by a ‘crappy state’ is pointed out clearly by Michael in the post above Aaron’s. I moved from Massachusetts six years ago, because IT IS A CRAPPY STATE. I discovered that as a woman living alone, that I had no right to self defense if someone broke into my condo or home, unless I wanted to go to prison for konking a guy on the head with a bat! It didn’t make me feel all that safe and secure. Out here/MA in la la land/liberal/ivy league country, there is loads of crap to deal with on many levels…attitudes/noses in the air along with entitlement mentalities, extreme nasty competition, different lifestyles aka barney frankfurter. Not to mention some of the most expensive real estate in the country. That’s a crappy situation for those without 6 figure incomes. MA has a whole host of other stuff that does indeed make it a crappy state, unlike it’s neighbor to the north, New Hampshire as Michael points out. NH’s motto as you know, is “LIVE FREE OR DIE”, unlike MA’s unspoken motto, ‘be our slave or retreat”.

    Crappy states would also include things like turning out crappy presidents/ivy leaguers, and crappy Wall St. sociopaths who feel they can turn the country upside down at will. Think as well of Boston’s massive corruption…think MA and taxation up the wazoo. NH on the other side, has no sales tax and no personal income tax at state or local level. Many folks from MA drive up to the inside of the NH border at those hugh liquor stores and stock up/tax free. To show you how corrupt MA is, they have state cars parked in the liquor lots the last few years and they check to see who has a MA plate…they watch you go in, if you carry stuff out, and later the state of MA says ‘gotcha’…WE WILL collect taxes on the booze you bought”. That my dear, is a crappy state that does things such as that. Also, although MA has the gorgeous Berkshires to the west, NH has the best skiing with the White Mts, fishing/lakes and great countryside for hiking/camping or taking a vacation.
    I might be wrong but I think Aaron was pointing out that some places are better to live in, and he is absolutely right. It doesn’t mean one is being elitist, but a realist facing the quality of life and financial facts.

  9. Karen De Coster says:

    April 20th, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Jeannie, Michigan, as compared to Wyoming, is definitely not a “crappy” state. But then again, that is entirely subjective, depending on one’s interests, career, desires, and lifestyle. Wyoming is a barren place not suitable for most people. (Especially white-collar working people.) For those who like it – great. For one to say Michigan is “crappy,” it means that person has never been to the land of 10,000 lakes, 5 Great Lakes, and a place of immense natural beauty. It boggles my mind. There is absolutely nothing “elitist” about Wyoming! It’s a barren dust bowl! That’s why no one lives there.

  10. Old Rebel says:

    April 21st, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Arizona has passed some inspirational and daring pro-liberty measures lately.

    And this is the state that elected Janet Napolitano governor? Whoda thunk it?

  11. Iluvatar says:

    April 21st, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Couple of notes:

    1) I believe in the concealed carry concept. BUT, (and here’s the gist) I also believe in being TRAINED. And that includes more the situational response than range work. Just b/c you can hit bull 99/100 @ 100yds w/ an M16 (single shot mode) doesn’t mean you’re trained to handle that situation.

    If you carry, then be responsible by taking the self-defense training you need to have. With freedoms come responsibilities – they’re joined at the hip. If I were on the jury they’d have BOTH gotten slammed.

    2) Road agression: Boy! there is a lot of it around. I drive in what is arguably the worst (driving) state in the nation – Maryland. And there a non-zero percentage of “aggressive” drivers (to be read: drive real fast, lane dance, & tail gate). But what I see a (whole) lot more of is what I like to call “controlling” drivers, an abusive form of driver that makes choices for all forced to drive behind them. This is the fool that drives 45-50 in a 55mph environment when 80% of the drivers are going 60-65 and he/she is in the left lane. This is the driver who insists on going 20 in a 25mph neighborhood and objects severely if you flash him and pass (and then go a speed you are comfortable at, like 25-35). Here in Howard County, we have these bumper stickers that read: “Choose Civility in Howard County”. My cube mates have just corrected me; they are NOT apparently about driving behavior; I thought they were. B/c, I was going to say that they were the worst offenders (lol).

    And I have had it go the other way too. Guy is on my tail on a freeway, I am going 65-70; he wants to go faster. Heck, this guy might have radiation-hardened reflexes, what do I know? But I let the guy go; when did it become my job to enforce the speed limit on someone else? If the guy is an excellent driver, then so be it – he can conduct his vehicle down the road at a higher speed than I can going the speed I am going. That’s fine – AFTER ALL – the traffic laws are really in place to try and ensure the safety of your normal Joe. Now, in the instance that the guy has WAY over-estimated his driving ability, then isn’t the same logic apply; let him go? After all, the wreck coming his way will occur FAR away from me if I let him go. And the same thing in the neighborhood. I have had no difficulties pulling over and waving someone on to pass me, when it was obvious they wanted to go faster. If they can do it safely, good for them. I hope you have rad-hard sightlines – kids are at play.

    I want to take another crack at amplifying this. Let’s take it to a logical exteme. It’s 3AM and you reach an intersection and you have the red light. There is no traffic (and you have the sightlines to verify that). Do you wait for the light to turn green? The cube mates’ responses: “ONLY if there is red light camera there”. As an aside: Is that a sign of the times or what? But what stuns me are the number of people who say yes even if there is no camera there. The answer becomes clearer when you uncover a bit and ask why the light is there in the first place – to allow an average citizen to cross that intersection safely in traffic.

    PS Have you ever noticed that you can take on/off ramps 10mph higher than stated on the yellow sign? And it’s not just because the Odyssey corners like a Mustang…

    3) Crappy states: I think a crappy state would be defined as a state that has a poor quality of life – that is, the cost to live vs.(divided by) the wage rates are very high. It would include factors like the level of social entitlement programs and level of union control over government spending. And that would put Maryland at the top of that stinking heap. High taxes, highly liberal gov, extremely over-valued real-estate, and the home of the highest crime rate urbanality called “Bodymore, Murderland”. We put your Detroit to shame – dude! I would not think CA & NY & MA is very far behind.

    And oh yeh? As soon as I am able; I retire in Valdosta, GA. Pecans are free there. Pick `em up off the road. Run 10 months/12. Sorry for the bad Engrish, there’s about 12 typos…

  12. Iluvatar says:

    April 21st, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Oh forgot something. Traveled Interstate 80 all the way across WY in `87. The last half before diving down into UT looked like a lunar landscape – kid you not! Even a desert rat like me would have had some issues. What is that white stuff anyway – bauxite? But the road into Cheyenne was BEAUTIFUL. Had a real good run there and took it up into the hills. Had to get back early b/c it started to snow (September???) and I only had a t-shirt on.

  13. Iluvatar says:

    April 21st, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    @Karen: land of 10,000 lakes? Hey, isn’t that MN?>?>>>> That’s their state motto, n’est-ce pas? (And 1,000,000 mosquitos in the months of July and August) (haha)

  14. Karen De Coster says:

    April 21st, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    We also have 10,000 inland lakes …. and before it came a MN motto.

  15. Jeannie Queenie says:

    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Am living in and loving CT and would never care to return to Michigan, even though I lived in different areas of the state….
    In Detroit as a kid, Oak Park in my teens, Jackson early stage of marriage, the thumb years later and the upper peninsula for seven years. Yes, the beauty up there was outstanding, but most the people were from the dark ages…..not at all progressive. I felt like I was living in the 1930′s. One plus was that we lived in an old victorian home on a hill with splendid views of Lake Superior. It was great for the children, especially the inland lakes we went to in the summer to picnic/swim.

    My father built his own home in the early fifties on Lake St Clair which at that time was wonderfully quiet, private and special. Now the entire pointe that he lived on is one mega mansion after the other. I recall several years ago sitting in his backyard and could not believe my eyes. I swear to god that there were so many boats on that lake, they needed traffic signals…it was truly bad. Not my idea of fun at all. And then, living on the water also brings horrendous taxes. My dad was paying over $8,000 a year for taxes to live in the house he built with his own hands…incredible and sad. But he did love his water, no doubt due to his growing up in a house seated by a canal in Belgium. Going to sleep with that water hitting the dock and shoreline is a wonderful way to drift off for sure.

  16. liberranter says:

    April 22nd, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Arizona has passed some inspirational and daring pro-liberty measures lately.

    And this is the state that elected Janet Napolitano governor? Whoda thunk it?

    OR, this state is politically schizophrenic. On the one hand, the legislature has indeed passed some admirable pro-liberty measures like the concealed carry bill and the rejection of the federally-imposed REAL ID. On the other hand, it’s calling a special election for May 18th to vote on Proposition 100, a measure that will enact a “temporary” (YEAH, RIGHT!) one-cent increase in the state sales tax to make up for “budget shortfalls” created by a fiscally reckless executive and legislature. It’s hard to say how the majority will vote on this. Again, on the one hand it’s hard for me to imagine that a state with an unemployment rate approaching ten percent is going to go for ANY kind of tax increase, no matter how nobly it’s dressed up or how pathetically the statists will appeal to hot-button issues like public education and elder care. On the other hand, the majority in this state are both functionally and politically illiterate, which explains the likes of Janet Napolitano and her equally moronic successor, Jan Brewer, being catapulted to the governor’s office.

    All I can say is that it’s going to be very interesting to see how the state’s majority reacts in the future to the nation’s continuing socioeconomic collapse. “Freedom” or “fascism?” Who can say?

  17. Karen De Coster says:

    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I live near Lake St. Clair – I’m a Laker girl (St. Clair Shores born), no doubt, and I can’t imagine living in a place like Wyoming, or whatnot. If I could make a really good living up there, I’d live “Up North.” Northern Lower Michigan. Mosquito Air Force, and all.

  18. Michael says:

    April 23rd, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    @Jeannie Queenie (RE: Massachusetts Police and New Hampshire Liquor Stores).

    Next time your in New Hampshire, here’s a tip: Get above Exit 6 on Route 3. Seriously. Massachusetts troopers turn around when you get into Hollis.

    I usually make most of my purchases in Northern Nashua or Bedford, well above the Mass line. On any given weekend, New Hampshire malls’ parking lots are peculiarly populated with Massachusetts license plates. I know, I’m one of them! ;)

  19. clark says:

    April 24th, 2010 at 2:24 am

    That lake description was good (very common for many areas really) good except for the lake crammed with boats part (and of course the tax part) the lake crammed with boats part didn’t seem like it would be a good thing, that is until I looked at it from this other perspective I found while looking up the area:

    Best use of the lake as determined by the users? It seems like the more, the better, for some. It might ruin the fishing for the day, but that’s what nights can be for,… catching a muskie at night, that might be dangerous… I’ve always wanted to catch one, lovely smallmouth bass up there and the hills look like mountains, I didn’t know they were that tall up there. And you get enough snow often enough to justify owning a snowmobile? No road salt too?
    On the surface the state seems great…

    Did you notice the small group of punk teens throwing off more than just a hint of an air of unpredictable criminalness, a lack of respect for property rights radiating… walking past and behind you in the store? Did you notice the unusually attractive blonde cop and a gaggle of store security personnel chasing after someone through the front of the store like something out of a Laural & Hardey movie?
    That was all I saw, very few saw even that. Situational awareness isn’t easy.

  20. Karen De Coster says:

    April 24th, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Michael – heroic!

  21. Michael says:

    April 25th, 2010 at 10:18 am

    …and I currently reside in border town… of Rhode Island. Yes, my family and I have chosen a form of civil/economic disobedience.

  22. clark says:

    May 12th, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I’m not sure but as I read the law which changed my state into a shall issue state at years end, it seems to me the private sale of guns between individuals will be illegal without both parties having a permit to purchase, unless you’re a very close relative. And if you want a CCW permission slip, it seems like you must support the NRA by taking a class taught by an NRA instructor. No doubt the NRA is happy about this. Will having to take a class before you can get a permission slip be kind of like having a thirty day waiting period? You could win a shooting competition to get a CCW, but aren’t all those run by the NRA?

    I think they passed a law saying if anyone objects to a law, if they don’t file suit within one year, no one can file suit after that time. So if someone has a problem with this gun law, they have five months to file suit after the law takes effect. As if that would make any difference anyway.

    I wonder when they will get to requiring a permit for a pencil? That argument makes so much sense but I very rarely see it anywhere.

    I’d post the link to the law but after hours of looking and being distracted I haven’t been able to find it again. I suspect many states will follow my states lead. Some of the laws I got distracted by, it makes my state seem like an anti-Tenth Amendment state, especially all the references to inter-state cooperation, as if the state is a part of a regional supra-government and counties are now clusters.

    Hope that wasn’t a worthless read.

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