At this view it looks like an old anti-theft collar I've seen way back in the day.I think if I cut thru where the two tabs meet on the top and the bottom I wouldnt hit the column with the wheel. As for the mess... it is a disaster already lol. At least all the seats and dash are out. I have a moving/welding blankets I can drape around the car as I cut. I was more concerned that under the shield would be a column cut to hell or something, but it looks like the shield just goes right over the column.