In the thread about the friend who got the severe beating in the bathroom there was a few posts that questioned when an individual should stop a beating and how to tell who needs to be stopped.
The immediate (and, I believe, wise) answer was that it doesn't matter who the good guy is or the bad guy, eventually there comes a point when the fight needs to stop. A lot of people expressed outrage in that thread that no one stepped in and stopped the beat-down.
Which got me thinking and discussing some things with JD.
In a physical beating with no weapons present there does come a pretty obvious point where a continued beating is not only no longer necessary but possibly bordering on illegal (assuming the beating was justified to begin with). Someone being rendered unconscious, start to seize, lays there in the fetal position providing absolutely no resistance, etc, are pretty good indications that the fight is over and needs to stop.
However, is there such a point in a gunfight?
There are two scenarios that I'd like to run as examples.
A mall lobby security video was posted some time ago of a shooting that starts outside of the mall and comes into the mall. It was a bit more elaborate but I'm going to change it just a bit. A young man falls through the lobby doors, obviously wounded and bleeding quite badly, and is laying on the floor hardly moving and in comes another young man who is trying to shoot him again. His gun is not working and he commences pistol whipping the young man on the floor. As a bystander in the mall you would not know who was at fault here but whatever the situation is it seems to have clearly gone past the point of self defense or any legal action on the part of the individual with the gun.... or has it? Would you intervene at any point?
Let's say you are out to dinner with your unarmed wife/friend/family/coworker/whomever. You excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and you hear gunshots. You rush back out to find one man standing and shooting another man sitting in a booth a few tables away from where you were and your company is currently sitting. He seems to only have one target and that is the man in the booth. He runs out of ammo, the man in the booth is not moving nor does he seem to be conscious, but the gunman does a rather slow and unpracticed reload and commences shooting the man again. Again, you do not know the circumstances, but it seems to have gone beyond any kind of justification. What, if anything, do you do?
Things to consider:
These do not seem like random shootings but rather centered on one individual though, of course, there is the chance that it could escalate.
In the first scenario you have no reason to stick around if you do not want to but in the second scenario you have an assuming helpless friend within danger but you don't know what transpired to start the confrontation in either scenario.