Should I Help A Stranger In Trouble?

Should I Help A Stranger In Trouble?

This is a discussion on Should I Help A Stranger In Trouble? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have had my Conceal Carry License for 3 months. On the various Glock and gun forums that I belong to, I read many threads ...

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Thread: Should I Help A Stranger In Trouble?

  1. #1
    Member Array BillG174's Avatar
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    Should I Help A Stranger In Trouble?

    I have had my Conceal Carry License for 3 months. On the various Glock and gun forums that I belong to, I read many threads and posts referring to news stories telling of good samaritan CC people drawing their gun to help a stranger in trouble by shooting the bad guy or holding him until the police arrive. The thread posts that follow these stories congratulate the CC person for stepping up to the plate by getting involved to help or save a stranger. Some of the posters can’t understand why CC people don’t step in to help.

    I have read several articles and books that caution a CC person from becoming involved as you usually do not know all of the details of the situation. Also, is the CC person ready to accept the possibility of getting sued or getting killed for drawing his gun to help a stranger? Many sources recommend you only defend yourself or your loved ones - this is what I am leaning toward.

    The article link below found on the Kansas Concealed Carry forum titled “Dangers In Intervention” by Evan Marshall is excellent and gives a person a lot to think about. I recommend reading it. Evan Marshall is a man who knows whereof he speaks. Heed his words, and learn from them.

    Commentary by Evan Marshall

    With all of the above said what are your thoughts and comments. Should I help a stranger in trouble? Thanks.
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    Member Array Romans5.8's Avatar
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    I think situations like this deserve more than a hard and fast 'yes' or 'no' based on the situation.

    There's a lot of risk if/when you draw your weapon. Risk to your life, and to the well being of your family. And, sorry to say, no matter how great you think the justice system is where you live there's always a chance you'll end up behind bars.

    So it really depends on the situation. If a guy is gunning down civilians in an apparent mass shootings? I feel like there's a screaming moral responsibility to step in here. If a guy is holding up the convenience store clerk with a knife? Probably time to get to an advantageous position should the situation get worse but just remain a 'reliable witness' until then. Pay attention to any details about the offender. That would probably be a justified self defense situation; but I can't say whether I'd draw in that situation.

    Too many variables. Definitely depends on the situation. But I don't take the decision to carry lightly and so I don't think I'd take the decision to draw and fire very likely.
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    Very tough question, but my answer is, "there is no firm answer, it just depends".
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    Remove the gun from the equation and ask simply if you would risk your life to save another. The gun is just a tool, not a talisman that makes you more or less susceptible to personal injury if you decide to intervene.

    Good to think this out before you find yourself faced with this decision in real life.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillG174 View Post
    Should I Help A Stranger In Trouble?
    IMO ...

    • It depends on how you evaluate the risk/reward combination of that situation.

    • It depends on how well "covered" you are, financially, socially, work-wise, relationship-wise.

    • It depends on how well you're staying within the statutes' requirements for use-of-force.

    • It depends on whether your actions get deemed reasonable by those who are charged with evaluating your actions after the fact (the district attorney and grand jury).

    • It depends on if you have deep enough "pockets" ($ and time) to suck it up, if things go badly. You might have liability criminally, if charged; and, irrespective of that, you might well have civil liabilities as well, if sued.

    • It depends whether you believe you can make a difference, by intervening. IOW, know darned well who the GG's and BG's are, that you're in the right for assisting, that you're not essentially wiping someone based on bad intel and/or assumptions. Unless you know a situation from the start, it can be extremely tough to know who's the innocent there. (Some situations are crystal clear, though.)

    • If you don't consider such things and just wing it, know the statutes "cold" and do the best you can. Just realize that the ramifications from involvement resulting in death or crippling injury can be more than many can bear. It isn't all "peaches and cream," in many situations. Being a good sam can feel good, be lauded by many, but it can (a) get you killed, (b) make your family do without you, (c) cost you everything you've got, particularly if you blow the call and even often irrespective of the fact you don't.


    Caution is due, for all these reasons.

    I'm all for helping, sure, but only if some basic criteria are met. For myself, I demand to know the situation beyond most any doubt. If I cannot certainly distinguish the BG(s), then what's the risk of blowing the call? If I cannot see my way to actually helping and having a good shot at stopping what's happening, then it's hard to see how getting involved neck-deep can be a good thing. Trying is fine, but might well be pointless. But, if I believe I know the "score" and believe I can halt the carnage, I'm all for considering the option of direct involvement. I also appreciate there are different levels of helping. Merely because we carry weaponry hardly means "helping" must necessitate use of that weaponry. From my perspective, weaponry is a last-ditch effort, for when all else has failed or has no utility in situations where only weaponry will prevail. (IOW, I refuse to have a hammer and see every situation as a 'nail' needing to be hammered.)
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    Member Array BillG174's Avatar
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    ccw9mm -

    OP: Excellent and outstanding advice.
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    Member Array Romans5.8's Avatar
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    Great point about assessing the bad guy ccw9m. Say I walk into a room and I see two guys going at it. One guy seems to be 'winning' the fight, and the other is beginning to get into more of a defensive position. Lots of screaming, cussing, punching. Suddenly, I see the guy who is 'winning' pull his weapon. The other guy screams out "No please! Stop!". Do I intervene? Do I pull my weapon?

    I don't have enough information in this situation!

    What I didn't see was the revolver in the corner that was dropped by the guy screaming "No please! Stop!". He was trying to rob this man, pulled his gun, and the man disarmed him and wrestled him to the ground. He pulled his weapon at the first free opportunity he got; but didn't pull it when the gun was first produced fearing the BG would shoot when he reached for his waist. He figured his best course of action would be to swat the gun away, shove the BG away and then draw- which is what he did. The BG has just been disarmed, and even slapped around a little. He looks up to see the gun and shrieks in fear. Pretty easy to assume he's the victim; when it reality, the guy holding the gun is only acting in self defense.

    Scary world. But those sorts of situations do happen, and happen with LEO's all the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillG174 View Post
    I have had my Conceal Carry License for 3 months. On the various Glock and gun forums that I belong to, I read many threads and posts referring to news stories telling of good samaritan CC people drawing their gun to help a stranger in trouble by shooting the bad guy or holding him until the police arrive. The thread posts that follow these stories congratulate the CC person for stepping up to the plate by getting involved to help or save a stranger. Some of the posters can’t understand why CC people don’t step in to help.

    I have read several articles and books that caution a CC person from becoming involved as you usually do not know all of the details of the situation. Also, is the CC person ready to accept the possibility of getting sued or getting killed for drawing his gun to help a stranger? Many sources recommend you only defend yourself or your loved ones - this is what I am leaning toward.

    The article link below found on the Kansas Concealed Carry forum titled “Dangers In Intervention” by Evan Marshall is excellent and gives a person a lot to think about. I recommend reading it. Evan Marshall is a man who knows whereof he speaks. Heed his words, and learn from them.

    Commentary by Evan Marshall

    With all of the above said what are your thoughts and comments. Should I help a stranger in trouble? Thanks.
    Helping can take many forms. That said, it all depends on what is going on, and what you are up for.
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    VIP Member Array Kennydale's Avatar
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    I am sure this video is all over every firearm forum. Not every event like this ends happily. I guess it's just how it goes.
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    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
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    Here's how I see it: my first responsibility is to myself and my family. I will not die, and cause my family loss, in an attempt to help a stranger. Therefore, I will intervene in a violent situation only if the risk to myself is very low.

    It sounds cold, but I'm not an officer with a sworn duty to uphold the law, a guard paid to protect, or a superhero warrior of justice. I carry a gun to protect myself and my loved ones. If others have rejected this responsibility and chosen not to protect themselves, that's their problem.
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    That is a question nobody can answer for you. For a few reasons. One no situation is going to be the same. In one it may be very clear cut who the BG is. In others not so much.

    There are quite a few that wouldnt not intervene regardless of what was going on up to and including a plainly innocent person being killed by a weapon wielding BG. They consider it not their problem. The risk to themselves is not something they intend to expose themselves too for any reason other than protecting number one.

    Others will intervene on behalf of an innocent person if they can be sure of what is going on. In some cases one can be sure, other cases one may have no idea who is the BG or if both sides are BGs or any combination of that.

    Every individual is wired differently. Some will intervene some wont no matter what.

    As far as holding someone for police at gun point? That works if the BG agrees that it will work. If he simply runs off, short of some very specific situations not much your going to do about it with a gun if you cant physically restrain them. Cant just shoot the person fleeing barring like I said a very few and rare instances. And that would be shaky ground to be on even then.
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    Senior Member Array bigpapa's Avatar
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    Very interesting video and reading, it does give you something to think about and where things happen so fast most of the time it's hard to decide whether to get involve or not.
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    Senior Member Array Donn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxwell97 View Post
    Here's how I see it: my first responsibility is to myself and my family. I will not die, and cause my family loss, in an attempt to help a stranger. Therefore, I will intervene in a violent situation only if the risk to myself is very low.

    It sounds cold, but I'm not an officer with a sworn duty to uphold the law, a guard paid to protect, or a superhero warrior of justice. I carry a gun to protect myself and my loved ones. If others have rejected this responsibility and chosen not to protect themselves, that's their problem.
    Exactly ^^+^^ Yes, it does sound cold, but there it is. I'm not in Vietnam or a cop any more. I'm not obliged to run toward the gunfire.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxwell97 View Post
    Here's how I see it: my first responsibility is to myself and my family. I will not die, and cause my family loss, in an attempt to help a stranger. Therefore, I will intervene in a violent situation only if the risk to myself is very low.

    It sounds cold, but I'm not an officer with a sworn duty to uphold the law, a guard paid to protect, or a superhero warrior of justice. I carry a gun to protect myself and my loved ones. If others have rejected this responsibility and chosen not to protect themselves, that's their problem.
    Essentially the way I see it, for me. I carry means of practical defense for me and my loved ones.

    The exception I'll make is if right near me, close enough to affect me and others, in a situation where (a) I know the BG and won't be blowing the call, and (b) believe I have a strong chance at making a difference.

    Analogy: Imagine finding someone stranded in water, at dire risk of drowning. In the first case of someone having deliberately gone swimming out to the rock in the raging river, my attempting a rescue would be a fool's errand. But in the second case of a car turned over in a ditch, I'm a great swimmer and could very likely get the person out without drowning myself. For me, armed with weapons is like that, in terms of the viability of an effort to help. I don't need certainty of surviving it, but I demand some likelihood of success else it's just a laudable pointless effort. But if it turns out the "guy in the water" is in fact the idjet carjacker who just ran off the road into the ditch 1/4mi downstream and I know that for a fact ... he can rot. Depends.
    DingBat and NONAME762 like this.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    No 2 situations are the same. Actions I might take in one, could be very different in another. You can think through and plan a course of action for different scenario's, but until it happens your reaction to it are still an unknown.
    ccw9mm, Parrisk and bdowler227 like this.
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