November 5th, 2007 05:37 PM
Thoughts On 'Injection'
I was going to post this in response to another thread but decided to make my little diatribe its own topic. I'm not hoping to spark debate about which approach is the best tactic, but simply give us all some things to consider. This was in re: to a girl in parking lot being confronted by an aggressive panhandler.
The reasons we carry are as infinite and varying as the environments we live in. The common thing that unites us is that we believe in taking responsibility of ourselves and our families. You might not think you should ever get involved in this situation. Some of you think you should inject yourself in. Really, I think that it comes down to who we are and our histories and, ultimately, it may come back to why we started carrying. Sometimes our emotions and memories and *reasons* might override better judgment. That's why its SO important that we all consider our actions, think quick (and smart) and game ourselves. A situation like the one mentioned could go from nothing at all to Condition Red in a matter of half a second. But it could be walked away from in the same amount of time.
The benefits of standing-by to watch what unfolds are many:
1) You don't run the risk of possibly escalating an otherwise defusing situation. There is no harm in waiting around until the 'Condition Orange' has passed.
2) It leaves your options open. If something goes badly, you still hold the element of surprise. Maybe the 'aggressor' is aware of you - maybe not. It doesn't matter. Someone else mentioned the case of the woman who was beaten to death in NYC in front of a dozen people who just watched. Think about that. Is the person you are watching the gambling type to bet you won't do anything? Even if he does, do you just call 911? Do you then inject yourself? What would happen if a person in the crowd in NYC had a cell phone and they called 911? What are the chances the police would have been able to respond fast enough to save her life? Is it worth betting on? That's a different post, though.
3) You know nothing of what they are talking about. Especially if one doesn't know exactly what's being said or the entire context. Whispered words could be a bum asking for a quarter. Or it could be an undercover cop asking if she saw someone fitting a description inside.
4) If something happens, you won't be seen as a vigilante going around looking to 'play hero.' I'm not AT ALL saying that injecting yourself is tantamount to the possession of hero complex, but if it comes to a shoot situation, a grand jury may not see it that way. You've got 0.785 seconds to make a choice and they get all the time they need to second-guess you. Hanging back gives you better reaction time and affords you the additional defense that you were 'just an innocent passer-by' - regardless of the fact that someone else was being accosted.
5) What about his buddy you might see hiding behind another car?
The benefits to injecting yourself into a situation - to myself - are less but I find myself torn between the two. It may be obvious where I stand on the matter, but I still believe that both sides to this topic *MUST* be addressed regardless of where any one of us falls. The intelligence of the situation in any given Monday Morning Quarterback session might be more obvious to some of us, but as President Theodore Roosevelt once said:
...or has to make the choice to step-in or not.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..."
That being said, here are a few benefits of getting involved...
1) Injecting yourself may interfere with any nefarious plans the aggressor has and dissuade them from continuing.
2) It will give the young lady time to make haste to her car and let the panhandler deal with you.
3) If indeed the person is an undercover police officer, you may be given information that would have you vacate the area (at least I would hope you would).
I'm completely open to responses and justifications for people injecting themselves into situations such as the one of the panhandler and college girl. As I said, it's important we consider all of our options. No two situations are ever the same. Indeed, this relates to the ideas of 'bugging in' or 'bugging out' in SHTF scenarios: Sticking to one set of plans can bring catastrophic failure. You can NEVER-EVER know, with 100% certainty, the future and what will happen. Every situation is fluid and keeping ourselves adaptable to it is imperative. That means dedicating ourselves to always 'injecting' ourselves or not can be dangerous.
Deciding to get involved can be something intensely personal for some people, and as I said, can go back to our initial reasons for carrying. What is important is that we consider those emotions and reasons for injection when we do it. We're not cops (well, most of us, anyhow). It's not our job to go to those dark places to investigate or even separate the panhandler and the college girl. And even if it was, it's like I've heard 100 times from SIXTO and HotGuns in their posts: The most important thing is going home at the end of the shift. Remember your own family and what's at stake when you inject yourself into a situation you don't know EVERYTHING about.
Having said that, it's important to note the few posters who said "I have a daughter(s) at college. Thank you guys for being willing to stick around...” or items to that effect. This speaks intensely to how lives can be directly affected by our actions. Injecting yourself doesn't just step in on behalf of 'someone else.' That girl in the parking lot is someone’s daughter. Girlfriend. Possibly wife. Maybe even mother. What if she was one of those to you? Wouldn't you want someone to step in for her?
Meriting both schools of thought has brought me back to a confused place... But I think that's good. I won't repeat myself about fluid situations and sticking to one plan. But that's essentially where I have left myself, but falling neatly on the side of 'standing-by.'
What say you? What are your best reasons for either 'standing-by' or 'injecting'? Or if you have some other quibble with my thinking on this, I'd love to hear it. I apologize if some of this seems a bit scatterbrained... Just putting some thoughts to the forum for consideration.
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"It is enough to note, as we have observed, that the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon." - Justice Scalia, SCOTUS - DC v Heller - 26 JUN 2008
November 5th, 2007 05:48 PM
I am a big proponent of call 911 , and leave the line open . then and only then escilate thro verbal confrontation to physical if needed . If the police can arrive well great its thier job to handle the situation . If not no one will be raped/abused because some folks feel safe on officer response time . I should note tho that this is not a smart attitude , and my youngest child is in college . This does free up my actions some . I have to say that if your not an officer and sworn to effect an arrest you should call 911 and be a great witness .. I am in a strange place where by the family of the wonderfull young man i just shot may , and i say may get a pickup on judgement . Sadly if you are not confident of what you may loose in civil court then you cannot afford to help an officer further than making a call . I dont like that either but its the facts of life today .
Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .
Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.
November 5th, 2007 06:40 PM
No easy answers here, and every situation is different. Each one of us must decide what to do in any given situation based on the situation and his own moral compass. Personally If I am worried a cute little college girl is going to be hurt, raped or killed I'm probably not going to watch it happen while waiting for johnny law to show up. If it's Rosie O'Donnell, I'll probably keep walking. That being said, I probably wouldn't jump into the situation untill I percieved a real threat to someone who obviously needs help, and I'd be willing to risk the aftermath to help out.
November 5th, 2007 06:51 PM
Something to consider as well is who are the people in the situation, and what neighborhood is it in?
If its a very bad area and it appears the people involved in the incident are locals, even if you save someone's life, you may run into the bad guy's weapon vanishing, the victim not talking to the police leaving you as the guy who just killed someone without justification, witnesses seeing you just shoot the poor guy without provocation...
Witnesses have to live their, and may not have any problem with having not seen what lead up to your shooting, or outright lying about your actions for fear of ******* off the wrong person in 'da hood'.
If its an immigrant heavy area with a lot of people who are mistrustful of outsiders, they may view things that happen in that section of town as an internal matter, especially if its between people from the old country, or a husband and wife.
The guy you see stabbing a woman to death may be a man who found out his wife cheated on him and the people standing around may not see anything wrong with an honor killing...but may be very disturbed at your interfering...and don't count on the victim to back you up.
Even if she is the one with the bruises or stab wounds...she still has to live their after its all said and done, so she isn't likely to explain to the police what went on.
November 5th, 2007 07:17 PM
My thoughts on it are simple.
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
If I happen to be getting stomped into the dirt, I would probably welcome some help.
If I walk in a robbery and good people are in danger, I'll probably try to stop it.
If I see someones daughter,brother,mother,father wife or friend in need of help, I would hope that someone would help mine if in the same situation.
If I see an elderly preson being disrespected by some punk, I will stop the situation,one way or the other.
and I thoughoughly beleive in this familiar quote...
"Evil prevails if good men stand by and let it."
The bottom line is this...
When I face the Creator on the Day of Judgement, one thing that I wont be judged for is refusing to help when help was needed.
I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.
AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
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November 6th, 2007 01:04 PM
Most people on this forum say the main reason they carry a gun is to protect their family. For most of us this means being ready to confront anyone that physically threatens them. However, there are other things we should protect them from that are less obvious. We should always strive to protect them from unnecessary heartache and hardship. I don’t want my kids to see their dad go to jail for 10 to 20 years for murdering a homeless man that was simply a “little” aggressive. I also don’t want their home to be taken away in a civil lawsuit. On the other hand, I don’t want them to watch their dad slowly destroy himself with alcohol because he can’t live with the fact that he did nothing and walked away just before a young girl was brutally murdered. It also means coming home to them at the end of each day.
There’s nothing wrong with dialing 911 and being a good witness. You can also inject yourself verbally from a safe distance. “I called police and they will be here in less than a minute.” (Yes, we all know it will probably be longer, but if the guy wants to avoid police, this might encourage him to leave sooner.) You can also ask, “Do you need help? Are you afraid for your life?” These questions might give you more information and provide a better footing to defend your actions if needed. Doing the right thing is not always easy. Especially, when it is so difficult to figure out what the right thing is.
November 6th, 2007 02:13 PM
I believe here is where Chris should interject the "play it as you see it" concept because in the final analysis, that is what we each will do.
fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).
November 6th, 2007 02:49 PM
My main reason for carrying is to protect myself. My secondary reason is to protect my family. But the third is to protect those in need who -- for whatever reason -- can't. I'm with HotGuns on the Golden Rule. If I see something bad going down -- and it's actually something bad as in assault, stabbing, etc. not just seeing someone being possibly accosted -- I will intervene. No question.
I'm also not a true believer in the 911 system if you see something that you know is going down badly. I have my own reasons and the #1 reason is that I'm the one answering 911 for where I live. I treat every call as if the person is actually dying, whether they're actually dying or not. I make the conscious decision to try to stay calm and get people there quickly and get as much information as I can before they get there. However, a majority of other people that answer 911 don't have the same work ethic.
Some people might have heard the quote before: "Dispatchers save seconds. Seconds save lives." And it's true, most of the time. But sometimes that 911 call won't be dispatched until the dispatcher is finished typing-in the call. Sometimes other incidents are going on that have a high priority that all of the units are on. Sometimes you don't have any more available units. Personally I'm constantly thinking of who I can break off to go to a call. Personally I ask the caller to stay on the line a second so I can dispatch the call, shortly after they call in and I get just enough information to provide a baseline of the incident. Many dispatchers don't.
The main point of this is that the time it takes you to call, the time it takes to answer the questions of the dispatcher and the time it takes for the call to be dispatched are all in addition to the response time of the units. That's why I posted that threat of How to Be a Good Witness. (If you haven't read it, read it now.) If you call and make this big story about how this guy is talking to this girl and you think you know the girl, think she may go to the local college, maybe you have a class with her, you've seen the grungey guy down the street before, blah, blah, blah... You're taking more time than needed. If you call and say there's this suspicious guy talking to a lady in a weird and possibly hostile way at X and Y location and that you'll stay on the line for a description while I dispatch it. You've just saved a whole lot of time for you, me and her.
But, if you see the girl get attacked, I'm not going to tell you to interfere. I'm telling you to stay away from it. A lot of people don't realize that. You call 911, you become my responsibility until someone with a badge and a gun show up. Not only are you my responsibility but so is the girl and even the homeless guy attacking her. You are safe where you are (and I'll ask you that, too), why would I make you unsafe by asking you to interject yourself? See the logic here?
That's something people need to realize... If you inject yourself into a situation, you are exposing yourself to harm. If given the situation of someone being actively attacked would I interject myself? Damn straight I would. Would I want you to? Yes. Would I tell you to? No. I can't tell you to help save someone's live, that's the job I signed up for, not you. If you take it upon yourself, that's all on you. You need to be prepared for taking that responsibility of both the person being attacked and anything that comes from it, including the responsibility of anything you do to or is done to you from the attacker. It's a big responsibility, I'll admit it. But it's a personal choice.
What I would suggest for those that are on the fence about whether they should do something or stay on the sideline... Ask yourself if you would be in active danger by interfering in the situation. If it is a homeless guy begging for money and a girl that doesn't look like she wants to talk to him, would you be in danger if your injected yourself in there? Is there a better way to minimize the circumstances? Such as making up a name and pretending that it's her. If you're about the same age start up a conversation on approach and pretend she's in one of your classes. If you're older, pretend she's an neighborhood kid or a friend of the family. The girl will probably catch on quick given the situation. The guy will probably be completely confused and may just leave right there. You didn't have to pull a gun, you didn't have to give verbal challenges, you just interrupted the situation in a way that places the next move in his court and now he has to think on his feet. A lot of people can't do that and you should be prepared to.
However, if you're not comfortable with approaching, make yourself known that there are witnesses to the guy. Make your 911 call. If it's nothing, then it's nothing. If something starts to happen, LE is already on their way. If the guy starts to make a move towards the girl in a bad way, would dialing 911 be appropriate. Seriously, think about what could happen in the next 3 minutes which is just about the time you will be on 911 (not including the response time of the police). If something bad is going down in front of you, are you prepared to take the responsibilities of interfering. If not, stay where you are and dial 911. If you are prepared to take the responsibilities of the girls, yours and the BG's life, then interfere. Maybe they will go away once you approach, maybe they're going to direct their attack towards you, you never know -- but you should be prepared to confront all of it.
We have a saying in public safety... If something happens to you, who will help the needy? What this means is that if your safety is impaired, you will not be able to help anyone. You need to think about you first. Another thing in the fire service (I'm also a firefighter) is the levels of risk. It's goes like this: We will risk our lives a lot to save save-able lives. We will take a calculated risk to our lives to save save-able property. We will not risk our lives to save unsave-able lives or property. If someone's life is in immediate danger, will will risk our lives to save the person. This is not, however, an uncalculated risk. We are trained to handle situations and keep ourselves safe as much as possible so that we can concentrate on saving someone else's. You should do the same.
Train as much as you can. If you can't or you can, come on this forum and participate. Get some advice, ask questions and get answers. Your participation in this forum is your training. You can't train for every possible situation, but you can get some guidelines on what you should be able to do to keep yourself safe while helping others. You'll get an idea of what equipment you should carry and why. Always ask questions on things or situations you aren't sure of. Not asking the question could some day be your downfall.
"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms; history shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected people to carry arms have prepared their own fall." Adolf Hitler
November 6th, 2007 03:30 PM
To say I "ride the fence" here would be wrong, but I can see logic (and illogic) on both sides.
After the (infinate) possabilities are weighed action will be taken. For some that action will be inaction, others will "ride the whirlwind" and jump in. I would HAVE to inject myself......no less than having 911 Dispatch on-line and me verbly commanding a cease. In no place I can think of is the "stoping a forceable felony" outlawed or frouned upon. To bring deadly force to play at me while injecting myself into any situation would not be smart at that point. I will have "looked it over".....even if only for .875 second.
To do nothing would be the biggest sin IMO.
This is a great topic BTW! I've learned already and look forward to others critque of this thread. HotGuns said it best WRT our seat on Judgement Day.
"Just getting a concealed carry permit means you haven't commited a crime yet. CCP holders commit crimes." Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, quoted on Fox & Friends, 8 Jul, 2008
(Sometimes) "a fight avioded is a fight won." ... claude clay
November 11th, 2007 01:16 PM
Just my worthless opinion on this one -
Hang back a second or even slow your walk to keep a better eye on the situation. I wouldn't be in a hurry to inteject if it was a bum hassling. More excited, shouting, or grasping at the girl possibly-
In all likelihood, the bum (or general goblin) will be focused on the task at hand and be in a condition white about the world around him.
911 isn't a bad idea but it may not accomplish much. Response time is going to be several minutes at best. It can be hours at my home, 4 cruisers for the whole county. Compare that to this hypothetical situation which could go from an awkward moment to really bad in about 3 seconds, assuming the bum is a little slow. With a gang banger or general punk who is deliberately intent on malice, it's down to about 1 second.
What would 911 do for me in that situation ? It would provide an audio record of me saying "stop... stop... " and that would paly well in court were there a round fired. I would imagine that the 911 call center would be more than happy to keep the line open.
Although I'm sure not advocating shooting a bum for panhandling, subway preaching, etc...
Intervening into a 3rd party is always a tough call. Esp when there is "dangerous" force, but not lethal. But heck, if a bum or any goblin comes at *me* with a knife, I'm certainly not going to bother to grab my knife!
Always easiest to know the situation first person. Things get shaky when you start intervening in something that isn't obvious. If there was any prior relation between the gal and bum, you sure wont know about it. You darned well better be certain of the situation at hand
November 11th, 2007 02:11 PM
So long as jurisdictions deem it appropriate to "hang" good sams for doing good and operate on the presumption that something BAD has been done despite claims to the contrary (or unobscured fact), there is an inherent limitation to my willingness to do good for a stranger in a situation I don't know. If I ultimately help one stranger, but "take out" a half dozen family members by making my family destitute and pariah for a generation by virtue of those actions, is that a net good? Hard to think of it that way, with such results.
Originally Posted by SixBravo
In a vacuum, good deeds are worth doing on their own merits. Trouble is, nobody lives in a vacuum. The real world intrudes.
Reality is, being a bystander to a brewing situation means that we're highly likely to not know crucial details about the encounter. Some situations are clear, such as a rape in progress. But many altercations are simply a whirlwind by the time we turn our eyes and ears that direction, such that we may not know the justification for the action of each player, the suitability of the response each is playing out, or even whether one of the players is a plainclothes LEO. Not knowing those things, who is to say whether jumping into the fray's going to be right or wrong?
That said, I'm all for halting a violent action right in front of me, or when it's obvious what's happening, or when it's directed against me or my family. In the case of gross violence right in front of me, it's going to be fairly easy to recognize that the level of violence playing out simply has no place. However, there are a lot of variables when one doesn't know the details from the get-go. Awaiting the cavalry may be the best choice. It isn't cowardice to make that choice. Simply, it's often the most reasonable approach amongst a host of choices, given the reality of a situation.
None of this, by the way, is meant to state or imply that doing nothing is ever a good thing. Nothing is further from the truth. Cowardice is fear to become involved. Equally, cowardice is to completely abandon reason and rationale, for blind action that could cause as much harm as good. However, there "is many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip." In other words, different choices are available, depending on the situation. I have yet to fail to get involved. Calling for the cavalry (911) is helping. Following to ensure the car's license plate is obtained is helping. Being a good witness in a fluid situation is helping. Injecting myself into a dangerous and known-to-be-illegal attack on another is helping ... but it's hardly the only possible response or measure of help.
Last edited by ccw9mm; November 11th, 2007 at 05:14 PM.
Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
self defense (A.O.J.).
How does disarming
the number of victims?
Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos)
NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.
November 11th, 2007 02:13 PM
This is a good thread. IMHO, If a panhandler is just talking trash, why not hang back and see what transpires? Once he lays hand on the proposed victim, that is something else entirely. Would I draw my weapon? Probably not. I would try to get the victim away from said attacker. As his violence increases, so would mine accordingly, up to deadly force as a last resort. Remember, things will go quickly. Will you have time to call 911 first?
November 11th, 2007 05:04 PM
I protect my family first, as far as second, I'm not sure. If someone was being attacked, I'd jump in if they appeared to be the weaker of the two. No real answer here since every situation is differant. Ex: If it's just verbal, what point does it become more? As far as me, everyone dies, I just don't want to be next, but if the cause is right, so be it.
Les Baer 45
N.R.A. Patron Life Member
November 12th, 2007 12:17 AM
One thing this sort of situation points out is that LEO's and EMS are not, contrary to popular thought, First Responders. You and I and others at the scene are the true First Responders. What we decide to do, or not to do, will have a major impact on what the LEOs need to do when they arrive.
If we chose correctly, they take a report and every goes home. If we guess wrongly, they take a report, make nice crime scene sketches, take nice crime scene photos and compassionately notify the next of kin.
In the parking lot scenario as laid out, standing by and observing is probably the course. Calling 911 and having an office check the lot certainly wouldn't, but keep in mind if it is a busy night, there might not be an office available for sometime.
If the young lady in question is obviously being assualted, or about to be, that changes everything. And remember is the police are having a busy night, even if you report a crime in progress, it may still be awhile be for help arrives.
November 12th, 2007 11:17 AM
Yes, call 911 first. But if I see someone being beaten down, there's no way in hell I can just watch... that's just me.
John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!
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