What would YOU do?--Disabled Witness

What would YOU do?--Disabled Witness

This is a discussion on What would YOU do?--Disabled Witness within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; OK, I know this is off the wall but I'd really like your ideas on this scenario and how you would react: This is a ...

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Thread: What would YOU do?--Disabled Witness

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    Member Array Rivers's Avatar
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    What would YOU do?--Disabled Witness

    OK, I know this is off the wall but I'd really like your ideas on this scenario and how you would react:

    This is a combination of the classic Hitchcock / James Stewart movie Rear Window and an actual assault that made the news last year. That was of the younger male who pinned the senior citizen between his car and the opened car door, then pummeled the old guy for what seemed like an hour.

    So there you are, sitting in a chair next to the window of your third floor apartment. You just finished cleaning your scoped deer hunting rifle. You hear some loud voices and look out the window to see this assault before the punching actually begins. You scan the area and see there is nobody else in the vicinity of the assault. You're unable due to a physical disability to run down to help the old guy. But you do have a box of cartridges within reach. You look again to see that the thug is continuing to pound the old guy. It's obvious that if this continued, the old guy would be severely injured if not killed.

    The weather is clear, wind is calm, they are maybe 100 yards away - a distance that is pretty much a slam-dunk for you with that rifle...

    What could you LEGALLY do that would stop the assault. Obviously you call 9-1-1 because of the crime and need for an ambulance (or coroner's wagon.) You expect help to arrive no quicker than 8 - 10 minutes, far longer than the old guy could withstand the beating. Can you do anything more? Would doing anything more land you in jail?


  2. #2
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    Call 911, if you get a busy signal...call back again.
    If you are unable to get down there (I wouldn't to that...), try shouting that the cops will be here in just a minute.
    I certainly will NOT be taking a rifle shot as you 'might be thinking'...after all, what if the old guy is a BG and the other is an undercover officer.

    Stay armed...stay safe!
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  3. #3
    Member Array Rivers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    what if the old guy is a BG and the other is an undercover officer.
    To clarify, by seeing the assault BEFORE it happened, it would obvious to the viewer which man is the aggressor. (That would be the young beefeater, not the other guy who was born during WWI.) That would identify who the aggressor is. Would even being a UC justify the potentially fatal beating being witnessed? I don't think so. Have ANY courts actually legitimized a murder by an undercover officer? Again, I don't think so.

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    You may save the old guy but would have your head handed to you in court.
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    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    Taking a "snipe" shot would be my absolute very last ditch no other chance of helping save a life method of stopping the beating.

    If I couldnt call 911, police, or someone who could help and I was totally unable to get closer I might actually consider shooting to wound the assailant just to stop the beating. Still, with a high power rifle you stand a great chance of hitting the victim of the beating as well or possibly the bullet exits the BG and enters the beating victim you are trying to save. That would be a very hard case to beat!
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    If you had a physical disability that limited your possible escape from a fire, you should have already looked for a 1st floor apartment. If your disability incapacitated you from being able to leave your 3rd floor apartment, how in the hell are you expecting to climb into a deer stand and then track down/haul your kill, hence no need to spend your afternoon cleaning your old hunting rifle. Sell it or give it to a family member who can actually make use of it and keep your home defense options narrowed to a shotty. You surely can't be serious about using a rifle for home defense if your home is a multiple dwelling type structure. How many WW1 vets do you know that are going to be able to yell back and forth with an aggressor that you're going to be able to comprehend from 100 yards? If they were two feet away, why would they be screaming that loud anyway? Sorry bro, just keeping it real. Call 911, and if you're that concerned about the time, mention that from 100 yards away, it looks like one of the men MAY have a gun. Once the popo arrives, unpause your movie and enjoy the rest of your day knowing that you did all you could do due to your circumstances.

  7. #7
    Member Array Rivers's Avatar
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    First, I want to say that I'm not advocating any action or opinion. I'm simply describing what to me is a "no win" scenario.

    Regarding the "disability," for the sake of the scenario, the viewer tore the ACL in his knee the weekend before while deer hunting. That would put him on crutches, not really a fast way to move.

    If it was a permanent injury, you're correct that having a third floor apartment would not be wise. But, if you know anything about the movie I noted, Stewart's character had just injured his leg, putting him in a wheelchair during recuperation. A temporary disability can be every bit as limiting as a permanent one, just with an end in sight.

    Last, I didn't say the voices were intelligible, just loud. You're reading things into what was actually written.

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    Senior Member Array mulle46's Avatar
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    With the OP, I don't know how I would react. Thinking about the situation objectively over the 'net, I would probably call 911, continue to watch the situation and at most, put a round into the car nearest the BG and victim as a warning. I think it would be a hard case to dispute if you killed the guy. OMO.
    You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    That seems like a simple scenario but it is not. And it is kind of a shame that because of the world we live in, that you CANNOT help the victim that easily without everyone going crazy because of it. That alone speaks volumes about our society.
    We know right from wrong. We see a wrong. We see lethal force being used against an elderly gentleman, we have the means in front of us to stop it, but we cannot do it for a number of reasons.
    This is a very very good question you pose. I'd like to hear what some others have to say. I don't know "the answer" if there is one.
    I don't think there is a single good answer to the scenario you presented.

    One of the major major problems with a scenario like that is this: That everyone Monday morning quarterbacks it and it is so easy to do that.
    What if you shot the perpetrator?
    What if your shot missed and hit some kid after bouncing off the pavement?
    What if you hit the old man instead by mistake?
    The difference between actually being there live on the scene and talking about it later, is huge, and we overlook this a lot of times.
    So what we say we would do is often different than what we would do if we were in someone else's shoes that we are just reading about, not living in their shoes during a particular incident.
    People's advice to you and their own actions on the scene might be really different.
    This is one of the best scenarios to talk about because it raises ten or twelve issues and not one or two. Thanks for bringing it up.

    I think mulle46's suggestion about the round in the nearby car is one of the most sensible things to do because it is the only way to get this guy's attention real quick.
    Hollering at him wouldn't do it, calling 911 is the way to go but in the meantime, the round in the car, while taking a big chance,
    I can't imagine the younger guy standing there after a high-caliber round hits real near.
    Last edited by JD; May 14th, 2008 at 10:23 AM.
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    JMHO... This is a worthless scenario to try and debate.

    But for arguments sake... I sure wouldn't pull the trigger on that Boomstick.
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    Senior Member Array MilitaryPower's Avatar
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    I say that the big, younger guy has a stick or club that he is beating the old guy with, then I'd have an AD into the ground right in front of me. Otherwise, I'd probably. . .
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    I saw the news tape of that incident,and in the scenario you describe I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't put a well-aimed rifle bullet into the car with the open door to scare that predator into not killing that old defenseless gentleman. Then I would dial 911, then a firearms-oriented lawyer for myself.

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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    So a lot of people DO agree with mulle46. That is good to see.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Let's restrict the situation further. You're at your mountaintop cabin with family and it's one of your own family members being violently assaulted at ~100yds from the house. If disabled and unable to reach your son/daughter/spouse, would that change things?

    To me, this altered situation seems a bit more clear, whereas the original poster's proposed scenario is well within the realm of the local police/sheriff's ability to respond. It's highly unlikely that anyone's going to come prior to next Tuesday, up on the mountaintop so, in a very literal sense, you're on your own.

    My take: I can't see taking a rifle shot within the city limits, since I cannot see a jury of "peers" seeing the logic no matter what arguments are offered up. Yet, were the same situation to happen at my own mountaintop retreat where (a) my own family was directly threatened and (b) police didn't have a chance in Hades of arriving anytime this week, you're damned right I would respond in any way I could. Given that I am, in fact, disabled (hip/leg damage), that leaves one practical choice in the "mountaintop" scenario. For my money, the choice would be : 9-ring or 10-ring, plain and simple.

    It's interesting. I wonder if most folks would, in the legal community and in juries, see the same practical necessity up at a mountaintop home differently than they would in town. Makes one wonder about the justifiability of an action, one that can be seen as supportable at one locale but a legal target if done at another locale. Hm. Given the simple legal precedent on the books stating that law enforcement agencies have no specific duty to protect, despite the marketing pap on the side of the cars, it really shouldn't matter where the action is taken. If it's justified in one locale, I'd think it should be equally justifiable (based on the crime being witnessed) in another locale. Hm.
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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    In my humble opinion it sure would change things. You ARE the police force there. And no city neighbors etc to worry about accidentally getting hurt. I would say a round, not into a car in that case, but into the perpetrator, should just about do it.
    And not to be picky here, but it makes a difference if it is your son, who is opening up his own can of WA on the assailant and it is not clear if he needs that kind of help, yet. And is the daughter or mom being beaten up badly or assaulted and the guy walking away, etc etc.
    If it is a continous assault and you reasonably feel that they are in danger of grave bodily harm, then defense of others is a valid defense to taking out the assailant.
    Again, not to nitpik but sometimes I guess it can depend on who the victim is and how he is doing at the moment you see his or her assailant thru the scope.
    And it may sound like nitpicking but these are the conversations later on after it is over.....by people who have a great deal to say about what you did, even though they were not there at the time, as usually happens.
    They always know what YOU should have done, after the fact. DA.s I mean.
    Surrounded and outnumbered, Marine Col Lewis Puller: "Good! We finally got 'em where we want 'em!" (Korea, 1950)
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