October 24th, 2009 12:50 PM
My fiancee and I were talking the other day...
So earlier this week I made my first official carry (please, hold your applause). An interesting topic of conversation came up when my fiancee said something to the effect of how she hoped that if I ever saw something occur (such as an abduction attempt or a violent and potentially deadly assault) she hoped that I would cover myself as I retreat and not attempt to intervene.
This shook me a little bit. I was raised to believe that you have a duty to your fellow man to help those in danger or those in need. Everything that I learned in Scouts, as a sailor (I've raced competitively for many years, and as a black belt (TaeKwon Do) has driven me to think of others and help those in need. I've always felt that you can't just back away and that each individual has a duty to help protect other people if you are able.
I tried to explain to her that I'm not talking about being a modern-day version of Rambo. I'm not an LEO. I'm not talking about making a dangerous situation worse. Obviously if there is no safe way to intervene I won't be suicidal, but I'm not the kind of person that can stand by and do nothing. If I can stop a kid from being snatched I told her I'm going to. If I see a guy pummeling another dude with a baseball bat I'm going to assist. Obviously my first responsibility is her safety and the safety of anyone else I'm with (family, close friends, etc) but provided they are secure I know that I'd do what I reasonably can to help.
For whatever reason this didn't sit well with her. She views my carry as something that I can use to get myself out of danger and nothing else. I just can't look at it that way.
What are your thoughts on this? Am I being foolish? What do you consider your responsibilities to be? What would you do if you were faced with a situation where you could reasonably safely intervene? How can I go about explaining my beliefs to her in a way that she can understand and hopefully accept them?
"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." -- General Omar Bradley
October 24th, 2009 01:02 PM
This subject has been discussed many times in the past. As you said, you are not an LEO. Your only duty is to yourself and loved ones. While the idea of saving someone you see in trouble is commendable, it isn't realistic. The child you see fighting to get away from the adult may very well be his/her child. The man beating another with the bat may very well be the one who was attacked first. The scrungy looking dirtbag that just pulled the gun may very well be an undercover LEO making an arrest. There are too many variables that you can't know about. To place yourself into a situation where ALL the details are not known to you is asking to get yourself in a very deep hole you may never be able to get out of. As has been said here many, many times. Call 911 and be a good witness.
October 24th, 2009 02:17 PM
+1,000,000. Without knowing the details and all of the characters involved in the plot, you could get yourseld in BIG trouble. Not only that, if you made a wrong call and, for example, shot the wrong person, it would be yet another piece of ammo (pun intended) for those who would love to ban concealed carry.
Originally Posted by archer51
Remember, your cell phone is your friend.
OP, you picked a smart girl to get engaged to, so listen to her.
"I practice the ancient art of Klik Pao."
October 24th, 2009 02:19 PM
Now that you have a gun...you CAN become an 'armed' witness......unless the crime is directed at you or family members (some exceptions may apply).
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October 24th, 2009 02:23 PM
Let me also add.... this girl obviously loves you, since she's your fiancee. She might not necessarily be looking at the legal and technical points we're throwing out here; she's looking at your self-preservation. In other words, she doesn't want you getting involved because it could be dangerous to you.
You said that this "shook" you a little bit. There's no need for that because it's a pefectly normal reaction from a woman who cares about you. We're all agreeing with her, but for different reasons.
"I practice the ancient art of Klik Pao."
October 24th, 2009 02:30 PM
I agree if you dont know all the details of a situation your choice should be to stay safe and be the best witness that you can.
Now lets say that you've retreated to cover, and called authorities. If LEOs have not arrived on scene, and in the course of watching the situation it has become clear who the BG is, would you intervene if you thought the victim was in eminent danger of death? Or would you continue to be a "good witness" and be satisfied having called called 911?
I have a hard time thinking I could just watch someone be killed from behind cover, if it was a situation I felt I could stop.
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"To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic." Ted Nugent
October 24th, 2009 02:35 PM
Let my give you some food for thought.
I am a LEO, and when I am off duty, unless someone is attacking me, mine or an identified LEO, I am NOT GETTING INVOLVED WITH A GUN OR PHYSICAL INTERVENTION!
I will be a good witness and call 911. I will also testify against said perpetrators, but intervene when I am off duty, that is something that most likely will not happen. My agency has put out a memo stating, "any actions taken off duty will not be considered within the scope of employment." Why should I risk all for someone, when I don't know what's going on?
I didn't take you, or anyone else to raise, therefore I'm not coming to your "rescue" if you put yourself in a bad spot. I will assist the LEO, because I know who the "players" are in that game, and have a reasonable belief of who is who. Go back and see where I typed "identified LEO".
911 and a trained observer is the most that society gets out of me unless you are attacking me and mine. You first have a duty to self. If you go intervening in situations you are forsaking your duty to self. Your fiance sounds like a smart woman. She may be too smart for you, that has yet to be proven, but so far the score is one up for her.
I think you should listen to her. She's got it right. I also suggest that you read Massad Ayoob's book, "In The Gravest Extreme".
October 24th, 2009 02:46 PM
That's a good thing....couples should talk. Seriously. My best wishes to both of you.
My fiancee and I were talking the other day...
Anyway....you'll never know how things will turn out when and if they happen. You should be modular, and ready to be involved in situations that you normally wouldn't want to. Instincts take over when our brain seems to be taking too long deciding on what to do in some instances. Protecting or saving the lives of innocents that may be strangers to us may benefit us in ways we cannot understand at present. Where our so called 'duty' lies concerning us, our family, our friends, and innocent strangers that become victims really shouldn't create an issue. we will all do what we must do when the time arrives, and we'll make a decision that we will have to live with if we survive. We will act according to our moral character, our beliefs, and with the intent on saving innocents from violent crimes one way or the other. An awful lot of CCers put too much consideration about themselves going to jail over a fine line of legalities when it comes down to them employing deadly force. Personally, I could spend ten years in prison knowing I did the right thing......or I could spend the rest of my life knowing I was not able to do my best with the tools I've been given and someone's life has been lost or ruined because of doubts I had in my mind at the time. Statistically, most of us will never see that time or the moment. But for those that will...being ready means more than carrying a loaded gun and having a sixth sense.
October 24th, 2009 02:58 PM
Personally, if it doesn't involve me or mine directly, my criteria for involvement is something along the lines of a guy with a rifle who's mowing down children on a playground.
Anything short of that and it'll be calling 911 and taking cover.
EDIT: As BikerRN inferred, if I see someone who is UNMISTAKEABLY an LEO and is at a disadvantage, plus I DON'T have my kids with me, that's a different story.
"I practice the ancient art of Klik Pao."
October 24th, 2009 04:45 PM
Your fiancee sounds like a very sensible person -- and you sound as if you are a very honorable person. I predict you'll make a good match!
She's got an important point, because when you pull & use a gun, you are gambling literally everything you have on getting it right and being legally justified. You are gambling your life, your job, your home, and every penny you have in the bank. You are gambling your marriage, your ability to share a bed with the person you love, and your ability to watch your children grow up in person instead of from jail. You are gambling every friendship you've ever made, every dollar you've ever earned or will earn, and your family's future happiness. You are risking sleep disturbances, flashbacks, nightmares, impotence, anorexia, alcoholism, drug reliance, and a long and bitter lifetime of regret if you get it wrong.
To take a gamble that big, it's a good idea to be overwhelmingly certain there's no other way out.
Is the life of a stranger worth a gamble that size? Depending on your personal morals, maybe he is. But never ever ever in an ambiguous situation, especially when you didn't see the prelude and don't know the players.
In the case of jumping in to save someone from drowning, there's no chance at all of killing an innocent person if you get it wrong (unless, of course, you count yourself and the risk to your own life). You are not going to put the innocent person's life in any more danger than they are already in. This is quite different from wielding a firearm, where there is a substantial risk of killing an innocent person if you do not fully and completely and totally understand what is going on when you jump into the situation -- or if you are physically unable to do the job you set out to do when you intervened.
On a moral level, the life of an innocent stranger is absolutely worth as much as the lives of my own family members (by my personal moral lights), but unless my own life is directly threatened I will not risk my family's togetherness and happiness on anything less than an absolute certainty. Why not? Because my family's lives are worth as much to me as the life of a stranger. Even more so if the stranger I save later turns out to have been the aggressor in the situation, and I find out I actually shot the innocent person when I jumped in. Nothing but a certainty -- an overhwelming certainty -- is worth taking a gamble that size with my own life, with my family's happiness, or with someone else's life.
One of the things I have learned through my training: the greatest physical danger to an out-of-uniform police officer who intervenes in such situations actually comes from other cops when they first arrive on scene. "Friendly fire" is a horrendous oxymoron for the kind of devastating tragedy which can happen when someone goofs up during a rapidly-developing, stressful, chaos-filled, confusion-driven event. Here's the point: even well-trained professionals sometimes kill the wrong person when they arrive at the scene of a life-or-death struggle, especially if they did not see the entire prelude and don't know the players.
If you see the situation develop from scratch, if you know the people involved, if you are overwhelmingly certain of the circumstances -- that's one thing. But if there's any ambiguity at all, you're far better off getting away and calling the authorities.
On the other hand, if blood is actively being shed, and you see a murderer actually killing people -- not just spotting "someone with a gun" in the middle of chaos, which by the way is a good description of yourself at that moment too, but someone actively killing people -- then there's no doubt about what's happening and that's the time to act decisively if you are physically able to do it. Is your training up to it? Are you sure?
The entire issue is nowhere near as simple as people want it to be. The more you learn about how these things often work in real life, the better you will be able to make solidly sensible, reality-based decisions when you need to.
October 24th, 2009 06:28 PM
Would you intervene if you were not carrying a gun? Would you intervene if you were carrying a gun with no permit? A concealed carry permit is just that. It grants no special powers to intervene in stopping a crime just as a drivers license grants no special powers to let you drive any vehicle anywhere without restriction. Remember, guns can get you in a whole lot more trouble than they can get you out of.
If you choose to enter a situation remember, your carry permit is only a piece of paper that grants you the permission to carry a concealed firearm. Nothing more.
October 24th, 2009 08:33 PM
Originally Posted by BikerRN
This mentality simply amazes me. My agency has general orders stating that we are required to take proper law enforcement action when we observe a crime occurring, on duty or off. Proper action may be serving as a "good witness," but only if someone's life is not in danger and this is a tactically prudent decision. We are not cannon fodder, but neither are we expected to hide and watch while someone commits or attempts to commit a violent crime.
Are you seriously suggesting that you will stand and watch a child abduction or a violent assault and not do anything, AS AN LEO? And your department won't cover actions taken under the color of law, simply because you are off duty? WTH, again? There is no way in hell that I would work for your agency. If an off-duty officer witnessed a child abduction or a domestic violence victim getting beat to death and did not take action in my jurisdiction, and the department found out about it, he/she would be fired for dereliction of duty and cowardice. We are covered 24 hours, 7 days a week as long as we carry the badge. Even our reserve officers are covered, and get representation by the FOP if involved in a shooting/situation.
If my tone seems harsh, it's because this is simply outrageous to me. Civilians are different, of course, and cannot be expected to risk life and limb for a stranger, though some will. It is simply abhorrent to me that an LEO would take that position, though. Please tell me I am misunderstanding you!
Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.
October 24th, 2009 09:11 PM
Have her read a decent write-up of the death of Kitty Genovese, a woman who perished more than 40yrs ago as much from unconcerned neighbors as the murderous attacker who stabbed her.
Originally Posted by gdm320
Then ask her if that's what she means, whether she's suggesting that a person should sit by and do nothing, as those neighbors did when Kitty died.
You'll need to understand whether your definition of "doing something" means direct physical intervention, or whether circumstances might dictate a range of response, all the way "down" to viewing/monitoring/documenting and calling for the cavalry to assist.
Really? What if I've just been attacked, but I somehow turn the tables and now have the BG covered with my defensive sidearm and am just about to call for help when Captain American waltzes into the fray and takes me out. Good call, eh? A complete screw-up, in reality. That's the point. How can C.A. possibly know what's what, if one simply jumps into a "junkyard dog" situation before anything is known?
Why should I risk all for someone, when I don't know what's going on?
This mentality simply amazes me.
Re-read what Pax has written, above. The commonly-seen vague circumstances are what we're all, basically, referring to as being risky for intervention. You stand to lose it all, and you stand to get it wrong.
It's fairly simple. If you do NOT know who the players are, meaning who the GG and BG is, and if you do not know the legal justifiability of the altercation/defense, then you getting physically involved might well end up harming the wrong person and get you seen as the BG/perpetrator.
Circumstances depending, of course, it can be tough to know just what's going on in a situation. Might easily be that the person who has the upper hand at the moment you view things is the person you'd take down, but that person might well be the victim who has turned things around. If you cannot know this, then how is physically intervening going to help anybody but the perpetrator? And, when the SNAFU becomes known, as it almost certainly will, who's going to pull you out of the legal grinder once it gets going and your only valid response to learning the truth of it is "oops"?
Now, that being said, I am certainly NOT suggesting someone not intervene in call cases. Rather, I'm suggesting someone is risking everything by intervening when the facts are unknown. But, there are many forms of helping. The thing is, though, you can really screw over people's lives if you intervene in a situation that you know nothing about, beyond the fact that someone's armed and one or more folks are in danger. IMO, it has to be patently clear who the GG and BG is, for intervention to make any sense whatsoever, else you and others could easily get harmed for no reason, the GG could easily come out losing because of the intervention, and you could lose everything in that moment of haste that could have been saved by keeping your head.
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self defense (A.O.J.).
How does disarming
the number of victims?
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October 24th, 2009 09:37 PM
Pax says it very well. As a civilian, I am not intervening without intimate familiarity with the individuals and their situation. Self defense is a narrow concept for me.
The more crap that I see on the street and in training class, I only learn the less that I know. The movie studios could set a camera on a street corner in some areas and save a lot of production costs and get as much "action" as in some movies. I know not to be a hero.
I'm not a LEO, but I perfectly understand BikerRN's words and don't know how Metro 40 can presume that BikerRN can so clearly, consistently and single-handedly recognize any and every spontaneous child abduction or domestic assault with such confidence as leads to his risking his life and everything else in substantial invervention.
Americans understood the right of self-preservation as permitting a citizen to repel force by force
when the intervention of society... may be too late to prevent an injury.
-Blackstone’s Commentaries 145–146, n. 42 (1803) in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)
October 24th, 2009 10:14 PM
Oh, I don't know....how about the lady screaming "he's taking my baby!" in the store parking lot? Or the guy cracking someone over the head with a bat while he screams for help? I'm quite sure that these situations are recognizable to anyone with the proper training. I'm not talking about the armed citizen...I'm talking about an LEO specifically trained to respond to violent situations. We are trained to identify ourselves by displaying a badge and loudly identifying ourselves as police when forced to take action to save life and limb while off duty. The good guy/bad guy will make themselves known as such pretty damned quick when they are suddenly aware of police presence.
Originally Posted by Pistology
I have been involved in 2 separate situations where I identified myself as a police officer and drew my weapon to cease the hostilities of violent suspects. One was a road rage incident where the aggressor exited his vehicle and was smashing the windows of the other driver, attempting to strike him with a bat. Pretty cut and dried. The other was a domestic abuser beating the hell out of a woman in the K-Mart parking lot as I exited the store. In both cases, the violence ceased when I drew my weapon, loudly identified myself several times as the police, and ordered the suspects to the ground. On duty officers quickly arrived and made the proper arrests.
I don't know....maybe I should have let the victims have their skulls caved in while I ran and hid and served as a "good witness."
And people wonder why our country is going down the tubes. "Sheepdogs".....yeah, right.
Slow is smooth.....smooth is fast.
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