Things are not always what they seem.

This is a discussion on Things are not always what they seem. within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I started a new thread, because while my thoughts were spurred from the "c'mon people" thread I felt my story warranted its own discussion. I ...

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Thread: Things are not always what they seem.

  1. #1
    Member Array tsaphah's Avatar
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    Post Things are not always what they seem.

    I started a new thread, because while my thoughts were spurred from the "c'mon people" thread I felt my story warranted its own discussion. I say this because it was another one of those situations where at first sight a more forceful response appears justified - at first. I'd encourage others to share their experiences with situations that remind us "things aren't always what they seem", and when force might seem reasonable at first, but truly wasn't.

    Please forgive the length; if you bear through it I think you'll find the lessons learned and questions worth while.

    First the background. This occur prior to my CC days, in a town of about 20k. There is a high level of domestic abuse, but little violent crime beyond that. (A homicide once every few years, usually by drunk cowboys.)

    Few years ago I went for a walk in the afternoon. On my way back home I heard a young male voice yelling from somewhere out of sight. Some of it was profanity, some just screaming. The three words I distinctly remembered hearing was "Get off me!". Being who I am, and having worked in domestic abuse situations I followed the sound around to the back of a house. No fence, no one in particular that I knew and as I walked back my expectation was abusive dad and I was going to encounter trouble.

    [Pause: At this point I imagine many would be on an extreme heightened alert. I was. However, there are many justifiable reasons for what I'd heard up to this point. Brothers wrestling for one.]

    Here is what I see as I round the corner. Black scrawny teenager (14ish) face down in the ground. Larger white man in his late 40's knee on the kids back and twisting his arm pinning the kid to the ground. The man had a bloody lip. A white woman standing off in the back crying, but seeming unhurt.

    [Pause: What would be going through your mind at this point? Do you take charge? Do you feel threatened enough to ponder your gun? Do you say something like "WHAT THE F is going ON?" .. I mention skin color because the town this occurred in is 99.8% white, so the sight of a big white guy on a scrawny black teen was out of place given the context]

    I'm a fairly mellow in personality. In a calm voice I ask what's going on. The man explains the kid is his son, that he threw something at his mom and was getting violent. The mom doesn't say anything or acknowledge my presence. The boy keeps cussing, and begging me to help him. The dad tells the teen to shut-up and hold still.

    [Pause: Same question as above. It appears I have an abusive dad holding beating up a kid and coming up with a story that I've heard many abusive dad's tell me. The mom is shell shocked and no help. Do I take charge and order the man off the kid. Do I attempt to appeal to the wisdom of the dad to resolve this differently? I already know I'll be calling the cops soon, but I'm concerned for the safety of the boy.]

    The kid thrashes around more, the dad puts more weight on the back and arm of the kid, slamming into him yelling at him to hold still.

    I've not said anymore but am standing there watching. The dad addresses me and says they adopted the boy a few years ago and this type of behavior is common - that they've had a lot of violent problems with him. The dad seems coherent as he talks to me. He said his wife already called the police and they are on the way. I address the wife and ask if its true, which she confirms.

    For about 5 minutes the dad and kid struggle, at which time two officers walk into the back yard. The Sgt, says something like "Hey, Charlie. Having a bad day?". The other officer walks over to the father and son, have the dad get up and restrains the teen himself placing hand-cuffs on him.

    The sgt. asks who I am. Give him name, explain how I got there. He nods, and says I can take off. No statement is needed they've worked with charlie and his family before.

    Here is why I think the story is relevant for the board. At first sight the situation clearly looks like an abusive father taking it out on a teen. While IMO it is not justified to draw a gun, it is a situation that I could see some people doing so. At the least, I see it being a situation where a person of a different personality might be more aggressive about ordering the dad off the kid, etc.

    However, the dad was fully within his rights, and obligations as a parent, and had I responded with any level of force I could have likely found myself in a pickle when the police arrived.

    Merits of getting involved in any 3rd party situation aside, things are not always what they seem. What situations have you encountered and found that to be true?

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  3. #2
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    Good story to relate. I have had to physically restrain juveniles who were out of control. I work plainclothes security so could be mis identified as a BG in this type of situation.
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    None thankfully. but there is presently a murder trial going on in town.

    A young man came to the aid of his friend who was the victim of an ongoing severe beating by several individuals, one of who admits to kicking the guy in the head while he was incapacitated and on the groundw; a witness says more than once.

    In aiding his downed friend he used a knife and stabbed two attackers.

    Now what is tricky in this case is that there are conflicting witness stories about everyone' behavior prior to the lethal end to the fight.

    It is almost impossible to tell from the newspaper if this was a legitimate use of lethal force (my take) or a murder (albeit not planned) following a series of fights.

    From what has been printed in the paper, and they seem to be doing a good job of covering the story, we really don't know the total situation immediately before the use of lethal force. A jury will sort it out no doubt, one way or the other.

    The message, walking into a situation as you did, you really didn't know the circumstances; and had you intervened you would have been in trouble.

    OTOH, how many times do people NOT intervene and might have prevented something. Are we really sure in the story that you presented that the facts you were given by the dad and accepted by the police are true?

    Was race, in addition to parent child relationship, playing role in who was believed?

    Reading this as presented, I don't really believe the dad.

    Now, back to the idea of people NOT intervening because they think the law prevents it, or it isn't their problem. It turns out that the guy who was involved in the shooting outside The Pentagon yesterday had been stopped for speeding by a police officer, I think in Texas or OK. The officer talked to his mom who begged the officer to take him to a mental hospital. The officer, for whatever reason, chose to let the guy go. He continued on his way to the East Coast and did his crazy thing. I'm not knocking the officer, I'm just illustrating that with the best of intentions and the best effort at following law and "procedures," stuff happens. Judging what is going on in the acts and minds of third parties is almost impossible.

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    Ex Member Array maddyfish's Avatar
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    I would have never investigated it in the first place, and if it was right in front of me would have done nothing but maybe call the cops.

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    Member Array Intrepid's Avatar
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    We went through a similar scenario in the police academy. I'm not a LEO yet, but paid my own way through.

    My partner and I chose to restrain the son, who was off his meds. I wouldn't intervene unless I was on duty as a police officer. If I witnessed it, I would call the police.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Things are not always what they seem.
    This is an exceptional idea for a thread.

    I am sure that most folks will have seen or been involved with situations in the past where things were not what they initially seemed.

    At the moment, I can't recall any situations like that. I'll have to think about it.
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  8. #7
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    It is almost impossible to tell from the newspaper if this was a legitimate use of lethal force (my take) or a murder (albeit not planned) following a series of fights.

    From what has been printed in the paper, and they seem to be doing a good job of covering the story, we really don't know the total situation immediately before the use of lethal force.
    One thing I can guarantee. If you are getting your "facts" from a newspaper, then you aren't getting the whole story.
    The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it...- George Orwell

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    Member Array gmark340's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if I've related this story before on this forum but I think it's a good example for the thread: A truck driver was delivering a load in a not-so-nice part of a city. As he came around a corner, he saw a scruffy-looking man holding a knife in one hand, standing over a young woman and holding her by the wrist, obviously assaulting her as they were struggling on the sidewalk. The truck driver, who was carrying, jumped out and forced the man at gunpoint to drop the knife and back off. The woman jumped up and ran away. The truck driver prevented what was to him an obvious assault, at which point he was promptly arrested. The scruffy man turned out to be an undercover police officer, the young woman a prostitute he was trying to arrest and the knife was one he had just taken away from her when she tried to stab him. While the truck driver's intentions were good, his action was wrong.

    The key to intervening in any situation for civilian CCW holders is that you step into the shoes of the person you are helping. If that person had a legal privilege to defend themself, then so should you. If that person did not have a legal privilege to defend themself, then neither do you, regardless of how the situation appears to you (in the above case, the woman was not privileged to resist a lawful arrest so the truck driver, stepping into her shoes, also was not and therefore committed a crime by interfering with the arrest). There is no "reasonableness" test for your perception. Your perception is irrelevant, no matter how compelling the situation seems to you. Good intentions do not cut it. The person you assist either does or does not have the legal ability to defend themselves using deadly force and you are either right or wrong about intervening. Unfortunately, you may not know which it is until it's all over and you are either a hero or in jail.

    LEOs have certain statutory immunities for their "reasonable" actions taken in the course of their duties so the test for them is different. That is why you will often read on this forum, and hear in CCW classes, that your CCW is to defend yourself against the imminent fear of death or grievous bodily harm and not to be used in the capacity of protector-at-large (the misconstrued "sheep dog" image). You generally know when you are in danger so you are more likely to judge that situation correctly in the eyes of the law. You may easily misread who else is in danger which is why the advice often given is "call 911 and be a good witness if you can do so safely."

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    Member Array twocan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    None thankfully. but there is presently a murder trial going on in town.


    The message, walking into a situation as you did, you really didn't know the circumstances; and had you intervened you would have been in trouble.

    OTOH, how many times do people NOT intervene and might have prevented something. Are we really sure in the story that you presented that the facts you were given by the dad and accepted by the police are true?

    Was race, in addition to parent child relationship, playing role in who was believed?

    Reading this as presented, I don't really believe the dad.

    Now, back to the idea of people NOT intervening because they think the law prevents it, or it isn't their problem. It turns out that the guy who was involved in the shooting outside The Pentagon yesterday had been stopped for speeding by a police officer, I think in Texas or OK. The officer talked to his mom who begged the officer to take him to a mental hospital. The officer, for whatever reason, chose to let the guy go. He continued on his way to the East Coast and did his crazy thing. I'm not knocking the officer, I'm just illustrating that with the best of intentions and the best effort at following law and "procedures," stuff happens. Judging what is going on in the acts and minds of third parties is almost impossible.
    Hopyard:

    How can you bring race into the discussion?

    Our society needs to stop looking at skin color and jumping to the conclusion that race may be a factor. If we would, we could speed along the large amount of progress that we have made in the last 30 years.

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    re: twocan

    Quote Originally Posted by twocan View Post
    Hopyard:

    How can you bring race into the discussion?

    Our society needs to stop looking at skin color and jumping to the conclusion that race may be a factor. If we would, we could speed along the large amount of progress that we have made in the last 30 years.
    I didn't bring race into the discussion. It was stated in the first post that the child being restrained was said by the white male holding him to be his adopted son, and the child was black.

    This is fine. I have no problem with a white family adopting a black child, that has happened in my own immediate family. I applaud that. I have not, due to distance, met my new grand nephew, but race will have no bearing on my love for the child.

    What I was concerned with was whether or not the accusation of abuse against the child may have been dismissed by authorities because of a a bias in favor of believing the white "adoptive" parent over the black child.

    Just because the guy claimed to be, and might actually be the adoptive parent, doesn't mean abuse wasn't happening.

    " The kid thrashes around more, the dad puts more weight on the back and arm of the kid, slamming into him yelling at him to hold still."

    That doesn't sound like loving care, though we weren't there and don't know the whole situation.

    Just because the "parent" appeared to be disciplining a problem child, doesn't mean the parent wasn't the real perpetrator and initiator of the ongoing problems in the family.

    What I was getting at was the chance that all involved (except the OP here), were misreading the situation because of race. I was concerned that the authorities who arrived on the scene may be the ones misreading the situation.

    "The Sgt, says something like "Hey, Charlie. Having a bad day?". The other officer walks over to the father and son, have the dad get up and restrains the teen himself placing hand-cuffs on him."

    I'm questioning if they actually knew what was going on or were merely "friends" of the dad who assumed he could do no wrong and the teen could do no right.

    Mom looked shell shocked. Maybe for a good reason. Maybe her silence said volumes.

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    I've related this elsewhere.

    I was working armed security at a troublesome McDonalds with a partner. Had some trouble in the parking lot, which I will clarify in a bit. I got my partner's attention through the glass and motioned him to come outside.

    Once outside, he saw a black male sitting in an large old 4 door car, pointing a firearm in my direction. I was pointing my firearm in his direction. Nobody was shooting. There was a white man in the parking lot standing sort of between us. Total distance from me to the car was about 50 feet.

    Think for a minute how you would react in this situation.

    The black man in the car was a Police Detective that I knew. The man standing in the parking lot had just gotten off a bicycle, and had been chased there by the Detective in an unusual and short bike/car pursuit. The bicyclist had rushed the Detective with a knife, and nearly got to him before the Detective was able to fish his firearm out from under his trench coat and draw. He had just dropped the knife when my partner came out.

    My partner drew down on the Detective, not knowing what was going on but assuming he was pointing his gun at me. He said later the only reason he didn't shoot the Detective was because I was not already shooting. Good call.
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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocan View Post
    Hopyard:

    How can you bring race into the discussion?

    Our society needs to stop looking at skin color and jumping to the conclusion that race may be a factor. If we would, we could speed along the large amount of progress that we have made in the last 30 years.
    I smell sarcasm?

    Since IMHO the racial issue has back slipped a fair bit in the last 30 years.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!

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    VIP Member Array xXxplosive's Avatar
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    My first perception of this was a Mugging Gone Bad........and the kid was caught by the woman's husband.
    No sweat after that.............call it in.

    I make it a practice to stay out of domestic situations.....my CCW is for my personal protection and that of my family. I'm not playing policeman.....sorry.....just call it in.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    One thing I can guarantee. If you are getting your "facts" from a newspaper, then you aren't getting the whole story.
    Yeah, well. One thing I guarantee is that we get our "facts" here for these discussions from the newspaper accounts. It's the nature of being 1500mi from the event and not being "inside." It's a given. Plus, it gives us less than all the facts by definition, so it's good practice with thinking things through. Which is about all we can do, and the only point of discussing them here, really.
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    Senior Member Array dsee11789's Avatar
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    My girlfriend learned in her CCW class about a story at a walmart.

    A Man was walking to the store when he heard a struggle and a female yelling. He ran up and saw a guy on top of a woman. The guy was choking her. The bystander pulled out his CCW and shot him.

    It turns out.... The woman had been hiding in the back seat of the mans car and when he got in she held a knife to his throat. The driver managed to get out of the car and pull her with him. He had been choking her to get her to drop the knife.
    Exodus 22:2 "If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed"

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