Should You Act? - Get Involved Or Get Away?

Should You Act? - Get Involved Or Get Away?

This is a discussion on Should You Act? - Get Involved Or Get Away? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Every so often we get a thread at Warrior Talk asking about what a CCW person should do if he sees a crime, or some ...

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Thread: Should You Act? - Get Involved Or Get Away?

  1. #1
    Member Array Gabe Suarez's Avatar
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    Should You Act? - Get Involved Or Get Away?



    Every so often we get a thread at Warrior Talk asking about what a CCW person should do if he sees a crime, or some apparent victimization. The implied question of course is the quest for justification of the desire to jump in with both feet to save the day. That inherent desire, while noble, may also be quite foolish and self-destructive.

    I am not saying to default to doing nothing, merely that you should think it through before taking action that could adversely affect you for the rest of your life. Your decision will be based on three factors – location, companions, and information. Let’s discuss it.

    Location. I have traveled in places that I refer to as Non-Permissive Environments. Those are areas where the legality of being armed may be questionable, yet where it is so dangerous that going unarmed would be stupid. In such places getting involved in anyone else’s problem is a bad decision no matter the situation.

    In some places saving the day will get you a medal of valor, while in others, even if you saved everyone, the political environment would still cause you to be arrested and likely prosecuted. If you are in an environment like the latter, I suggest not getting involved in anything that does not directly endanger you or yours.

    Look at it this way, will you trade your freedom, and finances to save strangers? That is what it boils down to. It is easy to be indignant at my suggestion from the safety of the internet in your living room, it is also quite easy to disagree when you carry the “Badge of America” card as an LEO with the full umbrella of protection your agency provides, but it is another matter altogether when you are sitting in the defendant’s chair, a civilian paying your own way, looking at a prison sentence because you decided to “do the right thing”.

    If you don't have a gun its a moot point. If its legal for you to carry its also a moot point.

    In a free area where you are legal to carry your pistol, again the choice is clear. Good guys can intervene in times of danger and victimization secure that if they act properly, they will probably be fine afterward. That is the reality of why places where gun laws are lax are far safer than places where gun laws are strict…because good guys are not afraid to be good guys.

    Companions will also have an effect on your decisions. I spoke to an LA County Deputy once whose daughter was shot and killed by two armed robbers when he elected to intervene at the store they were robbing. Listen people…if you have your family with you, everyone else is on their own. Unless the bad guys have targeted you and them specifically, go on your way. Whatever is happening is none of your business. Certainly, call 911, but leave and keep them safe. Sorry to sound “cowardly” but anyone who says they will risk their family to save someone else’s money is a fool.

    Whether you act or not also depends on how much information you have about what is going on. The information present and available to you may over ride the presence in an NPE, but rarely. The less Intel I have, the less likely I am to do anything but leave. The more Intel I have the better decision I can make. What you see may not give the total picture.

    Active shooter problems are easy. When you see a man with an assault rifle shooting into the Toys R Us, you can venture a guess that that is the bad guy and that he is the one that needs to be shot. But those are not the ones that cause us problem are they.

    Two guys fighting? None of my business.

    Two guys beating up a third guy? Do you act now? Honestly, for me it depends on what they look like. If they are two gang-type thugs beating up an old man, the choice is pretty clear. I would have to intervene. But if two gang-type thugs are beating up a third gang-type thug, its none of my business. I may make a 911 call, but I don’t plan to stick around. Is the fight you see two cops beating up a gang-thug? Cool, but still nothing to do with you. How about two homeys beating up a cop? Now we are back to helping out the good guys. All different stories, eliciting different responses aren't they. Here are a few more.

    One guy slapping a girl? None of my business. “Hey wait a minute!”, I can hear the chivalrous crowd yelling from across the nation. Chivalry demands the presence of a lady. Is the apparent victim a lady? Are you willing to risk your life for her? Think with your brain and not your sword. Just on the face of the description I do not have enough to get involved, sorry. Make the guy a gang-thug and the girl a typical soccer mom? Things just changed because of the Intel. Make the guy a gang-thug and the girl a meth-mouth whore? Sorry…not my fight. My Glock will stay in the holster and my phone will be used for 911 instead.

    Its 2010 and your CCW stands for Cary (of) Concealed Weapons, not for Captain America. The only time I will get involved in someone else's fight is when I have enough info on what I am seeing to determine who is who and what is happening, I am alone or with other combatants, and then only if not doing something would shock my personal conscience.

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  2. #2
    Member Array jwarren's Avatar
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    I agree 100% Gabe....it ain't my duty nor obligation to save the day.

    Great post.

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    Member Array Back 40's Avatar
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    Good post, and food for thought. As always thanks for the input

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Have to agree on this one.
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
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    MJK
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    Senior Member Array MJK's Avatar
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    Provocative post.

    Even in political environments conducive to defending others it's possible misjudge. You can do everything right but still end up in the slammer because what was "apparent" to you at the time was not the true situation. We are all vulnerable to misinterpretation.

    As a general rule I will not intervene in a situation that doesn't directly threaten my friends, loved ones or me.

  6. #6
    Ex Member Array hamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe Suarez View Post


    Every so often we get a thread at Warrior Talk asking about what a CCW person should do if he sees a crime, or some apparent victimization. The implied question of course is the quest for justification of the desire to jump in with both feet to save the day. That inherent desire, while noble, may also be quite foolish and self-destructive.

    I am not saying to default to doing nothing, merely that you should think it through before taking action that could adversely affect you for the rest of your life. Your decision will be based on three factors – location, companions, and information. Let’s discuss it.

    Location. I have traveled in places that I refer to as Non-Permissive Environments. Those are areas where the legality of being armed may be questionable, yet where it is so dangerous that going unarmed would be stupid. In such places getting involved in anyone else’s problem is a bad decision no matter the situation.

    In some places saving the day will get you a medal of valor, while in others, even if you saved everyone, the political environment would still cause you to be arrested and likely prosecuted. If you are in an environment like the latter, I suggest not getting involved in anything that does not directly endanger you or yours.

    Look at it this way, will you trade your freedom, and finances to save strangers? That is what it boils down to. It is easy to be indignant at my suggestion from the safety of the internet in your living room, it is also quite easy to disagree when you carry the “Badge of America” card as an LEO with the full umbrella of protection your agency provides, but it is another matter altogether when you are sitting in the defendant’s chair, a civilian paying your own way, looking at a prison sentence because you decided to “do the right thing”.

    If you don't have a gun its a moot point. If its legal for you to carry its also a moot point.

    In a free area where you are legal to carry your pistol, again the choice is clear. Good guys can intervene in times of danger and victimization secure that if they act properly, they will probably be fine afterward. That is the reality of why places where gun laws are lax are far safer than places where gun laws are strict…because good guys are not afraid to be good guys.

    Companions will also have an effect on your decisions. I spoke to an LA County Deputy once whose daughter was shot and killed by two armed robbers when he elected to intervene at the store they were robbing. Listen people…if you have your family with you, everyone else is on their own. Unless the bad guys have targeted you and them specifically, go on your way. Whatever is happening is none of your business. Certainly, call 911, but leave and keep them safe. Sorry to sound “cowardly” but anyone who says they will risk their family to save someone else’s money is a fool.

    Whether you act or not also depends on how much information you have about what is going on. The information present and available to you may over ride the presence in an NPE, but rarely. The less Intel I have, the less likely I am to do anything but leave. The more Intel I have the better decision I can make. What you see may not give the total picture.

    Active shooter problems are easy. When you see a man with an assault rifle shooting into the Toys R Us, you can venture a guess that that is the bad guy and that he is the one that needs to be shot. But those are not the ones that cause us problem are they.

    Two guys fighting? None of my business.

    Two guys beating up a third guy? Do you act now? Honestly, for me it depends on what they look like. If they are two gang-type thugs beating up an old man, the choice is pretty clear. I would have to intervene. But if two gang-type thugs are beating up a third gang-type thug, its none of my business. I may make a 911 call, but I don’t plan to stick around. Is the fight you see two cops beating up a gang-thug? Cool, but still nothing to do with you. How about two homeys beating up a cop? Now we are back to helping out the good guys. All different stories, eliciting different responses aren't they. Here are a few more.

    One guy slapping a girl? None of my business. “Hey wait a minute!”, I can hear the chivalrous crowd yelling from across the nation. Chivalry demands the presence of a lady. Is the apparent victim a lady? Are you willing to risk your life for her? Think with your brain and not your sword. Just on the face of the description I do not have enough to get involved, sorry. Make the guy a gang-thug and the girl a typical soccer mom? Things just changed because of the Intel. Make the guy a gang-thug and the girl a meth-mouth whore? Sorry…not my fight. My Glock will stay in the holster and my phone will be used for 911 instead.

    Its 2010 and your CCW stands for Cary (of) Concealed Weapons, not for Captain America. The only time I will get involved in someone else's fight is when I have enough info on what I am seeing to determine who is who and what is happening, I am alone or with other combatants, and then only if not doing something would shock my personal conscience.

    Article Link On My Blog
    Unless someone is going to get killed or grievously injured NOW, and you know as an obvious fact (not surmise) this is true AND that it's a criminal act that is taking place AND you know an action you take will not increase the harm to anyone including bystanders, the best way to "save the day" is by calling 911 - the same thing any citizen would do who has the same rights and limitations you do as far as SD Law (which includes defense of others). You have no other legal powers or permissions than anyone else does. Legal permission to carry a gun is no more than that.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with shooting people or any other from of Lethal Self-Defense. A separate series of laws handles that: plain old SD Law, exactly the same for you as everyone else in the country.

    Don't mistake the technical scope of action possible with a gun and a bullet with the scope of the law which pertains to you. That doesn't expand. Real Bad mistake to assume otherwise.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array jdsumner's Avatar
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    I'm gonna do a cut-n-paste job here for my reply. It was a response to a question posed not too long ago. It covers my feelings on the question posed, but is also my response to the question of "how involved?".

    Seems we may have slight difference of opinion as to what defines "getting involved".
    Calling 9-1-1 and being a good witness IS getting involved. Just because one chooses not to go 'great guns' doesn't mean one is not getting involved. One is involved as soon as one begins to mentally engage the situation and, let's say call 911. If the witnessing of an unlawful or suspicious act, and later recounting it results in a conviction or helps to solve a crime, then that limited involvement seems rather successful.

    I don't lump folks who chose to be a 'good witness' in with those who will walk away simply because they have no empathy for anyone. Those who chose to be good witnesses have probably thought out their situation rather thoroughly.

    All the condemning of ccw's for not putting their guns into play at every 'what-if' scenario is self-righteous at best, and blustery ego inflating at worst. I got my permit to protect me and mine. Everybody else out there has the same right (w/ certain exceptions of course, and those are a different matter). IF they choose to go without the proper tools into a world where they know what can happen, then that's on them. Chances are real good, those who chose not to use tools available to them, lack the mental preparedness to respond to a deadly situation anyway. Lotta folks on here look disdainfully on that segment of society as "sheeple", yet are so eager to use deadly force to protect them.
    Lotta talk about can't face their maker for not getting involved. I took a vow to my wife to be there for her, good and bad, sickness and health, yadda yadda. I'm gonna do that. Promise my kids every day, "I'll see you tonight/morning". And, I made those promises before my maker. And i'll keep them. Part of keeping them is not deliberately putting myself in harm's way. I think I'd have a hard time explaining to my maker why I left my wife a widow, and my children fatherless because I got in too deep to fast just because I had a gun. Guess what "not my job". We have pro's that get paid to go looking for badguys to confront. I haven't promised society in general that I'll put my gun on to protect them. If I was gonna do that, I'd be a cop. I'm not.

    Said all that to say all this. Don't be too judgmental towards the guy who was a good witness, but chose not to shoot someone, whether it be because one decided he didn't have a chance at all, or lacked the tools to deal w/ a situation, or just flat out had never figured on being in that particular scenario. None of us are in any position to judge the other over how far we are willing to cover others with our ccw umbrella.

    This all sorta puts me in mind of a couple of thoughts. Seems most folks here are not real big fans of socialism. But ain't that what we espouse when we talk about involving our selves (up to our life) to protect someone who simply chose not to protect themselves, and leave it up to others to do it for them?
    The other argument I hear is "well, if you see the dangerous person about to do dangerous things and you don't stop them, then you are useless". Ok, so when hurricane Katrina was forecast to hit NO, with 8 days advanced notice, how many of us got in our urban assault vehicles, with plenty of time to get there, and helped out. Same/same, you KNEW without a doubt what that storm would do. Did you go save lives then?

    dan

  8. #8
    Ex Member Array Kerby's Avatar
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    Lot to take in, and a lot to think about..... My opinion tends to change by looking at each situation in a different view; but over all I can find no fault with the overview.

    It is sad to think we live where you can act on 100% good faith in a true nature to help someone in trouble and then worry about what will happen to you after the fact...

    When we choose to carry, we choose a life style that will require thinking on many levels. 1. what would I do if ????? 2. Where do I go and how do I act (with a pistol I go out of my way to stay away from trouble as I have the means to escalate the bad situation fast) How do I dress etc...... No easy answers for sure.

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    Clearly the situation dictates the response. My upbringing and training causes me to respond to most cases of emergencies. Common sense rules. Two drunks slugging it out? 911 before someone gets really hurt. Two gangs shooting it out? I hope they have enough ammo to ensure they eliminate each other. Someone beating and robbing someone in a wheelchair? I may have to intervene on that, the measure dictated by the actions.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Clearly the situation dictates the response. My upbringing and training causes me to respond to most cases of emergencies. Common sense rules. Two drunks slugging it out? 911 before someone gets really hurt. Two gangs shooting it out? I hope they have enough ammo to ensure they eliminate each other. Someone beating and robbing someone in a wheelchair? I may have to intervene on that, the measure dictated by the actions.
    This sums it up for me.

    MY instinct is to not get directly involved (be a good witness from a distance), but I guess sometimes you have to go against your instincts and get involved
    Don't believe what you hear and only half of what you see!
    -Tony Soprano

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    "Herrre I come to save the DAY!!!" Oh wait... that's right... I'm not Underdog. It's all situation dependent... but to be perfectly honest I'm interested in protecting what's mine first and interceding in any altercation that might necessitate the use of deadly force GREATLY increases the risks to me and my family of living a happy and prosperous life. Not saying I would never intercede... just saying it has to be a clear case of an innocent about to get killed or have grievous injury done to them before I would even consider doing anything but dialing 911.
    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
    You are not paranoid if They are actually out to get you, however, They probably are not and you probably are.

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    I'm here to save the day.

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    Member Array chivvalry's Avatar
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    Never understood why he would leave the lower half of his face exposed like that... and no eye protection either. Silly.
    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
    You are not paranoid if They are actually out to get you, however, They probably are not and you probably are.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array Chad Rogers's Avatar
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    1) Batman I am not.

    2) It is not my responsibility to protect those who have the same opportunity as I do to protect themselves, but choose not to.

    3) The person I am helping might be a liberal.

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    Love number 3 Chad.

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