CCW "obligations", moral questions

CCW "obligations", moral questions

This is a discussion on CCW "obligations", moral questions within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Does any body have any GOOD advice on how to keep family members safe in a mall type environment? Malls have a lot of glass, ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array dynamo55b's Avatar
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    Question CCW "obligations", moral questions

    Does any body have any GOOD advice on how to keep family members safe in a mall type environment? Malls have a lot of glass, your not going to be able to creep up on the BG. Suggestions please, for keeping the family safe, moving, what to tell police, and what should a CCW do. Are you morally obligated to remove the threat simply because you have the means? Should you simply protect your own family and those immediately around you? Can they prosecute you for "hunting" the gun men in order to stop them from shooting others in line of fire?
    So many questions....
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  2. #2
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    Array Thumper's Avatar
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    Part of your question depends on what "moral code" you ascribe to.

    If biblical, Jesus said "no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for a friend".
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

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  3. #3
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I have no moral obligation to anyone but myself and my family in a time like this.

    My off duty guns are carried for self preservation, not to stop crimes perpetrated against others. Before you "flame" me let me just tell you I have had long talks with my Agency's lawyers regarding this and their off duty policies. Let's just say that while I may not agree with them I have a higher obligation to my family and making sure they have food to eat and a place to sleep.

    If you are a CCW holder I think the best thing you can do in a Mall Shooting type situation is to flee, if you safely can. Remember, your handgun is a tool of last resort and you don't know all the players. It would suck if you shot a responding "plainclothes" LEO, thinking he was the BG, or a responding LEO shot you thinking that you were the BG.

    Life ain't like the movies and as much as we might want to play Bruce Willis in Diehard it most definately will not be like what you see on the big screen. Now if said "Mall Shooter" was to point his gun at me, or someone I believe to be the "Mall Shooter" I think I could reasonably articulate in court why I took whatever actions I might have taken.

    Don't forget, when it's all said and done you will still have to be able to articulate why you did what you did.

    Biker

  4. #4
    Member Array politicalgeek's Avatar
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    Given the situation, if it were me I would abide by the laws of CYA first and foremost. Get to a safe position, ensure the safety of you and your family, help those around as well and get to a safe location. Possible call 911 and be a good witness, describe, in a calm manner, where you are in the mall, how many are with you, any injuries etc. I would prepare to draw, maybe not fully clear leather but have the cover garment out of the way, safety off in the holster. If said BG approaches line of fire, then you make the decision based on the moral/legal aspect.

    If it happens right in front of you, BG opening fire and all, then I say take the shot. Legally and morally you would be pretty justified. Otherwise, you may not have a description of who it is, how many etc. Keep those around safe, take leadership and help the police.

    Others may have other opinions.
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  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    As Thumper said, only you can decide if you are morally obligated to do anything other than protect you and yours.

    The laws, though, can be addressed in a somewhat more objective manner. I am not a lawyer and you should therefore not call me as a defense witness...

    You, the law abiding citizen, have every right to apprehend a person who is in the commission of a felony (what is usually called "Citizen's Arrest"). We'll assume we're going off of the rifleman at the Omaha mall and that it is pretty darned obvious to everybody involved what is going on. (Other situations, like coming out of the bar to a fight where you can't tell who's the undercover cop and who's the BG are a different matter. Obviously, if you are not the one immediately threatened you better darned well know what's going on before you jump in!)

    One way of apprehending a felon is with lethal force. While a cop has the authority to use lethal force much more leniently, you, private citizen, are pretty constrained by the law. Now, given the Omaha situation, you are there with a gun and there are no responding cops in sight, my take is you can shoot.

    Why? Well, he is in the commission of a felony and is clearly posing a lethal threat to innocents. That's all you need. He's also whacking people with rifle shots, meaning there's really good reason against moving straight to the endgame rather than trying to take him prisoner.

    Suppose you catch him reloading, you yell, "Don't move!" and he turns and runs away. Now, at this point he is no longer committing said felony, so theoretically you can't shoot, right? Well, you need some judgment here, but a rampaging shooter is clearly a continued threat to others and, so long as you have a reasonable belief that nobody else is going to apprehend him before he can start mowing down some more shoppers (you don't see any responding LEO or security yet, for example), you can shoot. You are certainly not legally obligated to do so.

    This argument comes from a Supreme Court case, Tennessee vs. Garner, which said that lethal force in the apprehension of a fleeing felon may not be used

    […] unless necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

    That's the basis, and those are the criteria: the felon is likely to escape and continue to pose a lethal threat to others.

    In practice, a lot may come down to your local political climate and the prosecutor/DA. They may give you the keys to the city for saving the day, or they may rake you over the coals as a Rambo-wannabe vigilante, but there would be solid law on your side either way.

    The only tactical advice I will offer is, once the cops show up, duck and cover and protect the ones you're with. Get out of the way, because all the cops know is that there is a crazed gunman on the loose. Bad time for mistaken identity.
    Last edited by kazzaerexys; December 6th, 2007 at 03:15 PM.
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  6. #6
    Member Array politicalgeek's Avatar
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    Good point. Keep in mind that most police forces are being trained in active shooter scenarios. Instead of waiting for SWAT, many are training the patrol level officer to work in 3-5 man teams to enter the building as they arrive on scene. Something to consider depending on the response time of the local LEO's.
    "That rifle on the wall of the labourer's cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there." -- George Orwell

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    You know, I tend to be with Biker on this situation.

    However, I believe you have to play it as you see it, and It would have to be a pretty compelling situation for me to get involved using lethal force to stop a third party crime.

    I have an obligation to my family to come home safely to provide for their future and that is a vow I made when I got married.

    Some situations are just flat out obvious but the vast majority of situations seem to go into the catagory of "things aren't always what they seem!" That can really ruin not only your whole day, but your entire life.

    I'll never say NEVER.... And I've gotten into some pretty heated debates on other threads about some situations I would feel compelled to intervene, but for the most part, you can put me in Bikers camp!

    There are no templets or users guides for this stuff. Things hinge on way too many intangables.

    Bottom line, most often you have to play it as you see it at the time and hope you aren't ill prepared and that you've given yourself enough training to get you through.

    There are way too many dynamics to even begin to get into laying out how to respond in an "active mall shooter" scenario without leaving out issues or being able to lay out a cook-book type format which inevitably leads to people disagreeing with you and end up in a heated argument.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Array rachilders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerRN View Post
    snip...
    If you are a CCW holder I think the best thing you can do in a Mall Shooting type situation is to flee, if you safely can. Remember, your handgun is a tool of last resort and you don't know all the players. It would suck if you shot a responding "plainclothes" LEO, thinking he was the BG, or a responding LEO shot you thinking that you were the BG.

    Life ain't like the movies and as much as we might want to play Bruce Willis in Diehard it most definately will not be like what you see on the big screen... snip
    Quote Originally Posted by Bark'n View Post
    snip...
    I have an obligation to my family to come home safely to provide for their future and that is a vow I made when I got married.

    snip...
    I'll never say NEVER.... And I've gotten into some pretty heated debates on other threads about some situations I would feel compelled to intervene, but for the most part, you can put me in Bikers camp!

    There are no templets or users guides for this stuff. Things hinge on way too many intangables.

    Bottom line, most often you have to play it as you see it at the time and hope you aren't ill prepared and that you've given yourself enough training to get you through...snip
    +1
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  9. #9
    Member Array dagor2k's Avatar
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    I really appreciate this discussion. There is SO much to consider as has been said. I am drawn to BikerRN's position by its clarity and simplicity. I can serve society and fulfill my duty in many ways but most of all by ensuring my family's safety. If one were to ever be caught up in an actual situation it would probably be so confusing, people in panic mode, if a family member was at imminent risk and no LEO's I would try to identify and engage the shooter(s) in a heartbeat - but if we could exit the scene that would be first choice else follow politicalgeek's plan of getting to a safe position and wait-n-see.
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  10. #10
    Member Array crossfireltd's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by BikerRN View Post
    I have no moral obligation to anyone but myself and my family in a time like this.

    My off duty guns are carried for self preservation, not to stop crimes perpetrated against others. Before you "flame" me let me just tell you I have had long talks with my Agency's lawyers regarding this and their off duty policies. Let's just say that while I may not agree with them I have a higher obligation to my family and making sure they have food to eat and a place to sleep.

    If you are a CCW holder I think the best thing you can do in a Mall Shooting type situation is to flee, if you safely can. Remember, your handgun is a tool of last resort and you don't know all the players. It would suck if you shot a responding "plainclothes" LEO, thinking he was the BG, or a responding LEO shot you thinking that you were the BG.

    Life ain't like the movies and as much as we might want to play Bruce Willis in Diehard it most definately will not be like what you see on the big screen. Now if said "Mall Shooter" was to point his gun at me, or someone I believe to be the "Mall Shooter" I think I could reasonably articulate in court why I took whatever actions I might have taken.

    Don't forget, when it's all said and done you will still have to be able to articulate why you did what you did.

    Biker
    +2....I could not have said it any better.
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  11. #11
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    Depends on where you are in relation to the perp, what the situation looks like, how much time has transpired, are LEO's in the building? Is the perp against a cinder block wall? How much experience does one have in a 'free fire' zone? How much are you willing to risk to save other people's lives?

    If there is one thing I have learned from reading other posts on this board, it is best to err on the side of caution, & be a good witness.

    That being said, if I KNEW the fellow was going to take as many lives as possible, it would be difficult to not try and stop the senseless act by any means necessary - just make sure & do it right.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerRN View Post
    I have no moral obligation to anyone but myself and my family in a time like this....I have a higher obligation to my family and making sure they have food to eat and a place to sleep.

    If you are a CCW holder I think the best thing you can do in a Mall Shooting type situation is to flee, if you safely can. Remember, your handgun is a tool of last resort and you don't know all the players. It would suck if you shot a responding "plainclothes" LEO, thinking he was the BG, or a responding LEO shot you thinking that you were the BG.

    Life ain't like the movies...
    Agreed, 100%

    If something like this goes down the first thing on my mind will be to:

    Step 1) Herd me and my family family to immediate hard cover. This is a primary goal;
    Step 2) If no hard cover can be found within the immediate vicinity then seek concealment;
    Step 3) Upon doing Step 1 and/or 2 then retreat to the closest exit pronto via visual short and intermediate distance (max 50') ranging by eye. If no point of escape can be found within 50' of our position then scan for BG(s) and direct my wife to cover the mouths of both our children so as to not draw attention to us per their crying, which would be a given.
    Step 4) Stay low, do not be caught in the open, and identify myself to all around me who can see/hear that I am good guy...as my sidearm is out and at the ready for whatever might come next.
    Step 5) If time allows, say a prayer then kiss my wife and kids on their faces.

    BTW as a matter of habit when ever I go somewhere be it a restaurant, bar, club, movie theater, office building, airplane, whatever...I always make note of the exits, where they are in relation to my current position or intended destination and the distance relative to my point of entry as well as distance from me in real time to any exits behind, beside, or to the front of me.
    That way if there is say a fire or some other event not just a nut bag on the loose with a mental problem then I know that I won't be dependent on chance or following the herd toward escape.
    I was told and taught to do this in my teens and it's proven to be useful a number of times throughout my life toward even just simply not getting lost in places that are new to me.

    - Janq is morally responsible for and to The Janq's, first and foremost
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  13. #13
    Member Array phaed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynamo55b View Post
    Does any body have any GOOD advice on how to keep family members safe in a mall type environment?
    yes. if the mall has a no guns sign posted, you don't shop there. other than that, it's a tough one. it's open, and there's no way to be situationally aware of so many people and so many vectors. you might run through drills just like you would at home for a fire or other emergencies. teach them how to seek cover quickly. this could be handy for any environment though, not just malls. get them used to splitting and running away from you...that will not be their natural choice.
    War is not the ugliest of things. Worse is the decayed state of moral feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which he cares for more than his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free. -J.S. Mill

  14. #14
    Member Array bigiceman's Avatar
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    I agree with the collect family, exit safely or find hard cover and a good defensive posture if not actually in direct involvement.

    If in sight of a person opening fire on others for no reason they have to be engaged, from cover (not concealment), because that threat is too imminent and real for self and loved ones.
    But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...
    "Baa."
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    Senior Member Array DrLewall's Avatar
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    Agreed! hunker down and be the best wittness you can..BUT, say you are hunker'd down..some of the patrons see that you are a GG with a gun and you do not take action other than trying to get yourself and your family out alive and you did not take any action to stop the BG...I guess since you have a gun and are in a gun free zone, your'e gonna be in trouble! Can't shop that mall no more!

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