Be a Good Witness?

This is a discussion on Be a Good Witness? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Our obligation is to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Not save the world. You may feel bad if you hear that someone was injured ...

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  1. #16
    Member Array johnsonabq's Avatar
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    Our obligation is to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Not save the world. You may feel bad if you hear that someone was injured or killed while you were waiting for a response to your 911 call. But... What about your family? What will they do if you wade into a lethal situation and get yourself killed? Anytime we draw our gun that is a possible outcome. Your obligation to them supersedes being "My brother's keeper". IMHO

    That being said, I know each situation is different and fluid. You do what you have to do. Just remember, "Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread". Keep your priorities straight.

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  3. #17
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    The level of involvement one is willing to commit to is an individual choice. I think that each individual might be surprised however as to what they'll actually do/not do if and when they have that decision and we all are going to have to "wait and see" what the the final outcome of that involvement will be.

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  4. #18
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    I have seven year old daughter that needs me. My intervention in any situation is predicated as to how I will be able to take care of her in the future. Of course if we were in a situation that could result in harm to us I would do what was needed. I am very wary of intervening in someone elses business.

  5. #19
    Distinguished Member Array Bunny's Avatar
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    Sorry, this is a long answer...

    Quote Originally Posted by agentmel View Post
    I'd like to get everyone's take on this, but I see a couple of issues:
    1. If I'm not engaging, that means I probably don't think its an actual threat to any innocent parties.
    2. Even if it were an actual threat and I decide not to engage, hanging around to be a "good witness" could potentially make me and mine "collateral damage."

    Obviously, each scenario would be different, but I'm leaning towards either engaging or leaving and calling 911 from safety.

    Mel
    Here's my recent personal experience, but bear in mind I was not CC at the time. In fact, I'd never shot a pistol at the time. Ba-a-a-a-a!

    1. There was an actual, very real threat but I was not engaging because I was being attacked. However, there was a person with a firearm trained on the "threat" at that moment. He acted, neutralized the threat, and saved me from untold harm. HAD I been CCing at the time, the whole incident happened in under maybe 1.5 to 3 seconds, and my strong hand was the first thing to be harmed, I would not have seen the attack coming, and most likely, I would not have been able to engage by the time I had.

    2. The decision to engage or not had been taken from me at that point by several factors, my not being armed being the greatest one. BUT, during the whole incident, despite a major adrenaline dump (tunnel vision, my hearing went out, heart rate spiked and then I plummeted as I started going into shock and bleeding), I at least had the presence of mind to think that I needed to stay calm and focus as best as possible because I was going to have to tell the story to someone, somewhere, as shots were fired.

    The next day, I had to go into local PD and give a statement to a Lieutenant, speak with a Captain, and also gave several statements to local news reporters. My being a "good witness" at the very least helped decide that this was a "good shoot" and the LEO who came to my aid with his shotgun was not reprimanded in any way. It also helped to calm down multiple neighbors and paint the LEO's action in a favorable light, when the media was hysterical about shots fired in a residential area.

    -------

    Were the situation different and I would be able to legally CC in a SHTF-type thing, then my answer is this: Even if I'm not engaging, it doesn't mean I don't think it's a threat to innocent parties. But I may also see it as the threat to innocent parties would be even greater if I were to get involved. Such as a gun to someone's head and I didn't know if I was fast enough or close enough to engage properly before an innocent got their head blown clean off.

    I agree with your view on hanging around and possibly becoming collateral damage. In that case, I'd try very hard to get as many details as possible while leaving, and immediately relay them to 9-1-1, or get to a safe place to observe (if possible) while calling 9-1-1.
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  6. #20
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmel View Post
    I've heard several times on this forum that if you don't think you personally are going to engage (weapon or otherwise) a threat, then you should stay back and "be a good witness."

    I'd like to get everyone's take on this, but I see a couple of issues:
    1. If I'm not engaging, that means I probably don't think its an actual threat to any innocent parties.
    2. Even if it were an actual threat and I decide not to engage, hanging around to be a "good witness" could potentially make me and mine "collateral damage."

    Obviously, each scenario would be different, but I'm leaning towards either engaging or leaving and calling 911 from safety.

    Mel
    I guess I still don't fully understand some of this thinking. Before I got my CHL it did not bother me to intervene if an incident required it. Why should or would I change my behavior just because I happen to have a permit and am probably carrying a gun.

    Both of your choices 1 and 2 are for not engaging. If you have choosen that as your option then you might as well leave and call 911 or at least get yourself to a safe place and call 911, and report whatever happens. You have already made the choice and therefore are of little or no help to the situation at hand. Be a good witness or reporter and read the results in the paper.

    I don't really see any need for discussion based on the options you have presented. CYA and live with it.
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  7. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    I guess I still don't fully understand some of this thinking. Before I got my CHL it did not bother me to intervene if an incident required it. Why should or would I change my behavior just because I happen to have a permit and am probably carrying a gun.

    Both of your choices 1 and 2 are for not engaging. If you have choosen that as your option then you might as well leave and call 911 or at least get yourself to a safe place and call 911, and report whatever happens. You have already made the choice and therefore are of little or no help to the situation at hand. Be a good witness or reporter and read the results in the paper.

    I don't really see any need for discussion based on the options you have presented. CYA and live with it.
    Well, the third option is unspoken:

    3. Engage because an innocent party is under threat.

    My point for the original post was to suggest that sticking around to watch something unfold (or not) may be more trouble than it's worth.

    I think you may have a point though, because you wouldn't need to be a witness to a non-event. All I was getting at is that there are situations where violence can occur and sticking around could be a bad idea.

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  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbmccord View Post
    I could not agree with retsupt99 more. Your firearm is to be used when you fear for your life... or your family's life. You are not a vigilante. That is not what we are taught when we take on the responsibility of legally carrying a firearm.
    I agree here and with Ret...

    I would take cover and call 911. If the fight made its way toward me, I would retreat to cover further away. If I am fired upon during my retreat, however, the scenario changes and I take out the threat.
    Not me. After calling 911, if the fight moves my way Id sure like to move away but I see a scenario where Im in an open room or whatever and there is no where to go, Im not waiting to be fired on first. Im ending the threat.

    Remember, to be LEGALLY armed, you must do everything in your power to avoid the conflict and use your firearm as a last resort only.
    I disagree. I have no duty to retreat. Sure, I dont want to have to use it but Im not going to wait and see what the threat is going to do. Whether he is going to pass me over or come at me. Nope, Im ending the threat.
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  9. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbmccord View Post
    I could not agree with retsupt99 more. Your firearm is to be used when you fear for your life... or your family's life. You are not a vigilante. That is not what we are taught when we take on the responsibility of legally carrying a firearm.

    I would take cover and call 911. If the fight made its way toward me, I would retreat to cover further away. If I am fired upon during my retreat, however, the scenario changes and I take out the threat.

    Remember, to be LEGALLY armed, you must do everything in your power to avoid the conflict and use your firearm as a last resort only.
    You posted the story about the priviate citizen shooting a BG who was robbibg a Store in Nashville,Who was lying on the floor,waiting for it to be over,and then decided to start shooting at the bad guys ,who 1 he killed i think,he didnt work there or nothing,just happened to be there,the costumer was just lying on the floor as asked by the bad guys.....so what do you call that, he wasent being threatened directly,there were I think 8 cusomers on the floor,when he decided to not be a witness,bur John Whyne instead,and he got away with it...You should know you posted the story,and I live right outside of Nashville,He was lucky the cops didnt shoot him.They dont like CCW's here.They think they are the only ones to be shooting people.....lol..They feel like they were cheating outta getting to do it themselves...

  10. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfl View Post
    How about the sleepless nights if a violent crime happened you could have prevented ?

    I found myself in that situation: middle of the night, a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, a Camaro stopped in the middle of the road, a girl waving for us to stop and some suspicious shadows in the bushes.
    We both had our guns, I decided to stop and investigate; it was a bona fide break-down, the girl (early 20s) was terrified, jumped in our truck, we took her home at her brother's - a few streets from where I live.
    Had we not stopped and I found the next day in the news she had been raped, killed, etc. I would have a long white beard.
    Yeah, I need to look at myself in the mirror to shave and worrying during sleepless nights will turn hair gray ...

    BTW in Florida, it is admissible to use lethal force to prevent a forcible felony.

    I dislike hard rules; these situations are all different and are a judgment call.

    A while ago, here, I read about a guy who stopped to help a cop who had been injured by BGs ... betcha the cop was happy the guy was not a "good witness".

    I believe one of the big problems we are facing, as a culture, is that we don't care about others, for many reasons, including liability issues.

    We are all different with different needs and different reponsabilities, so I am only talking for myself.
    I could not watch somebody being injured, raped, killed and just take notes of what's happening. I might get in trouble with the law, but I'll be at peace with myself.
    I agree...for the most part. Picking the young lady up could have revealed itself as a grave error as she shoved a gun in your ribs and called over her accomplices, but I understand it would have felt all wrong to leave her there.

  11. #25
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    Posted by AllAmerican:
    I disagree. I have no duty to retreat.
    I am not certain if it is a federal requirement, or just the state of Texas. I know that we are taught that if there is an avenue of escape, you have no legal right to fire. I can and will do anything within my legal rights to protect myelf and my family first... others a distant second.
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  12. #26
    Member Array tbmccord's Avatar
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    TN Mitch,

    I spent a lot of time in Hendersonville in my younger years. My wife used to sing with Jim Vest and the Nashville Cats. Jim Vest is a Hendersonville resident and country music singer/producer in Nashville.

    I spent 31 years in the Nashville area before leaving in 1989. I had a lot of dealings with Nashville Metro Police department in my work with electronic security systems. Things could have changed in the last 20 years, but back then, I didn't know a single officer that fit the description you used. As a matter of fact, there is a retired officer by the name of Tommy Elder that I was named after. I admire and respect that man. As a teenager, I dated the daughter of Jim Griffin, a Newman's Raiders motorcycle cop. His daughter was one of the first fatalities of anorexia that I ever knew of. I haven't heard from or seen Jim for over 30 years.

    Now for your concerns: I now live in Texas and have no first hand knowledge of the shooter or his mindset before, during, or after the shooting. I don't know anything other than what was shown. There has to be circumstances that led the officers to believe that he was justified because they did not arrest him. Who can say whether one of the bad guys caused him fear for his life?

    We can analyze situations and scenarios all day long. But until you are under the pressure of the actual situation, you do not know for sure what you will do. I have found out first hand exactly what I will do by what I have done.
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  13. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbmccord View Post
    Posted by AllAmerican:

    I am not certain if it is a federal requirement, or just the state of Texas. I know that we are taught that if there is an avenue of escape, you have no legal right to fire. I can and will do anything within my legal rights to protect myelf and my family first... others a distant second.
    When discussing these matters, we need to be aware of the fact that each state has different requirements for the concealed handgun permit holders.

    Some require that one must try be able to retreat if they can do it in complete safety, other states have no requirement to retreat at all.

    There are no federal requirements. Its a states issue.
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  14. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmel View Post
    ... a couple of issues:

    1. If I'm not engaging, that means I probably don't think its an actual threat to any innocent parties.
    There are any number of reasons why I might not engage. I'm not in the game of providing security services to all innocent parties, so that's not the standard that drives me.

    I'll engage if life is on the line, if I'm reasonable likely to alter the situation to the good, if it's obvious that without action folks are not going to make it.

    2. Even if it were an actual threat and I decide not to engage, hanging around to be a "good witness" could potentially make me and mine "collateral damage."
    Yup. But then, life's a contact sport. If you're close enough to be on the fringe of (or deep into) a situation, you're close enough to catch some backsplatter.

    Obviously, each scenario would be different, but I'm leaning towards either engaging or leaving and calling 911 from safety.
    Yup. If others aren't in dire need of help, then I'd best be helping me. Exiting a situation that's blowing sideways should always be considered as a possible option.
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  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfl View Post
    How about the sleepless nights if a violent crime happened you could have prevented ?

    I found myself in that situation: middle of the night, a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, a Camaro stopped in the middle of the road, a girl waving for us to stop and some suspicious shadows in the bushes.
    We both had our guns, I decided to stop and investigate; it was a bona fide break-down, the girl (early 20s) was terrified, jumped in our truck, we took her home at her brother's - a few streets from where I live.
    Had we not stopped and I found the next day in the news she had been raped, killed, etc. I would have a long white beard.
    Yeah, I need to look at myself in the mirror to shave and worrying during sleepless nights will turn hair gray ...

    BTW in Florida, it is admissible to use lethal force to prevent a forcible felony.

    I dislike hard rules; these situations are all different and are a judgment call.

    A while ago, here, I read about a guy who stopped to help a cop who had been injured by BGs ... betcha the cop was happy the guy was not a "good witness".

    I believe one of the big problems we are facing, as a culture, is that we don't care about others, for many reasons, including liability issues.

    We are all different with different needs and different reponsabilities, so I am only talking for myself.
    I could not watch somebody being injured, raped, killed and just take notes of what's happening. I might get in trouble with the law, but I'll be at peace with myself.

  16. #30
    Ex Member Array PNUT's Avatar
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    FarronWolf makes a very good point. Intervening doesn't necessarily mean using your weapon. I've stopped crimes, and grabbed criminals without even being armed.
    One was a guy who had stabbed an LEO, another was a guy who was beating the mess out of a cop....maybe I should have let the guys go, after all, the LEOs had the same opportunity that I had to be in better shape, or a better fighter. At least that's the mentality of some...not me. When good people stop caring the BG's win. That's one reason that so many communities are cesspools, no one cares enough about their fellow man to inconvenience themselves.

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