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; 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 ...

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Thread: Be a Good Witness?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array agentmel's Avatar
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    Be a Good Witness?

    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.

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    Distinguished Member Array SonofASniper's Avatar
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    For the most part, I agree with you. If I am not engaging, then either I don't feel that they are a threat to anyone, or that the threat or potential threat is great enough that I am leaving the area before I have to get involved.

    Some obvious witness scenerios that I would probably go out of my way to give a statement are road rage incidents that involve other parties, fist fights between two morons, etc.

    Otherwise, I think you and I are probably on the same page in our line of thoughts.
    I will support gun control when you can guarantee all guns are removed from this planet. That includes military and law enforcement. When you can accomplish that, then I will be the last person to lay down my gun. Then I will carry the weapon that replaces the gun.

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    As to #1...
    Not necessarily, what if you see two individuals (one nicely dressed) and the other kind of shabby looking...a gunshot is heard and a struggle ensues. Is it two drug dealers? A cop poorly dressed for his cover? An innocent bystander being robbed?
    Be a good witness and call 911.

    As to #2...
    I wouldn't think one should stand around hoping to get close for a front row seat. I'd be looking for cover and dialing 911.

    Now if you're the target, everything changes, of course.
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    Member Array tbmccord's Avatar
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    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.
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    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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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.
    +1

    Jerry

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    Another one here for: “not my job”. As I’ve stated before, I’m no sheepdog for strangers.
    Too many variables, and too many sleepless nights if I were to opt in.
    Regards,
    “Monsters are real and so are ghosts. They live inside of us, and sometimes they win.”
    ~ Stephen King

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    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    +1 on the above.

    I'm under Authority and He says my job is self- and family-defense. Out of love for my family and obedience to my calling I can't/won't abdicate! If I can assist LE with a call and stay consistent with my job to protect myself and my family, great! If I can't, too bad - I'll call them as soon as I can.

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    Distinguished Member Array SonofASniper's Avatar
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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.
    Just to clarify, I did not mean that getting involved in an incident meant I did so with my firearm. There are many aspects of life and incidents that you can either choose to insert yourself into or stay back and be a "good witness". It is rare to run into one that requires a firearm.

    When you say incident, situation, emergency, etc. to me, I apply a fairly broad definition to it. To me, it is something that has occured that is out of the ordinary and may require immediate emergency services.
    I will support gun control when you can guarantee all guns are removed from this planet. That includes military and law enforcement. When you can accomplish that, then I will be the last person to lay down my gun. Then I will carry the weapon that replaces the gun.

  10. #9
    Member Array Chiller2's Avatar
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    Another one here for: “not my job”. As I’ve stated before, I’m no sheepdog for strangers.
    Too many variables, and too many sleepless nights if I were to opt in.
    Regards,
    So you see a couple of bad guys raping or assaulting a woman you just take your family and leave?
    I would have more sleepless nights just walking away then any I would have by intervening.You know there is a reason most CCL laws include a provision for "defense of others"

  11. #10
    jfl
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    Distinguished Member Array jfl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saber View Post
    Another one here for: “not my job”. As I’ve stated before, I’m no sheepdog for strangers.
    Too many variables, and too many sleepless nights if I were to opt in.
    Regards,
    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.
    The first rule of a gunfight: "Don't be there !"
    The second rule: "Bring enough gun"

    jfl
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  12. #11
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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.
    You make an important point here, and some of these possibilities leave little room for misinterpretations.
    We still have to be careful about the situations, but I'm not against being a good witness, or a good Samaritan, or a good shot.

    It all depends upon the situation, I'd still have to be there.

    Stay armed...stay alert...stay safe!
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  13. #12
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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.
    Hello jfl,
    I agree with you with; … these situations are all different and are a judgment call.” And also; “The first rule of a gunfight: "Don't be there!"

    I mean after all, this entire thread is based in the abstract; so who really knows how we would actually perform in real life? Perhaps if I were at a fast food place and a guy pointed a gun at young cashier’s face; my male-maternal instincts could take over, and I may just decide; ahh screw it, and react accordingly. After all, I posted Steven Kings quote in my sig' for a reason; since it could easily apply to any of us. ~

    Still, as a rule, I stay clear of potential compromise that doesn't directly involve me or my loved ones'.
    Regards,
    Last edited by Saber; May 16th, 2009 at 02:47 PM.
    “Monsters are real and so are ghosts. They live inside of us, and sometimes they win.”
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  14. #13
    Senior Member Array Rob P.'s Avatar
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    CCW is not an ability to become a citizen activist against crime. It's a license to allow you to defend yourself FROM attack. This means it is defensive only and absolutely.

    There is no mandate to involve yourself just because you carry a weapon. What you do in each "what if" scenario should be based on IF you were weaponless and you happened across a crime in progress. Not "if you were carrying and saw something" as is the theme for most of these type threads.

    If I'm at the local hotdog shack and someone comes up to rob the joint I'm a good witness UNTIL it goes from robbery to violence in my direction. Same deal if I'm walking down the street and see some thuggery in an alley - a loud "HEY!" and being a good witness is about my limit. Until it gets violent in my specific direction that is.

    I am not a cop, nor do I want to play one in my fantasies.

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    For those of you that say you wouldn't be able to live with yourself, or have sleepless nights if you didn't intervene:

    If you wish to assume responsibilities for others that they weren't willing to assume for themselves, have fun with that. I'll just wait for you here.

    I know cops that have gone on rape calls that were in reality "role playing" by amourous couples or "friends" (think more than two people involved here). When they got it all sorted out they learned that this was consenting adults spicing up their lovemaking. What authority do you have to "sort it out" or detain people?

    Sleepless nights are a Godsend! At least you are still having nights. Let's say you jump in and go play hero. You forgot to scan your surroundings and the badguys partner just shot you from behind.

    I will intervene, but it will be at my choosing and to the level I want to, until you become a threat to me and mine. I have no teenage fantasies about being the "Knight on a White Horse" who saves the damsel in distress.

    Again, ask yourself why you should assume a responsibility for someone that they weren't willing to assume for themselves? To me, if you make that choice for them it seems more than a little arrogant to me. We each have choices and some of the choices we make may or may not be the best ones, but at least we can say we made them. Since we made the choice we should live or die with our choices. If that cause someone who decided not to provide for their own safety and security to die, I hate to sound callous but, tough. They had the same opportunities you had, but made their decision.

    I can live with intervening to the level I choose to. I hope that you can live with not having sleepless nights. Just some "food for thought". Unless you know what's going on, leave it for the on duty local constabulary. Calling 911 is intervening, it just may not be to the level you "think" you need to intervene.

    BTW: I am writing this as if I am off duty, as that pertains to most CCW Holders.

    Biker
    Last edited by BikerRN; May 16th, 2009 at 03:33 PM. Reason: clarify point

  16. #15
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    BikerRN, as usual, serious words of wisdom!

    I am constantly saying, "You have to decide what you are going to do as it plays out and the facts roll in!" And, "I will intervene on my terms!

    Now that may not make a lot of people happy, but it should keep me alive and out of prison.

    I just think it's extremely "poor form" for those who rather cavalierly spout off that choice is of the cowardly sort. Kind of gets under my skin when it comes from people who have no idea what it's like to deal with violent encounters in real life or for a living.
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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