I was out walking in our neighborhood a couple of days ago around dusk. I was almost through with my walk, when I noticed a couple of girls, probably around 5 or 6 years old, walking toward me about a block away. Now our neighborhood is a middle-class, blue-collar, very safe neighborhood, so nothing unusual about this.
A few seconds later, an earlier-model small sedan with faded paint stopped by the girls, and a man emerged and approached the girls. Still nothing particularly unusual, but I became more interested. The man was wearing dirty jeans, work boots, a dirty T-shirt and a black baseball cap. The man exchanged a few words with the girls, and then grabbed one of them by the arm. She tried to fall to the ground kicking and screaming, and her friend ran away.
The man dragged the screaming girl around to the driver side of the car and pushed her in, and then slid in behind her. Now I was on high alert. As the vehicle started towards me, I had by then approached within about 50 yards and drawn my Glock 26. I had a clear shot at the driver's head through the windshield. As I took aim, I remembered that the Texas Penal Code gives one the right to protect the lives of third parties. Specifically, Section 9.33 reads:
"A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect a third person if:
(1) under the circumstances as the actor reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be justified under Section 9.31 or 9.32 in using force or deadly force to protect himself against the unlawful force or unlawful deadly force he reasonably believes to be threatening the third person he seeks to protect; and
(2) the actor reasonably believes that his intervention is immediately necessary to protect the third person.
The Texas CHL course is very good at educating students about the legal ramifications of concealed carry, and I had an excellent instructor. But our instructor also hit very hard on the point that we should all decide whether we would be willing to risk going to jail and depriving our families of a husband and father for many years over the death of an innocent bystander in the attempt to protect a third party.
All of this was going through my head. This all seemed to be happening in slow motion, and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Rather than shooting, I lowered my gun and got the license number of the car as it went by me. I used my cell phone to call 911 and report the abduction. Chills went through my body as a few hours later, an officer called me to let me know that they had located the car and driver at his residence a few blocks away.
It turned out that the man was the girl's father
and he stopped to pick her up on her way home because dinner was waiting. The girl had other ideas - she was determined to walk home with her next-door girl-friend.