In defense of others

This is a discussion on In defense of others within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by rottkeeper Lima, I'm not knocking your decision. As I said earlier, everyone has a choice and I will not judge their choices. ...

View Poll Results: Would you use your gun in defense of others?

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  • My gun is used only for me and family

    37 17.79%
  • I would defend a 3rd party if it was lawful

    163 78.37%
  • I would only defend a 3rd party if they were a child

    8 3.85%
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Thread: In defense of others

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by rottkeeper View Post
    Lima, I'm not knocking your decision. As I said earlier, everyone has a choice and I will not judge their choices. We are all free to make those decisions without ridicule from others as there are too many mitigating factors to weigh. In other words it's not so black and white.

    If I had children I may have the same opinion as you but I don't so I can't pretend to know if it would change how I would react. JMO
    I don't think you are knocking my decision.

    We (collectively) are discussing our views. That's what this forum is here for.

    It's interesting what can happen over the course of a few years.

    When I first joined up here I made a rather lengthy post about why I would jump in to defend someone else. I listed all of the same reasons as others have. I respected the decisions of those who said they would not or could not use their firearms in the defense of others. I asked myself all of the same questions, "How could I live with myself if I let some innocent person die or go undefended?", "What about them and their families," etc.

    Then my husband and I started trying to have a family. After eight months of trying and one lost baby I met my first and greatest fear: losing the child I was finally blessed with.

    When he was born and they put him in my arms I knew I would die to protect him and my life with him. He depends on me for everything. He depends on me for his food, for his warmth, for his cleanliness, even his education and love and NO ONE can or will do a better job of giving him those things than his own mother. But that means I have to be there for him. He needs me.

    A protective instinct didn't blossom inside me, it clawed its way to the surface and started growling.

    I don't trust any one else to do the job God gave me to do. I begged Him for this chance and now that He gave it to me I'm not going to do something reckless or foolish that could jeopardize it. I am my son's mother and that means I need to be around to be his mother.

    I recently got to experience his first birthday. I want to be there for his second and his tenth. I want to watch him graduate from high school and college. I want to be at his wedding and meet my grandchildren. I want to be there to teach him to stand up for himself and to be strong. I want him to learn how to treat a woman by watching how his Daddy treats me. I can only do all of that if I'm here.

    If there is even the slightest hint that an unnecessary action on my part may jeopardize that I'm going to take a LONG pause and consider my next actions very carefully.

    Sure, I could go down "the hero" and my kid could grow up telling the story about how his mother died saving someone else. But, if you asked him in his adulthood if he'd trade that final story for a kiss on his knee when he fell or a hug when he was sad or a bedtime story and lullaby when it was bed time or the personal approval of the woman he loves or a special treat when he brings home a good report card, I bet he'd choose the latter. A good story can't tuck you in at night or give you advice or love you.. and it certainly can't replace a parent.

    I am not afraid of acting in the defense of others. I can't even completely rule out the possibility that I may because, as you said, it's not all so black and white. I'm not even afraid of death as I'd throw myself in front of a pack of wild dogs to save those I love.

    I have only one fear and that's for the future of my child. His future is better served with me in it and that means making wise decisions about my actions in regards to others.

    All that being said, I'd take a bullet for my husband in a second and I'd fight to the death to defend him. I put my own safety below that of my husbands as I think it is even more important for my son to have his father in his life than me.

    My defensive priorities are as follows:
    1. My son/husband
    2. Me
    3. My extended family
    4. Friends
    5. Children
    6. Everyone else

    I'm not a cold-hearted woman. I certainly won't stand there indifferently. Yes, I'll call the police. I'll be a good witness. I certainly cannot say that I could just stand there and watch a young woman get rapped or a child abused. As long as it didn't endanger my child I would probably do all that I could, but, like you said, there is no black and white and I cannot make a blanket statement of "I'd help!" when the circumstances are so limiting.

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  3. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by LethalStang View Post
    Thank you. Someone else who knows the meaning of "self-sacrafice for the common good".
    The self-sacrifice you speak of may cost you thousands and/or a long jail sentence...I'd be extremely careful.

    Being a good witness is just as important as jumping in...if I'm not 99% sure of the situation, I would refrain from being the 'citizen cop' on location. OMO
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  4. #48
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  5. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    The self-sacrifice you speak of may cost you thousands and/or a long jail sentence...I'd be extremely careful.

    Being a good witness is just as important as jumping in...if I'm not 99% sure of the situation, I would refrain from being the 'citizen cop' on location. OMO
    I think maybe the question might need to be changed to if you were 99% sure of the situation........ "I would defend a 3rd party if it was lawful"
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  6. #50
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    I voted that I would defend a 3rd party but I can say this, it would have to be 100% clear what the circumstances are. I will not jump into a situation without knowing what is going on and end up with my butt in a sling.

    Now, if it is a child I am defending, I will definitely step in to defend a child.
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  7. #51
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    Two things:

    1) Crawling into a burning automobile to pull another person to safety is not a valid parallel to shooting an attacker, because when you run toward the flames there is no risk of killing an innocent person (other than yourself) if you misunderstand the flow of events. But when you intervene with gun in hand, that is exactly and precisely the risk you are taking.

    2) Lawsuits aren't the primary fear that would keep a trained and responsible person from jumping in. Fear of killing the wrong person is really the primary fear, followed closely (and not unreasonably) by the fear of spending the entire rest of your life in jail for getting it wrong.

    So...

    If you choose to intervene using firearms, you'd better be overwhelmingly certain you understand exactly what is happening, who the aggressor really is, whether or not the innocent really is innocent or merely looks that way.

    And you'd also better be dirty-word certain you can back up your plans with an honest and realistic understanding of your own limitations and skills. The fact is that when intervening in someone else's fight, you are likely to be facing

    • a confusing, chaotic situation
    • with rapidly-moving participants
    • including at least one and possibly multiple innocents close to the attacker but whom you must not hit,
    • and distances somewhat or significantly greater than you would face when using the firearm in your own defense.


    How good is your shooting, really? Is your accuracy really good enough to cope with a small, distant, moving target under extreme stress, and no matter how much stress you feel are your shots absolutely guaranteed not to go astray and kill an innocent bystander or witness?

    If you are not 100% confident -- realistically confident -- in your ability to do that, then perhaps you'd better rethink your plans to intervene.

    Think long and hard about that, whichever way you choose. And then if you still don't think you could ever walk away or tend your own family first, for God's sake and the sake of every person who has ever loved you: get some good training and keep it fresh.

    pax
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  8. #52
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    I would defend another (beyond my family). The difference is I would be far more likely to use a firearm to defend myself and my family than I would another. To many variables to list them all.
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  9. #53
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    Lots of good discussion on the issue here.

    Let's all agree that probably none of us are so cold-hearted that we would just laugh at someone being brutally murdered, chalk it up to them being unprepared, and go on our merry way. That is caricature.

    Likewise I doubt that any are planning on becoming a vigilante, going all Punisher on people who they feel need "justice." Again, a caricature.

    That being said, the other categories are vague and difficult to assess. Would I step in if I saw a woman being raped? Darn right I would, because I have a wife and daughters and it's the right thing to do. Would I step in if I saw two guys going at it and one draws a knife? That is far murkier, especially if I have family around. I certainly would not step in without all the answers.

    Lima, I am willing to bet you'd step in to prevent a crime like a rape or a kidnapping, whether that is a child or not. And for some of us who have said that they would step in, there are obviously a lot of times that you would get to cover, protect your brood, and be a witness.

    And for the record I voted that I would step in for a 3rd party, because I can see plenty of instances when I would.
    "...whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36)
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  10. #54
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    I would only intervene if someone was in immediate danger of death or serious injury.I'm not gonna just watch someone get beat to death or burn in a fire or something if I can at least try to help.

    Any other crime I might see..... I have a cell phone if I feel a call to the police is necessary. I'm not a cop, nor do I get paid to fight crime.
    When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
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  11. #55
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    Tough questions

    This is a tough one. I generally have the instinct to help others. Its the BSA law and a good rule of thumb too.

    That said, if I saw some altercation with two people I didn't know, I don't think Id draw. Ive got a son and wife. Those people in the altercation may be fighting over drugs that one stole from the other, or some such nonsense.

    But I can't exactly say I'm on the page of NOT helping others. For example, I think about one of my closest friends in the whole world, a women I would march into the gaping maw of hell for if she needed me to. If she was being threatened would I draw to protect her life? Abso-friggin-lutely. But is she family? No. Son, daughter, wife, etc...No, on all counts. Shes just an innocent third party. But I would risk my life any day for her.

    So while I cant say I would be willing to draw for a third party, meaning someone I see in public I cant exactly say its for just my "family". My family is bigger than just that.

    Alex!

  12. #56
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    I'm fairly certain that nearly all of us would come to the aid of another if we were reasonably certain of the situation. I'd like to think I would jump in to assist another. And no matter what you state here I can think of a few real situations that I am certain everyone here would use their gun and jump in to stop the situation and even hand your child off to a stranger to do so because they were very clear situations with a known outcome if someone didn't stop the BG.

    On a different note, one tough situation at a neighborhood store here happened a few years back where the REALLY bad guys took permanent care of a wannabe bad guy playing the big shot and got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Bad guys out on a hit to take care of another BG. If I happened on that crime in progress and I stopped it with a gun or some other measure, the really bad guys or their associates would have definitely gone after my family. So of course it will always depend on the situation but yoou have to read it correctly.
    "I wish I would have done the hard things when they were easier to do."

  13. #57
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    Well, ya had to go and open a can of worms on new years day didn't ya, SleepingZ?

    I voted "if it were lawfull", but I'd like to add "it depends"

    Violence tends to unfold very very quickly leaving even very observant people wondering what just happened.
    That, coupled with the knowledge that I am solely responsible for my own actions are going to cause me to reach for my phone first.

    But there too, I've seen stories where dialing 911 on a cell phone drew the BG's attention and got the good samaritan attacked. But in that case, shooting would be justified as it would then be self defense.

    There are countless other potential factors also, as every situation is unique in some way, and there's no way to fully predict. But I have been known to keep my wits in high-stress situations, and call for help rather than melt down or tackle a situation I was simply physically incapable of handling alone. (Not a SD situation, there was an accident at work and I was able to call for help and prevent a fatality)

  14. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffMRC View Post
    I'm fairly certain that nearly all of us would come to the aid of another if we were reasonably certain of the situation.
    That's my sentiment, essentially.

    I require knowing who the GG/BG are, knowing whether there's a good chance of my actions making a difference, and knowing there's a good chance of my actions being seen as honorable and good. Basically, when it's clear what's right and what needs doing. Without that, if it's not clear and instead (claimed) "innocents" are being threatened by my actions, then all I'd be doing is swinging karma's manure cart from one head over to mine, helping to destroy my own family's future.

    Thank society's generally over-developed sense of power and bloodlust for that, going after good sams with such relish as is so often the case. Sad, what that has caused. Want it to be different? So do I. Once it is, we'll have presumption of innocence; we'll have protection of claimed self-defense and defense of others; we'll have tens of millions of good sams lauded for the good they do, going way beyond what anyone imagines in order to help and protect others. I'll be one of them. Absolutely. We need that day to come. And all it takes is simple change in a few statutes and refusal to indict in cases of do-good such as we're discussing. So close, and yet so far.

    That all being said, we do need to keep in mind that not all "help" requires use of a firearm, if firearm is the only real defensive tool one has in hand. Help can take many forms. As we know from Lott's research and statistical work, it's clear that a huge percentage of situations are stopped merely by someone having the potential ability to stop a crime. Many crimes are stopped by display of a weapon. Many are stopped simply by someone being there, yelling for help, bringing two friends, videotaping the scene. Even in bad situations where overt physical involvement won't stop the crime, documenting the license plates/people involved, trailing the perps, at least calling for the cavalry ... all of these things are providing help. In certain situations, they might be the best choices, depending on circumstances. I highly doubt anyone here would do zip, ignoring the need of another entirely, particularly when the situation appears dire.

    As usual, Pax makes several lucid and valid points. In short, getting it wrong can have dire consequences for all involved.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
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  15. #59
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    I have not read the entire thread, and I have no intention to, or get involved in any discussion. Each person has the right to make a decision and and obligation to live with the consequences of that decision, right or wrong.

    Me and mine.

    3rd party, there would have to be soooooo much intel on the parties involved - I'd have to be there 100% from the start, and witness 100% that an innocent life is in dire jeopardy, then there is my risk factor, bystander risk factor...and there is absolutely no other options available.
    Sticks

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  16. #60
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    3rd party, there would have to be soooooo much intel on the parties involved - I'd have to be there 100% from the start, and witness 100% that an innocent life is in dire jeopardy, then there is my risk factor, bystander risk factor...and there is absolutely no other options available.


    While there are some few situations where it's crystal clear, generally there are a lot of criteria to be met before it's certain any "help" would be helpful. There's the rub.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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