November 12th, 2009 12:08 PM
Would this be justified?
There was an incident the other night out front of my house. There were about 12 kids between the ages of 12 and 15 out front on skateboards being obnoxiously loud. It was around 1900 and I was on my computer in the front room so I could hear them clearly fighting out front. I poked my head out the window when I saw two kids brawling in the street. The one kid got up and ran off towards my house down the sidewalk. Another kid went running after him screaming “I’m gonna kick your butt”! Got him and started beating him up again in the street. I almost wanted to step out and intervene and tell the kids to get lost. I told my wife to call the police instead. The police showed up a little later shortly after the kids dispersed.
The kid was on the ground getting beat up, I was OC as I usually am at home… this is another grey area I wonder about. Could I have legally intervened and used my firearm (either holstered or in hand) as a deterrent to scare the kids off to keep this kid on the ground from getting harmed more? I mean one against 12 is bad odds, but someone is getting hurt. My firearm could have put me on equal footing easily with these punks. Or should I have stayed back as I did and called the police and have them show up after the fact when I could have stopped it right then? I split both morally and legally on this issue.
What do you guys think?
November 12th, 2009 12:17 PM
I personally would have gone outside. A similar situation happened near my home while I was walking the dog. Walking past a skate park, several boys were fighting, I was OCing, and decided to call the police. During the call, I informed the dispatcher that I was armed, and OCing, and that I was going to try to stop the fight. She said to do so carefully and that she would inform any responding LEOs that I was legally armed.
The kid got hit a few times, but when I approached the group, all fighting stopped, and I got all to stay there until the police arived and could take care of the situation.
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
November 12th, 2009 12:19 PM
One can argue both sides of this, with valid points. FWIW, I'll tell you that I decided long ago not to passively allow evil in exchange for my personal safety. I've had that situation more than once in my neighborhood, and I got involved every time (cc not oc - haven't presented yet in this situation). Now they break up when they see me coming, and they always call me 'sir'. That's just me, though.
You done good by calling the cops.
'Clinging to my guns and religion
November 12th, 2009 12:33 PM
I would have went outside and stopped it, but I would hesitate about using a firearm.
If you had reason to believe that one of the kids was in danger of great bodily harm you could use your firearm, but will be held to a higher level of scrutiny dealing with unarmed juveniles
“You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”
― Robert A. Heinlein,
November 12th, 2009 12:47 PM
Same here. I'm always carrying so it doesn't really matter if I step out, but it's not going to be pistol in hand although 12 to 1 odds is pretty bad. I think I very well may have stepped out and made a few choice comments while the phone already dialed was quite visible in my weak hand. Only thing to remember though is it seems it's always a toss up with juveniles because you never know how they're going to react. You just have to keep the "spidey senses" on high alert.
Originally Posted by pgrass101
"My God David, We're a Civilized society."
"Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the crap out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
-The Mist (2007)
November 12th, 2009 12:47 PM
I have a fairly simple rule of thumb for "am I justified" questions.
If you aren't sure, you aren't justified.
In this case, you're mentioning 12-on-1, but describing only 1-on-1.
I wouldn't have taken the holster off, if I was OC as you said, but I'd have had 911 ON THE PHONE, the phone IN MY HAND, and I'd be yelling something like "Knock it off! I've called the police and they'll be here any moment!"
I wouldn't be approaching too close, wouldn't be trying to play cop, and wouldn't draw unless I saw clear evidence that this had gone FAR beyond a fist fight.
Of course, here in FL, I can't carry openly.
November 12th, 2009 12:53 PM
Not enough details for my decision. Since it isn't happening on my property, I'm just a concerned citizen. Call the police. A fight following unwitnessed circumstances doesn't always mean the wrong guy is getting pounded. There are too many potential scenerios where my best guess could be, uh... wrong! And to include the highlights of me being ARMED, on public property, while mis-reading the situation? I'll pass until someone's life is obviously in danger. IMHO, a scuffle (brawl, beating?) of 12-15 year olds doesn't reach that threshold.
There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.
November 12th, 2009 01:08 PM
Back when I was a kid and there were little neighborhood scuffles, pretty much any adult yelling at us to knock it off and we would scatter, and try to find a place to hide hoping the adult didn't recognize us and tell our parents.
I think if you went outside with the phone after dialing 911, and yelled at them to stop, they might take heed. I'd leave the pistol holstered unless they all turn on you.
Something to consider though, depending on how the crime problem is in your neighborhood. If a couple of those boys are bad apples, and you go outside to stop a fight with a pistol on your hip, it could target your house for future attempted burglaries. Just a thought.
Fortes Fortuna Juvat
Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor
November 12th, 2009 01:24 PM
Twelve on one could have quickly devolved into 6 on two with your handgun being taken from you. You called the cops. You did your duty. I'd not have gone out without at least having a BIG can of pepper spray or such to reduce the odds of having to go for the gun.
The use of lethal force may well have been justified by both the disparity of force against you and by the fact that someone appeared to be in danger of serious harm if not death. I don't think that is the real issue. I think the real issue is knowing the difference between being able to help and getting yourself into danger/trouble/hurt, as well. One of those twelve could have circled around and attacked you from the back without you ever realizing you were about to be hit. At that point the best outcome for you would have been that they all run off with your gun instead of using it on you or beating you to death.
Now, water thrown on them from your window might have saved the kid by diverting their attention, and if they were foolish enough.... once in your threshold they would be fair game in Castle doctrine states. Meanwhile yelling at 9/11 that this is urgent and the kid is in danger seems the best approach.
I think you did good. Maybe dispatch didn't.
November 12th, 2009 02:37 PM
First off, I think you did fine given the circumstances and us not knowing a lot of factors.
For one thing, there were about a dozen "kids" aged 12-15, yet you also described a "one-on-one" situation. Hardly a case for armed intervention!
It wasn't like all 12 kids were actively going at a single kid. That would change the dynamics considerably. Another thing which would have changed the dynamics would be if one or more were beating him with clubbed weapons or other weapons.
In the case you described, you could have probably gone outside and verbally broke it up, and everything would have been fine. Having some OC spray to protect yourself, would have also been a good idea if you went outside.
As far as your gun is concerned... It should remain in your holster! I wouldn't necessarily have disarmed... I wouldn't, but I also conceal carry. Open carry is legal in your area, and certainly on your own property, so having your gun holstered, on your person, shouldn't necessarily have been a problem. From a legal standpoint anyway.
Again, I think you did just fine with what you did! You have to accept that! And yes, going outside, you probably could have easily broke it up, verbally without any problems. And that too, would have been fine.
However... Let's just say for sake of argument... Had you gone outside, with your gun holstered, and for whatever reason, the crowd of 12 & 13 year olds, and a couple of 14 year olds, decided to challenge your authority and became aggressive towards you? What if one of them produced a ball bat? What kind of situation did you just create?
Now you have a situation where an unarmed fight against some neighborhood kids, may have just escalated into a killing situation in order for you to defend yourself. Are you on legal ground? Probably... Maybe...? But who or what turned it into such a situation?
Now you are faced with the distinct possibility where you may have to shoot a 13 year old neighborhood kid! Is that a cool thing to have happen? How are you going to feel afterwards? How is the community at large going to respond? Even if ruled justified, the community may very well run you out of town. You think the surviving kids are going to be on your side, or their dead friend? Can you emotionally handle the moral pressure which will eat at you? You'll be spending the rest of your life, either in prison or out of prison saying "Why didn't I just let the police handle it?" "I had all the best intentions, but certainly didn't expect it to play out the way it did!"
Here's one way to look at it... You have a kid, who is basically in a "kid brawl" with his peers! Is that worth an intervention which may end up being a killing situation on your part?
I don't know about you, but we basically had tons of those kind of events in the neighborhood where I grew up. No one got shot or killed. Now I know we are in different times today then a generation ago, but still... The situation you described is not the same kind of situation as coming to the aid of a woman who is being drug out of her car in a dark mall parking lot at 11 pm screaming for help.
Now in my rural community, "kid fights" are just that... Kid Fights! And really doesn't happen much. However, most of the fights in my town are full grown adults. People in the 20's and 30's. Usually unemployed, drug culture who have no prospects and no real life who get into fights over domestic issues or lord knows what. Intervention in those kid of incidents bring a much more higher level of danger than a group of kids out on the street.
Just last week, I was sitting at home, off-duty, but happened to have my 2-way radio on when they dispatched a fight in progress in the front yard about 4 houses down and across the street.
What did I do? Stepped out on my front porch and watched. I know who these guys are... Unemployed, drug users in their mid to late 30's who have nothing better to do than hang out and fight the boredom. I did not know the one they were fighting with, but when the LEO's showed up, one unknown person was walking away and about 1/2 way down the block. The deputies approached my neighbors and they said something about the other dude having some sort of problem. So, one of the deputies went and confronted the one walking away. When they ran him for warrants, he had a P&P hit (parole or probation) for assault, revoked license, multiple DUI's and assault on a LEO but no active warrants. I don't know all the details, but everyone walked away in the end and no one was arrested.
I know the social/economic status of those people, and I can say, whether LEO's had been dispatched or not, I would not even entertain the idea of getting involved in a "neighborhood fight" like that one. Beyond calling the police. I don't care how bad it ended up... I'm not getting involved trying to intervene with people who bring things on themselves due to their lifestyle.
Sorry about the long diatribe... I just wanted to throw out some dynamics of how things can change solely because of your intervention and provide some "food for thought."
Feel free to take it for what it's worth.
"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."
November 12th, 2009 03:13 PM
its a risky situation...
If I were in your place I would have flipped on all exterior lights and walk out with a camera, after calling police. Depending on the neighborhood I might even call my neighbors and ask them to help break up the fight just by turning on their lights and standing in the door way.
I would not have removed my firearm, but I would have kept my distance and told the kid they were beating to get over onto my yard and sit down. If anyone listened to me is another question, but maybe I could startle them enough with the lights and camera to give LEOs time to show up.
I've seen kids fight and have been on the receiving end...no kid should have to take that when there is help near by.
"he who does not punish evil commands it to be done." - Leonardo da Vinci
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws... serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man - Cesare Beccaria
November 12th, 2009 03:45 PM
A few days ago they had a story on the news of a guy walking his kid to the bus stop when he sees some teens beating a guy. He tries to intervene and they turn on him and beat him in front of his kid. Now I applaud the man for wanting to help. I think he was stupid to not have some form of backup to his mouth. Kids today will kill you in a second and go back to skateboarding or whatever without even thinking about it. As a kid I would have run in fear from an adult. Not kids today. Just bear that in mind before getting too close to the source of the trouble. Do your intervention from a distance if you can.
DEMOCRACY IS TWO WOLVES AND A LAMB VOTING ON WHAT TO HAVE FOR LUNCH. LIBERTY IS A WELL ARMED LAMB CONtestING THE VOTE.
Certified Instructor for Minnesota Carry Permit
NRA Pistol and Personal Protection Insrtuctor
Utah Permit Certified Instructor
November 12th, 2009 05:08 PM
Besides the lack of respect the op might have encountered, he was also dealing with what could easily have turned into a mob mentality aimed at him.
Originally Posted by havegunjoe
Without pepper spray, possibly a taser if legal in his area, and frankly a concealed rather than open weapon (to not provoke and keep surprise), PLUS some assurance that the police were really on their way and would arrive in a moment or two---like hearing the sirens---- he did best by staying inside.
Not to say the necessity to stay inside isn't a truly sad reality of our world today.
November 12th, 2009 07:40 PM
Maybe you could've doused 'em all real good with a garden hose, 'till the cops came. I dunno. Bad situation.
Trust in God and keep your powder dry
"A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source
November 12th, 2009 09:18 PM
Based on what you stated, I would have certainly stayed away and called the police - especially if I was OC. That could have been anything from your basic teenage scuffle to a gang war. It depends, and weighing in with a sidearm is a LEO's job. At least he has legal authority to back up his presence. No one wants to see a kid take a beating, but you don't know what started this punch-up.
I like a previous poster's advice: if you're not sure, you're not justified.
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