The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 1, 2005, 04:43 PM   #1
AAshooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2001
Posts: 379
Your moral obligation to help innocents at risk?

A fellow TFLer wrote the following in another thread having to do with a CCW holder taking action during a robbery.

"It is morally wrong to allow a fellow innocent human die due to my inactions . . ."

Personally, I always struggle with this. Is it really my obligation to take action? Certainly I might agree with this if my actions did not put me at risk. However, I am not sure that is true when I might become injuried, disabled, or killed. In fact, even if I personally feel compelled to act, I feel as though I have to weigh the potential disasterous consequences and its impact on my family.

Personally, I am a proponent of carrying for the defense of yourself and your family. Any other use should be carefully weighed. In my mind, if it does not involve me or my family, I need compelling reasons to act. The default is not to take actions unless I must.

I also often wonder what my obligation is to take action to help/defend those who have not taken actions to be prepared. If they are unwilling to carry a way to defend themselves, why should I feel obligated to defend them? I know it sounds cold but it makes sense to me.

What are your thoughts?
__________________
Play hard, shoot often, leave well worn guns!
AAshooter is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 04:48 PM   #2
axslingerW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 8, 2005
Location: St. louis
Posts: 249
I am under NO obligation whatsoever to defend or protect anybody. NEITHER is my local LEO. That being said, whatever action I would or would not take would depend on the situation at hand. I could not stand by and observe a rape, but I would think twice about stopping a bar fight.
axslingerW is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 04:51 PM   #3
joab
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 17, 2002
Location: Orl Fla
Posts: 3,254
It's the duty of the strong to protect the weak

Words of wisdom my grandfather learned in WWII, practiced by his oldest son during Vietnam and remembered by his favorite grandson through most of his life so far

It's what separates us from a pack of wolves
__________________
Joab the Bugman
Founding member- Lords of Pomposity
It's a Yankee Doodle thing

Last edited by joab; October 1, 2005 at 09:47 PM.
joab is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 05:02 PM   #4
Dwight55
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 18, 2004
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 2,557
AA, . . . I like Joab's first line, . . . and it pretty well sums up my feelings.

I know others do not share my perception, . . . but if I had made some kind of decision not to get involved, . . . when I was perfectly able and capable, . . . I would have trouble sleeping at night.

I am just not one of those people who are wired to walk away from someone else's trouble, . . . just because it does belong to someone else.

My brother stepped in between a man and woman (he was beating on her) and got a .32 stuck up to his chest and shot for his trouble. He is one of those "medical miracles" as although the FMJ round did hit his heart, . . . it didn't kill him.

He was disabled for the remainder of his life, . . . but that is the stock from which some are bred, . . . others have different genes, . . . and I really think that each individual person should evaluate their natural tendencies, . . . and act accordingly.

I thoroughly disdain cowardice, . . . but I fully applaud those who are willing to admit to it, . . . and do what they can to work through it.

May God bless,
Dwight
__________________
www.dwightsgunleather.com
If you can breathe, . . . thank God!
If you can read, . . . thank a teacher!
If you are reading this in English, . . . thank a Veteran!
Dwight55 is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 05:11 PM   #5
progunner1957
Junior member
 
Join Date: November 9, 2004
Location: USA - east of the continental divide
Posts: 924
Talk to the hand

Quote:
I also often wonder what my obligation is to take action to help/defend those who have not taken actions to be prepared. If they are unwilling to carry a way to defend themselves, why should I feel obligated to defend them?
There's alot of truth in that statement.

Quote:
My brother stepped in between a man and woman (he was beating on her) and got a .32 stuck up to his chest and shot for his trouble. He is one of those "medical miracles" as although the FMJ round did hit his heart, . . . it didn't kill him.
Quote:
He was disabled for the remainder of his life, . . .
You don't want to end up like this guy - proof positive of the old saying, "No good deed will go unpunished." I would let the guy beating on the woman "talk to the hand" - the one holding my .45 auto

"The Law" puts we who carry in a no win situation. Jump in to defend the defenseless and you could end up in prison or getting sued for millions by the surviving family of the scumbag you were forced to shoot. Or you could very easily end up like the guy above - disabled for life. The stakes are high - .
very high.

Personally, I'm not going to turn a blind eye to a woman being beaten, being raped, or a 100lb. man being beaten to a bloody pulp by a 250lb. thug.

As far as bar fights, that's why I stay out of bars.
progunner1957 is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 05:20 PM   #6
Doug.38PR
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 18, 2005
Posts: 3,298
Pacifists (people who choose not to defend themselves) will always have to depend on someone else to get them out of trouble. This doesn't necessarily mean that anyone who doesn't have a gun on them is a pacifist, but there are those who feel that way about guns as we all know. It's the kind of people who think the reason police exist is to protect them from crime (as opposed to investigating and solving crime).
But as to the main point of your question, that is a tough one, soldier's throughout Western Civilization have been asking the same question for 2000 years since the death of Christ. Will I put myself at risk to save someone else? I like to think that I would act, but you never know what you will do in such a situation until you are faced with it. In fact, will you freeze up when YOU are faced with a killer who is threatening your life? I always pray that I will use my weapon righteously, responsibly and in His service. We are not just individuals, we are a community of people, we are in reality connected. If you let a killer shoot your next door neighbor or even some stranger on the street, then the next day he might kill you or someone you love and care for. That killer needs to be caught or killed because he is a threat to not only you but to everyone else too.
Doug.38PR is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 05:27 PM   #7
John28226
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 28, 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 292
The ANNOTICO Report

"Kitty Genovese, 40 years Later - Incomprehensible Apathy and Cowardice". You can read the report on-line. As far as I know the only danger in reading it might be a strong desire to "make a difference in the world". Only two (not counting private things) strong emotions - fight or flight. You take your choice. Thank God there are some willing to stand up and defend the defenseless. It could be a member of your family needing help. None of us can say with any degree of certainty, how we will react, but the odds are we will do what we have previously determined in our minds.

John
John28226 is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 06:58 PM   #8
AndrewTB
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 11, 2005
Posts: 677
I would rescue someone even if it meant jail time to me. I would not standby to let someone die. If I were to stand by it would be like me comitting the crime itself. Living in Florida im a bit immune to being arrested for saving someones life but with the way laws are you never know. It is a grey area.
AndrewTB is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 07:52 PM   #9
gddyup
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 22, 2005
Location: Derry, NH
Posts: 219
My father has been on the job for over 30 years and one thing I was told by long ago before I got into the whole firefighting thing myself was...

"If you can't do it for someone else, you can't expect someone else to do it for you." Basically, you can't be a bystander. You have to step up and do what you can when you can to help someone else because you never know when you might need someone to help your family.

Whether you use lethal force during the situation is up to the situation, No one knows what's going to happen until it happens.
__________________
Firefighter/EMT - Currently teamed on Engine 1... I always get to play with my Knob!


"Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement" - Unknown.

"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." - Robert A. Heinlein
gddyup is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 08:12 PM   #10
SAXD9
Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2005
Location: NW North Carolina
Posts: 85
Quote:
axslingerW: I am under NO obligation whatsoever to defend or protect anybody. NEITHER is my local LEO.
For LEO's, failure to act can carry criminal as well as civil penalties.

As a LEO, I swore to a code of ethics that I take very seriously. The first paragraph states: "As a Law Enforcement Officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all persons to liberty, equality and justice."

I will not judge someone elses actions if they decide to not get involved, unless they just stand there and don't call for help or anything.
__________________
~GhostDog~
Springfield Armory XD-9 Service Model/Winchester Ranger SXT 127gr +P+ JHP
Beretta 21A .22LR/ CCI Quik-Shoks
Norinco SKS/ Wolf 7.62x39 FMJ
SAXD9 is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 08:14 PM   #11
progunner1957
Junior member
 
Join Date: November 9, 2004
Location: USA - east of the continental divide
Posts: 924
Kitty Genovese, 40 years later

Here it is...

Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Kitty Genovese, 40 years Later- Incomprehensible Apathy and Cowardice
The ANNOTICO Report

On March 13, 1964,a hard working attractive 28 year old Italian American young lady Catherine "Kitty" Genovese was repeatedly stabbed and killed by Black Winston Moseley, in the 20' distance between parking her car and the doorway to her home, in predominately Jewish Kew Gardens, in Queens, NY before 38 indifferent witnesses.

The apathy of the witnesses grew into a national scandal that depicted Kew Gardens in particular and New York City in general as a cold and forbidding community.The violence in Kew Gardens was the Queens’ "Crime of the Century."

Yet it was due to those witnesses that nearly half a century later, Kitty Genovese stands out, not as a martyr to human depravity, but instead to the kind of apathy and cowardice that in a broader sense so easily led to Nazi Germany.

What has kept Catherine Genovese alive, indelibly etched in the minds of not only New Yorkers living at that time, but people around the world of every generation, is the almost , and, almost inescapably, cowardice, that led dozens of Ms. Genovese's awakened neighbors to do nothing to stop, or even summon help, in time to prevent her killer to return three times to the scene in order to finish what he had begun.

Above, the image that haunts all good people to this day. Catherine "Kitty" Genovese, Martin Gansberg of the New York Times earned an award for excellence from the Newspaper Reporters Association of New York for his story.

As most of the world will always know her to appear, in the lovely and powerful While Miss Genovese screamed: "Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me! Please help me!" The assailant stabbed her again."I'm dying!" she shrieked. "I'm dying!"

For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks. Not one person telephoned the police during the assault!

The responses included:"I didn't want to get involved", "Frankly, we were afraid", "I didn't want my husband to get involved","I don't know", "I was tired"...

When Winston Mosely was arrested in March 1964, Moseley was 28 years old. He owned a house in Queens, was married and had two children. He had a steady job and no criminal record.

But Kitty Genovese was not his only victim. He committed dozens of burglaries and rapes, which he later admitted to the police and at his trial. “I chose women to kill because they were easier and didn’t fight back,” he once said.

After his conviction, Moseley was eventually shipped to Attica prison. In 1968, Moseley managed to overpower a guard and steal his gun. He later took five people hostage and raped a woman in front of her husband. Mosely's death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment, making him eligible for parole. As of 1995, although he has worked the system to the max, his attempts for a new trial and six requests for parole have been denied.

The murder was the subject of a book, "38 Witnesses," written in the 60’s by former New York Times editor, A.M. Rosenthal, now a columnist for The New York Post.

A painting, "The Screams of Kitty Genovese," by a Queens artist, Jerome Witkin, shows a naked woman smoking a cigarette nonchalantly while looking out of her window as the crime scene unfolds beneath her.

Now nearly four decades later, a musical, "The Screams of Kitty Genovese," has been produced by David Simpatico and composer Will Todd at the famed Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, and as a work in progress is hopefully headed for Broadway.
progunner1957 is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 08:17 PM   #12
MRex21
Junior member
 
Join Date: August 26, 2005
Location: Northern California
Posts: 178
Quote:
It's the duty of the strong to protect the weak

Words of wisdom my grandfather learned in WWII, practiced by his oldest son during Vietnam and remembered by favorite grandson through most of his life so far

It's what separates us from a pack of wolves.
Amen.
MRex21 is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 09:52 PM   #13
JohnKSa
Staff
 
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 18,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAXD9
For LEO's, failure to act can carry criminal as well as civil penalties.
The Supreme Court has ruled at least twice that LEOs can not be held responsible for failing to defend a citizen. They are not bodyguards and therefore aren't legally responsible for protecting citizens. Oaths, mottos, and public perception to the contrary notwithstanding.

As to the original question.

It depends.

Adults have a responsibility to protect themselves. I'm not likely to help out a rational adult who has the means to protect himself but has either been remiss or has declined to do so either implicitly or explicitly. I'm somewhat disinclined to risk my well-being (and therefore my family's well-being) because an adult chooses to be oblivious to the realities of life--i.e. chooses irresponsibility over responsibility.

Children and those who are truly unable to fend for themselves are another matter.

I should make it clear that I'm talking about intervention in terms of something that would place me at significant risk of bodily harm, prosecution, or civil liability. Calling for an ambulance or police, etc. is not what I'm talking about--it goes without saying that we all have a responsibility to do those sorts of things. I think that someone who won't help another even when it doesn't place him at risk or cost him anything significant has got something wrong with him.
__________________
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?

Last edited by JohnKSa; October 2, 2005 at 12:18 AM.
JohnKSa is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 09:55 PM   #14
joab
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 17, 2002
Location: Orl Fla
Posts: 3,254
Quote:
Living in Florida im a bit immune to being arrested for saving someones life
That's an angle hadn't thought of.
What role do the laws or lawlessness that you live under effect your willingness to get involved
__________________
Joab the Bugman
Founding member- Lords of Pomposity
It's a Yankee Doodle thing
joab is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 10:26 PM   #15
Rob P.
Junior member
 
Join Date: September 7, 2005
Posts: 467
I have to go along with the "it depends" response by JohnKSa.

It depends on what's happening. A woman being hammered by her current live-in boy friend for the 400th time isn't going to get me involved. A guy running around with a machete hacking everything/everyone in sight and coming my way is. A rape in progress and I'm right there. Smash & grab robbery, watch & wait.

It just depends.
Rob P. is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 11:25 PM   #16
308Enfield
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 3, 2005
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 239
Quote:
For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks. Not one person telephoned the police during the assault!
I'll agree that intervention depends on the situation. I just want to interject that calling the police from a cell phone IS intervention. Depending on the situation, calling the police would be the preferable, more prudent course of action to becoming physically involved.
__________________
"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato
308Enfield is offline  
Old October 1, 2005, 11:52 PM   #17
T. O'Heir
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 3,135
"...LEO can not be held responsible for failing to defend a citizen..." They used to be called Peace Officers. 'LEO' means Law Enforcement Officer. Ain't the same thing. Mind you, most of the cops I know wouldn't think twice before jumping in.
Personally, I just couldn't imagine not doing whatever I could to help somebody who need help. It's just not right. And CCW doesn't exist up here. Caught a couple of bozos stealing tires off a BMW one time. Got the tires back, reported it and went to testify9in the jacket, tie and tan trench coat. I looked like a wee fat hairy Kojak with a beard.) The twits were new at crime and got off with a conditional discharge(don't get caught again or else. No criminal record.). The arresting(at 0300 at daddy's house) cops said I should become a cop. Too old, short and fat says me.
Still, not doing anything is wrong. Even making the phone call is better than doing nothing.
T. O'Heir is offline  
Old October 2, 2005, 12:11 AM   #18
xXStarScreamXx
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 11, 2005
Location: Nor*Cal 707
Posts: 353
It really depends the scenario;

7-11 Robbery - Nope, not worth the risk of someone getting hurt. There was another thread where an innocent was hit by a bullet when a CCW'er and BG got in a gun fight.

Some Chick Getting Raped in an alley - I'm jumpin in.

Bar fight - been in a few not worht the time.

Some creep grabbing a kid - It's on, one hand ill be choking him and on the cell with the other hand calling the coroner.

Fat chick in a tube top - Calling the police and a haz mat squad.
__________________
I still don't see why cannibalism is a crime.
xXStarScreamXx is offline  
Old October 2, 2005, 12:13 AM   #19
JohnKSa
Staff
 
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 18,197
Quote:
Mind you, most of the cops I know wouldn't think twice before jumping in.
I agree 100%. I didn't mean for my remarks to be a commentary on LE Officers' attitudes, merely a statement about Supreme Court rulings.
__________________
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old October 2, 2005, 12:35 AM   #20
FLA2760
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 6, 2005
Location: Hernando County, Florida
Posts: 567
re "helping another" & the "Kitty Genovese" killing

Hi
As I read the various replys to the question, "would you help" I too thought of the Kitty Genovese tradegy. Iwas born in NYC only a few years before Kitty Genovese was killed. I remember hearing of the story several times while growing up. I moved out of NYC at the age of 33 to Florida, a state where the population can bear arms. Having lived in NYC and having been the victim of armed robbery 3 times in NYC and each time suffering only property loss (thank God) I made a vow to myself to be a defender and promoter of our 2nd Amendment rights. I know that many people in NYC WANT to get involved but that the NAZI STYLE GUN BAN that is the law of NYC denies most the means to do so. Could several men with bats been able to expose the brain matter of Kitty's attacker? Sure they could, just as they could have phoned the police but they did not. Why? Because they have been so conditioned by FEAR (oh I am afraid to get involved the big bad man may come after me next) mindset that is bred by DISARMING LAW ABIDING PEOPLE. Criminals are expert in smelling this fear and exploiting it to their own nafarious ends. The GUN BAN states;(IMO those that deny CCW) along with DC leading the nation in the number of murders is proof positive that gun control only emboldens criminals to ever increasing acts of violence with no fear of the victim fighting back. My long time friend who is a retired detective from NYPD once told me that the criminals generally don't fear jail but fear their actual apprehension by the police for fear that they may GET SHOT. In states that
"allow" their citizens CCW this same uncertainty of being SHOT is multiplied thousands of times over when the criminal is trying to pick a victim. Is he or she PACKING? Will my CAREER OF CRIME be ended today by a pistol packing granny? The result of this musing is a MARKED REDUCTION OF VIOLENT CRIME IN CCW STATES. The ultimate goal of "gun control" is TOTAL DISARMAMENT of THE PEOPLE vis-a-vis the UN "TREATY" on small arms. No matter how much they rant about protecting our children. The best "protection from guns" for kids is to teach them about guns and gun safety and take them shooting. I wonder if Kitty would still be with us if this happened in Florida? God be with her.
Steve
FLA2760 is offline  
Old October 2, 2005, 02:38 AM   #21
Twycross
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 26, 2005
Location: Montana
Posts: 1,187
I believe that "to see evil being done, and then do nothing, is no better that to have done the evil yourself." If I saw someone being mugged/raped/murdered, and did nothing, I would be resonsible for that crime. I will try to do anything I can. If there is any chance that by taking an action, an innocent victim can be saved, I will do my best to complete that action. Regardless of the risk. Maybe this is just a reaction to the possibility of having to live with myself after doing nothing. I was in a situation (turned out OK) not too long ago where I could have been responsible for other peoples deaths/injuries (and for a moment believed I was), so I can imagine how that must feel. It's not pretty.

Plus the fact that I can never quite accept that the knight vs dragon myths were only fairy tales.
__________________
The test of character is not 'hanging in' when you expect light at the end of the tunnel, but performance of duty, and persistence of example when you know no light is coming.
- Vice Admiral James Stockdale, USN (ret.)
Twycross is offline  
Old October 2, 2005, 02:54 AM   #22
Pointer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 8, 2005
Location: Utah
Posts: 2,559
In Utah CWP holders are LEGALLY obliged to help...
Pointer is offline  
Old October 2, 2005, 07:50 AM   #23
kennybs plbg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 27, 2004
Location: Hemet, Ca.
Posts: 524
Society and times have changed. There is another thread in this fourm regarding the likes of John Wayne, Glen Ford, Jimmy Stewart, Audie Murphy etc. All past hero's to viewers and fans, they always did the right thing regardless of outcome or cost. They portrayed real men who had principles and values that were put above anything else. Hero's to our youth that were only equal to their fathers, both installed morals and pride in being a man. Todays era has different heros and different messages. Its the "me first" generation and do unto others before they do to you. Todays heros are portrayed by rappers, badboys and the Bill Clintons. The dads are also fading away, the base is crumbling and being replaced with political correctness.
Its sad, you can still find some that carry on the old values, actually thats why I'm here at TFL. Most here seem to still have it.

kenny b
kennybs plbg is offline  
Old October 2, 2005, 10:15 AM   #24
AAshooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2001
Posts: 379
Pointer, I would be interested in the reference that support that statement. Do you have one handy?
__________________
Play hard, shoot often, leave well worn guns!
AAshooter is offline  
Old October 2, 2005, 10:43 AM   #25
Glenn E. Meyer
Staff
 
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Posts: 15,537
There are quite a few factors that influence prosocial behavior and altruism. Most chest poundings and calls for moral authority are not really based in what we know about intervention.

I'm away from my resources, but I'll break it down for you later this week. We discussed this intensively at the NTI and in follow up discussions.

It's not simple but it's easy to be a tough guy on the Internet.
__________________
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc.
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...05_Feature.htm
Being an Academic Shooter
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...11_Feature.htm
Being an Active Shooter
Glenn E. Meyer is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:13 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.14554 seconds with 9 queries