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Old October 6, 2005, 06:28 AM   #101
Harley Quinn
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In California, if you are close by and see an accident

As in a traffic accident and you can help you are supposed to. Different scene and all.

But I have to go along with Tanksoldier's post's of late he also makes sense, along with the others I have read. Regarding the water scene, He is right on.

Most are good and some have been off the track but overall I think it is an interesting discussion.

Makes you realize only about 3% carry the vote. Pretty scary.

Harley
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Old October 6, 2005, 07:19 AM   #102
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I've been reading this thread for the past few days and thinking carefully about the issues that some think are simple, and some think are not so simple. I then had an AIM conversation about it, and it was so important for me to remember some of these things, that I saved it. And now I'm going to take what I said before to one other individual and greatly expound on it.

Ideals are necessary reference points that form the mentality we live by. Ideals should be held high. However, that doesn't mean a person shouldn't analyze how and why those ideals apply in a given situation.

Scenario: Convenience store robbery. A guy in a trench coat pulls out a .357 and starts waving it around. He points it at the cashier, and demands for her to get the cash out of the register. He screams at the few people in the place to get down on the ground and not take their eyes off the floor. Any observer can tell that he's strung out, perhaps on amphetamines, and definitely has an itchy trigger finger.

The problem here is forthcoming, but not easily resolved. Can you best protect the lives of bystanders by setting an example of being calm, and staying down until the situation passes? Or is the best way to protect these people to stand up and draw, perhaps stopping the attacker in the process, but also running the risk that the ensuing exchange of fire may put the bystanders in more danger than they were to begin with?

In situations like these, stopping the perpetrator, at any cost, is not always desirable. Also, drawing your firearm is not necessarily ALWAYS the best way to save lives. In the above situation, I refer to three rules:

1) Do not draw your weapon unless you intend to fire at your attacker until he has been killed or otherwise incapacitated (dropped to the ground and unable to use his gun). Drawing your weapon with intent only to threaten can cause the situation to become escalated in a number of ways, adding to the endangerment of bystanders. You've already decided to draw your gun, and quick follow-through is necessary unless you plan on risking the lives of everyone present by creating a tense standoff.

2) Do not draw and fire your weapon unless it is apparent that the perpetrator will harm or kill others unless he is immediately stopped.

3) Do not draw and fire your weapon unless you have a clear line to the target and you know you're skilled enough to drop the perpetrator quickly, and without either you or the perpetrator causing collateral damage in the form of human lives.

I really wanted to address in detail what some of the practical concerns would be in those convenience store robbery situations that we've all wondered if we would ever be caught in (and, I'm sure, that a very select few of us have been caught in). If anyone can think of relevant things to add, please post your feedback!

Another possible situation: You're walking down a street that you know pretty well, when a young woman cries for help in an alleyway. It turns out that she is about to be raped by a thug brandishing a knife and armed with god knows what else.

The equation here is obviously more straightforward. The immediate question that comes into my mind here is: should you draw your gun with intent to threaten/use it as a negotiating tool in a situation like this? And the answer: No! Of coruse not! He is close to the girl, probably in physical contact with her, and pointing a gun at him without shooting him in that same moment will invite a hostage situation.

However, shooting immediately when two bodies are in such proximity (one of which you obviously do NOT want to hit), could have disastrous ramifications unless you are truly that good.

Furthermore, we have not established whether this attacker has a gun!

This is a very tricky set of variables. What I would probably do in this situation is yell out to the attacker and taunt him, in the hopes that he would turn his attention on me and identify me as a target. Unless the woman was in emotional shock, she would probably make every effort to put as much space between her and the attacker as possible, whereupon I would very discreetly put myself in a position that allowed me to draw my gun and fire it quickly. Whether he had a gun or not would still be problematic, but I've already made a committment to stop this woman from being raped (and probably murdered), and to that end, this guy is going down. The decision to fire would have been made before the gun was drawn. I just don't think I could risk having further harm come to the victim because I hesitated or thought I could talk the guy down.

I've contrasted two hypothetical situations, one in which you could choose to intervene but the consequences are unclear if you do so, and one in which you MUST (morally, not actually) intervene because you know what will happen if you don't.

In the first example, I'd really hate to see a situation turn uglier because of the actions of a self-proclaimed hero - a true hero will put his ego aside and keep his gun in its holster if it means that NOT acting is likely to save more lives.

In the second example, I'd hate to see that woman not get help on account of someone's apathy and fear. If someone can't bring themselves to do what's called for in the face of such obvious evil and depravity, then they don't deserve to carry a gun in the first place.

This sounds hokey but in the end, I really think a person should listen to their heart (NOT to be mistaken for ego!) when it comes down to it. A person of well-developed principle and perception, one who is in tune with himself and the world around him, will know in his heart whether or not a situation warrants a direct confrontation. People who carry handguns have the responsibility to think these things over in advance in the event that they someday find themselves in the midst of such a situation. People who carry handguns have the responsibility of prudence: to carry out decisions through a rational and conscientious concern for other lives, and not through cowardice or ego.

Anyway, the bottom line is that a real man, a real hero, whatever, knows that determining right action takes a LOT of daily effort and stringent self-examination, and you can't wait until you are confronted with a life-threatening situation (either your life or someone else's) to ponder the true nature of your principles. Know thyself.
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Old October 6, 2005, 07:40 AM   #103
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Stratus, Good one obviously some time well spent.

Thanks for the thought and information I believe the last paragraph says it all.

Like Dirty Harry said, many time's, 'a man should know his limitations'.

Harley
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Old October 6, 2005, 08:03 AM   #104
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Thanks Harley, I'm glad you got something out of it. And props to everyone who has taken the time to post on this topic, there are a lot of very well-thought-out opinions out there.
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Old October 6, 2005, 08:53 AM   #105
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Quickie quibbles:

Scenario #1: Any drawn weapon on the part of a criminal constitutes a deadly threat. If you don't draw and fire as soon as the threat is presented you may never have another chance. If the criminal begins firing his weapon he will get off at least one, possibly several shots before you can respond... one of which may be aimed at you and terminate any response you might have made. If the tactical situation will not let you respond immediately (ie: he gets the drop on you) you should draw and fire as soon as the criminal is distracted.

Quote:
In the first example, I'd really hate to see a situation turn uglier because of the actions of a self-proclaimed hero - a true hero will put his ego aside and keep his gun in its holster if it means that NOT acting is likely to save more lives.
Scenario #2: His not having a gun is irrelevant. Anyone with a knife within 7 yards of a potential victim is a deadly threat. It is also possible for an unarmed suspect to present a deadly threat. You don't have to get in a fistfight with someone just because they are unarmed. In this scenario if the suspect was merely using his size and strength to beat the woman into submition, and you drew your weapon and ordered him to the ground, but instead he continued to advance on you... you would be justified in shooting him before he achieved physical contact even though he is unarmed. You could shoot before he closed to within 7 yards if he had a knife.

Quote:
Furthermore, we have not established whether this attacker has a gun!
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Old October 6, 2005, 09:20 AM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier
Scenario #2: His not having a gun is irrelevant. Anyone with a knife within 7 yards of a potential victim is a deadly threat. It is also possible for an unarmed suspect to present a deadly threat. You don't have to get in a fistfight with someone just because they are unarmed. In this scenario if the suspect was merely using his size and strength to beat the woman into submition, and you drew your weapon and ordered him to the ground, but instead he continued to advance on you... you would be justified in shooting him before he achieved physical contact even though he is unarmed. You could shoot before he closed to within 7 yards if he had a knife.
Hence my previous statement:

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratus
[in this scenario]I've already made a committment to stop this woman from being raped (and probably murdered), and to that end, this guy is going down. The decision to fire would have been made before the gun was drawn. I just don't think I could risk having further harm come to the victim because I hesitated or thought I could talk the guy down.
As for scenario 1, I maintain that it depends on the stakes involved and the potential for escalation.
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Old October 6, 2005, 05:15 PM   #107
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Stratus, good thoughtful post! I guess I would find the second scenerio more interesting if you had 4 or 5 assailants. Do you still take action? Assuming all are armed with knifes (and maybe more), do you still take action. Even with a handgun, you may be unable to control/manage all the attackers. You may be likely to be injured or killed in engaging them. Do you still yell? Or, are you better off retreating to a safe place and hopping on 911 to ensure help arrives.
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Old October 6, 2005, 05:44 PM   #108
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Quote:
are you better off retreating to a safe place and hopping on 911 to ensure help arrives.
I'm on the end of the 911 call for 24 hours at a time when I'm on duty. I'd say that 35-50% of the time, the 911 dispatch is incorrect as far as location or call severity. I wouldn't neccesarily place my life on the quickness or completeness of my 911 call. We have E911 via Concord dispatch and that's not even close to 75-80% most of the time.

Calling 911 *may* get someone moving in your direction, but it may turn out to be the response you were not expecting...
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Old October 6, 2005, 05:45 PM   #109
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This thread has degenerated from a thought provoking and thoroughly reasonable question about protecting people too insipd to protect themselves, into a series of increasingly narrowly defined scenarios that have little or nothing to do with the original question.

What duty do you as an average citizen owe to other average citizens that have not taken the time, interest or effort to protect themselves as you have? That is the question.

Can you step up to that plate and answer it?
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Old October 6, 2005, 05:52 PM   #110
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Butch, assuming capable adults, I have no duty. However, my personal morals would probably not let me walk away easily.

The word duty can mean a lot of things. Am I obligated to take action due to any external influence? No. Do I feel an internal obligation to try to do the right thing? Yes.

I should mention, I have a duty to my family.
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Last edited by AAshooter; October 6, 2005 at 06:12 PM. Reason: Add follow on thoughts.
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Old October 6, 2005, 05:56 PM   #111
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Now that AAshooter, is a refreshingly honest and to the point answer. Kudos to you !
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Old October 6, 2005, 05:56 PM   #112
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Yes, you have a moral obligation to help innocents at risk.

First, you have to determine that innocents are at risk and then you need to decide what you can and should do to help. It might be a matter calling 911 and watching or getting information, such as a license plate, being a witness, etc. or it might be that you have to do more. Just ignoring it and walking away is not morally acceptable. Everything in between is a gray area and it depends on the situation. Due to that, what you do to help and what the best help is, can be hard to determine.

What you don't want to do is play a movie cop and rush in (without the script). Example: You see a woman down on the ground with a scruffy person pointing a gun at the her, she is yelling "don't hurt me". What do you do? Do you rush in and make a judgement of the people involved based on their sex and/or what they look like? Perhaps the scruffy person is an undercover cop and the woman is a murderer or an armed robber. Would you want to be the one to kill or injure the cop and let the criminal get away? Sometimes things are obvious, many times it is not.
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Old October 6, 2005, 08:57 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aashooter
Stratus, good thoughtful post! I guess I would find the second scenerio more interesting if you had 4 or 5 assailants. Do you still take action? Assuming all are armed with knifes (and maybe more), do you still take action. Even with a handgun, you may be unable to control/manage all the attackers. You may be likely to be injured or killed in engaging them. Do you still yell? Or, are you better off retreating to a safe place and hopping on 911 to ensure help arrives.
Yeah, very good point. Just one more example of how differences in situations make for a vast gradation in the difficulty of our choices.
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Old October 6, 2005, 09:30 PM   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butch50
This thread has degenerated from a thought provoking and thoroughly reasonable question about protecting people too insipd to protect themselves, into a series of increasingly narrowly defined scenarios that have little or nothing to do with the original question.

What duty do you as an average citizen owe to other average citizens that have not taken the time, interest or effort to protect themselves as you have? That is the question.

Can you step up to that plate and answer it?
Okay, fair enough. First off, the issue of whatever protection I "owe" to people who choose not to carry guns, is completely irrelevant to me. If I arrive at the conclusion that I should interfere with a situation in such a way that it involves me using my gun, the question "what do I owe this person?" is the furthest thing from my mind. My questions would be more along these lines: "Is it right and logical and necessary to intervene?" "Will I simply escalate the situation if I involve myself in the situation - and be guilty of reckless endangerment?" "Is this a fight I can win, or will I be throwing my life away?" These questions are simply more pertinent to me.

Basically what I'm saying is that I, personally, don't need a reason to help people if they are in some sort of grave peril. For many, the act of rendering aid has its own intrinsic motives. A person might be considered careless and weak who has never given much thought to protecting himself because the issue "never came up before", but that doesn't mean such people should be left to their fate. If it looks like they are going to lose their life and I can do something about it, I will. But, I do bear in mind the questions I already mentioned. I am not an LEO or any other kind of public servant, and if I protect someone, it's not out of a sense of duty - it is a choice. And that choice can be either justified or downright stupid depending on the circumstances.

Anyway, that's my personal belief, and I wouldn't presume to impose it on others. Protecting one's own person/family/loved ones is obviously a given, and something that we can all agree on.
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Old October 6, 2005, 09:32 PM   #115
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Quote:
What duty do you as an average citizen owe to other average citizens that have not taken the time, interest or effort to protect themselves as you have? That is the question...
No one has a "duty" to do anything really. Myself, I'm only bound to walk the fine line 48 hours a week. I choose to make my training available to anyone the other 120 hours when it's not my job to do so. Both from a Firefighter/EMT standpoint and an average everyday guy who happens to have a CCW and a handgun on his belt. I'm trained in both and I practice in both every week so that I am ready to go when/if the need and time arises. That's just my own personality and thought-process. I like to think of myself as an average Joe Citizen but I'm not. No more so than any other person here who's job it is or may have been to put their family second for a certain period of time in order to protect those who cannot or will not protect themselves or their families.

Most people are going to make their own decisions based on their own personal beliefs, morals, knowledge, and past experiences. Some will step up to the plate and some won't...

I can certainly understand your point of view Butch and I think you have made some very good points and discussion here. Your posts have stimulated some very frank discussion and I applaud you for your time and thoughts here.

I'm not opening a can of worms here, but, who's to say that the person in need of your help is one who has not decided to protect themselves? It's more than possible that the victim in question may just have missed the signs and has not had the opportunity to get his protection, in whatever form that may be, into play in a reasonable amount of time in order to stop the process?

Just a thought that I have not seen toucvhed on here in this thread...
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Old October 6, 2005, 09:40 PM   #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gddyup
I'm not opening a can of worms here, but, who's to say that the person in need of your help is one who has not decided to protect themselves? It's more than possible that the victim in question may just have missed the signs and has not had the opportunity to get his protection, in whatever form that may be, into play in a reasonable amount of time in order to stop the process?
Exactly! A person may carry a gun - that may not necessarily mean that he has the same constant awareness of his surroundings that Jason Bourne does.
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Old October 6, 2005, 10:26 PM   #117
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Quote:
What duty do you as an average citizen owe to other average citizens that have not taken the time, interest or effort to protect themselves as you have? That is the question.
Yes, I do feel that I owe another. Life does not revolve around me, I am not the center of the universe, my life really means nothing in the great picture.

And on the hospital bed, I will not blame the person that I've helped, I will blame the likes of the brady bunch and others like them that were allowed to spread the lies to put them in the place that they were in, unarmed.

I will put blame where blame is due, not on the person, who was brainwashed by the media, the brady bunch, and the government, that ensured them that they shouldn't have the most powerful tool that they can, or just lived in places that banned such tools.

I don't know if it's my protective nature, or how I grew up, or what is my guide. All I know, is what I do when something happens. Yet, many have said that I'm the biggest butthole out there, that would give his shirt off his back for someone in need.

My nose has been broken, I support a grin minus a couple of teeth, and my left hand has such severe nerve damage that it does funny things every now and then, and when it does, it hurts, it hurts bad.

Yet with the restricted flow in my nose, the absense of a couple of teeth, and my hand doing things that even I sit and watch as it does so, I have no regrets to how I came about these injuries.

As my Great-Great Mother would have said, "Grand Son, be proud of your scars, for they were born of battle".

She was full bloodied Blackfoot.

I don't expect others to understand, different cultures, different values/morales, different people.

I did take offense at Glenn and his post, I don't know him and wouldn't second guess what he has to offer, I expected the same of him. I don't know him, he doesn't know me or any of the others, so I took offense to his post.

Yet something that we have to understand on the board, and in life, is the fact that we are of different cultures, different systems of how we chose to run our lives.

Me, I know what I would do. And many will state that it's stupid to do so. I even have a hard time killing things that aren't human (mice, bugs, spiders, etc..) until they become a threat, and then I have no problem what so ever.

The only thing that keeps us from policing our own and getting involved is the fear of the laws that some take as the bible and will carry them out no matter what.

We don't have the guts to help others from the fear that we maybe jailed just from protecting ourselves, our family, or our fellow human being. We hesitate and then the answer comes to most, to just call 911 and walk away. Not their problem, not their fight.

Yet, I can't pass judgement on those that will just do so, or even just turn their head and walk/drive away. That's what they were told to do, trained to do, expected to do. How can we honestly put any blame upon them in this day and age. Today, that is what is expected, nothing more, nothing less.

And a sad day this is. When we decide who's life is more important. We have things to do and family, they had things to do, and family. As we have dreams, so did they. As we have family, so did they.

I don't advocate throwing your life away, but if there is a chance, then one should take it.

I don't expect anyone to understand or really care about my choices or what I've posted. It's not what you have decided to do. It's just the way I feel about the question asked, and I hold nothing against those that disagree with me.

Truly yours,

Wayne
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Old October 6, 2005, 11:10 PM   #118
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use the brain - not the gun...

There are many tricky situations...that ought to be figured out 'before' you pull out a gun... Example: A friend of mine was working at a juvenile facility and helped chaperone a field trip... Two of the teens were 'white females' and these girls decided to run off on a spree and have a little fun(think drugs and alcohol...) and my friend (a tall black man)one of the chaperones saw them take off...and he ran after them shouting for them to 'get back in the van'. The girls kept running...and the chaperone ran across a crosswalk to catch them...and the girls started crying 'He's trying to rape us! Help..' I surely hope that the ordinairy Joe Citizen with a gun...has sense enough to 'think'...before pulling out a 'gun'. I know of many many situations where what first meets the eye as a 'problem' turns out to be another problem with an unexpected twist. I know of a shooting in Atlanta about 15 years ago where an outraged husband shot two men who his wife pointed out as the 'men who raped her.' It turned out the woman didn't even know the men, had never met the men...and had not been raped...but was herself unstable...and had done somethings she thought would make her husband upset(not a bright man himself)and she made it all up - total fabrication. He took off after the men and shot them - killed one of them! Domestic Violence Situations are nasty and there are many people in prison for pulling out a gun in such situations - lots of ladies who wish now they had wised up and walked away or ran way .... rather than ended up in a courtroom parsing out the differences between murder,manslaughter and justifiable homicide...

Don't use a gun unless it's the last resort and it has to be used!
If it has to be used - use it well! I have actually interviewed women in prison who are there for 2nd and 3rd time for having used a firearm in separate domestic violence situations... Are they victims? Yes Is that a good excuse? No! Perps are often very clever! They will often portray themselves as 'the victim.' They will often exploit a situation so as to make someone else appear to be the Bad Guy. Sometimes both the 'victim' and the 'perp' - are both bad guys. Sometimes both the 'victim' and the 'perp' are otherwise goodguys - but are having a very Bad Day. Be very very careful before jumping into a 'situation'... with people you don't really know at all...

There are lots of folks in prison who are otherwise nice people...who made an impulsive mistake with a 'gun.' It cuts all different sorts of ways; there was a sex offender once arrested who had an MO of assaulting women in public restrooms; as he would leave...he'd shout out false statements that would tend to cause people to think that he and the victim knew each other...so nobody would jump in and try to get involved... The bottom line is you have to keep your eyes open...because once you pull out a gun...you've just cranked it all up to the final notch! There's a very fine line between being a hero with a gun...and being a fool with a gun.
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Old October 6, 2005, 11:21 PM   #119
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DobermansDoItGoofy,

So the best bet is just to walk away. I'm finding it easier to take this position than to try to help, just from the replies here.

And no, the gun is not the first choice to be had, unless one thinks that it is. Yet, It has been deemed, that it shouldn't be a choice at all.

Wayne
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Old October 7, 2005, 12:02 AM   #120
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Walk Away? Use the Gun?

It's not so black & white. There's a lot of shades of grey.
A 'gun' is only one narrow means of self defense. Carry yourself with serenity and confidence. Keep your eyes and ears open. A gun is a last resort...
Enjoy life without a gun. Let guns serve you; don't serve the gun!
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Old October 7, 2005, 03:53 PM   #121
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In other words, use the sword, don't live by the sword (or you will perish by it)

Amen to that
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Old October 7, 2005, 04:03 PM   #122
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My state (WA) now has a Good Sam law that mandates at the least calling 911 if a crime is seen in progress where someone is in danger. State law also absolves someone from suit if they are trying to help someone in danger for most instances. Also anyone acting at the direction of a LEO is exempt from suit if they follow instructions even if they include use of force! Things get a little tangled here.....
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Old October 7, 2005, 05:12 PM   #123
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Quoted from above: " . . . anyone acting at the direction of a LEO is exempt from suit if they follow instructions."


Wow, is that common? It sounds pretty unusual.

So if he tells me to shoot the bad guy and I miss hitting an innocent, am I on the hook for not following the instructions???
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Old October 7, 2005, 05:21 PM   #124
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None of those laws cover negligence though. You are covered if you perform actions to the best of your ability, whatever that ability may be. If your actions are negligent, you can and most likely will be sued.
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Old October 7, 2005, 06:55 PM   #125
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Food for thought. As a matter of law, LEOs are not obligated to protect citizens. I think that has been made clear in any number of courts. So I assume that, legally speaking, citizens are under no obligation to protect one another. Therefore I believe that if you see a person in danger you can walk away from it legally. That takes care of the legal part.

Then comes the upbringing part. Depending on your upbringing you may or may not see it as an obligation. My guess is that big city kids will be brought up to stay out of other peoples problems more than small town and country kids. That is of course a broad generalization, but I bet it is true most of the time.

Then comes the obligation to your own family part. If you have dependents you owe more to them than you do to strangers (in my opinion) so that helping strangers is OK as long as it is not going to interfere with remaining alive and in stable condition for your dependents. This one gets mixed in with the pure survival part of not getting into situations that will end with your death.

I think it boils down to what are the odds that you will not make things worse, that you can actually help, and come through alive and healthy. Weigh those factors and you should get the answer to go or no go.
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‘‘Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.’’ ~ Mahatma Ghandi, "Gandhi, An Autobiography", page 446

‘‘The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun.’’ ~ Patrick Henry
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