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View Poll Results: What will you risk in defense of a stranger?
I am unwilling to place myself at risk in the defense of a stranger (dial 911 only) 27 45.76%
I am willing to place my finances at risk (possible being sued) 2 3.39%
I am willing to risk my freedom (possibly facing prison) 0 0%
I am willing to risk my life but not the safety of bystanders. (no chance of gunfight) 13 22.03%
I am willing to risk my life and increase risk for bystanders. (will risk a gunfight) 17 28.81%
Voters: 59. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 30, 2010, 02:28 PM   #1
.22lr
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Are you responsible [Part 2b]

The situation is this;

1) You have come upon a stranger is being attacked by an assailant who has shown beyond a doubt the Intent, Opportunity and Ability to cause grievous harm or death.

2) You believe the stranger to be innocent and the assailant to be criminal.

3) The stranger (the one being attacked) appears unarmed.

4) The immediate area is populated with innocent people not involved with the attack in any way shape or form.

5) There is a unknown risk that a innocent bystander may be hurt, but this risk is hard to quantify.

6) The choice not to fire may result in the grievous injury or death of the stranger.

7) The decision to fire may place you and those around you (innocent bystanders) at increased risk. (a gunfight)



What level of risk will you accept in the defense of a stranger?



Very Respectfully,



~Matt

PS: I realize these options are not perfect and that my style may not appeal to all. I will say this, it is worth everything you paid for it and if dissatisfied, I will give a 200% refund. Seriously, if you don't like it, just change the channel.

Last edited by .22lr; July 30, 2010 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Thanks for the clarification WildAlaska!
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Old July 30, 2010, 02:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
a stranger is being attacked by an assailant who has shown beyond a doubt the Intent, Opportunity and Ability to cause grievous harm or death.
And does this question include the undisputed knowledge that the stranger is an innocent and the attacker is operating in a criminal fashion?

WildotherwiseitsanexcersizeinfutilityAlaska ™
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Old July 30, 2010, 02:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .22lr
2) Your only knowledge is that one person is attacking and the other is being attacked.
So the "attacker" could be, oh, a Good Samaritan, maybe even a Hero , coming to the aid of person #3 (whom I can't see just now), who was attacked by the person who appears to be under attack...

Why would I risk making a situation which I know nothing about worse?

Not just no, but heck no. I'll call 911 and be the best witness I can, but it's not remotely a good idea for a civilian to try to intervene with force in completely ambiguous situations.
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:01 PM   #4
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Vanya,
I apologize for changing the question after you had posted. Wildalaska pointed out the issue, and after this week, I don't think my insomnia addled brain should be anywhere near a keyboard...

Once again apologies,

VR

Matt
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:05 PM   #5
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Done this in FOF - you have no idea of the preceding events. The classic is the undercover cop with a gun who gets shot. This has happened a few times.

Without absolute certainity - don't engage. Even if you have that, you have no moral obligation to enter the fight.

It also depends on the circumstances of the participants. I just missed a sexual predator beating an 8 year old with a tire iron to stuff her in a duffle bag to kidnap her. Others intervened.

Pretty clear on what to do, if you had the ability.

I also saw a bunch of racist scum starting harass an older woman of color. I was probably going to help this woman but she managed to flee into a store. I called the law.

I saw gang member fighting a gang member over a woman. Bye, bye.

The question doesn't consider the force continuum.

I know that with a sample of highly trained individuals carrying firearms - being asked if seeing a woman being assaulted, how would they act - almost none will shoot immediately. Most call the cops and observe.

In FOF at places like the NTI - about 50/50 on actually entering the fray. Even then they usually challenge. Surprising, you then get into a gun fight. Ouch. Unlike the internet, you take sims rounds. Your hits may not hit something vital. And wow, a surprise backup for the BG.
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:15 PM   #6
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And what if something changes, such as a knife being drawn or possibly a gun and there are children in the immediate area that have frozen in place since the fight erupted?

I believe it was December of 2008 and those two gang bangers opened fire on each other in a Toys r us. If you could have interrupted that because of innocent bystanders would you have?

Just trying to be the odd one...
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:21 PM   #7
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What Glen said. I *might* be willing to risk up to my own life, but not that of innocent bystanders, in a case where I was certain or nearly certain that the person being attacked was innocent. Usually I wouldn't be that certain, however, and if I weren't, chances are very good that my involvement would take the form of quickly taking cover, calling 911, and being as good a witness as possible.

For example, in the situation Glenn Miller mentions, if I saw a clearly preadolescent girl being violently attacked by somebody I recognized to be a known sex offender, and was confident that I could intervene with a good chance of success without putting other innocent people in danger, I would do so. I've been that child, except that I wasn't in public and my attacker hadn't been tried and convicted of hurting other children. :/ I couldn't stand to live in my own skin if I stood by and let that happen to another child.

But that's an extreme situation. How often would I know that the attacker was a sex offender? How often would I be sure enough about the nature of the situation that intervening with deadly force was the right thing to do. (Not often.) How often would I be *able* to intervene with a certainty that other innocent people wouldn't be put at risk (gunfight), or that I could improve the situation for the person being attacked? The truth is, not very often.

I don't have the desire or the skill to play superhero (or mall ninja).
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:30 PM   #8
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I would most likely observe and respond with what I though to be the right choice. 911 most of the time. The scenario with the 8yr old I would have to intervene if it was possible, I simply could not stand by. Hopefully most of the time a 911 call will do the trick. The firearm is a last ditch effort, thats why we carry in case we need it. Thats the whole point, I dont want to use my firearm until absolutley necessary. Like the saying goes " Its better to have a gun and not need it, then to need a gun and NOT have it .
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:31 PM   #9
Glenn E. Meyer
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In the case I report - and I am not Glenn Miller - the BG was beating the kid with a tire iron and trying to stuff her in a bag.

But what if you saw a grown man pick up a crying little girl, sling her over his shoulder and stalk out the door of the market?

That was me and the issue was I wouldn't buy another lousy My Little Pony - so the daughter freaked. So shoot me?

Once with the daughter, I was at the magazine rack, holding her little hand. I said : Give me a kiss, darling.

The woman next to me, turned and good thing she was not from the Internet as I would have been shot. Then she saw my kid and I could see her chagrin.

If two guys get into a knife fight - and I see kids - I would YELL - RUN FOR YOUR LIVES (a guy from the internet might start shooting)
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:41 PM   #10
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LOL a guy from the internet might start shooting. Beating a girl with the tire iron is alot different than you even grabbing a crying daughter. If I really thought something was suspect I would just observe but not start shooting. If people would shoot that fast they shouldn't have a gun .
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:43 PM   #11
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If the "stranger" looks like he is literally getting beaten to death... I'm stepping in to try and break up the beating.

I would NOT introduce a firearm into the situation.

Of course you are putting yourself at risk by taking any non-passive actions. I just can't stand to see these or similar situations end badly for a truely innocent victim while people casually walk by and turn a blind eye.

I see this garbage on the news all the time... someone is getting beaten within inches of their life and all the while people are passing by with their heads to the ground.

I know that innocence can't be assumed... but by stepping in and at least attempting to break up the situation, you are really helping out both parties.

A) The "stranger" may actually get to see another sun rise.

B) The person dishing out the beat down may not get charged for murdering someone in public
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:47 PM   #12
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Sixer that Chuck Norris thing is HILARIOUS. I cant stop laughing and my family is looking at me strange.
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .22lr
Vanya,
I apologize for changing the question after you had posted.
'S fine. I see no reason to edit what I wrote... especially as "belief" (in this case, that I know who is doing what to whom) is a very tricky thing.

If I thought I could do so effectively, I would be most likely to intervene to help a child -- otherwise, there are too many unknowns, and the chances of my doing harm (including to myself, by my decision -- my life is a priori no less valuable than anyone else's) are too high. (And Dr. Mill... er, Meyer's comments about the kid thing are well taken, as well. Even there, it's trickier than we might think.)

And lest we forget, calling 911 and being a good witness is a form of intervention. Many people can't even manage that.
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Last edited by Vanya; July 30, 2010 at 03:52 PM. Reason: to close the @%&* parenthesis.
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
) You have come upon a stranger is being attacked by an assailant who has shown beyond a doubt the Intent, Opportunity and Ability to cause grievous harm or death.
Be carefull, very carefull. Years ago I came upon a group of men physically holding a teen boy on the ground, boys face was bloodied. I got out of the truck and gathered up the men and got them off that boy, cops show up, turns out the boy was attempting to run away from a juvie house and the men were capturing him. Good thing I didnt hurt any of them men or I would have been arrested.

Not everything is as it seems, be carefull or have a lot of money for lawyers if you want to play hero.
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Old July 30, 2010, 03:54 PM   #15
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But what if you saw a grown man pick up a crying little girl, sling her over his shoulder and stalk out the door of the market?
Truck stop in western nebr, a trucker picked up a small girl and took her for a ride in his semi returning a lot latter to be arrested for kidnapping and later sex assault. A couple saw her taken but didnt call 911 until after the parents realized kid was gone and called for help. Was a Bosselmans truck stop.
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Old July 30, 2010, 04:07 PM   #16
Glenn E. Meyer
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Shows the ambiguity - you would have drawn on me?

I seeing the threat to my and my child might have taken the risk to shoot you up.

It's a problem, isn't it. BTW, I have seen people draw and beat drawn guns. There's a trick to it.
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Old July 30, 2010, 06:01 PM   #17
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Yell "I called the cops!" or "I'm calling the cops!"?

If I were some good samaritan ringing a bg's bell for whatever reason and somebody yelled that at me, I imagine I would be like "whoa whoa wait! You got it all wrong here." (While doing the whole showing of hands because I'm innocent routine) Or if the attacker is the bg, maybe they will run off. If that doesn't work then...better luck next time I guess.

Yelling at a bg and reporting them to police might just tick them off, so maybe get a slight head start on running the heck out of there in the midst of yelling.
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Old July 31, 2010, 09:16 AM   #18
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No offense intended, but I don’t to see a major point to this series of posts beyond getting it across to responders that they need more information to be sure of making a correct decision than what is provided in the OPs … or ... to serve as a sort of Rorschach test to determine the expectations of the responders.

IMO : People are filling in the details in their mind to fit what they expect the situation to be, and justify the actions that they are prepared (or think they are prepared) to take. Some of the "draw" or "shoot now" responses might be entirely justified if the details of the responder’s mental picture of the situation were known. Likewise for the "run away" ones.

In my view of personal morality (which is separate from yet linked to societal obligations), the principles that should be followed (such as protecting self, protecting innocents, do no harm, promote good, and such) are absolutes. However, we are faced with the problem of attempting to follow an absolute goal from a finite perspective. We can rarely fully assess the right or wrong of action due to both internal and external limits on ability. Also, due to the appearance of conflict between absolute principles that arise in real situations, and that are inherent to a multifaceted world, there is rarely a "perfect" choice in reality and sometimes inaction is the correct action.
There’s always risk involved in any action Sometimes priorities appear to conflict and lead to either partial win or no win situations where questionable trades had to be made. Generally, I’m for taking action and accepting the consequences. Others may decide it’s better to choose submission to fate and claim innocence through their personal inaction. If that’s how they deal with their conscience, it’s their personal choice and I don’t question it for them. For me however, the "innocence of inaction" is only in the imagination, since inaction was a choice itself.

All we can do is attempt to act correctly to the best of our ability, governed by recognition that we sometimes do not have ability, with the object of achieving the closest approximation to the absolute goals.
Well, it's seemed to work for me, anyway.
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Old August 1, 2010, 04:49 PM   #19
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When you come to the aid of another, you step into that person's shoes. If he would not have been justified in the use of lethal force, neither would you be. So as Glenn Meyer wrote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer, post 5
...Without absolute certainity - don't engage....
Call the cops. Take pictures with your cell phone. Shout. Be a good witness.

But
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer, post 9
...But what if you saw a grown man pick up a crying little girl, sling her over his shoulder and stalk out the door of the market?...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer, post 5
...saw gang member fighting a gang member over a woman...
no one is going to be giving you the key to the city for shooting (1) the father taking his kid, in mid-tantrum, outside for a "time out; or (2) an undercover cop trying to arrest a pimp who is resisting. You'll be going to jail instead. And you certainly won't be getting any congratulations if you injured an innocent bystander in the process.
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Old August 2, 2010, 06:38 AM   #20
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I'm sorry I didn't read all these post's, but can somebody including 22lr, tell me if he had, or has some type of SD training? I have questions to on the moralities of SD, but I took some SD training, and am looking for some more legalities on the subject.
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Old August 2, 2010, 12:31 PM   #21
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I took a little bit, would not say enough by any means because of a cost/distance factor. However, I'll try and help you out with whatever questions you have, so shoot away (no pun intended). OBSERVE, people don't even know your there if you were seriously concerned for someones well being. If I thought a kidnapping of a child was in progress I might follow his car/truck, copy the plates, report to police as I am following him, depending on the situation. USE, even pulling your firearm is a last ditch effort. That doesn't mean every time you pull it, use it. But if you do you have to be ready to engage.
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Old August 5, 2010, 08:05 AM   #22
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Quote:
No offense intended, but I don’t to see a major point to this series of posts beyond getting it across to responders that they need more information to be sure of making a correct decision than what is provided in the OPs … or ... to serve as a sort of Rorschach test to determine the expectations of the responders.
Talking and thinking about this type subject is good IMO. Many folks carry without doing so and perhaps will make a less informed decision than we will.
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Old August 5, 2010, 08:59 AM   #23
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I don't like the poll options. Basically, it will be the circumstances that dicstate whether I will get involved in defending a stranger, and how I would get involved.

If I'm standing behind a guy who is getting ready to pull a gun and hold up a Subway sandwich shop, I might prepare to take action if/when he pulls his gun. Or, I might leave....or I might walk outside and call 911 - depends on if I think he's alone or has "friends".

In my opinion, proximity to the threat is the most determining factor of weather or not I get "involved" as in using my weapon. Anything past 5 feet away, it is going to far less likely that I will pull a weapon and start shooting.
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Old August 5, 2010, 09:53 AM   #24
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Some of you would opt to call 911 and others have said this is what many people would do - call 911 and observe. Let me ask those of you who gave answers along those lines:

Is one of the reasons that you own a gun because you firmly believe that calling 911 would not result in police arriving on time to defend you and you therefore may need to defend yourself, but now that you are talking about the life of another you expect a timely arrival of police after making a 911 call about someone else facing serious bodily harm or death at the hands of an assailant?

As for those of you telling others there are no moral obligations to enter a fight, are you telling others what are their moral obligations based upon your own conception of morality? If so, why do you imagine yourself qualified to tell others what should be their own standard of morality? As for myself, I would likely feel it a moral obligation to assist a young child I saw being raped, or a defenseless old lady I saw being beaten repeatedly with a club while her assailant was screaming 'die, die die' or while his accomplice was trying to grab the woman’s purse, in fact I would consider it my own absolute obligation to assist by more than calling 911 if possible. This does not necessarily mean shooting but almost assures I would seek to intervene in some manner using force if necessary.

I believe someone mentioned the use of force continuum. There is no need not to go immediately to the use of deadly force in the event you see someone already using that level of force against innocents. For example, if you were walking passed an elementary school, saw a man walk into the schoolyard, then start shooting child after child, and just moments before you saw the children playing blissfully, you would be justified to utilize deadly force to stop him. Would you take the chance then, if it was apparent, because he was reloading and saying something like "die, die, die" he would imminently shoot other children? By virtue of the Use of Force Continuum itself, there is no reason to adhere to each step before arriving at the use of deadly force, in such a situation, to stop the threat. Would I challenge with mere presence, or with verbal commands, or try to stop the threat using soft or hard techniques - I doubt it. I would assess the situation, realize the children are in imminent danger of loss of life or severe injury and I would take what I felt was appropriate action. Would I shoot if there was a chance of hitting others. Quite possibly yes if I assessed the situation and thought my chances of hitting the bad guy were much better than hitting an innocent bystander. I would not take too much time to do so, some situations require quick thinking and fast action.

Does this mean I would shoot someone whom I saw pick up a screaming kid and walk out of a store when the kid was screaming "I want mommy" or help me, help, "this is not my daddy". That is not a shooting situation and if you think it is, well you need to rethink when you would shoot or not. What a situation like that should get is a call to 911 and maybe even an attempt to verbally confront the person carrying off the child, or following the person to make sure the child is not hurt and keeping in contact with the police while doing so. I have done it myself before in exactly a situation I have just described. A child was screaming that the person she was with was not her parent and she wanted her mother. Turns out the person was her father, her very loving, responsible and good father at that. He agreed to await the police when he was confronted by me and others to check on what was happening. The kid was emotionally disturbed and the police were already aware of the family situation because of previous calls on similar instances with the same child.

As for thinking along the lines - how often will I be sure that it is an innocent who is being threatened by serious bodily injury or threat of death at the hands of an assailant - what does it matter if it is only once in your life time. The number of times it may happen is unimportant, what is important is that you plan now as for what would be your practical response if such a situation does present itself.

As for putting the life of another innocent at risk is concerned, take the schoolyard example I just gave. That is not by any stretch of the imagination a far fetched situation. It could happen and in fact does happen all to often in very similar circumstances that school children have been gunned down. Would you take the risk of possibly injuring an innocent third if you had what you had assessed would be a clear shot, from a fairly close distance, from a supported position, from behind cover and the shooter was unaware of your presence? Do you think what I just wrote is bending it to fit my ideas. Think about it. You see a guy shooting little school kids, he is reloading and yelling 'die, die, die, he is preoccupied and does not see you 15 yards from him, what do you do? Me, I would probably seek cover as quickly as I started thinking. As I sought cover I would probably be drawing my sidearm. I would most likely not challenge him unless he was about to pull the trigger again and then only to get his attention away from the children, otherwise why bring his attention to me and place myself at unnecessary risk! If I saw I had a clear shot I would attempt to take it, hopefully from a supported shooting position if possible but from the open is need be. Isn't this just what you train to do if you train in any manner of tactical shooting. Don't you train to assess the situation. Don't you train to move, to seek cover, to draw, to fire and if still necessary, and to do so using any practical support from behind cover if practical? Don’t you train for this to apply to any situation where your use of deadly force is needed and justified?

Now mind you, I am not saying I would respond with deadly force in every situation, especially relative o those where innocents are put at risk by me shooting. The thing is though sometimes you have to weigh one risk against another and then make your decision based on that. In the case of a schoolyard shooter as I described, or even in the case of someone like Colin Ferguson (shooter of people on the LIRR several years ago), I would quite possibly shoot the assailant even though there was risk to others from my shot if only because there was a much greater risk that the bad guy already shooting innocent people would be much more likely to seriously injure or kill them if I simply observed or called 911.

I am not recommending others do this, or that I would automatically do it, but saying this is what I would be prepared to do. If my assessment of the situation had me arrive at the conclusion that such was necessary to stop the threat to innocent third parties.

All the best,
Glenn B
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Old August 5, 2010, 12:28 PM   #25
Vanya
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The topic of the thread isn't "Do you have a moral duty to intervene?" but:
Quote:
Originally Posted by .22lr
What level of risk [to yourself and innocent bystanders] will you accept in the defense of a stranger?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bartley
As for those of you telling others there are no moral obligations to enter a fight, are you telling others what are their moral obligations based upon your own conception of morality? If so, why do you imagine yourself qualified to tell others what should be their own standard of morality? As for myself, I would likely feel it a moral obligation to assist a young child I saw being raped...
As Dr. Meyer has pointed out in many threads on this general subject, research on altruism, "pro-social behavior," shows that we tend to confuse our emotional responses to a situation, such as our (perhaps biologically based) drive to protect children, and less altruistic motivations such as our wish to be seen as heroic, with moral imperatives. (For example, see his detailed analysis here.)

You're not, in fact, morally obliged to enter a fight. There are times, certainly, when it would be morally permissible, even admirable, to do so. (If you believe that anyone here has said that he or she wouldn't intervene to help a child who was obviously being harmed, I think you haven't been reading very carefully. In any case, a situation involving a child is likely to be -- comparatively -- unambiguous.) But the point is that you are responsible for all the consequences of your actions, both good and bad, and you do have a moral obligation to weigh both sets of possible consequences before you act.

I think Mr. Roberts summed it up nicely:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts View Post
The really absurd thing about the "reductio ad waffle house" argument is that it implies you are somehow guilty for the acts of another (the shooter) by not acting; but if you do act and kill some innocent, you are absolved of the guilt because of your intentions.

That pretty much stands on its head every concept of personal responsibility I've ever heard.
To reiterate what has been pretty well beaten to death in the other recent threads on this subject, good intentions don't absolve you from moral, or legal, or financial responsibility for any negative consequences of your actions.

As long as you're willing and able to accept that, you're good to go, as far as I'm concerned.

But the results, so far, of the poll in this thread indicate that many respondents aren't thinking this through very carefully:

Quote:
I am willing to place my finances at risk (possible being sued) = 0%

I am willing to risk my life and increase risk for bystanders[Vanya's emphasis]. (will risk a gunfight) = 23.08%
Can we say "disconnect" here?
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Last edited by Vanya; August 5, 2010 at 12:36 PM.
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