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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 August 5, 2010, 01:29 PM   #26
animal
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Quote:
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?
Can we say improper structuring of the poll question? … and coupled with too few details in the scenario ?
Total percentage of answers adds up to 100 = one answer to each customer.
I suspect many (most?) of those willing to risk the gunfight are also willing to risk finances and took it as "obvious" that if they were willing to risk their lives as well as those of others, they would also take lesser risks. (I didn’t answer the poll.)

There’s also a quite logical path to explain how "zero risk to personal finances" and "willingness to risk self and others for societal gain" can be compatible. I prefer a different method of assessing personal liability, working directly proportional to the assessment of risk/gain and who is taking the risk vs. who is expected to gain by the action taken … but some think I’m just cracked.

My answer to the poll question would be that I am willing to risk all, plus a few things not mentioned.
But … Whether or not I took various risks would depend upon the assessment of both the situation and my abilities.
This is a separation, but not a disconnect.

It’ operating with an ideal goal, while realizing that the best you can actually do, is the closest approximation to the goal.
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Old August 5, 2010, 03:16 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by animal
Can we say improper structuring of the poll question? … and coupled with too few details in the scenario ?
Total percentage of answers adds up to 100 = one answer to each customer.
I suspect many (most?) of those willing to risk the gunfight are also willing to risk finances and took it as "obvious" that if they were willing to risk their lives as well as those of others, they would also take lesser risks. (I didn’t answer the poll.)
I agree that the poll's construction isn't perfect in this regard, but I do think it's revealing.

It's not at all "obvious" that people who say they are willing to risk their or other people's lives as an act of "altruism" are automatically willing to incur a financial loss. This is another point that Glenn E. Meyer has made repeatedly in these discussions. He has demonstrated over and over that most people's perception of "moral obligation" is very limited: it's easy to say that we all should be willing to risk our own lives to help a stranger; but the people who say this would not be willing, if their lives had been saved at the cost of someone else's, to support the family of that person.

For example:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer View Post
... I return to my initial analysis - that in many of these moral obligation threads - there is a subtext that we find the use of violence in an altruistic or pro-social scenario compelling and attractive. We think that someone should sacrifice their family's well being for the victim.

However, other altruistic acts that aren't based on violence, aren't attractive. Interesting from the viewpoint of the theories of why people act altruistically. If the goal is to help, then why isn't helping in nonviolent situations equally attractive?
The principle is the same, and I think many of the posts in these recent "responsibility" threads reflect this: several people have said that those who harm innocents in a good cause shouldn't be held financially responsible for that harm. They'll harm an innocent, but helping that innocent afterward, non-violently, isn't attractive.

What the poll actually "proves" is that the results you get depend on how you ask the question. Poll options two and three, "I am willing to place my finances at risk (possible being sued)" and "I am willing to risk my freedom (possibly facing prison)" are, IMHO, just different ways of presenting option five, "I am willing to risk my life and increase risk for bystanders..."

If the poll choices really represent a continuum of risk to the actor, there ought to be a continuum of responses: at least some people would take the "small" risk of financial loss (being sued).

That's not the case: the poll results show a bimodal distribution where the modes are (1) The "first do no harm" stance (or, if you prefer, "the ignoble and cowardly" choice) and (2) The "noble and heroic" stance (or the "fools rush in" choice, depending on your point of view).

Being willing to risk one's life tends to be seen as noble and heroic, so it's no surprise that several people express a willingness to do so. But what outcomes will result in being sued and/or going to prison? Well, they'll most likely be the ones that involve harm to bystanders.

So when the "noble and heroic" choice is couched in terms of its possible negative consequences, such as going to prison, it doesn't look so heroic any more.

No takers for those unheroic options? Hmm.
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Last edited by Vanya; August 5, 2010 at 08:29 PM. Reason: to fix ambiguity in last line.
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Old August 5, 2010, 05:14 PM   #28
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You have a point. Everyone, including myself, have misconceptions about how things will pan out. There are an infinite number of outcomes for any given scenario. A plan is just a list of things that don't happen. No way to know what your willing to do until its shoved in your face. Until that fateful day its all speculation.
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Old August 5, 2010, 05:38 PM   #29
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I don't know for certain til the moment happens, but I hope I would be able to help out. I carry a gun for protection of myself and my family or friends. Friends, in my mind, extends to anyone I am able to help. If waiting for the police is an option, it is the best one, but may not be possible.

2 gangbangers someone mentioned? Hopefully they will kill each other. I'll try to get people near me to a safe place and not enter the fight.

A bunch of thugs harassing and threatening an old lady? Call 911 if I have time, then step to her defense.

The child issue hits me too. I've had to manhandle my feisty daughter out of places when she had tantrums. She's a different race than me too, so that would raise suspicions from the start if people didn't know us. If someone pulled a gun on me, I hope I'd set her down and tell the guy the story. At that point, she would likely settle down enough to verify me being her dad. I wouldn't pull mine on him, he was trying to help, albeit too hasty. Best to get a cop or security guard if available, to check things out.

I want to go for another pistol course. Would like to find one similar to the obstacle course thing cops do. Walk down a street, things pop up from nowhere, out of doors or around corners. Is it a thug with a hostage or a kid on a bike? A bank robber running out or a mom with a stroller? That sort of thing would be good training.
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Old August 5, 2010, 06:15 PM   #30
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Cool tag BTW ncpatriot not enough people remember Sept 11. let alone the heros of flight 93. I respect your respect for our excellent country. That being said, I would love to do something like your talking about. I took a little training but it was kind of informal and not as professional as I would have liked. Did learn a bit about SD though. I want to get on a course like you talk about and run through that. I really want to do more extensive training but time/cost factor is an issue right now. I still shoot often and practice what I know though.
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Old August 5, 2010, 08:08 PM   #31
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No takers. Hmm.
No takers? I was under the impression that I had "taken" up the gauntlet, so to speak. Have taken the chances mentioned … would even go further in some very limited cases, but not for a stranger. I’m definitely not a hero, but quite possibly a fool. Definitely a gambler playing odds when in the middle of bad stuff, and maybe just lucky.

I don’t buy into "continuum of risk". I think each type of risk represents an additional dimension of risk to the act, rather than an increased level of risk.
…. And IMHO, those who do subscribe to "continuum of risk" tend to think in a linear way, rather than considering all dimensions at once. The risk of highest value becomes their focus and they answer accordingly. I think some intuitively recognize "lesser" risks as fitting into a different dimensional set and view them as separate, thus forming opinions of personal responsibility that appear to conflict on the surface.

While I’m in the "alternate dimension" …only masochists should read further
If one considers the interests of society to be in conflict with the interests of the individual, acting selfishly is then in direct opposition to acting for the society and that the morality of an act can be described along a line with selfishness represented as bad and altruism as good….

I consider this approach a fallacy and don’t mind standing much of today’s moral views (which includes personal responsibilities) on their heads. In my view, acting for the benefit of self is separate from acting for the benefit of society, though they do relate to one another. This adds a dimension to the equation of how one should properly act rather than necessarily creating a conflict of interests between self and society. To form the most simplistic graph of their relationship, one would draw an x and y axis in Cartesian coordinates for the interests of each entity. X for self-interest and Y for the societal interest. Each axis has a positive and negative side to represent help or harm, and a point can be plotted to describe an action.

Societal interests, though an society is an entity itself, are only a summation of the interests of each individual (including self) rather than a standard to define good and bad. The good and bad is found in how individuals and entities interact with each other. Due to the multitude of self interests and inevitability of conflict, absolution collapses concerning any action, leaving behind only varying degrees and differing dimensions of guilt.

One can then define one dimension as a culpable offense and another as not, but these definitions are only of value in relation to society … in order to differentiate between maliciousness, negligence, recklessness, involuntary, justifiable, and such. One can also define civil liability and degree of financial exposeure similarly.

The really neat thing is that you can define your own values instead of having society do it for you or take on the values of your chosen religion, as long as they do not directly infringe on the rights of others. The separation of powers between levels of govt. and the people make sense in a slightly different way too. Different jobs defined for different entities that operate in different dimensional sets, basically. Far preferable to destroying the individual in favor of the collective, imo.

Oh yeah, the zero point of the coordinate system might still be said to be one of zero guilt. However, according to my personal view of correct operation, there is an obligation to always act to the best of my ability (including weighing risks correctly) to achieve a good result. Therefore, the zero point effectively does not exist unless I am incapacitated, or am unable to find a way to act positively. Essentially, as long as one is able to make a positive difference, he is obligated to act, and mistakes are inevitable. Responsibility is attempting to limit mistakes to the best of your ability. Justice is us trying to convince ourselves that everything is OK because perfection exists only in hope.
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Old August 5, 2010, 08:25 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by animal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanya
No takers. Hmm.
No takers? I was under the impression that I had "taken" up the gauntlet, so to speak.
Sorry... that was ambiguous. I meant that there were "No takers" for options two and three in the poll, which, as I said, seem to me to restate option five in a sort of unromantic, consequences-directed way...

Didn't mean you.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ethical behavior... it's always interesting to see how someone who is trying to work out his/her own basis for "how to act" goes about it.

Although I'm an entirely secular person, I'm partial to Rabbi Hillel's remark: "What you yourself hate, don't do to your neighbor. This is the whole law; the rest is commentary. Go and study."
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Old August 5, 2010, 11:11 PM   #33
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Hey, no apologies necessary, but the thought is appreciated. Sorry if my post alarmed you.
Yeah, I can see your point about options 2 and 3 linked to 5.
I saw 2 and 3 more as willing to risk the ability to support dependents … with 3 also involving the dire risk of personal honor (defined as following your personal code of ethics and serving as an example to others)
Personal honor is an unpopular notion nowadays, but I value it higher than my own life. It’s value is less than the life of those I love, however. We all see the value in things a little differently, no? … and I don’t deny that you are right in the way you looked at 2 and 3. The different values seen in the same concept build the "dimensional set" in my weird little world.

I like Rabbi Hillel, judging from what little I’ve read by him, but I never cared for that remark except as a reflection of the good in him. Imo, it works well when speaking to a good person or of their good desires, but it fails when speaking to the bad person or bad desires.
I would prefer, "All of the Law describes commerce, the action inherent to the system. By logically dissecting it by the concept of theft, we can find what is valuable. By recognizing it’s written form was for man to follow at the time it was given, we can strip off the veil of language placed by man and see the principles governing that action which have held true for all of history. This, I think, is the Law of God ; explained by the motive of love and it’s ultimate demonstration.", but that’s just me.

Of Hillel quotes, I like, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?". Strangely enough, this might actually be directly on-topic (in principle, at least).

I would respectfully disagree with your self assessment as "entirely secular". IMHO, secular is worldly, or "of nature". If that were true, you would be no more than a sophisticated animal, operating out of instinct and personal desire. I think the first transcendent quality of man may be the willingness to take responsibility and the second, a perceived need for forgiveness of wrongs committed against others. This might show you are reaching beyond what you begin as, to find a code to govern your actions, and define yourself as part of mankind. To those who have found or made such a code, it becomes their god. For those who have a God, it is only a way He speaks to them.
Btw, for simplicity’s sake, I usually refer to myself as an agnostic.

Apologies to all for veering so far off-topic.
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Old August 5, 2010, 11:21 PM   #34
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Interesting question but..

I would agree that you really need more info, and would probably have voted for something closer to 'I'd rally the troops around the victim to help/ call 911 / whatever.'

With what I imagined the density of people around the area from the description, pulling a gun out didn't seem like a smart idea to me (unless the assailant came at you and you decided to club the guy with the weapon)

But, I like these questions, what would you do. Tough to tell but probably good to consider pre-need.
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Old August 6, 2010, 12:01 PM   #35
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I voted for the first one. I am not killer either. I dont seek fighting and would hate to shoot anybody. I reserve that as a true last resort if the BG is targeting me and trying to kill me. But I would stay on the Phone with 911. I would wish to do more but know full well what might happen to me (prison, death,etc). Not things I am ready to experience.....
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Old August 6, 2010, 12:53 PM   #36
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Big Tom, I know you took a lot of flak lately in another thread. Whether or not the posts were true over there they did display immaturity, imo. This post of yours, however demonstrates a realization of personal limitations and is the first step to maturity. It is the foundation of whatever you are willing to work towards, and build yourself into whatever you desire to be.

Choosing to fight physically is not for everyone, but choosing to fight is. Fighting is nothing more than work. Whether you’re working towards subduing fears, working to provide for a family, or working to make life better for others and yourself, it’s always a fight. We each choose how we fight, whether nonviolently or violently, and as long as we do so to the best of our ability, we become builders and men. jmo
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Old August 9, 2010, 10:47 PM   #37
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Animal,

Ya I realized a lot about that night. It taught me to look over my strategy. come up with new game plans, it also taught me that if it came to it I could pull the trigger. But all the while I would never want to have to. I wish to get along with everyone to be totally honest with you, however in the world we live in thats not always the case. I have learned much about guns but much more is still needed. It pains me to know how unprepared I was for that night. But it has made me stronger and my father and I have upped security measures should something else happen. We now sleep with a phone, a light and a shotgun next to us. Just in case.
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Old August 9, 2010, 11:18 PM   #38
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Heard about a pair of thugs in Baton Rouge that were mugging folks with a tactic of one would pretending to beat the other one and when someone came to help the pretend victim. The pretend victim would get up and help hold up the real victim with a gun.
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Old August 9, 2010, 11:32 PM   #39
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I heard

I heard a story of a lady who tried to stop a band of ruffians trying to rob some guys is nice suits, just to discover while she was been arrested for obstruction of justice the ruffian looking people were actually federal agents trying to arrest a band of narcos

The point of the story told by a lawyer is, When you act in such fashion, you are taking on this persons rights and responsibilities, weather that be a criminal or a victim. How can you know? apart from the obvious?

Never assume anything
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Old August 10, 2010, 12:11 AM   #40
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MY TWO CENTS.

Ill make it short and to the point, so as not to contend with the lengthy insights (lol).

I'm Kind of a big picture guy, in general. If someone i don't know in a situation entirely unknown to me with many unknown variables is at risk i would weigh heavily on my actions.

A Kid getting beaten/raped/kidnapped, you bet your a** im stepping in. a guy reaches over and grabs money from a cash register, mutual fight, mugging, jumping, etc. I most likely would play the role of bystander calling the police.

I am more important to myself and my family then Joe Blow is to me. period. there are so many stories about vigilantes finding themselves beaten, coma, dead, or behind bars for being what i like to refer to as a comic book hero. I will assume little to no risk in most situations as, bad as it may sound, joe blow/jane doe dying or getting hurt, while terrible, is not something i would allow be a factor in potentially negatively affecting me and my family (ie my dying or being sued, etc.)
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Old August 10, 2010, 02:45 AM   #41
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I voted for calling 911.

An interesting thing happened to me a few months ago...

I was walking out of a movie theater with my brother, it was the late movie, and the parking lot was not well lit.

As we walked down one of the aisles, someone of another race popped out behind a car and just started booking it right towards me. I thought, "Well, I guess this is really happening. I hope I can stop this guy, and that my brother can get some hard licks in on him."

The guy ran on by me, as I walked on I saw/heard his three friends talking about how he had forgotten his cell phone in the theater.

How many folks here might have drawn on this guy?
If you had, how about the three friends?

Something to think about, not everything is as it seems... really changed my perception of things.
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Old August 10, 2010, 10:01 AM   #42
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GoldenState, gee, a lot of that was pretty much common sense and illustrative of what you value. Family is #1, pretty much the same here

It sounds bad, but I might pass on stepping in to protect a kid that many others (maybe you) would try to protect. The kid might represent greater innocence, and thus "greater gain" if the gamble is successful, but to me that’s mostly just another unknown. My focus is weighing the dangers against my abilities rather than a greater imagined payoff. If I don’t think there’s a high likelihood of winning, I don’t take the gamble, no matter how innocent the "victim" appears. While I might risk all on a bet, it’s only when I consider the bet safe (protecting family and friends excepted, of course). The main concern is determining what’s a safe bet and when it’s best to consider the victim "already lost" … and leave it to the comic book heroes to act based on what they think they might gain, imo.

Vigilantism is an entirely different thing. That’s more like hunting, and the cops have the only hunting licenses. You can lawfully deter nuisances and remove threatening animals without a license, including helping out a neighbor.
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Old August 10, 2010, 11:20 PM   #43
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Dr. Strangelove,

Ya some people are just dumb as a mule. Being in customer service for 6 years I can tell you that I am no longer astonished by the idiots of the world. I have seen, studied, watched others and can not believe how dumb they are. I seen so many dummies from Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, and Asians, you name it I seen it. I've seen people with Government checks telling them EXACTLY WHAT TO GET in plain writing and STILL are dumb founded.

An example of this is:

A woman has a Wic check, IT SPECIFICALLY SAYS to buy a certain type of item and they go and pick up something completely different. Then they look at you and say, "oh I didn't know that." OMG IT SAYS IT ON THE CHECK WHAT YOU GET! When you first sign up for them they tell you what you can and cant get and you even get a list of stuff to remind you. NOT ONLY THAT but everything WIC Approved is STAMPED! Then they say "oh thats not fair." ITS FREE! WHATS NOT FAIR? THAT YOUR SAPPING THE LIFE OUTTA MY PAYCHECKS FOR FREE STUFF? I could go on but thats one of the examples that gets me most.

It holds up all the poor folks trying to get home to the kids, make dinner for the family, during rush hour and they get held up for the idiots. Then I feel all bad about it after even thou I know its not my fault in the first place. Stupidity really gets under my skin and gets me all worked up.

Animal,

I was unclear on what you were getting at in the last post please go on...
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Old August 11, 2010, 04:12 AM   #44
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Sometimes what seems so obvious is not what we thought it was.
When I was in my early teens I was in the truck with my uncle, and my cousin. We were on our way home from hunting turkey, with shotguns in the truck. This was a year or two before concealed carry became legal in Texas.
We hear a woman sceaming for help. We see what appears to be two gang bangers man handeling her. She was struggling, and screaming for help, with a few get your hands off of me, let me go in there also.
My uncle grabbed a shotgun stepped out of the truck. Racked the slide loudly. Yell at the guys let her go. A split second later there are cops everywhere. We are surrounded at gunpoint by cops. Turns out those gangbagers were actualy under cover police. The woman was being arrested for selling them narcotics. My uncle was taken to jail. My cousin, and I had to wait for my aunt to come pick us up.
Charges gainst my uncle were dropped the next day, after our family attorney showed up at the DA's office explaining what was going on.
What may appear to be so obvious, might not be what you thought it was.
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Old August 11, 2010, 11:06 AM   #45
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YIKES!
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Old August 11, 2010, 11:14 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m&p45acp10+1
Charges gainst my uncle were dropped the next day, after our family attorney showed up at the DA's office explaining what was going on.
What may appear to be so obvious, might not be what you thought it was.
Yikes, indeed. That situation could easily have ended in a far worse way than with your uncle's arrest, and it makes the point rather well. Thanks for telling it.
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Old August 11, 2010, 11:22 AM   #47
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Quote:
and leave it to the comic book heroes to act based on what they think they might gain, imo.
Have you not read the new copy right laws? That is my protected phrase fooool. lol (;

anyways, commmon sense aint so common, and my point was for the majority i could give two ____'s about what happens to someone else, because i wont let it jeopardize me, because i owe me to my family. there are exceptions to everything and for me the kid me raped is just that.
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Old August 11, 2010, 01:07 PM   #48
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so sue me. Hey, I either twisted or redefined it too … maybe you can ask for punitive damages if you can prove malice.

We just take our exceptions differently : for me, it’s when I’m confident I can win. "Might be able" to win doesn’t cut it.
Yeah, I’d want to help the kid being raped more than an adult being beaten, but the desire to help only causes me to consider taking action. Whether I actually take action depends entirely on the chance of success.(What’s happening to the other guy becomes irrelevant if I don’t think I can help.)
Dunno which is best. My method has the potential to do more things. Focusing on the severity of the crime has the potential to do greater things.

No kiddin on "uncommon sense" (TM?) … careful there, you don’t want a suit filed against ya. lol
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Old August 16, 2010, 01:57 AM   #49
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While my nature is to jump in, I learned a hard lesson when I was working in Colombia back in the 70's. I walked out into a parking lot one hot afternoon, and a guy had a woman by the throat, and shoved against a car, just beating the hell out of her face.

I spun him around (he only came up to my chin) and started to re-arrange some of his face asking him how he like this? BANG and a shot went by my head. This woman laying on the ground who could hardly see out of her bloodied eyes, had a gun in her hand saying "leave my husband alone".

I spun him around and used him as a shield then threw him on top of her...

(And I thought I was being the good guy).
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Old August 19, 2010, 11:55 AM   #50
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Several years ago, I was walking to my car in a gas-station parking lot. Two pumps over from my car was a newish Mustang with a teenage girl in it. A young man came running across the parking lot, banged on her window and yelled, "gimme the car $#*!"

Oh my gosh! Do I blade 45 degrees and draw from retention?!? Is this "my time?!?" Imma be a hero!

No.

Two seconds later, the occupant of the car said, "shut up, Barry," and they both laughed.

So why didn't I immediately pole-vault to the top of the force continuum? Observation.
  • There were other, unoccupied cars nearby he could have taken. One was an Escapade with the doors unlocked and engine running.
  • The guy didn't hit the window hard enough to break it.
  • This was a crowded, well-lit parking lot with plenty of potential witnesses.

A co-worker was with me and asked me why I didn't go into fight mode, and I explained this. I explained that my life would have taken a drastically unpleasant turn had I shot the guy, and his response was that a jury would have presumed my actions to be based on reasonable concern for the girl's safety given the circumstances.

He didn't realize it, but that was an incredibly callous view of things. We're talking about taking human life. I own every bullet I shoot, and I have to live with my actions. I can't imagine how I'd have felt if I acted wrongly in a case like that.

I'm not directing this at anyone here. In fact, I haven't caught a whiff of it in this thread, but I've seen and heard far too many conversations the last couple of years that revolve around "can I shoot in this situation?" "Well, how about this one?" "Hey, what if the guy does this?"

It's incumbent for us not to look for confrontation, and to avoid it if at all possible. While I may have to act in defense of another at some point, I won't know until the situation presents itself, and I likely won't be leading with the gun.

Stuff like this is hard to predict and impossible to prejudge.
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In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
--Albert Camus
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