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Old August 11, 2010, 01:49 PM   #1
DanThaMan1776
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Re-Emergence of Wounded Attacker Thread

Southern Guy had posed this question a few days back:

If you are forced to defend yourself with force, and the assailant is put out of the fight for all practical purposes (is seriously injured, on the ground, no longer poses a threat), do you have a legal/moral obligation to provide first aid to him?

I am very intrigued by this question and would like to here some of your answers. My answer is simple: I know I don't have a legal obligation to help a a grounded attacker, but I believe I would. Perhaps I am just saying this because the thought of sitting and watching another man die sickens me and perhaps in reality I would be so enraged that the attacker did what he did (must have been serious for me to shoot him) that I wouldn't care..

IMPORTANT NOTE ON THIS THREAD: The last one got closed because a few members were alluding to the right course of action being executing the downed attacker and lying to the police to avoid legal complications afterward. Please mind the rules of TFL and use your rational minds so we can keep this thread open long enough for some thought-out answers to surface.
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Old August 11, 2010, 01:53 PM   #2
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I'm not sure about the majority of the population, but I have a twist on this question: Police,Firefighters,EMT's,paramedics,nurses,Dr's have a "duty to act", does that mean helping someone that has just tried harming you? I don't know. But I can say that I don't think I would help them, then again that may change since I've never been in that situation so I really don't know how I would act.
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Old August 11, 2010, 01:55 PM   #3
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Nope. In fact I'd stay pretty ****** off at him for putting me in a position to:
A. Shoot him
B. Feel guilty for not helping
C. For bleeding on my floor
D. Wasting my time
E. Wasting my ammo
F. Having to clean my gun
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Old August 11, 2010, 02:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
My answer is simple: I know I don't have a legal obligation to help a a grounded attacker, but I believe I would. Perhaps I am just saying this because the thought of sitting and watching another man die sickens me and perhaps in reality I would be so enraged that the attacker did what he did (must have been serious for me to shoot him) that I wouldn't care..
The simple resolution to your need to not feel sickened in watching another person die is to do your part and dial 911. Then get out your level 3 biosafety suit, get it put on, and then approach the downed suspect with extreme caution. Now not only have you invested in self defense and will be investing in some potential legal fees, but may be out a couple hundred bucks for your biosafety suit. While you are at it, but sure to have a full med kit on hand and the training to use it as you might as well spare no expense on the person that tried to harm you and you certainly don't want the additional expense that may come from any infection or contamination you may get from the guy either.

As I said in the other thread, you don't want to win the fight now only to lose it later due to an infection you picked up from your attacker. HIV would not be a good thing.
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Old August 11, 2010, 02:07 PM   #5
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Like you, I have no stomach for sitting idly by and watching a man die. But at the same time, I have to be concerned about several things regarding my own safety. Is the BG playing possum? Are there accomplices nearby? Does he have backup weapons I don't yet know about? Until I am certain of those things - and in most circumstances it will be extremely difficult to be certain of them all - I have to remind myself that the decision not to perform first aid arises from the same moral justification as the shooting itself. The bad actor created a situation that put me or other innocents at sufficient risk that I was forced, reluctantly, to shoot. In the same way, it may well be that the bad actor has created a situation in which you are forced, reluctantly, to not offer him first aid because of the risk that he created. Neither are my choice. Regrettable, perhaps, but realistically true.
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Old August 11, 2010, 02:14 PM   #6
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If I was the one who fired the shot, I'd call 911 - that's it.

If I didn't fire the shot - just a bystander who witnessed someone else defend themselves by shooting a bad guy trying to commit a robbery, rape, or some other violent crime, I would absolutely not render any aid or even try to call anyone who might help the scum. Yes, I'd sit there and watch the guy die, being thankful that our lousey excuse for a "justice" system didn't get the chance to spend tax-payer dollars on this scum.

If you think I'm a heartless bastard, just give it a few more years and our ridiculous excuse for a "justice system" will turn you into a heartless bastard too.
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Old August 11, 2010, 02:18 PM   #7
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I would not provide aid. Why? Because, IMO, it can give the police the idea you werent sure you had to shoot. If you have to defend yourself, you life is threatened. You going to all of a sudden start helping the man? The man who forced you to shoot him because you thought he was a threat to your life. Helping him after could make it seem like there was less of a threat. The police/jury may believe you didn't have to shoot because you helped him after. This makes you look unsure of your decision to use deadly force. Call 911 and give them a detailed description of what happened. Allow them to deal with the wounded/dead man. (If he's wounded make sure you keep the gun trained on him as you call 911 and can see his hands)
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Old August 11, 2010, 02:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerD45ACP
I would not provide aid. Why? Because, IMO, it can give the police the idea you werent sure you had to shoot. If you have to defend yourself, you life is threatened. You going to all of a sudden start helping the man? The man who forced you to shoot him because you thought he was a threat to your life. Helping him after could make it seem like there was less of a threat. The police/jury may believe you didn't have to shoot because you helped him after. This makes you look unsure of your decision to use deadly force.
I'm not sure I follow the logic of this. If you shoot to stop the threat, and stop shooting when the threat has ended, the situation has changed. You're now faced with someone who was a threat, but, by definition, is one no longer. It's hard to imagine that trying to help, once the threat is over, would work against you with a jury.

That said, the big question is whether this person might become a threat again. As I wrote in the other thread on this topic:
Quote:
...in every [first aid] class I've ever taken, the first thing taught is "Don't become another victim." Don't try to render aid to anyone unless you can do so safely.

I would want to help someone who might bleed out before paramedics arrive, perhaps especially if I were responsible for wounding him. But unless I were reasonably sure I'd be safe -- which would probably mean that at least one other person was present who could help to secure the injured person -- no, I wouldn't. I'd hate to make that decision, but I'm not going to put myself at risk in that situation.
If the attacker is no longer an immediate threat, you're done shooting him. As an ethical matter, helping at that point would be good; but it may be wise, as a tactical matter, not to put yourself in a position that makes it easy for him to threaten you again if he's capable of it. Your own safety comes first in this situation.

But you do, I think, have a moral obligation to call for help, whether you're involved or just a bystander.
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Last edited by Vanya; August 11, 2010 at 06:12 PM. Reason: clarity.
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Old August 11, 2010, 02:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
I would not provide aid. Why? Because, IMO, it can give the police the idea you werent sure you had to shoot. If you have to defend yourself, you life is threatened. You going to all of a sudden start helping the man? The man who forced you to shoot him because you thought he was a threat to your life. Helping him after could make it seem like there was less of a threat. The police/jury may believe you didn't have to shoot because you helped him after. This makes you look unsure of your decision to use deadly force. Call 911 and give them a detailed description of what happened. Allow them to deal with the wounded/dead man.
Excellent point.
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Old August 11, 2010, 02:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
I would not provide aid. Why? Because, IMO, it can give the police the idea you werent sure you had to shoot. If you have to defend yourself, you life is threatened. You going to all of a sudden start helping the man? The man who forced you to shoot him because you thought he was a threat to your life. Helping him after could make it seem like there was less of a threat. The police/jury may believe you didn't have to shoot because you helped him after. This makes you look unsure of your decision to use deadly force. Call 911 and give them a detailed description of what happened. Allow them to deal with the wounded/dead man.

Excellent point.
I second this notion
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Old August 11, 2010, 02:48 PM   #11
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The answer is simple....


Don't stick around to watch the guy suffer/die.


Get to a safe location and call the police ASAP. There is no reason to stand there and look at the guy.


If this happens in a public place, I'm leaving.

If this happens in my home, I may try to provide a first aid kit and rags/bandages if the individual is able to help themselves but I am NOT getting within arms reach. I will provide access to first aid supplies, if the situation allows/warrants and I will retreat to a safe location and await the arrival of the police.

Regardless, I'm not going to stand there and watch.
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Old August 11, 2010, 05:54 PM   #12
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I would not provide aid. Why? Because, IMO, it can give the police the idea you werent sure you had to shoot. If you have to defend yourself, you life is threatened. You going to all of a sudden start helping the man? The man who forced you to shoot him because you thought he was a threat to your life. Helping him after could make it seem like there was less of a threat. The police/jury may believe you didn't have to shoot because you helped him after. This makes you look unsure of your decision to use deadly force. Call 911 and give them a detailed description of what happened. Allow them to deal with the wounded/dead man.

Excellent point.

I am not really concerned with how I would look, but since the point has been made, it is also logical to assume NOT helping could make you look like your intent was to do as much harm as possible and not simply to stop the threat, while helping (assuming it is safe to do so) could make you look as if the intent was only to stop the threat and not to do excessive harm. Not to cause unnecessary pan and suffering. You could take it either way. Look at it from a lawyer's perspective. "Mr. X, is it not a fact that you first shot my client twice and then callously stood by while he was no longer any threat at all and watched him bleed to death. You did this because your intent was to kill was it not Sir!". or "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Mr. X did what he had to do to preserve his life, not with the intent to kill or maim but with the intent to survive. He in fact, and the evidence supports this, he rendered aid to Mr. BG once the threat had passed to the very best of his abilities. These are not the actions of a killer, just the necessary actions of a law abiding citizen".

I will reiterate what I stated in the closed thread. I would help the individual to my abilities, assuming he was no longer a threat based on my experience. The BG's life and limb mean nothing to me if he is a real threat. I really don't care how much damage I have to do to get out of it or protect my family. It is on his head. I will not however stand by if he is no threat and do nothing, for a variety of reasons. The above is one. Training and my own experiences are another.
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Old August 11, 2010, 06:08 PM   #13
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Jhenry, that's very clearly put. Helping the wounded "ex-attacker" would go a long way toward demonstrating that you're not, in fact, some sort of crazed vigilante, or whatever. (Not to mention that it's the right thing to do, if you possibly can -- as you also point out.)

(Your post would be even clearer if you put the quotation at the beginning in quotes, though... )
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Old August 11, 2010, 06:22 PM   #14
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My duty is to call 911 and advise that a man is down and an ambulance is needed. As for treating any gunshot wounds, at best all most of could offer is some sort of compression bandages. Few if any of us have the medical training to try and treat a gunshot wound.
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Old August 11, 2010, 06:42 PM   #15
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Yeah, I know. I caught that after it was posted, but never having quoted from another post before I was unsure how to do it. I will strive for "quotation excellence" next time
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Old August 11, 2010, 07:12 PM   #16
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Rendering aid makes you look unsure of the SD shoot, IMO. If I have to shoot I am positive that is the only option I have. By helping the man you make it look like there were more options. Like I said before, this could get the police/jury thinking, did he really have to shoot him. I want to look sure in my decision because if I shot, I was. I do not want second guessing if I was justified in shooting because of my rendering aid. Im glad Im not the only one who thinks this is intellegent. A SD shooting is serious and you must be 100% sure of yourself.
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Old August 11, 2010, 08:20 PM   #17
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I think any plan to render aid is a bit naive.

There is no way for you to know if the aggressor will become aggressive again. There is no way to know the extent of the injuries and/or if the person is faking unconsciousness, whatever the case may be.

Getting within arms reach of someone who has already shown themselves to be violent and dangerous and whom you have now shot is fool hardy at best. There is no reason to believe that they will accept your aid without seeking retribution for your having shot them.

Just like the question of who is responsible for injury to an innocent, I say that the criminal is responsible for their own injury as well. You bear no moral responsibility for legal (moral) use of lethal force. None. That means that you bear no responsibility to put yourself in harms way to mitigate that damage.

There is no sense in using lethal force and then putting yourself in harms way to assist the aggressor.
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Old August 11, 2010, 08:26 PM   #18
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Exactly peetzakilla, great points. Why go near a dangerous attacker you just downed to assist him. Like you said, no sense using deadly force and then put yourself in harms way. Those are other reasons I would not render aid and had thought of that as well.
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Old August 11, 2010, 09:09 PM   #19
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Not even first responders will render aid until they're sure that the scene is no longer "hot". That is how the second North Hollywood shootout robber died. He bled to death while police were sweeping the area for a possible third robber. The paramedics waited until the area was cleared.

Not many folks would expect more of a man on the street than from a first responder. If they won't do it then you should definitely think twice before you jump in with both feet.

There's no one to sweep the area clear for you and back you up while you render aid.
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Old August 11, 2010, 09:23 PM   #20
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I am fairly sure I was pretty clear that I would render some sort of aid within my abilities if I was sure there was little to no danger. I will try to be a bit more clear. I would not do so if I felt there was still danger involved. Admittedly, the likelyhood of the situation being such that aid would be possible, is slim. I do realize that. I think folks are assuming I am advocating "jumping in" etc. when I have stated no such thing. To each his own on this one, but let's be accurate.
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Old August 11, 2010, 09:32 PM   #21
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I think folks are assuming I am advocating "jumping in" etc. when I have stated no such thing.
I was responding to the question, not trying to correct/criticize someone else's answer.

Assuming that I could be sure that it was safe to do so and also if there were something constructive I could do then I might render aid. I certainly don't have a plan for doing so because I can't see both of my criteria being satisfied except in very, VERY unusual situations.

To some extent, the two criteria are mutually exclusive. In a situation where I could do something constructive (not a critically disabling injury which I really can't treat effectively), it seems likely that the wounded attacker might still be a viable threat. And in the situation where the attacker is obviously not a viable threat it seems likely that the cause might be a serious wound that is beyond my ability to treat constructively.
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Old August 11, 2010, 09:52 PM   #22
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To some extent, the two criteria are mutually exclusive. In a situation where I could do something constructive (not a critically disabling injury which I really can't treat effectively), it seems likely that the wounded attacker might still be a viable threat. And in the situation where the attacker is obviously not a viable threat it seems likely that the cause might be a serious wound that is beyond my ability to treat constructively.
Funny how that works, eh?

There is no way I am going to trust anything a conscious wounded attacker says to me in order to provide him/her help and there is no way I am going to try to do a physical inspection to ascertain that an attacker is actually unconscious or completely incapacitated so that I can provide him/her help.

Often is the case that proximity negates skill and the closer I am to my attacker, the less skill that person needs to hurt me.
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Old August 11, 2010, 09:54 PM   #23
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I would call 911 immediately, but I would not dare approach him in any way, shape or form.

First thing I would do is explain the situation to them. I would say that this person attacked me, and I defended myself by use of a firearm. I would then give them a location to get to.

Then I would ask to send an ambulance and some paramedics, and describe the condition the person is in if I can.

In my mind this shows two things, that you legally defended yourself, and that you are willing to call for help for the guy you just shot.

The 911 call will be recorded, so tell them exactly what happened and how it went down. this will get you ready to file a report with the police, and get all your facts straight before they arrive.

when the issue gets to court, the jury may look favorably on the fact that you called 911 to help the guy out. If nothing else, it will demonstrate that you are a normal, well adjusted human being, not a psychotic person who managed to get a carry permit.

I would not render first aid, as I am not capable of helping him at all. I have no knowledge of treating any wound more severe than a bad cut. I would keep my weapon trained on him until someone arrives, ready to re-end the threat if it comes up again.
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Old August 11, 2010, 09:56 PM   #24
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Like you, I have no stomach for sitting idly by and watching a man die. But at the same time, I have to be concerned about several things regarding my own safety. Is the BG playing possum? Are there accomplices nearby? Does he have backup weapons I don't yet know about? Until I am certain of those things - and in most circumstances it will be extremely difficult to be certain of them all - I have to remind myself that the decision not to perform first aid arises from the same moral justification as the shooting itself. The bad actor created a situation that put me or other innocents at sufficient risk that I was forced, reluctantly, to shoot. In the same way, it may well be that the bad actor has created a situation in which you are forced, reluctantly, to not offer him first aid because of the risk that he created. Neither are my choice. Regrettable, perhaps, but realistically true.
All very well said. Add to that the chance of coming into contact with blood-borne pathogens, and you have all of the reasons that I would not render aid and would simply dial 911 as quickly as safely possible.

Unlike a few, I would not find any enjoyment in the man's death. Unless an attacker had actually succeeded in injuring me or my loved ones or innocent people, it would be hard for me not to feel some compassion for someone in shock and pain spending his last minutes or seconds on this earth.
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Old August 11, 2010, 10:06 PM   #25
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Aid can come in many forms. It might be just getting traffic to not hit the guy who is out cold, tossing a shirt over a wound, or something else of that nature. I don't see myself suturing a torn abdominal wall or anything. I have been in multiple situations where after being attacked and responding with appropriate levels of force, to psychiatric patients, drunks, idiots, and sundry other beings, I found myself helping the poor dears. Sometimes not. Some of the situations were quite serious and merit me having what I consider to be a valid opinion regarding what I would be most likely to do (assuming it was safe to do so) in the types of situations posed in this thread. Others have different opinions and experiences which is just fine and dandy, and is why we discuss these things. Naive and foolhardy I am not, but I can see why someone would think that if their own comfort level or experiences are different.

This thread made me think of the line Alec Guiness had as King Faisal in Lawrence of Arabia when speaking about Lawrence "For Lawrence caring for the wounded is a passion, for me it is merely good manners. You may judge for yourself which is the more reliable motive". Wonderful film.
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