musing about civic duties


fudo

New member
As I was watching the TV coverage from Boston tonight, I heard of numerous cases of average citizens stepping up to aid victims of the bombing there. Given that the 1-2 bombing , where the second bomb is set to kill the first responders, has been a known tactic of cowards with bombs for years, these courageous people risked life and limb to help their fellow humans.:victory:

Some months ago, there were a number of threads about how to respond to an "active shooter" situation in a workplace or store. Several people championed the position that they would leave the area without assisting others or incurring any risk, and stating that their weapons and training are there to protect themselves and family and that everyone else is on their own. And that anyone who gets involved is either a Rambo wannabe or stupid.:rolleyes:

This position seemed small minded then. In the light of recent events it seems even more so. I wonder if they think that these civic heroes are stupid, or Rambo wannabe's? I think that those who help their fellow citizens in the middle of a potentially hazardous situations are heroic, not stupid or attention wh****.
 

jcreek

New member
I was just making this point the other day in the deadly force section. Even though secondary IEDs are and have been a common tactic I'm skeptical of how many of those runners and citizens knew that. However, that doesn't degrade their heroism at all. It's in situations like this where American values truly shine through. Look at China. I'm sure everyone has seen the video of the 3 year old girl who was run over by a car and then had over 30 people walk right by her lying in the middle of the street dying before somebody came to help.
 

Kalamity023

New member
There is a huge difference in assisting the victims of a bomb blast and engaging an active shooter. We have the luxury of time typing on a keyboard to develop our response, however, real world any action is a reaction to what is happening.

Correct, that delayed devices targeting first responders is a danger. Probably one that every good citizen didn't even fathom. Their response is heroic in the face of great danger, and like all heroic people they will all tell you, I'm no hero I was just doing what anyone would have done. But a response to a mass casualty situation does not elicit the same response as the response to a singular threat.

I would like to believe that a good majority of people will think not of themselves and help out as was evidenced in Boston, and NY and to the people rushing to aid the perceived threat is over. In an active shooter situation unless looking down the barrel of the gun; all the info that is known is that there is 1 person, unknown whereabouts, and they are shooting, to assume at what or that there is a tactical advantage is contrary most people's instinct of self preservation. A heroic response to that situation would be more to secure and evacuate as many people as possible, removing them from the danger. Then if confronted, and with means to counter attack, to defend oneself. Going looking for the shooter is foolish and imprudent. The other side of the coin is that, in an active shooter scenario, you have the police element to deal with they don't know who is good or bad and they will not hesitate to shoot someone holding a gun in their response to a shooting.

Yes the people who put themselves behind the wounded, and went rushing in were heros. But so were the teachers who locked their doors and huddled the kids in cabinets and corners not visible to the shooter. So was the janitor who went running up and down the halls screaming to get kids out. Point is different scenarios different hero's whether they stopped the shooter or not their actions were still heroic.
 

JCliff

New member
Very, very big difference between running to render aid to the victims of a bomb blast, an accident, a fire, etc., and drawing your firearm and wading into a situation that otherwise did not involve you.
 

BluesStringer

Les Brers
Some months ago, there were a number of threads about how to respond to an "active shooter" situation in a workplace or store. Several people championed the position that they would leave the area without assisting others or incurring any risk, and stating that their weapons and training are there to protect themselves and family and that everyone else is on their own. And that anyone who gets involved is either a Rambo wannabe or stupid.

This position seemed small minded then. In the light of recent events it seems even more so. I wonder if they think that these civic heroes are stupid, or Rambo wannabe's? I think that those who help their fellow citizens in the middle of a potentially hazardous situations are heroic, not stupid or attention wh****.

I'm not positive, but I perceive that most of the banter fudo refers to here was from a thread about a CWP holder that shot an armed robber at a Waffle House in SC in January of 2012. Fudo might also be thinking about one or more of the threads about the Zimmerman/Martin case in FL around the same time-frame. The opposed viewpoints were gone through ad nauseum on both subjects.

Both cases present specific facts and/or assumptions that people were evaluating to determine whether or not they would take similar actions as the shooter did. In the case of the Waffle House incident, the shooter actually joined this site just to enter that thread and disspell the many myths and inaccuracies he found there. His user name is "snipingshadow" for any of the newcomers who would like a first-hand accounting of a legal use of force by a CC'er.

"Wading into a situation that otherwise" does not involve you is a relative concept. The Waffle House shooter was not being shot at, was not being confronted by the robber at the moment he decided to draw, and took the actions he did based on what he determined to be something akin to his "civic duty." He was supported by his local Sheriff. Because it was deemed a legitimate use of force by LE, he was protected by state law as being immune from civil penalties (the family of the dead robber could not sue him). You can read the whole thread (it's a long one) to fully understand the scenario, and the contentious nature of some of the exchanges aside, there's a lot of good analysis of when it is or is not appropriate to involve one's self in a defense-of-others shooting.

I don't call it "civic duty" myself. I hope and pray that I will have the wherewithal to involve myself if/when my involvement can save innocent lives, and have the appropriate amount of self-restraint if/when getting involved is inappropriate for the situation. I will say this about that though. The legalities are not what I will suss out in the nano-seconds I might have to make that decision. The criteria for me is simply will I be a help or a hindrance? Will I possibly save a life, or do I not have enough information to know whether the target I perceive to be the "bad guy" is indeed the bad guy? If I can't answer those two questions (at least), I hope and pray that I have the presence of mind and self-restraint not to involve myself. If the answers to those two questions are clear in my mind though, I don't care what the law says, I intend to save innocent lives if/when I can. The same criteria would go into making a decision to go towards any other scenario where lives are at stake, whether it be a fire, a bombing, a weather-related disaster or whatever. If I can help, I will. If I'm going to be in the way or exacerbate the danger, I'll refrain. "Civics" has nothing to do with it for me. Only considerations of the right and wrong (for me) decisions would be included in my criteria.

Blues
 

vernsimpson

New member
I'm not positive, but I perceive that most of the banter fudo refers to here was from a thread about a CWP holder that shot an armed robber at a Waffle House in SC in January of 2012. Fudo might also be thinking about one or more of the threads about the Zimmerman/Martin case in FL around the same time-frame. The opposed viewpoints were gone through ad nauseum on both subjects.

Both cases present specific facts and/or assumptions that people were evaluating to determine whether or not they would take similar actions as the shooter did. In the case of the Waffle House incident, the shooter actually joined this site just to enter that thread and disspell the many myths and inaccuracies he found there. His user name is "snipingshadow" for any of the newcomers who would like a first-hand accounting of a legal use of force by a CC'er.

"Wading into a situation that otherwise" does not involve you is a relative concept. The Waffle House shooter was not being shot at, was not being confronted by the robber at the moment he decided to draw, and took the actions he did based on what he determined to be something akin to his "civic duty." He was supported by his local Sheriff. Because it was deemed a legitimate use of force by LE, he was protected by state law as being immune from civil penalties (the family of the dead robber could not sue him). You can read the whole thread (it's a long one) to fully understand the scenario, and the contentious nature of some of the exchanges aside, there's a lot of good analysis of when it is or is not appropriate to involve one's self in a defense-of-others shooting.

I don't call it "civic duty" myself. I hope and pray that I will have the wherewithal to involve myself if/when my involvement can save innocent lives, and have the appropriate amount of self-restraint if/when getting involved is inappropriate for the situation. I will say this about that though. The legalities are not what I will suss out in the nano-seconds I might have to make that decision. The criteria for me is simply will I be a help or a hindrance? Will I possibly save a life, or do I not have enough information to know whether the target I perceive to be the "bad guy" is indeed the bad guy? If I can't answer those two questions (at least), I hope and pray that I have the presence of mind and self-restraint not to involve myself. If the answers to those two questions are clear in my mind though, I don't care what the law says, I intend to save innocent lives if/when I can. The same criteria would go into making a decision to go towards any other scenario where lives are at stake, whether it be a fire, a bombing, a weather-related disaster or whatever. If I can help, I will. If I'm going to be in the way or exacerbate the danger, I'll refrain. "Civics" has nothing to do with it for me. Only considerations of the right and wrong (for me) decisions would be included in my criteria.

Blues

Very well put! Blindly going into a situation would and could be very bad. I totally agree with your two question criteria. I also do not know what I will do if and when a situation arises. It will depend on a number of things. I do hope and pray that I will make the right decision and act in the proper way.
 

fudo

New member
Well said, Blues. You are correct about my reference to the other thread. I agree with you 99%. I include that a civic or societal duty is, or should also be, a component in right action for individual or public welfare.
 

JCliff

New member
I hope I am not addressing this part of your post out of context.
.
...I don't call it "civic duty" myself. I hope and pray that I will have the wherewithal to involve myself if/when my involvement can save innocent lives, and have the appropriate amount of self-restraint if/when getting involved is inappropriate for the situation. I will say this about that though. The legalities are not what I will suss out in the nano-seconds I might have to make that decision. The criteria for me is simply will I be a help or a hindrance? Will I possibly save a life, or do I not have enough information to know whether the target I perceive to be the "bad guy" is indeed the bad guy? If I can't answer those two questions (at least), I hope and pray that I have the presence of mind and self-restraint not to involve myself. If the answers to those two questions are clear in my mind though, I don't care what the law says, I intend to save innocent lives if/when I can. The same criteria would go into making a decision to go towards any other scenario where lives are at stake, whether it be a fire, a bombing, a weather-related disaster or whatever. If I can help, I will. If I'm going to be in the way or exacerbate the danger, I'll refrain. "Civics" has nothing to do with it for me. Only considerations of the right and wrong (for me) decisions would be included in my criteria.

Blues
.
You’re absolutely right, in that I, you, anyone else will not have the time to think out all the legal angles of a situation when confronted with it. Nor by any means should that be the only criteria as to whether you will act or not. Best to do most of your thinking beforehand; it needs to be informed thinking and it needs to be backed up by a lot of training.
.
In many states (but not all…New Jersey for example), a lawful shooting in self defense or defense of others provides immunity from civil liability filed on behalf of the criminal or his family. What about an innocent bystander in this situation? In many states you could still be criminally liable if you shot them accidentally, and I don’t know of any where you could not be held liable in a civil suit if you shoot an innocent or they show that your actions directly lead to an innocent being shot, bad guy or no.
.
Bottom line: You’re going to have a split second, or at most a very few seconds, to decide whether to intervene in defense of another. The potential for error is high. You’d better be right, and your execution had better be flawless. The risks are higher for you than if you are defending yourself or your family. That needs to be fully understood.
 

BluesStringer

Les Brers
Well said, Blues. You are correct about my reference to the other thread. I agree with you 99%. I include that a civic or societal duty is, or should also be, a component in right action for individual or public welfare.

Hey fudo
_wave__by_elicoronel16.gif
. This isn't intended to argue with you or anything. I'm perfectly fine with 99% agreement, thrilled to death in fact. I just want to clarify why I put it that way.

I'm a little uncomfortable with the words "civic duty" only because I tried to account for the possibility that my actions in some hypothetical scenario could be counter to the law. I don't know, maybe I ignore a gun-free zone sign or something and the right thing to do is engage someone who also ignored it for nefarious reasons, so I go ahead and engage them. I think a valid argument can be made that my "civic duty" at that time would have been to disarm, and it's almost a certainty that the civic authorities would consider such action as a violation of my "civic duty" to abide by the law. I would agree with that assessment about 99% of the time too. But in this hypothetical, I just saw it as the *right* thing to do to be prepared to face a violent victimizer even though I may have to answer to authorities for violating what they consider my civic duty to obey an idiotic and unreasonable law.

In short, there can be irreconcilable conflicts between a legal exercise of one's civic duty, and just the morally *right* exercise of same. That's the only reason I made the distinction, but I'm still happy with the 99% agreement and understand why you would see it the way you do.
0cfc913111e8b54913a8edff5d183cd9.gif


Blues
 

BluesStringer

Les Brers
I hope I am not addressing this part of your post out of context.

No, it doesn't seem out of context to me.

You’re absolutely right, in that I, you, anyone else will not have the time to think out all the legal angles of a situation when confronted with it. Nor by any means should that be the only criteria as to whether you will act or not. Best to do most of your thinking beforehand; it needs to be informed thinking and it needs to be backed up by a lot of training.

I personally do have very good training ("a lot" is somewhat subjective, but I've had both professional training for various jobs, and taken advanced defensive pistol, rifle and shotgun courses at Link Removedat my own expense). That said, there is no training requirement here in Alabama to get a permission slip to carry, and most people I know who do carry, have not had much, if any, formal training. I would not deny them the ability to be the good guy with a gun anyplace or under any circumstances where there's a bad guy with a gun. I would advise them to make sure they understand the potential consequences of being involved in a shooting under any circumstances, and help them any way I could to acquire that knowledge, but assuming they educate themselves thusly, I would not criticize or try to dissuade them from doing what they think is right just because they don't have the same level of training as I do. I'm not sure that's what you're suggesting, but I was responding to your use of the word "needs" towards the end of the above quote.

In many states (but not all…New Jersey for example), a lawful shooting in self defense or defense of others provides immunity from civil liability filed on behalf of the criminal or his family. What about an innocent bystander in this situation? In many states you could still be criminally liable if you shot them accidentally, and I don’t know of any where you could not be held liable in a civil suit if you shoot an innocent or they show that your actions directly lead to an innocent being shot, bad guy or no.

Well, we can micro analyze any number of hypothetical situations and base our respective positions on our duty (or not) to act, but being pretty sure of the incidents that fudo was referring to in his OP, and being intimately familiar with the available facts of both cases he and I referred to, nothing I said was talking about bystanders being in the line of fire. That is a detail that would (and should) only be considered in the nanoseconds one takes to decide whether it's time to get into a gun fight or not. I can tell you this though, there were other customers in the Waffle House incident I referenced, as well as employees, and there was never a peep of complaint from any of them that the shooter put them in harm's way by engaging the armed robber. 'Course, he was a good shot and all three rounds that he fired hit their intended target. I'm sure if a bystander had been shot, they would've been much more likely to complain, but it didn't happen that way and wasn't the hypothetical that I had in mind when I posted previously.

Bottom line: You’re going to have a split second, or at most a very few seconds, to decide whether to intervene in defense of another. The potential for error is high. You’d better be right, and your execution had better be flawless. The risks are higher for you than if you are defending yourself or your family. That needs to be fully understood.

I agree, it does need to be fully understood, and you obviously don't understand the law in many jurisdictions. Here in Alabama the law makes no distinction between defense of self or others. If it's a legal shoot, it's just as legal in defense of a stranger who's being victimized as it is for yourself or your family. We don't have a civil immunity clause, but the potential for being sued by either a survivor that you wounded or their family if you killed them is no less or greater based on your relationship to the person/people you defended. In SC, where the Waffle House shooting occurred, they do have an immunity clause, and that state's law makes no distinction between strangers, family members or self either. If it's a legal shooting, you're immune from civil prosecution. That was all sussed out in-depth in the thread I linked to. It's a very interesting thread. You should read it.

Blues
 

JCliff

New member
Blues, I respect your position, and don't disagree with you as far as you go. I think we're still running around my point. True, I am not a lawyer. I did mention that for a lawful shoot in most states (but not all...and I was not speaking directly to the law in Alabama or SC) you are immune from civil liability with respect to the bad guy you righteously shoot, including in defense of a 3rd party. I think I understand the law in that regard pretty well.
.
I would suggest you speak with an attorney in your state, and ask him this: "If I take action in defense of another, when I was not otherwise threatened or involved, and I cause the injury/death of an innocent bystander, or, during the melee that results as a consequence of my taking action an innocent bystander is injured or killed, could I be held liable?" I'm not talking about the bad guy's family suing you here. If you or a family member are directly threatened you are forced to act in one way or another. When you step into a situation by volition, it's a different thing. If it all goes well for you, you'll be OK if it is judged a righteous shoot. It may not turn out so nicely as the SC Waffle House situation. There are so many ways for it to go wrong, and in fact you can make things much worse. If your actions do make things worse, you can be liable. None of this means I will never act on behalf of another in a situation where I could otherwise safely retreat. I need to be certain of what I see, and I need to be as certain as I can that my actions will have a very high probability of success.
 

Dunewolf

New member
There is several ways to view the subject.
Moral rights

Civic rights

Legal rights

Your moral rights are based on your upbringing and beliefs, the civic rights are decreed by society in which you live in, and your legal rights will be dictated to you when police arrive.
though in all honesty, ether you act to help, or decide not too - all that matters is if you can look yourself in mirror afterwords and feel good about yourself and any actions taken.
 

HD-kutz

New member
Very well put! Blindly going into a situation would and could be very bad. I totally agree with your two question criteria. I also do not know what I will do if and when a situation arises. It will depend on a number of things. I do hope and pray that I will make the right decision and act in the proper way.

The way I look at it is that I go with my first impulse. I'm 60 years old and have trucked across all 48 states. Whether it's an accident, fire, domestic or whatever I react. Never been taken to court. About the worst thing that has happened is I've left coats, blankets, jackets and even a thermos behind with victims either because they needed them or they were bloody and once I left the cab unlocked and lost a radio. I been threatened with violence a couple times but oh well.
 

tattedupboy

Thank God I'm alive!
My position is this: if you make it out alive, great. If you help yourself and your loved ones make out alive, then great. If you help yourself, your loved ones, and as many other people as possible make it out alive, that's also great. As long as you're not the one who set off the bombs, I have no issue with you.

Sent from my Acer Iconia A200 tab via Tapatalk HD
 

spdracr39

New member
If you look at the bigger picture 2000 + people ran away while a couple of dozen ran in to help. That's why they are heroes. I don't believe anyone would dare to call the others cowards. We do what we feel is proper at the time. No amount of banter or forum posted preparation will change the actual response in a situation. If I see a way to help I will If I feel its best to run away till my legs wont carry me anymore I will. I won't know which until I need to do it.
 

Eirik

New member
Very, very big difference between running to render aid to the victims of a bomb blast, an accident, a fire, etc., and drawing your firearm and wading into a situation that otherwise did not involve you.

I have to fully agree with JCliff here. I don't think most are saying you shouldn't step forward if you have an opportunity to render aid but laying down fire in a situation which you are not aquatinted with all the facts while heroic could end up getting others killed or potentially yourself once law enforcement arrive. There is a huge difference in rendering aid and applying deadly force.
 

BluesStringer

Les Brers
I have to fully agree with JCliff here. I don't think most are saying you shouldn't step forward if you have an opportunity to render aid but laying down fire in a situation which you are not aquatinted with all the facts while heroic could end up getting others killed or potentially yourself once law enforcement arrive. There is a huge difference in rendering aid and applying deadly force.

Every situation is different. There are no pat answers. No one has suggested that it's the right thing to do to "lay down fire" in a situation you are not sure about.

I happened to know which thread(s) fudo was referring to in his OP, so I linked to the one I thought would cover the most well-reasoned point/counter-point on the subject. There's no need to rehash the specific incident that happened in the Spartanburg, SC Waffle House in Jan., 2012 here in this thread, but I highly suggest that you read a fair sampling of the thread to get a feel for the various nuances a legal shooter might consider in the defense of others. It's a process of nanosecond by nanosecond evaluation, not charging in looking for someone to shoot.

JCliff gave some good advice in his first post when he said that almost all the thinking about it should be done long before one gets into a shooting situation. If one has thought about it to the degree they should, they already know within themselves what is most important to them; doing the legal thing, or doing the right thing. In a perfect world, there would be no difference between the two, but this world is far from perfect when we're talking about the use of a gun. If the law says I have a duty to retreat before I use my weapon, and I just happen to come upon a woman being raped and beaten up by three or four guys, screw the law, I'm breakin' leather and making it clear to them that if they want to continue, I'm going to make it as tough for them as I can. Whether they run (like they damn well should) or I have to fire my weapon in defense of the woman, and I get arrested and incur legal expenses, and maybe even time in jail, oh well, I still know I did the right thing.

Some folks don't have that much confidence in their ability to discern right from wrong under pressure, or to be able to endure the legal consequences when there's a conflict between what's right and what's legal. My personal opinion is that those folks should leave their weapons at home. Right or wrong though, it is their legal right to disregard my opinions in most jurisdictions in this country. They can do what they want. I will always strive to do what is right.

And BTW, I've been carrying for over 30 years, both professionally and privately, and never once have I brandished my weapon, much less had to shoot anyone. I sincerely hope I maintain that record until the day I die, but that's not up to me, it's up to someone who thinks their desire to victimize me or others trumps a citizen's right to stop them from doing it.

Blues
 
Thanks Blues for dredging up that thread that I made such a complete and total ass of myself!
I am still sorry for the way I acted towards you and in hind sight, I can't even believe how badly I acted myself!
 

BluesStringer

Les Brers
Thanks Blues for dredging up that thread that I made such a complete and total ass of myself!
I am still sorry for the way I acted towards you and in hind sight, I can't even believe how badly I acted myself!

This is the 100% honest truth Charles, I did not even remember that that was the thread where all that crap went down. I have accepted your apology publicly at least once, I think more than that, and without wanting to blow anything out of proportion about your above post, I really wish you would forget about it too, and not draw attention to that part of the thread if it happens to come up again. There was tons of good reading there before you ever entered the thread, and it's a perfectly good thread to link to on its merits. I don't enjoy being reminded of that episode at all. You'd be doing me a big favor if you never mentioned it again.

Blues
 

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
49,491
Messages
624,259
Members
74,334
Latest member
johnporter
Top