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So, “Gene” sees a group of men attacking an older man in a supermarket parking lot in broad daylight. Gene draws down on them (click the image above to view the video). Problem: he doesn’t move and get behind cover as he does so. Relevance: not much, given the result, but worth noting. Problem: the assault turned out to be a domestic. Relevance: it’s worth noting that domestic disputes are a cop’s worst nightmare and so, yours. Point of information: As Gene stops the assault, he hears a shopper calling 911 saying “there’s a man with a gun!” Relevance: a lot! If a responding cop sees . . .

a man pointing a gun at an unarmed someone in a supermarket parking lot – any someone – what are they going to think? They might not think, or even issue a command. They might simply shoot the pistol-packing public protector dead. While that possibility may not change a concealed carrier’s initial decision on whether or not to intervene, it highlights the fact that drawing and/or using a firearm in defense of [seemingly] innocent life is an inherently risky business.

And while you’re considering how to answer this question, remember that Gene’s a young man (26). I don’t think he has a family. In contrast, I’m a single father — parenting without a net. If I get killed, my kid suffers. I’ll admit it: I’m reluctant to clear leather in to save strangers, lest the innocent life under my care pays the price. I reckon you should consider your family’s fate before risking life and limb for others.

Then again . . .

I have this stupidly strong sense of morality. Like Jon Wayne Taylor, I can’t stand to see people suffer. So I don’t know if I would have intervened in this situation. But this much I’ll say: I’d be glad I was carrying an extra mag and I would get behind cover before I drew. At least I hope so. Your take?

 

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69 Responses to Question of the Day: Would You Draw Your Gun in This Situation?

  1. Unless I observed that the older man was already being beaten and in imminent peril I think I would try the “draw my cell phone” tactic first. Phone 911, report, stay behind cover and observe. If things continue to go south before cops arrive and imminence is imminent, only then would I clear Kydex and slow the action down, from cover.

    This has the added benefit that 911 and hopefully the responding cops know your are there and armed.

    • I’m going to disagree. Calling 911 first and then drawing your gun seems like a great way to get shot by the first responding officer. Stop the threat then call.

      • If you click on the link and watch the video, you’ll see several bystanders did call the police, and identified the armed citizen as the bad guy. You run that risk if you draw first.

        As for what the CCW holder did, I don’t think he did anything wrong from a legal or moral standpoint. Still I think I would have handled this differently. Since none of the attackers appeared to have a weapon, I might have tried some verbal commands before drawing (from behind cover a safe distance away). If verbal commands didn’t work and drawing was needed, I would have kept the gun down at “low ready” rather then pointing it at them (until escalation required it)

        • Yes you risk being ID’d as the perp but you have time to holster the weapon before the cops get there and clear things up. If you call first you have realistically halved the time available to you to use your weapon before the cops get there.

      • But if you call the police first, then you can identify yourself as a good citizen rather then a lunatic with a gun, which is probably how bystanders will describe you. That way the arriving officers will have a better understanding of the situation

        • We can monday morning quarterback until the cows come home. There is no cookie cutter solution that will work 100% of the time. There are simply too many variables out side your control or even your ability to perceive and compensate for. You do what you feel you must (not stepping out side your capabilities or getting in over your head), and hope that lady luck is with you for the rest of the stuff you can’t control…. Cover, communicate, situational awareness, level head….. You can insert a gun in the mix if you think its appropriate/necessary.

        • “We can monday morning quarterback until the cows come home. There is no cookie cutter solution that will work 100% of the time. “

          Well said.

          Your entire comment is by far the best response to the question.

  2. Even if it is a domestic dispute, 3 men attacking an older man in a parking lot is not Kosher. Not sure I would draw my gun in that situation or not though. Probably had to there.

    • I believe he said the number was 7, not 3. He absolutely handled it well. The only way he could have handled it better would be to move in closer, to avoid hitting the man he was rescuing, or someone in the background.

      Well done.

  3. There’s no conflict here. Either you’re the kind of person whose first priority is to themselves and their own, or your the kind of person who’s willing to to be injured or killed getting involved in a strangers dispute. Injured or killed by the stranger themselves, others involved or the arriving cops. A funny situation is you might draw down on this domestic, then someone else coming upon it draws down on you, maybe shoots and kills you because, how the hell should they know?

    You have to live with the consequences, and knowing how easily I could be injured or killed and sacrifice my own loved ones, I’ll sleep just fine at night knowing I didn’t take that chance and render assistance, especially when I pay for others to do it who have numbers, radios, body armor etc.

    I’ll have no reservations about being mistaken for a combatant if I’m fighting my way out of something, and bear no grudges against those who make the mistake a midst the fog of war, but I’ll be damned if I’m knowingly walking into some sh*t.

  4. I can’t say what I’d do except call the po-leece. I would not hesitate to intervene with friends or loved ones. So what’s “domestic” about 3 guys beating an old man?

  5. I think that, while normally tactically sound, the ‘Get off the X’ and ‘Get behind cover’ advice is trying to shoehorn a single solution to every problem. In this case, with a bunch of attackers focused on another victim, and (assuming) no firearms visible, I think you would want to be as blatantly visible as possible. The goal is to pull the attackers focus from the victim to you, and show that the threat you pose is enough to stop the current assault. I think it’s better for a strong show of force in pursuit of that goal.

    That said, he should still have an ‘out’, such as being able to quickly move laterally between two vehicles in the event one or more of the attackers does have a firearm. In the still above, his lateral movement is impeded by the silver SUV.

    • Many states allow private citizens to commence a citizens arrest. To avoid the confusion calling 911 and stating that 7 guys are in the process of beating an elderly man to death and you are commencing a citizens arrest. Video record the incident to provide evidence of their crime and your action to arrest criminals in case some decide to resist the act with lethal violence against you. Use a high cap magazine or multiple low cap magazines.

      • If commencing a citizens arrest stating loudly for all to hear that you are commencing a citizens arrest may reduce eliminate the likelihood that you will be confused for a criminal by the bystanders.

  6. I’m wondering in which scenario would it be justified for multiple attackers to beat up on one person.
    I can’t find myself disagreeing with his actions. He drew, took cover, and made his presence known which stopped the attack.

    • All the po-po callers are forgetting the sage advice of a cop featured on these here web pages: “NEVER CALL THE POLICE! NEVER!!”

  7. Short answer, unless the life of a family member or myself is at risk my gun stays holstered. This does not mean I would not help someone in need, but my first response would not be to draw my weapon.

    • Yup. “This gun ain’t big enough for the two of us” is my mantra. I have a wife and baby.
      This gun is for them and for me. Call me selfish but I’m not carrying to play the hero.

  8. Your specific question deftly set aside, I’d like to point out that this is yet another aspect of real life that shows the foolishness of the Ladd Everett / Mother Jones / HuffPo crowd.

    They have and are continuing to work toward vilifying every day gun owners / carriers. That such people represent a positive force in “society” and can intervene to prevent injury/death of innocent people is for some reason not a feature the anti’s want to nurture.

    With the SWATting and the general ramp-up of the hysteria of “Man With A Gun” calls, they are going to get / continue to get a “Good Guy With A Gun” killed. I know that’s their intent … but just…wow. Talk about evil.

    And, I don’t mean just the evil of getting the EDC-er killed. I mean the evil of ALSO letting the innocent third party get beaten, raped, killed, etc.

    It’s always been a danger to intervene in something like this. Those ass-clown anti’s have made it distinctly worse. Their devotion to their Statist causes exceeds their caring for human life…the collective really is more important than any individual, including victim’s of violent assault.

    • “With the SWATting and the general ramp-up of the hysteria of “Man With A Gun” calls, they are going to get / continue to get a “Good Guy With A Gun” killed. I know that’s their intent … but just…wow. Talk about evil.”

      The little good news is that the identities of the SWAT-callers will be public record.

      When someone dispenses some justice on *their* ass the suspect list is potentially 50 percent of the population.

      *snicker*

  9. What is it with Kroger’s? The parking lots are very dangerous places to be apparently. Nothing like that going on at our Market Basket.

    • I shop at a nearby Kroger practically every day. Never seen anything but peaceful, polite shoppers, the occasional shoplifter being led to squad car and, inevitably now and then, the old lady in front of me that takes her groceries out of the cart and leaves the cart in the aisle ahead of me.

      I yell at those. Most vociferously, and not too politely.

    • This happened about 45 minutes away from where I live in PA. We are drowning in herion. This isn’t an isolated incident. Our local wal mart parking lot has become like something out of Fury Road. Drug deals in broad daylight, assaults, etc.

  10. A bit off the trail, but I’m pretty amazed at the positive tone of the TV report. Interviewed three bystanders, all said the guy did good. Didn’t scare up one of the faux “moms” to tell hysterical lies in opposition. Outside of the first sentence ( “decided to take the law into his own hands”) the text report is likewise positive. Again, color me amazed…

  11. Not sure if I would have. If I draw my gun it is to shoot someone dead. I probably would have gotten next to the guy and warned that I was armed, then cal 911. But that is just me. If they had been attacking him, there would be 7 dead people.

    • You would almost certainly be in prison unless you could prove all 7 of them kept wailing even after you started picking them off 1 by 1 AND you didn’t somehow hit the victim in the process.

  12. I would tell them to stop, and call 911. If they don’t stop, or they come my direction, then I would decide whether it was time to pull my pistol.

  13. I’m with you. Aside from all the rest, when I tuck my still young daughter in at night, I don’t want to be thinking that I let someone defenseless be harmed or killed because I was afraid to step up. If we want our future to understand that you have to stand up for what’s right, we have to be that example, with of course reasoned decision making and being mindful of our own safety.

  14. Either I’m having dejavu or this was posted here once before already. To answer the question it would depend on things not in the original story like were all 7 beating him or one of the 7, how old was the “elderly” person, and did it look like a serious beating or just a scuffle. If I thought I had to get involved I would prefer to just have a hand on my gun with pepper spray in my off hand until I felt a more eminent threat to myself, lIke if they started coming at me. Untill I was personally in danger I’d just be pointing the pepper spray at them (still at least moving towards cover if not behind it) . Here the threat of deadly force is considered using deadly force according to the self defense statute if I’m reading it correctly, we actually had to amend it to cover that because a judge said some guy would have been justified shooting the BG but wasn’t covered since he stopped him by just showing the gun.

  15. I find these postings, so far, to be amusing….considering the beating I took regarding response to Paris like attacks. (Family and self first, fight your way to an exit, take on bad guys when there is no alternative, be prepared to not have things happen the way you think they will). There were some who agreed with me (in general), but dozens who harsh about me not caring about others around me. Maybe the difference is that an incident in a parking lot is different from an attack in a crowded facility. Maybe seeing something happening at a distance makes people think differently than in a situation where the shooting is happening nearby. Maybe I am just another liberal/progressive/statist/fascista gun grabber.

    • No sir.

      The difference is that this a question for careful consideration regarding what one’s self might do if faced a situation. It’s part of the mindset training you claim none of us understand.

      What you took a ‘beating’ for…figuratively of course … was telling everyone else what they should not even attempt to do because they were too untrained, undisciplined, not part of an E-Light Military Unit, though of themselves too much like “Rambo” and would get everyone in the place killed (including themselves) except the bad guy.

      (^^^ mild hyperbole to emphasize the point).

      In short form, you basically said EDC-ers could not affect the outcome of terrorist attack / mass shooting attempt, so don’t bother trying.

      That you can’t see the difference is not surprising.

      • Curious,

        Just what would the difference be? Remember, the basic theme of the original post was questing whether it was prudent to engage a violent situation, and a review of a coupla cautions against involvement….most tellingly hesitation to sacrifice one’s self for strangers and leaving family without a father/husband/brother etc.

        And because consistency is…..I would draw the cell phone while moving to cover myself because I would have no way to know if the people fighting are armed or not. The amusement comes from people responding to this thread with notes of caution and circumspection in one circumstance (and I find those notes rational, mature and prudent), yet ready to go all in on another. Both situations involve violence to strangers, both situations require a decision to sacrifice one’s own family for strangers, both situations represent opportunities to be shot by another good guy with a gun or the government responders.

        And maybe, just maybe, not certain mind you, I know a wee bit about what happens when recieving unanticipated gunfire from multiple angles, simultaneously. People who, without experience, are certain about how they will act under fire, are convinced that no amount of threat, noise, danger, near-misses will deter them from engaging the enemy have something else entirely going on. People who would unhesitatingly unholster and start shooting might look like an imminent threat to me (what is the marker that lets me know they are firing at bad guys?). So, drilling my response in my head and muscle memory, I prepare to deal with that threat, also. If a good guy with a gun is blocking my escape, I will fail over from flight to attack. Can I be absolutely certain I will actually do all the things I plan and drill? No, but repetitive analysis and response gives me a better than average chance of prevailing.

        So, if someone recommending the average gun owner not bet their life on notions and musings is offensive, that’s fine. Ignoring the experience of others is allowed. Sometimes people stumble over the truth and then pick themselves up and carry on as if nothing happened. To get worked-up because someone points-out that you might not be fully aware of what is required in combat (shooting at terrorists in a theater/concert hall/mall is combat) is quite normal. Not issuing “fightin’ words” here.

        BTW, please let your loved ones know their futures and well being are subordinate to dying for strangers. It is only fair.

        • “BTW, please let your loved ones know their futures and well being are subordinate to dying for strangers. It is only fair.”

          You sir have not earned anything close to the respect necessary to even ask me nicely to tell my loved ones anything.

          Thank-you for sticking to your Statist, I’ve-got-to-tell-others-what’s-what mentality. The more you show it, the easier it is for everyone to spot.

    • They were much different. One was the possibility of shots being fired by one side or the other and the other incident was people actually shooting at people in an attack. Not retreating in either one is dangerous, but one of these definitely has a higher chance of survivability.

  16. I would confront the group,tell them to leave and i am armed all the while having my hand on my pistol but not drawn untill it was needed

  17. “I’ve called 911 and the police are on the way” is a phrase that I’d start with from sort of cover.

    Of course, it is dependent on the situation. Does it look like a drug thing? I”m not going to open myself up to a bunch of gang bangers shooting at me.

    I’d probably start the video recorder on my phone and leave it in my shirt pocket, lens out, as well.

    OODA says “Observe” as its first point. And that would be where I’d start after making the 911 call. Never know where else danger might come from.

    I Am Not A Cop. I don’t wear body armor.

    And the old guy didn’t hire me to take a bullet for him. And for all I know he’s a child molester or has a body bomb or was robbing the store or something.

    But if it looked like he’s being beaten to death and not just detained…maybe my “DA” would kick in after the “OO” 😉

    • “I’d probably start the video recorder on my phone and leave it in my shirt pocket, lens out, as well.”

      Sounds like a wise move involving *any* interaction with law enforcement.

      Especially if you have an app that sends the video to the cloud.

      Honesty should work both ways…

  18. We have said it before and it is worth repeating: unless you KNOW everything about a situation, you should not intervene. Maybe the “victim” had just tried to stab someone and the crowd of seven “attackers” were actually defenders trying to contain the “victim” who was actually the real attacker.

    Sometimes, your best play is to be a good witness … just like the other shoppers whose video and photos will most likely exonerate the Good Samaritan who intervened.

    If you just cannot help yourself, prepare to intervene if the scene gets really ugly. For example, if a crowd of 7 defenders disarm and contain an attacker — and then proceed to mercilessly beat/kill the attacker — you might want to step in at that point. Then again, do you really want to take on 7 unknown people, any number of which could also be armed?

    It sucks to see a victim getting a beat down … just like it sucks to see someone struggling who just fell through the ice of a frozen pond or lake. Do you immediately run out onto the ice to rescue the person who fell through the ice and, quite possibly, end up in the same exact situation as the victim?

  19. There is something I learned in an SD Law class I took at the NRA HQ, taught by a former prosecutor, that gives me pause in this scenario. The legal principle in defending a third party is called, “in his shoes.” What that means is that you can only use lethal force to defend a third party if they would be justified in using lethal force themselves. And here’s the catch: IT DOES NOT MATTER THAT YOU DID NOT KNOW THE CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING UP TO THE CONFRONTATION. Another thing I learned in that class is that in most states, brandishing has to meet the same standards as actually shooting in terms of justification.

    So, playing devil’s advocate with that information and applying to this scenario, this guy brandished, and I assume that if the assault continued, he might have shot. If it turns out later that the victim, the uncle, did anything to start the fight and/or he would testify that he was not actually in fear of grave bodily harm, which he might say to protect his family, then technically the guy that pulled the gun could be convicted of illegal brandishing. If the assault had continued and he had fired, he could really be in serious legal trouble.

    I also think you should never draw unless you are at least very close to being justified to fire. I don’t think you should draw to intimidate (however deserved) or to bluff. I think this guy drew, but was not prepared to fire. What is he going to do? Just start shooting into the pack of combatants with innocent people in the parking lot? I don’t think a cop would have drawn or fired in that situation, and they have more protection under the law. So I would not have drawn either.

    I am not a vigilante or a wannabe hero, but I am a good citizen. I would have loudly, so they could hear, called 911. I would yell at them that I was making a video of the situation and I would testify against them in court. If they tried to accost me as a result, then I would justifiably be in fear of my own safety and at that point I would draw and warn on that basis and shoot if they kept coming. I would have video of them beating up a guy and then coming at me for doing the right thing. I think it would be easier to justify that. More likely though, it would have gotten them to stop the attack without me drawing.

  20. I’m not gonna second guess the young man’s actions because:

    1. He stopped an assault on an elderly man.

    2. Everybody lived.

    3. The young man wasn’t charged.

    As to what I would have done, I’ll paraphrase a quote from an old friend: I don’t know. It depends…

  21. The short answer is no. Call 911 and stay out of the fray. As a third party, you have no idea what the circumstances are and, you’re life is not in imminent danger. End of story.

  22. There isn’t enough information presented to determine if I would have drawn my gun. But I would have certainly gotten directly involved to stop the assault.
    I have before, and would again, risk my life for strangers. I don’t expect others to do the same, but then again, I don’t expect much out of other people.
    As far as the whole “domestic” thing, that backstory is important, and a hard one. One of the worst beatings I ever saw the aftermath of (as an emt) was a grandfather after he was beaten by his grandson. The much worse, almost fatal, aftermath I saw was that same grandson after his older brother got to him. This was, by the way, at the celebration of the older brother getting out of prison. If all I saw was the beating, I would have gotten involved in either of them. If I had known the whole story, I would have left the older brother alone.
    I doubt I would have drawn on either.

  23. Risky situation. Too many scenarios to consider. AND don’t forget, there are seven dudes, not one or two. One of them, or all of them might be armed.
    Depends a lot on just how bad they were beating him, are they using an iron bar, or club, or just fists. Is the elder man on the ground? Is he screaming!
    In any case I would call the police, and do as they advice.

  24. Poor judgment on the kid’s part and IMHO and a clear case of seeing nails whilst carrying a hammer.

    And since the “attackers” were obviously identified with no charges (reported) being filed on behalf of the “beaten” uncle, then the kid was foolish for even raising the threat of deadly force–one slip of the finger and, hello manslaughter charge.

    Plus, as RF implied, what if there was “another Gene” in the parking lot seeing some guy with a gun pointed at some other folks…it’s ironic, but in that scenario Gene #2 would be much more justified in pulling a trigger on Gene #1.

  25. Been there had done that.
    I was covering the Home Depot security guy as he was beating the snot out of a junkie shop lifter.
    Deputy finally shows up and says to me.
    “Put that thing away!!!” and separates the 2. End of that story.
    If you have ever seen a man beaten to death and I have.
    I think most might have done the same as I had felt I had to do
    Thankfully in 30+ years carrying a gun. Ive only drawn it 2 times..

  26. Why does anybody care if he was standing still or dancing around, or seeking concealment behind a car?

    Unless the fighters are coming after him, or deploying projectile weapons of their own. he can stand right where he was.

    My problem is this:”The shopper said he never had the idea of shooting anyone, and he made sure to keep his finger away from the trigger.”

    Why draw a weapon you have no intention of using?

  27. In public like this I’d be inclined to get behind something a distance away and bark out a command, ready to defend myself. I doubt I’d be so bold to play hero, it’s a good way to end up dead.

  28. This turned out good….don’t count on the exact scenario to ever happen again…..

    Not enough info to form an opinion…as usual on the Internet!

  29. When in a parking lot, look for your car. Then look for the exit. At no point in time look at other people. Their lives are theirs to live (or die) as they see fit. Not yours to insert yourself into.

    Until someone asks you for help, they don’t need, nor want it. Respect that.

  30. I was involved in a similar situation but handled it a little differently. I had to go to the mall to get a replacement iPhone from the Apple Store. I parked on the second level of the malls parking garage and conducted my business inside the mall. When I returned to the second floor of the parking garage there were 2 black males and one hispanic male between who looked between the ages of 17-21 attacking one elderly woman and one elderly male. Both of them yelling help call the police. I did intervene in the situation by yelling “Get the f#$k away from them!” and “I’m calling the f@*kng police” very loudly. The youngest of the group then started coming at me shouting threats and had a screw driver. It was only at that point I pulled my concealed handgun and shouted as loudly as I could “GET DOWN, GET DOWN!” which thank God he did immediately. His “buddies” dropped everything and ran away. Knowing the police or possibly armed mall security would be arriving any second my first concern was re-holstering my weapon ASAP. I wasn’t concerned with the guy on the ground since he was about 20 feet away on his stomach and figured I could re-draw and shoot before he could get up and run over to me. No sooner did I re-holster when two undercover police officers came out of the stairwell. I raised my hands above my head and spread my legs. Since I did that the officers came at me first and the turd made a run for it. Though he decided to run up the parking deck instead of down. The second officer then chased and caught him. After about 30 minutes of running my name, drivers license, CCW permit, gun serial number, and hanging out handcuffed and sitting indian style in from on my car the officers un-cuffed me and took my statement. All in all the officers were really nice. The one officer let me know that the elderly couple kept thanking me and called me there guardian angel. Though the police wouldn’t let us talk to each other. They went to the police station, but I apparently didn’t need to. I guess my statement and everything was enough and the officer gave me back my gun and paperwork and let me go. Talk about needing to smoke a cigarette or a whole pack! I was contacted latter and told they had caught all three and I would need to testify at there trials, which was fine with me. A month or two went by and I hadn’t heard anything so I called the prosecutor and was told I wasn’t needed. I come to find out all three got the charges plead down to some stupid misdemeanor and only got probation. I thought assault with a deadly weapon (screw driver) and theft were pretty serious crimes…….Apparently I was wrong. When I think back the whole thing puts a shiver down my spine….If that kid didn’t get down on the ground at that exact moment I would have shot him and possibly ended his life. He has no idea how close he came to death. I’m just happy I didn’t have to fire and carry that baggage the rest of my life. Would I do it again? Yup! I was raised that it’s just as much of a sin to watch your fellow man be harmed as the one doing the harming.

    • Assault with a deadly weapon on an elderly couple is evidently not serious enough for jail time. Why? Because the jail is full of non-violent offenders (e.g. drug users).

  31. Hell no. These situations were a judgement call when I had qualified immunity as LE, I’m sure as hell not picking sides as a civilian without a lot more information. Could well end up defending the perp against good folks trying to subdue him for reasons unknown. Headline; “Local Heroes foil child abduction, shot by CCW carrier” No thanks, I’d prefer to not find out what a jury does with that scenario.

  32. In an ANTI-gun state, despite having a permit to carry, just walk away without drawing. Or do you want to go broke defending yourself in court against false accusations that will inevitably arise from both the cops and the perps?

  33. Everyone has their own threshold for getting involved.

    Don’t let RF’s ridicule push you towards making perfection the enemy of good enough.

    The limit of my intervention would be a hearty yell from behind cover unless someone was about to be crippled or “kilt”.

    John

  34. Depends on state law; you may be in the clear, even if you didn’t know it was a domestic dispute. I think this goes back to what is always being said here: In a DGU, ALWAYS be the first one to call 911.

  35. Call 911, then shout at the attacker from a safe(ish) distance that cops are on their way and to stop.

    What happens after that depends on their decisions.

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