“Avoiding conflict, especially when you know the situation is not normal, is not the same as rolling over,” TTAG Commentator Sam I Am writes underneath our post Video of Open Carrier Mandeville Shooting of Shawn Breedland. “Equating prudence with spinelessness is the same sort of ‘moral equivalence’ we don’t respect from leftists.” As a single father with a 12-year-old and no plan B should I shuffle off this mortal coil, I’m loathe to engage in a gunfight to protect innocent life . . .
I think I will ballistically demure and get out of dodge if I find myself or — especially — someone else having a really bad day bad guy-wise. (During something like this.) Then again, I go into an entirely different mode under stress. Jon Wayne Taylor (no cracks about bromance please) reports that he’s trained to attack a threat, no matter what. And he has slightly more children than I do.
The gun guru known hereabouts as the Rabbi makes no bones about his unwillingness to engage a bad guy or guys in defense of others. He reckons he has no responsibility to protect people who don’t equip themselves with adequate protection (i.e. a gun).
What say you? Is it cowardly to run from a gunfight when you know bad sh*t is going down?
Is it automatically cowardly to walk away from another’s problems? Nope.
Is walking away the right thing to do? That depends on your view.
Robert there is nothing cowardly about taking off before hand if you know whats coming ahead of time. Given the choice between playing hero and surviving an encounter that doesn’t involve one personally isn’t cower dice in my book.
Now not having a choice is being actively involved in a situation not of your doing but possibly affecting you personally.
As a good guy with a gun in a bad guy with a gun situation.
You have a choice and sometimes the more prudent choice is to not involve oneself.
I did once and was lucky.
I chose to protect an innocent stranger and almost got myself shot by the Deputies arriving.
The Deputies don’t have the luxury of knowing who the good guys are all the time.
Depends. If it is just your ass on the line and you can run away then by all means go for it. If someone else is in danger, you certainly could run away… but could you live with yourself afterward?
Very true, but at the same time I can’t understand people who depend completely on others for safety. Voluntarily taking no responsibility for themselves, how do they live like that? It’s alien.
I guess it depends upon how you are wired, I was taught to help those in need, and have some so even though it meant being in mortal danger. It really wasn’t a conscious thought, it was what I had seen my father and others do.
I took a course last year on the topic of Protective shooting – how to get out of a bad situation while protecting someone else (loved one, kid, etc.). The instructor began the course by telling everyone to make a list of who they are prepared to died for before going out with a gun. He said that it’s very important to be clear about who is on that list before bad stuff goes down.
If you find yourself in a bad situation, the list guides your actions. Everyone’s list is going to be different. Some people have only their own name on the list while others may include practically every creature on two legs. Mine is somewhere in between, but frankly, with a family, my first responsibility is to them, not to some random stranger who didn’t take responsibility for their own protection.
Could I live with myself if I left someone else in the lurch? That depends on the totality of the circumstances, but yes, if the other person was able-bodied and should be capable of handling the situation themselves, then it’s their tough luck they made a bad decision. On the pther hand, if the victim is older, disabled, a child, or someone else who could not be reasonably expected to help themselves, my actions would be different.
“…list of who they are prepared to died for…”
That is my personal criteria right there. Anything else is a freebie due to circumstances.
If it is the difference between my kids and someone else’s, I can say for certain which way I will decided every single time.
If that makes me a coward, so be it.
I would have had troubled thoughts for who knows how long if I didn’t get involved. But at the same time I could have been shot for being the good guy with a gun. If put in the same situation today…….I honestly don’t think Id have gotten involved. I wont really know this until or unless Im in the same situation yet again.
Avoiding conflict is not cowardice. It is simply more prudent to call the local police if time and situation allow.
My personal opinion, since retiring from federal law enforcement, is not to get involved in a situation where imminent grave injury or death are not the expected outcome. Most police departments and Sheriff’s offices I have worked with recommend that even retired l.e. try to avoid direct intervention if and when possible.
On the other hand, I believe that you should follow your conscience when it comes to protecting your fellow citizens. I find it hard to turn my back on someone in need as that is what prompted me toward a career in l.e. to begin with.
Every situation is fluid and dynamic.
You can’t possibly hash out every conflict.
You can only control your judgement and train to win.
Life experience leads to wise judgement.
Development of ones moral compass is as important as fighting skills.
Do what you have to do at the moment of contact and move on.
I’m with the Rabbi. I will fight for me and mine if I have to. If I can safely exeunt, stage right (or left), that’s what I’m going to do. I won’t fight for a stranger, and I sure as hell won’t kill for a stranger.
If I get hurt in the defense of a stranger, will he or she pay my hospital bills? If I’m arrested for defending a stranger, will he or she pay my legal bills? Don’t make me laugh.
People who choose to remain unarmed are security freeloaders. Thanks, tdiinva! I told you I was going to use your phrase, with attribution of course.
This. I hate to get all Ayn Rand, but it is the height of arrogance to demand other citizens risk their life, well being, and resources for you just because you breath, eat, and crap. If you aren’t going to make a minimal effort to take care of yourself there is the public safety net (cops, firemen, welfare etc.) that we all pay for (haha). Call and wait in line.
I second CLarson’s response.
Every time I strap up, I click my heels three times and repeat over and over, “Don’t be the next George Zimmerman, don’t be the next George Zimmerman…”.
Thanks, Ralph. You are once again in my head. Saves me the time of typing that same response.
If that makes me a coward, so be it.
This is a very personal decision. Many of us were trained to run toward gunfire, when we had a duty to do so. When the legal duty no longer binds and a new duty exists to ones family to be there for them, it’s a tough choice that probably can’t be made in advance. As a Marine, I ran toward the fire; as a civilian and a father I’ve never had to face that choice and hope I never have to.
Army here, almost all soldiers run.
Just depends what direction for what reason.
Its almost always the individual decision at the moment that sets you in motion.
I’m with Ralph. The farther I get back into a normal life, the less I’m inclined to intervene in someone else’s problem.
In all honesty, I don’t know. Any of us who haven’t been in the situation can only speculate. Guessing how I will respond is rash.
When possible, always choose to live to fight another day.
I suggested my local range install treadmills so we could practice shooting over our shoulder while running away.
They thought I was kidding.
I don’t think it’s cowardly to look after my own family. Which I won’t be able to do if I’m dead or arrested, chances are after a dgu not in your home you will be arrested/detained. In the above situation I would have stepped out the gas station and called the police, be the best witness possible. I’ve done so before. If I was in the station and seen the attack up close I may have cleared leather if needed, but with notice I avoid the stupid place at the stupid time.
now that i’ve got 2 small kids, i’m only inserting myself into a bad situation to save them or their mother.
obviously its self-serving and you can call me all the names you want, but my kids having their father means more to me than the well being of strangers.
If everyone just minds their own business and nobody dicks with others the world would be a perfect place.
And you bear no responsibility to pay for others’ incompetency, misfortune or evil. Props to you if you *helpfully* intervene. But no one could blame you if you do not. And in today’s society where everyone is suing anyone to profit, you absolutely positively need not to feel guilty in any way. Good Samaritan Act doesnt always work, and plenty of bad cops wanna close the case fast.
Entitled bastards thinking everyone needs to help others so they could get help from the society are just that, entitled bastards.
off topic, but
are you in phoenix?
if so, how are you enjoying the 1000 degree temps this weekend?
I’m in ChiCom right now. Pollution in the air is enough sunscreen lol. Jet lag. I’m really getting old
The summer in AZ? Nah i just stay home…
Is Running Away From a Gunfight Cowardice?
Not if you live to tell (embellish) the story.
Discretion is the better part of valor.
Just remember that most of us on this forum do not have all the legal immunity and DA affection that the cops do.
Although I was in a situation which came close to having defend my family from some thugs, and I was ready to obliterate the little bastards off the face of the earth.
Too many scenarios to make a blanket statement. Am I running into a building at the sound of gunfire inside? If I’m in the room when the shooting starts do I turn tail and run or do I engage the enemy? Can I draw from concealment or cover?
Personally, I’ve got a bum knee and hip and I’m just about guaranteed to be the last one out the door so I’ll probably fight.
I HAVE intervened in people being attacked. In Chicago on the “L”. More than once-completely unarmed(unless you count my 18″ arms). I was a lot younger then. Would I get in a gunfight now? For friends & family yeah…women and children I would defend. Not stopping a store robbery or intervening in a (presumed) gang fight…and no judgement from me either.
Is running away from a gunfight cowardice? Not necessarily.
Is running away because you are afraid, when you’ve decided you should do something else cowardice? Yes. That’s kinda the definition.
Is it cowardice to run away from the fact that sometimes bad people do bad things? Yes.
Is it cowardice to run away from the fact that should bad stuff happen, you might be able to do aomething to help yourself? Indeed, that’s the nub.
Is it cowardice to demand that others be denied their option to protect themselves, to maintain your bubble of denial? That, and worse.
Courage isn’t first in using a gun. Courage is in being willing to look at the world as it is, including what you might be able to do to choose to live. Courage is choosing to shape the world a little, perhaps at terrible cost.
It is courageous to help a stranger in a gunfight, if that’s what you choose, and to spare yourself, to be there for kids, if that’s what you choose.
Cowardice is not choosing. The anti- folks would impose this cowardice of theirs on everyone else, simply to be more comfortable themselves. I am certain there’s a word for that, too.
“The anti- folks would impose this cowardice of theirs on everyone else, simply to be more comfortable themselves. I am certain there’s a word for that, too.”
I believe that word is “a$$hole”.
I don’t judge people for saving their own skin. If you can escape, do so. And if you don’t have a gun, don’t run toward gunfire. The principal in Newtown got herself killed that way.
It all depends on the situation. I probably wouldn’t have cleared leather to beat up a drunken has-been in a convenience store. A guy like that would have gone down with a kick to the nuts and an elbow to the head. You just have to be willing to act, and act violently.
Congratulations to the first six commenters. This is the most calm, analytical, thoughtful discussion of “fight or flight” I have seen in a year or more. The reasoned comments allow for observation, analysis, evaluation and careful decision. This is the type discussion we need more of.
I am glad JWT is determined to “run to the guns”. My own combat experience is no one really knows precisely how they will react under fire until faced with real weapons, real ammunition fired in anger at them. Winston Churchill reported that there is nothing so exhilarating as “to be shot at to no effect”. I’m glad for him, but I didn’t like it at all. Fortunately, everyone I was with said they too had that moment of hesitation/uncertainty, when they asked themselves, “is this really happening to me?”
Thinking through, and maybe even practicing if possible, the kinds of things you would like to do in response to an active shooter is no waste of time. Thinking about it once, then deciding you will go “full bore” into a gunfight no matter what, just may be disaster awaiting the moment.
Again, good show guys.
Agree with you, “Sam”. I didn’t find having guns drawn on me or shots fired in my vicinity something to relish.
(In fact the first time it happened I was pretty damn morose about almost being killed by other l.e. during an undercover op. They handled it rather too cavalierly from my perspective with nearly disastrous results.)
Anyway, it’s easy for folks to be armchair generals when there’s no skin in the game…but an armed civilian not only has to be concerned with loss of life, (his own as well as others), but the repercussions on his family, life, freedom and finances if his actions lead to legal proceedings as they invariably do these days.
Being “right” is not enough, unfortunately. In fact, it’s just the beginning of a long continuum which just may end up being a rabbit hole.
Personal life lesson:
Avoiding conflict because you wanna be a gentleman, makes a coward out of yourself if you do it for too long.
Do not get TOO used to peace. It dulls your edge.
Go head on when you have to.
And always, an eye for an eye. Or else you are the only one that’s blind.
But when it’s a random dindunuffin from da hood, it’s really not worth the breath and ammo, if they are not seriously threatening and you have no way out, that is
It’s not a black and white question.
If you run away and leave women and children when you had the means, opportunity and skill to fight sure that cowardice.
There are many situations that you should run from though.
Speculating in general is indeed rash.
If had been in that store, in the OCer’s place, things would have gone differently.
I wouldn’t have gone to get tthe bad guy’s tag number (I’m assuming that’s what he went outside for). It’s not my business, and gas stations usually have cameras. The actions were 100% legal and justifiable, but I don’t think I would have done it.
If, somehow, I’d still gotten into the altercation as depicted, I also don’t think I would have spent as much time retreating before I fought back. There were pre-attack indicators present while both men were outside, and I might have acted there.
That being said, I’m also not sure I would have concluded it was a shooting problem; a violent manual attack might have also solved it. That being said, there’s no audio. There’s no good way to know relative training levels. And the angle isn’t great to see exactly what happened near the doorway. So, I’m not going to second-guess that decision.
Basically, I really feel my actions would have been different enough to either avoid it entirely or to end it sooner.
No. You are very likely to be targeted for legal or civil action following any engagement. Even if you prevail tactically and legally, you are likely to be financially ruined. F*ck that. I like my life, my house, my money, and my trash.
If you like your life, house, money, and trash…tool up and mentally prepare. If you can’t or won’t, then you are betting on nothing happening to you. Sucks.
But none of that is relevant when training and instinct kicks in during a given situation, and common sense and logic get over taken by servicing the threat. Repeatedly.
Well reasoned and in the end the possibility of multiple outcomes is still present and ultimately beyond our control.
I agree with you pretty much completely right up to the word “repeatedly”. That opens up a wide crack for the other side to exploit, imho.
After reading most of these responses, we see why civilizations end up as totalitarian dictatorship’s.
When our founding fathers, most as private citizens, were called up to face the greatest military power of the time, they did , and the shot heard around the world that began the greatest experiment in limited government and personal freedom began.
Now? Unless you are a paid enforcer of the state, most will defend no one but themselves and their personal family and friends.
Oh well, so it goes. The cycle of the perversion and the rejection of ones responsibility as being the first line of defense against enemies foreign and domestic goes rhe way of the Dodo Bird, and the accomplishments of those extraordinary individuals called our Founding Fathers becomes the stuff of Legends told around the camp fire’s of a once free people, now just peasants and peons of a tyrannical state.
Thomas I admire your point of view but will only interject that despite the courage and conviction of many during the birth of our nation, the truth is that many, (just like today), avoided the conflict to the extent they were able…and many others who began the fight lost their taste for it in short order and either deserted or refused to re-up.
The legend and the reality are separate entities. Nonetheless, I am a great admirer and am in awe of the actions and determination of many of those individuals.
If I may, I’d like to suggest a book which I believe may be up your alley and which I am currently reading and thoroughly enjoying:
“Valiant Ambition” by Nathaniel Philbrick. (The book centers on the American Revolution and concentrates on both Washington and Benedict Arnold.) His books on our history are always engaging and well researched.
I agree Thomas Paine. There is the legend, and then the reality.
But in the end, the reality is that we did win our freedom from one if the greatest military powers of the time. And there were enough Patriots to fight the good fight, despite those that ran from their responsibility.
But they had an ideal of what was the expected actions of an honorable man, and while some, even many did not live up to, or die by those expectations, there were enough that did, to give us the hard won gift of self-determination, of freedom.
Now? What expectations do we (that are not paid enforcers of the state) have of what are the actions of an honorable man, or woman, when it comes to defending our freedom as Americans?
That when the sound of guns, and the slaughter of our fellow Americans are at hand, and seconds and minutes count the numbers of our bloody dead and wounded, what is that expectation? To run and hide to wait for hours for the arrival of the state paid enforcers of our masters?
Because when we as private citizens reject our responsibilities as the first line of defense for our fellow citizens, and wait for the state paid enforcers, we are acknowledging who are truly the masters, and who are the servants.
We “won” are Freedom because Frederick the Great sent Baron von Steuben to train a competent regular Army because the militia typically ran away and the French provided troops, and more importantly, a fleet that achieved maritime superiority at a critical moment. That the war was won by a bunch of part time militia soldiers is a founding myth of the Republic. It didn’t happen that way.
And Von Steuben wasn’t who he said he was either. (Not that it ultimately mattered.)
Oh ttdivna, of course, you, as a paid enforcer for the state, would hold such contempt for those of us not of your “exalted” status, but I guess I need to remind you, the first engagement of the “Shot heard around the world” was won, decisively, against the greatest military force of the time, was by a bunch of part time militia.
The only reason that the fight continued, and why France got involved, was because we showed that we, by our dedication and by also hiring those to train us to a higher disciplined level, that it was worth the risk of France to become involved and spend the money to fight with us in gaining our freedom.
Well Tommy, you most likely are a closet leftist who prefers the narrative to actual facts. There were slightly more French troops than Continentals at the final battle of Yorktown.
I suppose a fine fellow line you is voting for Gary Johnson who by the ways says he 73% in sync with Bernie Sanders.
Wow, tdiinva! You got me, I’m a closet leftist voting for Gary Johnson! WAIT! I’m confused! Am I leftist? Or a libertarian?
Well, neither, to be exact. 🙂
But I understand your scatter shot attempt at an insult after the sting of my pointing out the truth of your arrogance and contempt that you feel towards those of us not of your godlet of the state minionhood.
You are simply another example of the corrupt and degenerate state of our once great republic.
But I don’t hate you tdiinva for what you are, it is the fault of my fellow Americans for the corrupt government and their minions that you represent.
Your bluster is amusing. You are trying to cover up the fact you don’t know squat about the revolution or much else.
Bluster and chest pounding is usually a sign of something much more sinister. The informant is always talking tough to entrap people. Are you an informant or just a keyboard commando?
A Libertarian is a leftist, so say Gary Johnson, Libertarian candidate for President.
Now, now tdiivna. You keep looking for the hook. “You’re a lefty, no! you’re a libertarian, no! You’re just a chest pounding informant keyboard commando that doesn’t know squat about the revolutionary war!” (Athough, it might be tranference, after all, you are the “supposedly” retired ex-government Fed/enforcer, what records of those people posting are you keeping of freedom Web sites such as this?)
The only thing I am tdiivna, is a proud American calling out an arrogant government minion that sees themselves as a public master, and not a public servant. (That’s you, if I haven’t been clear)
But if it makes you feel better to believe that I am a fourteen year old boy living in his mother’s basement, pounding away on his PC, well, it is still a some what of a free country, sort of, so go right ahead.
Problem is, a lot of us here would rather be in a firefight against communists than be stranded in a 5-year court battle and life-long financial/reputational hell.
Look, defending the country from the enemies are directly related to the interest of the self-serving mortals. Having dictators installed does no good at all.
Getting into a street fight because of some thugs? Worth the consequences or not depends on you. Eradicating the perp, albeit beneficial to the society, is not gonna bring about nearly as positive as a change as fending of commies. We already paid cops to do that. Tax money is earned by your hard work and time that coulda been spent enjoying life. You used that part of your life, to pay your local emergency services. By all accounts you did enough.
But, yknow, that’s just my opinion…
You prove my point James in Arizona.
If most law abiding citizens would intervene when the few human predators preyed upon other law abiding, there would be little predation upon the the rest of us.
Even sixty years ago, adults would intervene when they saw delinquent youth committing acts of vandalism or shop lifting. Now? They don’t want to get involved.
When Jesse James and his gang was shot to pieces by the citizens in the Kansas? town, those citizens were demonstrating this sense of civic duty.
Now? Most people would think as you, it”s to much risk to do my duty, let the state do the heavy lifting.
All the justifications you give for not doing your duty are actually valid, but those justifications are only valid because people like you allowed the state to grow to such a state of power, that they now punish those citizens that do fulfill their duty.
It”s what I said earlier, there is a reason why a free Republic collapses into a tyranny. And this is spoken of the Federalist Papers. That with the growth of a “professional army and police force” , the sense of civic duty among the general populace degrades and the sense contempt by the “professional police and militany” for the general populace increases, until it is easy, for these enforcers of the state, paid by the state, to enforce tyranny, when called for by the state in times of chaos.
So as all republics have gone, so go we, once more into tyranny.
You do make a good point. So what’s your proposition on power delegation to law enforcement? Or should there be law enforcement at all?
I just thought bout it some more hope you r still on the thread.
If i read you correctly, it seems your reason for police elitism is that, the “strong” among us REFUSE TO HELP the “weak” when they are predated upon, and thus the “weak’s” dependence on professional LE?
Why do i get a feeling it’s people’s refusal to HELP THEMSELVES that is leading to the said dependence?
Ah, the never ending question, how much government is enough?
No government or paid police or military with only citizen soldiers as defenders of communit
Unfortunately, we seem to be in a downward slope of what has destroyed all civilizations, whether republics or dictatorships. Read up on r/K selection process and how the very success of a patriarchal K type culture that built the Greek, Roman cultures and our own country. That then devolves into the r selected support of a giant welfare state, and the destruction of the family, leaving the state as the absentee parent, with a horde of feral children let loose upon the body of the republic.
That is the real problem. To much government with a brutal police force and abuse by the government upon the people is simply a symptom of this greater disease.
Brave men run in my family.
Well, somebody had to write it.
For a stranger, likely not going to involve myself most of the time. The whole question is very situational.
I follow the IC rule of don’t get noticed and run away if you are. You have no obligation to man up and have a gunfight. The objective is to be a survivor not a hero. If you have to use force and end up protecting others while you are doing it then kudos to you.
Once you get in the habit of running it becomes easy. When that happens invest in good running shoes instead of guns.
Outside of family or a few close friends, the answer is no. Some guys get a boner for “civic duty” but I like women instead. E&E is the name of the game outside of my castle.
Sometimes we regret an action or regret our inaction. Question is can you live with yourself, and that only you can answer. Here’s a guy who probably went through life bullying people. Do you keep letting it go, or up the stakes to confront him and put and end to it?
It’s not my job to end it.
1). The example provided was not a gun fight. It was a psycho customer who couldn’t take a hike when asked to.
2). The customer in the store came to the aid of a clerk in support against an abusive customer who wouldn’t leave.
If the psycho customer came back in the store with a crowbar and started beating the clerk to death is there no one here that would draw on him?? Lots of good Samaritans here. What would you tell his family after he’s dead? “Not your problem?” ?
In the scenario you paint, I am not concerned about the guy with crowbar. If it was just him, me, and the clerk, I would creep up and shoot the guy in the back of head while he was beating the clerk. Clerk saved, problem solved. The problem the other invisible 4th entity in room, the State. A Democrat D.A. will argue that I was not in fear of my life (true), I did not give the lunatic a chance (also true.) So though I am legally sanctioned to use lethal force to protect someone’s life, I still will be dragged into court. With the wrong jury I could lose my liberty or life. Maybe the question should be would you do the right thing even if you know you are going to court?
The only time I would risk my life for someone other than me and mine is to protect a child. Karma is a thing. I’d like to think that if I wasn’t around to protect my child, an adult with some balls would be willing to fight for them.
We used to be a country where the old sacrificed for the young, until you baby boomers changed all that and decided to become generational rapists.
Curse your parents and grandparents for bringing you into this unjust world. Just as you will one day be cursed for not leaving a perfect world for the next generation.
Appreciating the parents, and the old sacrificing for the young, are both evolution
If you’re about to get into a gunfight, don’t.
Why take a bullet you don’t have to? Chances are good you will. This website advocates against doing things at stupid times, with stupid people, in stupid places. I view willingly going into a gunfight as just that. Just because we carry for our personal survival does not mean that the gun at your side is your only tool. Our instincts and a good pair of legs are just as valuable. Don’t take a bullet if you don’t have to.
Translation: The great lengths cowardly westerners go to excuse their cowardice and failures.
I think it is a sound decision to remove yourself from a bad situtaion whenever possible. I carry for those times when my options become limited.
“He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”
Will I walk away from a fight? Yes. Who needs the aggravation, really? Your ego isn’t worth bruises and broken bones.
But it’s a whole other story if whoever is trying to start that fight follows me and won’t let me disengage. That’s when I’ll have no qualms defending myself, lethally if need be.
I watched this video on Liveleak or Youtube days ago. I had plenty to say then and I’ll reiterate here.
Walking away is fine and dandy IF the situation is such that a person with conscious can do so without leaving others in peril. I don’t know about others, but one of the reasons I carry is to defend those who cannot or are otherwise less capable, but my firearm is just one asset.
It’s clear to me through half a century of observation and experience that the aggressor was under the influence of intoxicants. With that factored in, reasoning with such a person is questionable to a waste of time at best.
Here is where my actions would have differed than what we saw and I know the outcome would be different. For one, I am an experienced martial artist who has been in many many brawls. I carry CONCEALED, which when engaging someone physically changes the dynamics dramatically as I’m not protecting my firearm at the onset of the confrontation. You don’t insert a firearm or weapon into a physical confrontation. If you get into a physical confrontation while armed, you’re inserting a weapon. Brawling while armed is very dangerous and from the commencement, as you have to defend control of your firearm. His right arms is defending his weapon.
I agree with redirecting the drunk towards himself. I would have done the same. I’m more skilled and capable of defending myself. Call the guy a pissing little girl. Get him mad at you and lead him outside and away from others. That’s a great thing, besides a lot of fun. I didn’t take all that training to walk away from some drunk slob being a dou– bag in a store. Also, besides my firearm, I carry less than lethal chemical spray in the form of a small spray container of CS Tear Gas. I have carried one of those for over 35 years. I have used it twice in defense of myself and I can tell everyone that it is HIGHLY effective.
In short, I would not have left the store and allowed the guy to remain with the store undefended, I would have engaged him. I wouldn’t be open carrying and getting in a physical confrontation and I would not have had to shoot the guy. There is nothing special about taking on a drunk if they are unarmed.
Have you considered he might have shot you? Doesn’t sound like it.
I’ll never question another’s instinct in a life or death situation. Even the highest trained sorts screw up. There’s no second guessing it. The consequences of your values and your actions are yours alone to bear.
If the question is: is it cowardice to walk away and allow someone else to be injured or killed when you had the means to stop it? Then yes, of course that is cowardice. That’s got to be one of the very definitions of cowardice.
Any argument is simply the justification of a coward. Is it a smart coward? Sure. Is it a more likely to live coward? Maybe it is. But that’s still a coward.
THIS. THIS. THIS. I could never look myself in the mirror, or my son in the eye, or let myself believe I could keep my wife safe if I just walked away and LET SOMEONE DIE.
Who is on your short list?
So many here seem to think that IF they “do the right thing”, they will prevail and live to tell the tale. To whom do you owe the greatest obligation to continue living? It is fun to presume we will rush to the cause, unfurl our hand cannon, one-shot stop an unlimited number of armed aggressors, suffer no injuries or death, go home to cheers and accolades from family and friends. But…
What if we are wrong? What if we leave behind those who depend on us for a bevy of needs and reasons? What of them? Are they to be satisfied that you “died trying” while they deal with making a life without you?
And we didn’t even note that maybe you die along with the person/people you are altruistically trying to save.
Which of those you leave behind will proudly stand up and declare to the world that your passing has no meaning in their lives, that they are happy to be bereft, thrown into chaos, absorbing the aftermath of a situation where they had no ability to influence your decision? Which will tell one and all, we are so proud that we have the opportunity to manage our futures without our father, son, daughter, sister, brother, etc.?
This discussion is not about sacrificing for the future of the nation, a future that will determine if your short list of persons and the rest of the nation will live free or enslaved. This is about thinking our way through whether we intervene when we can retreat. When there is no means of retreat, when forward through the gunfire is the only option, that is another situation altogether.
You’re missing the point. Its not a short list. Not for me anyway. I’ve risked my life for strangers both in and out of uniform, and I’d do it again. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s your kids. I’m not asking anybody to make the same choice, but it’s not even a choice for me.
“I’ve risked my life for strangers both in and out of uniform, and I’d do it again.”
Thank you for your service to others.
My point is that the decision to intervene in a civilian dispute where death or grievous bodily harm may ensue should only be done when one’s short list agrees they willingly, and enthusiastically accept the likelihood they will be left without your protection and support. That takes consultation and consensus, not simply a determination to blindly “assist”, regardless of the consequences.
BTW, since I go about without a firearm, should there come a moment when your intervention would be welcomed, I do not count on it. Nor do I think anyone else should count on you being there. My responsibility is my responsibility; mine alone.
Sam I Am, you are contradicting yourself. You say that your responsibility is yours alone, but that you have to get permission from your “short list” before you take a risk.
Free, responsible adults do not ask permission from anyone to do what they believe is right. You’re just diffusing the responsibility that is your’s alone.
“You’re just diffusing the responsibility that is your’s alone.”
My stance has always been that no one should think they are entirely alone in making the decision to intervene in a violent confrontation. A person’s first obligation is to self and family. If you have family (however extended), your obligation is to remain alive and well to be with them. If you intend to charge in wherever, whenever, regardless of risk, it is only prudent and responsible to be sure those left behind will be content with a bad outcome. To refuse to consider those who will remain after you are gone is gross selfishness. If you talk to your family and they all agree that not having you around is just fine, then you fulfilled your responsibility to inform them and act on your decision to rushin where angels fear to tread.
In my case, we all agree not to go about armed. We also agree we do not and will not depend on, or expect, someone else to come to the rescue if we are victims of criminal assault. I don’t see any contradiction.
Who would you kill or die to protect?
Who would you give up $100k in attorney fees and possibly years in prison to protect?
Make up your list today.
If the number of people on it is not a single digit number, you’re a bigger man than me.
depending on circumstances, it may be better to book, live coward than dead hero! you the individual must decide this outcome and screw all the should a, would a, could a, butt heads that can’t find their own arses with both hands, want a be heroes in their own minds until rubber meets the road time, then they’ll be booking faster than you, see the Elephant before you criticize! really brave talk from someone never having been their or done that,
Your Survival is at stake then choose, if you can beat feet I’d do so in a heart beat,
Run away and live to fight another day.
For me, it depends on the circumstances. Who is involved, what is the situation, in what state am I standing, etc.
Example: Clark County, NV, outside the city limits of Vegas, a bit more than 10 years ago. I’m stopped for fuel at a quick-stop gas station. A couple of Dindu’s in cars with California plates are outside this gas station on a hot Saturday night, and they’re getting into it with each other, yelling at each other as I go into the station to pay. About a minute or so later, I’ve just paid at the counter indoors and I’m headed out… just as the fist-swinging starts. As soon as I’m out the door, then their loud, drunk and obnoxious women are starting to lip off to anyone and everyone surrounding the scene, with a couple of comments thrown my way. Then Dindu #1 starts swinging with real purpose on Dindu #2, and in a couple of punches, Dindu #2 is laid out. Dindu #2’s women (plural) come out of his car, flying at Dindu #1. The women (plural) come piling out of Dindu #1’s car.
This all escalated in the space of, oh, I dunno, eight to 12 seconds?
Now, I would not have given a rat’s rear end about this mess, except that this enchanted evening party is blocking the path to my vehicle, which is still out at the pump.
Dindu #1 then proceeds to starts beating the crap out of one of the women, and very competently pimp-slapping the crap out of any other female who gets in the way of his delivering said beat-down.
What’s that you say? I should be a chivalrous gentleman and prevent Dindu #1 from curb-stomping some woman’s face into the parking lot? Yea…. nooo. Since this is happening in Clark County, which is a piece of Los Angeles moved four hours east, where any jury might be stacked with lots more members of the extended Dindu family… I’m just easing my way out of the scene without anyone noticing me. At that time in Nevada, if I’d been caught packing in Clark County, I might have had a problem. I was in the clear anywhere else in the state, but in Clark County, Clark County rules were applying. I wasn’t going to get into a legal situation with Clark County for these people.
My only responsibility is to preserve the life of me and mine in that situation. Stupid is as stupid does, and the rule about not being in stupid places, and not doing stupid things with stupid people comes into full play. There were two cars simply full of industrial-strength stupid in that parking lot, and I wasn’t about to reverse the decline of American civilization with just a handgun.
In other situations, where the people in trouble are productive members of society, and we’re in a state where there’s still some common sense in the legal system? OK, I might intercede. But if the situation clearly doesn’t involve me, and the parties involved seem to deserve each other… I’m still inclined to allow idiots to be idiots on their time and their dime.
Chivalry is not my bag.
The best argument I’ve heard against chivalry is what special advantages, station, and benefits does society afford men that we should remain chivalrous?
If a situation doesn’t pass the “how does this benefit me” test, do not be shocked to not see me charging in like Dudley Do-Right.
“If a situation doesn’t pass the “how does this benefit me” test, do not be shocked to not see me charging in like Dudley Do-Right.”
The founders would have considered your decision to be a perfect example of the “enlightened self-interest” they applied to their comings and goings.
A whole bunch of valid (and widely varied) opinions.
Let me ask another question – since many of the answers above focus on the potential legal snarl-up after even a good shoot: what if you take guns, or indeed any form of confrontation, out of the equation?
Some years ago, in dead winter, I saw a person being swept down a river, obviously in serious trouble but apparently alive… It was late at night and there was nobody else around. I called emergency services and told them my last position and intended plan, then jumped in and dragged the person (as it turned out, girl) out of the water.
Given the below-freezing temperatures and the state of the river I could easily have f***ed up, doing this, and wound up dead.
There were no legal or other considerations: simply my own safety / vs. my willingness to let another person die through my self preservation.
Would it have been cowardice to simply call for help walk away from the situation?
That example may not exactly be “running towards the fire”… But my own personal truth is: if I have the ability to protect another person (any person) from harm, and believe I may be successful in doing so even though my action entails a personal risk, I would not be able to look myself in the mirror if I failed to act. But that’s my own truth, and cannot be applied across the board to others.
I don’t think avoiding a fight makes you a coward, any more than I think picking a fight makes you brave. It’s always complicated.
“Would it have been cowardice to simply call for help walk away from the situation?”
A very good question. Nice seque.
To jump to the assistance of others requires the same calculus. Do you have the capability to effect the intervention positively? Will your intervention result in yet a second person needing to be rescued, unnecessarily? Has your short list agreed to life without you, should you fail? Not every person in peril can be saved. It is good to think through such scenarios as you present. There was once an airliner crash into the Potomac. One of the survivors assisted seven others in being rescued by helicopter. The samaritan became known simply as “the man in the water”. He later disappeared, never to be found, never to be identified. He sacrificed his live for others. Good decision? I suspect it depends on whether you are on the “short lists” of each of the survivors he saved, or on the “short list” of his own.
You keep bringing up the “short list” and I can understand why but I think the guy who trained you on this went too far with it.
My wife married me for who I am and she knows that I’m not the type of person to just sit back and watch someone else die, even if doing something about it means risking my own safety. She knew that going in and she accepted it. Should we have kids they will have to accept it too. People often talk about “leaving your family behind unable to make it without you”, to those people I say two words “life insurance”.
People talk about court and lawyer fees, I say one acronym and one word: “CCW insurance”.
You can have both for $40-$100 a month.
“You keep bringing up the “short list” and I can understand why but I think the guy who trained you on this went too far with it.”
“My wife married me for who I am and she knows that I’m not the type of person to just sit back and watch someone else die, even if doing something about it means risking my own safety. She knew that going in and she accepted it.”
My point, exactly. But, how do you think she would react/feel if she didn’t know you so completely, and agree with it? You performed the “short list” calculus, got your wife’s buy-in, and have made your decisions. Nothing to criticize there. But you didn’t just assume her support. My point, entirely.
Discretion is the better part of valor. Cowardice is the best part of discretion. So, cowardice is the best part of valor. I’m going to valiantly duck any urge to address those that would disagree.
tdinva: Look up the Battle of Kings Mountain. They were militia and Jefferson himself stated it was the turning point of the Revolutionary War.
WRT: Getting involved. What may look like an incident involving two guys, one with a family shooting at each other could be two LEO’s mistaking each other for a bad guy. If it’s not mine that I’m willing to die for, I’m not in it.
Our society today does not take care of the sick, wounded, etc properly.
NO GOOD DEED GOEAS UNPUNISHED.
The police have no responsibility to individually protect people (witness the two MTA policemen in NYC who hid in the motorman’s cab while they watched a guy being stabbed to death) also, that’s wht the courts have said, the police are there to protect society, not individuals.
It’s like working for someone, at the end of the day you had better be even. You owe them nothing and they owe you nothing,
There are plenty of instances where people were injured or killed running away from a threat. I wouldn’t call any of them cowards. Maybe they just made the wrong decision.
1. One of the first things the Army taught me was that NOBODY can outrun a bullet.
2. I’m not a cop. I don’t want people to think I’m a cop. I don’t want people to think I’m a cop.
3. I would ONLY intervene in somebody else’s deadly force situation if I was 100% certain of the facts, and an innocent life was in IMMEDIATE danger.
4. If there’s no doubt, (guy with a Kalashnikov, screaming “Aloha Snackbar”, shooting up Santa’s Village at the mall, etc.) I’m going to use deadly force, without warning or remorse until the threat is neutralized.
Absolutely hilarious ! The best twisting of a phrase I have seen in a long time.
@Chris Morton….you are placed on notice that I intend to appropriate this phrase for my own benefit and amusement, all the while claiming credit for thinking it up.
I carry to REDUCE risk to me and mine and to exercise a right I think is in jeopardy. Running away is a great solution to solve a fight. I am not a LEO or a wannabe hero. I went in harm’s way in the military and I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else. Also, history shows not every “sheepdog” defender actually winds up helping the situation. I will be a good citizen: call the cops, be a good witness, help the survivors, testify in court.
Having said that, if I think I can make an immediate, decisive difference getting in the fight without getting myself hurt, I would do it. But I would never second guess anyone else as a coward for not doing so.
I also have to ask why am I having to defend this person? Why didn’t they have better SA? Why don’t they have their own gun and training? Could they/would they step in to save me or mine if our roles were reversed?
First let me say this: What an awesome set of thoughtful comments.
As for the question at hand, as others have noted there is no blanket, generic answer to this because every situation is different. In some cases it is highly unwise to get involved (looking at you Zimmerman). That’s a choice you have to make based on your personality, your armament vs their armament, the situation as a whole and what you place value on.
I typed out this long thing but then I decided to condense it to the following:
As a general rule I would say that getting involved physically in an altercation or pulling your gun on someone should be reserved only for times when you or someone else is in danger of death or serious injury in a situation they didn’t provoke. If some crackhead comes into a gas station waving around a gun, I’m going to do my level best to aerate him, preferably from cover and/or concealment, because while I know I can run pretty fast I’m not aware of any bullet I can outrun and I’m not real keen on getting shot in the back on my way out the door/”fatal funnel”.
Carrying a gun is a right but IMHO it comes with responsibilities and one of those is not to let some poor store clerk get murdered by a crackhead or to simply watch some girl get dragged into an ally by a rapist while waiting on hold with 911. A gun, much like a sword is meant specifically to take life. That’s what it’s for. If you are not willing to have a “life giving gun” (Read The Life Giving Sword by Yagyū Munenori) then there really isn’t a point in you having one in the first place. Unarmed you’re useless to your fellow man when armed predators strike, armed and unwilling to act you’re just as useless so you might as well not have the weapon in the first place.
All in all I would sum it up this way: If someone’s life or limb is on the line and you can intervene without making the situation worse then you should. But some people are not wired that way so are you a coward for not intervening? IMHO the answer is “no” in most circumstances but if you find yourself watching some terrible crime and unwilling or unable to intervene maybe you should reevaluate why you even bother to carry outside your home in the first place.
Thanks for the book recommendation, as well as another thoughtful engaging comment.
Isn’t this a loaded question? (Ba ha haa! Gun puns.)
Discretion is the better part of valor, right? Injecting yourself into a situation is kind of prideful in a way. You are assuming and enforcing your own judgement and will into that situation.
Obviously there are times when this is warranted, but pretending like it’s always warranted is no better than pretending like it never is. Be judicious. And stay safe. You only get one life down here.
How you are mentally “wired” will drive your initial response and you will act first (either way) and then your conscious thought process will catch up, evaluate the “now” and follow through if not engaged yet, hold or reposition. From experience I will tell you in one case I sheltered Family with my body, in another situation I abandoned them to help a stranger. It doesn’t matter who or what you are, or what your Plan A is. Its how your wired.