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Thread: musing about civic duties

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCliff View Post
    I hope I am not addressing this part of your post out of context.
    No, it doesn't seem out of context to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCliff View Post
    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 ShootRite Firearms Academy at 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCliff View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCliff View Post
    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
    No one has ever heard me say that I "hate" cops, because I don't. This is why I will never trust one again though: You just never know...

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  3. #12
    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.

  4. #13
    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.

  5. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by vernsimpson View Post
    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.
    “If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If got three more words, I'd add, all the time.” ~ Randy Pausch

  6. #15
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    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
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

    Benjamin Franklin

  7. #16
    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.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by JCliff View Post
    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.

  9. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eirik View Post
    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
    No one has ever heard me say that I "hate" cops, because I don't. This is why I will never trust one again though: You just never know...

  10. #19
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    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!

  11. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesMorrison View Post
    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
    No one has ever heard me say that I "hate" cops, because I don't. This is why I will never trust one again though: You just never know...

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