Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Would You Do?

So, you're out and about, and you see a man and a woman struggling in the street. They appear to be fighting over a gold chain, with a back-and-forth struggle. Do you intervene? On whose behalf? Mopar sends in this story where it's not what you think...

Plainfield Thief Escapes When Good Samaritans Stop Wrong Person
PLAINFIELD — Police say a thief got away after two good Samaritans grabbed the wrong person on a Union County street.
The Samaritans were driving down West Front Street in Plainfield when they saw what appeared to be a man assaulting a woman early Monday.
This is the counter to a good chunk of those "what would you do" arguments. This is why my CCW is for my protection and not the protection of others, because you never know:
But it turns out the man was walking down the street when he said the woman robbed him of about $400 in cash and a gold chain.
See? The "good Samaritans" intervened, apparently on behalf of the woman - who proceeded to get away. So in their zeal to help - which is admirable - they jumped to conclusions and let the real goblin get away. It's a good thing that neither was carrying (we'll pretend that this happened somewhere other than NJ, where a legal concealed carry permit holder is about as rare as Santa Claus). Imagine if they had held the man at gunpoint? Imagine if they had handed the chain over to the woman, thinking they were giving her back her property? They might have found themselves charged with armed robbery...

I know, this is the exception rather than the rule - but it does happen. We are not cops. It is not our duty to intervene in disputes - and we are 100% liable if we make the wrong decision. I don't know if the motorists will face any charges - but an overzealous DA could certainly cost them a good chunk of money defending themselves. If the man that they grabbed decided to press charges, they could be in a world of hurt. It could have been even worse if they had intervened while armed.

Just more food for thought for those of us that take responsibility for our own security...

That is all.


Phssthpok said...

Recognizing that it's not an entirely applicable comparison, but the first thought that popped into my mind was the series finale of Seinfeld...where they group was imprisoned for NOT steeping up to help the victim of a mugging in progress.

TheMinuteman said...

The answer is the cops are on the way before I intervene and neither party is allowed to run until the police arrive.

That's the key, all involved need to stay on the scene.

Honestly I would have called it in and verbally intervened. I wouldn't physically interject myself.

Honestly you can't even draw down on either of them if they were armed either. You can't tell good from bad, about your biggest clue is the way they react after it goes down.

If they shoot someone and run away, yeah that was the criminal. If the shoot someone and call the cops, that was the victim.

About the best you can do is be a good witness. Even then with a standard physical altercation either party will run after it is over.

In the end though, you know how to spell "assume" right? Well those two idiots did exactly that.

And yes if I was the victim I would press charges against both of them. If you're going to intervene, you need to retain them both for the police to decide who is the criminal and the victim. You can't just separate them and let them go, especially if disputed property is involved.

Glenn B said...

"This is why my CCW is for my protection and not the protection of others, because you never know..."

I carry mostly for the protection of myself and my family but I definitely can see situations in which I very likely would go to assist others.

When I see, a 6'4" beastly looking male, beating and sexually assaulting a 7 year old child, in the bushes in a park, I would know. When I see a guy, with an AK in a shopping mall, shooting away and shooting down customers indiscriminately and screaming Allah something or other - I would know. When I see a couple of young teen thugs, repeatedly beating and kicking a downed police officer then taking the officers gun and pointing it at his head and taunting him that he is about to die, I would know. While there are many questionable situations that we could encounter, there is always the possibility of those coming up in which we would know as required under law (probable cause, reasonable cause, etc). I believe, there are some times when yes we would know.

The only trouble I would have knowing, in cases like that, would be how I would react and then act. There almost is no doubt in my mind, if I knew someone was in dire need like that, and I was able without being foolishly risk taking, I would help someone in a bad situation like that. The tiny bit of self doubt is just that one can never predict the future, as to how one would handle himself, even though that person has a mindset in one way or another.

All the best,
Glenn B