Carry for self-defense or societal-defense?


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davinci
September 5, 2007, 09:20 AM
I opened a thread recently about "why open carry?" and it's come to light that my beliefs about open carry may be related to my beliefs about the purpose of firearms in general.

When you pack your firearm either in a concealed holster, open carry holster or even in your vehicle, are you doing so knowing that you can pull the trigger if someone threatens someone else in society, or because you have a fundamental right to defend YOURSELF and your family against an attack?

Hypothetically, if you're behind someone at a rail road crossing and they are getting carjacked at gun point, are you going to jump in and shoot the attacker? If you're in line at the grocery store and a fell in front of you robs the clerk at gunpoint, are you going to stop him?

This is a touchy subject, and I do not wish to start a debate but casual discussion and hopefully some thought of what you would do to defend yourself or your family, or to defend folks you don't know.

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Muzzy_B
September 5, 2007, 09:32 AM
When you pack your firearm either in a concealed holster, open carry holster or even in your vehicle, are you doing so knowing that you can pull the trigger if someone threatens someone else in society, or because you have a fundamental right to defend YOURSELF and your family against an attack?

Hypothetically, if you're behind someone at a rail road crossing and they are getting carjacked at gun point, are you going to jump in and shoot the attacker? If you're in line at the grocery store and a fell in front of you robs the clerk at gunpoint, are you going to stop him?

I carry because it is my right as an American to do so. I carry because I have a responsibility to come home everynight to my wife and daughter. I carry because I have a responsibility to protect the lives of my wife, daughter, and self. I carry so that I may have the means necessary to fulfill that responsibility if met by threat of death or serious bodily injury. I'm not a member of law enforcement. If the above mentioned threats immediately endanger me or my family, yes I will step in. If not, and doing so creates a danger for myself or family, no.

frogomatic
September 5, 2007, 09:39 AM
I carry because the saftey of myself and my family is MY responsibility, and I wouldn't trust it to any other.

wheelgunslinger
September 5, 2007, 09:42 AM
I carry to protect myself and the people I love.
The 2a guarantees that others have the same rights. I'm not a do gooder. Others are on their own. They can get another car, more cash, etc.
I learned long ago that no good deed goes unpunished.

Caveat: If a subject opens fire on someone while robbing them and I'm around all bets are off, since they just put me in danger.

strat81
September 5, 2007, 09:44 AM
There are WAYYY too many "what ifs" and hypotheticals to deal with. I'd guess that the average THR member would intervene (not necessarily shoot) on someone else's behalf if it was clear that a crime was being comitted and there would be minimal risk to the THR member.

That being said, it's not my job to protect everyone. But, I would have problems failing to help someone I know I could have helped.

igpoobah
September 5, 2007, 09:46 AM
That really depends on the situation and if you are positioned well enough to succeed.

There is always the possiblility for bad guy #2 or 3 or 4 lurking that you didn't know about too.

I can't answer this question in hypothetical form.

What I can say is that I would surely be inclined to help someone out in need. Whether I would send lead at the BG, or call the cops and be a good witness is highly dependent on the situation.

If there are multiple bad guys and I know I don't stand a chance, then no, I will not be engaging the bad guys. I still have a family to support and kids to raise, I've got to be here to do that.

Then again, who knows; I may just get all stupid and rush in without thought to my personal safety.

The point I'm trying to make is that none of us knows for a fact what we will actually do in a distressing situation like this. We can theorize all day long, but that is all it is.

LT1coupe
September 5, 2007, 09:51 AM
The scenarious you mentioned would depend on many conditions. Would getting involved make the situation better or worse, risk to the innocents, pure robbery or more sinister? I carry primarily to protect myself & my family, but I also believe that criminals flourish because of citizens not willing to get involved.

romma
September 5, 2007, 09:53 AM
This is a touchy subject, and I do not wish to start a debate but casual discussion

I believe both discussing, and debating are healthy if done in a respectful manner...

I believe debating is what you are going to get in this thread.

If I walk into store and see someone pointing a gun at the clerk, that person is a threat to me as well. I believe it would take .2 seconds to shoot a clerk, and then me.

I probably would draw and maybe fire in that situation, but I don't know for sure.

M2 Carbine
September 5, 2007, 10:01 AM
I carry guns to shoot anyone that needs shooting.

Hypothetically, if you're behind someone at a rail road crossing and they are getting carjacked at gun point, are you going to jump in and shoot the attacker? If you're in line at the grocery store and a fell in front of you robs the clerk at gunpoint, are you going to stop him?


Yeah, I'd try and stop them.
Every morning I have to look in the mirror. If I allowed a thug to harm someone when I have the means to stop them I wouldn't like what I see in the mirror.

30 cal slob
September 5, 2007, 10:05 AM
they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

the few times that i HAVE drawn my (lawfully concealed) weapon were to (lawfully) help somebody else out ... but the imminent dangers were also proximate to ME.

chris in va
September 5, 2007, 11:30 AM
I'll submit that most of us don't know WHAT we'll do in a bad situation. Everyone stating they won't step in if an obvious BG has a gun to another's face is just blowing smoke.

glockman19
September 5, 2007, 11:36 AM
because you have a fundamental right to defend YOURSELF and your family against an attack? if you're behind someone at a rail road crossing and they are getting carjacked at gun point, are you going to jump in and shoot the attacker?
NO If you're in line at the grocery store and a fell in front of you robs the clerk at gunpoint, are you going to stop him? NO not unlesss he points the gun at me and tries to rob me too.

Flak_Jakett
September 5, 2007, 12:12 PM
Oh man, it's this thread again. There is just such a huge grey area here. In truth there is no right or wrong answer, because their are an infinate number of scenarios, all of which you won't know if you screwed up by drawing or not until after the situation played out.

There will be some who swears that if anyone even looks funny at an old lady crossing the street they will jump out cape and all and save the day.

Then there are some that say it would take a nuke pointed at my pregnant wife for me to draw my weapon.

Those were both heavily exaggerated, of course, but hopefully you get my point.

Basically this thread boils down to philosophy. Will you put yourself at risk to help another, or will you only react if your person or family are in danger.

Everyone stating they won't step in if an obvious BG has a gun to another's face is just blowing smoke.

How do you know they are blowing smoke? In general when a person says he/she would refrain from action they are pretty accurate. On the other hand, it is those that say they would jump into action, that aren't always honest with themselves.

If someone says they would hang tight during a grocery store robbery, when that actually happens do you think that despite their thinking that they would instinctively without conscious thought pull their weapon on the attacker. "What? Is that my CCW .44 magnum anaconda in my hand?"

More likely it would be the gung ho guy who when the roober starts waving his pistol around, he actually thinks better of it. Then when he gets home he has clean his weapon, because it is drenched in urine.

I agree that you never know how you are going to react until you've been there.

cnorman18
September 5, 2007, 12:16 PM
There was an excellent article in the August/September issue of Guns & Ammo Handguns on this very subject. Read it.

What you don't know might be very important indeed. E.g., what appears to be a carjacking might be an armed citizen trying to get his car BACK. The guy pointing a gun at the "clerk" behind the counter might be an armed citizen holding a robber till the cops get there; the real clerk might be dead on the floor and out of sight. And so on.

If the gun swings around to point at YOU, you're now in a self-defense situation and all bets are off.

When you dive into dark water, it's best to know what's beneath the surface.

desert_fox
September 5, 2007, 12:46 PM
Evil prevails when good men refuse to act.
Would you want someone who was armed to protect your wife or kid who was the one behind the counter or in the car being stolen?
Yes it's a gray area, but if I could prevent someone from getting injured because I was carrying a weapon, I would do everything I thought possible.
That doesn't mean shoot first and ask questions later, but you need to take into account everything thats going on.
You hear gunshots and see a masked man wielding gun yelling at everyone to get on the ground? Probably getting shot.
You hear gunshots and see a man with 7-11 apron on looking around with a shotgun? Probably ask questions.

Geronimo45
September 5, 2007, 01:33 PM
Personal thing. I don't suspect that people who wouldn't do a thing are doing so 'cause they hate their fellow man, sometimes it's because they don't want to exacerbate the situation. Curious George the gangsta, with his gun pointed at the bank teller, may or may not intend to kill said teller once he gets the money. His gun may be a BB gun. Or it may be unloaded. Or it could be loaded, and he might shoot the teller if anyone tries to do anything. Many variables. One segment doesn't want to risk getting an innocent shot by action, the other doesn't want to risk an innocent by inaction.
The 'moral' viewpoint is one facet of the question. The legal aspect is another. Being a Texan, I have the same deadly force laws (so I was told in CHL class) as the police did. I can shoot someone robbing the apartment next door, I can shoot someone for stealing hubcaps off my car, I can shoot someone for attempting to rob somebody else... Texas has a pretty clear-cut set of laws concerning your right to shoot bad guys... and it seems to be encouraged (trying to artificially reduce death penalty numbers? I dunno).

Make sure you get moral and legal issues straight in your mind.

As for the hypotheticals... I believe that I might act in those situations. Don't guess you know for sure until they happen.

Then when he gets home he has clean his weapon, because it is drenched in urine.
That's why I carry in a shoulder rig. :p

JesseL
September 5, 2007, 01:50 PM
I believe in personal responsibility. Not just for me, but for everyone.

If a stranger finds himself in a situation where he needs defending, the first person he should look to is himself. I'm not here to provide security to everyone within spitting distance. I want it to be absolutely clear that anyone who thinks I have a duty to defend anyone but myself and my loved ones, has another thing coming.

On the other hand, if I can help someone in obvious need of help; without undue risk to my wife's only husband and my son's only father; I will probably do what I can.

shadowalker
September 5, 2007, 02:49 PM
I carry to protect myself, my family, and if necessary potentially someone else though there is no guarantee, it depends very much on the situation.

Being able to pull the trigger is part of using a firearm in self defense. That doesn't mean you have to pull the trigger but if you can't the situation could go very poorly. If I truly believe someone is a threat large enough to justify lethal force I am prepared to pull the trigger, I answered that question before I purchased my first firearm.

There are way too many what ifs and situations in the world to say I will absolutely respond in a certain way, that is why it is so important to build contextual thinking skills, absolute thinking doesn't work well, situations are fluid and rapidly evolve and our response needs to as well.

Like others, if I can fairly safely help someone else I most likely will, the amount of response depends on the particular situation.

Also if the bad guy is a threat to the clerk he is a threat to me as well, I would far rather escape or engage him on my time, while he is distracted with someone else than when his full attention is on me or my family, while committing a crime bad guys typically don't have great situational awareness.

Something fun to do is to watch the most extreme, and other shows that show robberies and other crimes, ask yourself how would you respond in THAT situation if you were armed, what about if your family was present.

kd7nqb
September 5, 2007, 03:15 PM
To me carrying is primarily for MY protection as well as my family. Being a member of my community I would not object to using a firearm to defend others as long as I assure my safety first.

Standing Wolf
September 5, 2007, 03:50 PM
When you pack your firearm either in a concealed holster, open carry holster or even in your vehicle, are you doing so knowing that you can pull the trigger if someone threatens someone else in society, or because you have a fundamental right to defend YOURSELF and your family against an attack?

Yes. A life saved from the predators is a life saved from the predators.

davinci
September 5, 2007, 05:14 PM
Thank you for the candid responses. I'm glad that some would jump in harm's way to protect me or mine if the situation arose, and I'm also glad that I'm not the only one who doesn't jump in unless it involves only yourself.

To those that responded No, they wouldn't jump right in and shoot someone attacking someone else, I would imagine that you are Concealed Carry holders...because if you Open Carrying, then you have definitely involved yourself (and your family) in the situation as a threat to the bad guy. If you say you would get involved, I would hope that you are a Concealed Carry holder, because then, and only then, do YOU get to make the choice to act at the most appropriate time and give yourself the best possible chance of getting out alive.

It wasn't my intent to make this into a Open versus Concealed Carry debate originally, but after reading between these two posts I find a direct correlation between tactical advantage and what we require of ourselves to help our fellow man.

Personally, I would have to say that I would not get involved in either scenario I mentioned earlier. I honestly feel that if I were to get involved I'm putting many more people at risk, including myself or anyone else in the BG's or MY line of fire. Remember, you aren't the only other one at the grocery store, and if you don't cause an immediately fatal wound he will fire back. You're not the only car at the railroad tracks, and others will certainly be in the line of fire...even on the other side of the train.

Personally, if my wife or children were hit by a stray bullet, even from a justfied shooting where the bad guy died and the good guy got his story put in the paper, I'd be darned sure to point out that by saving the life of one citizen, he put another's in danger.

It's a slippery slope. There's been mornings where I look myself in the mirror and I feel dishonorable and wrong about things that I have done or didn't do when I should have... killing someone, well... I'm not sure what I would feel like the next day, but I can guarantee that if I don't feel like it was absolutely necessary it's going to bug me. I'm not Jason Bourne nor am I Dennis Rader , I'm a Christian, and I don't think I would be the same again if I killed someone who I wasn't darned sure was going to kill me or someone else.

I've known a few that have killed in war, and did what their country asked of them. They were doing their job, it was them or the enemy, one wasn't going to make it through the day. It's not talked about much, it's not heroic to them, it was something they had to do and they don't want their name in the paper for doing it. It's a big weight to bear, and I don't want it unless I absolutely have to have it.

shadowalker
September 5, 2007, 07:40 PM
I would hope that you are a Concealed Carry holder, because then, and only then, do YOU get to make the choice to act at the most appropriate time and give yourself the best possible chance of getting out alive.

I don't think that is necessarily true, that statement depends on the bad guy having had the presence of mind to clearly survey the area and the people in it and on you being a target, in which case OC or CC doesn't matter.

The BG may notice you OCing, but in normal circumstances most people don't notice people that open carry, now when you combine that with the fact that most people don't OC so people aren't conditioned to look for firearms and add that bad guys tend to get tunnel vision (some walking right past uniformed officers to rob stores) and the chances are even higher, they also tend to move very quickly into a store and don't observe for an extended period of time first.

Finally in any of the above situations if I have time I'm going for cover, with my firearm ready anyway so carry preference really doesn't matter.

Not saying the BG wouldn't notice but rather it isn't a given.

Highland Ranger
September 5, 2007, 07:57 PM
In some states, a condition of your CCW is agreeing NOT to play cop.

Being from NJ, home of the defenseless, not a question for me.

But hypothetical situations aside, if there was a clear threat, I think I'd have a hard time not helping . . . . its not our way to walk by.

meef
September 5, 2007, 08:09 PM
Hypotheticals, hypotheticals.

Walter Mitty I'm not.

I'm also not a cop.

Nor do I play one on tv.

Nor do I think I'm even remotely qualified to try and act like one in a hypothetical situation.

:rolleyes:

revjen45
September 5, 2007, 08:23 PM
The police have sovereign immunity- the peons don't. When you feel compelled to intervene think "is it worth $50-100k at best or risking the destruction of my life to get involved in this?" You may feel the hero saving a woman until she decides that her abusive boyfriend is supporting her and her illigetimate kids, so if he goes to jail she's screwed. What do you think she will say about your actions in court? Ask any cop who has had an abused woman attack him/her while they are arresting the hump who just split her lip and blackened her eye. I have never been placed in the situation of deciding whether to shoot or watch a woman get killed or maimed by some ignoble moron (thank God) so I can't say for sure what I would do, but there aren't too many people who mean enough to me to risk flushing my life down the toilet or being plagued by lawyers (is there any difference?) for the foreseeable future. Those who are smart enough to realize that THE LAW can't protect them can make arrangements to protect themselves. I am not obligated to risk the loss of everything I ever hope to have for some sheeple who ought to have their eyes surgically moved to the sides of their heads.

Elm Creek Smith
September 5, 2007, 09:35 PM
The fact that I carry to defend my life and the lives of my family makes society safer. Since the otherhumans know there are people like me out there, it makes their choices of victims more difficult. It gets even better: my wife carries, too.

ECS

W.E.G.
September 5, 2007, 09:39 PM
As was pointed out in another thread, its easier to carry a gun than it is to carry a cop.

The_Shootist
September 5, 2007, 11:24 PM
If I'm in a convenience store type robbery - then yeah - I'm going to draw.
Not necessarily out of any love for innocent bystanders, its just that robbers have a habit of dispatching all witnesses they can.

Being a good Christian, I fervently believe its better to do unto others before they do unto you - in that type of situation. :evil:

havanatrader
September 5, 2007, 11:30 PM
Ask any cop who has had an abused woman attack him/her while they are arresting the hump who just split her lip and blackened her eye
I'm no cop, but many moons ago, just out of the Navy, I went to the aid of a young woman who was being viciously beaten and forced into a car. She was screaming "STOP!", "Someone HELP ME!". Her face and shirt were covered with blood.
I ran full speed into her attacker, leading with an elbow to the side of his head. He skidded across the hood of the car, falling unconsious on the other side.
The next thing I know, this woman smacks ME in the side of the head with small wooden bat, screaming "Leave my boyfriend alone!".
"Ouch! Fine. You don't have to live like that, but if you choose to, It's not my business."

Even after that, if I was in one of your scenarios, and I thought it likely that someone was going to be hurt by the thief, I think I would intervene.
If I thought that money would be taken and that would be the end, I wouldn't.
I know it would be impossible to know for sure what their intentions are, but I'd go with my gut.

ssfeldjager
September 7, 2007, 02:02 PM
In the scenario of: "Hypothetically, if you're behind someone at a rail road crossing and they are getting carjacked at gun point, are you going to jump in and shoot the attacker?"

How do you know that the carjacking perpetrator is, in fact a real carjacker and not some clown, friend, etc., of the supposed "victim" and it isn't just people playing around?

Guess who will probably end up sitting at the "defendant" table with their lawyer? Here's a clue: It won't be the supposed "victim" or the supposed "perpetrator". They will be sitting at the "plantiff" table with their lawyer[s]. This is the GOOD part of a potential court action.

And... guess who has a real potential of also sitting at the "defendant" table with their lawyer and the other table is the local District Attorney? And, the victim will be the supposed carjacking perpetrator... this... by the way.. is the really, really BAD part of the potential court action.

Cops gets sued all day and all night when they are involved in a GOOD shooting... You would be portrayed as a "gun-crazed maniac who randomly shot in cold blood...the "victim".

Self-defense is one thing... the remainder of society needs to be armed or remain the "sheep" they are. It just isn't worth the risk to yourself.

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