Saturday, July 24, 2021

It Is A Dilemma - Should You Or Shouldn't You Get Involved...

...when you see a crime being committed - especially a violent one? What do the police, in general, tell us to do: 'Be A Good Witness and call 911', or something like that! 
If you do get involved and try to help the victim of a violent assault and are then injured - what do the police say? They in essence say we told you so, you should have been a good witness and called 911. If however you come away unscathed and help the victim, they tell you a lukewarm good job (at best most times it seems) but still warn everyone to be a good witness and call 911 should they witness a like crime.
On the other hand, if you wind up helping a cop and you prevent the bad guy(s) from injuring the officer what do the police say: Excellent heroism, great that you got involved, we appreciate it. See what I mean in this example:
""If the two individuals watching nearby had not selflessly taken it upon themselves to assist the officer, the injuries he sustained could have been much worse," said Fredericksburg Police Chief Brian Layton. "I can’t thank them enough for bravely putting themselves in danger."" More at the source.
Of course, you could decide to always help. The thing is, if you do that, or just even help as few times as one, and somehow are found responsible for injuring the bad guy or possibly inadvertently hurting the victim, you might be sued. That regardless of whether or not you prevented worse injury befalling the victim. Once again, the police are going to likely say you should have been a good witness and called 911; I tend to doubt they will defend your actions in a tort claim and they may even charge you criminally.

Now, if you do not help the victim, and the victim is badly or fatally injured - you may live with feelings of guilt for a long time to come. I do not know about you but I am pretty sure I would feel that way about myself should I have the opportunity to help and then not do so. I even had bad feelings about shooting the vermin who tried to rob me many years ago. I had nightmares about it for at least 6 months and some on and off again guilt for about the same time. Happily - I got over it because I knew I did the right thing and I'd do it again.

Some police departments even tell victims to be a good witnesses and not to defend themselves if facing a crime of violence or potential violence like robbery. Robbery always includes a high risk for violence committed by the perpetrator and while it may not always be violent, there is at least the threat of violence. Yet, the police tell us to surrender our valuables and in essence trust that the robber's kind hearted and merciful soul will prevent the robber from harming or killing us because we complied and we gave that scum our belongings. Even though we comply with their demands and do as they say (as the police tell us to do) we may wind up severely injured or even dead. The fact is many bad guys do not want us being able to be a good witness because the testimony of good witnesses can put them in jail. Thus they may try to prevent us from being such either with an intimidating beating or by killing us. Not telling you what to do but I think it's something to consider.
Here is the way one police department from a major U.S. city puts it:
MPD has issued a series of tips for residents to limit their risk of robbery:
  • Do not walk alone
  • Be hyper-aware of your surroundings at all times – pay attention!
  • Carry only items you need, and carry less cash
  • Be prepared to give up your cell phone and purse/wallet
  • Have keys already in your hand as you approach your car
  • Despite all our efforts, robberies may still occur! Do not argue or fight with the criminal Do as they say. Your safety is most important!
  • Be a good witness. When you call 911, be prepared to answer many questions. How many suspects? Age, height, complexion, hair and eye color? Scars or tattoos? Weapon- what did it look like? What direction did they leave in? Vehicle description? (Source.)

 So what is one to do even if one sees someone being attacked or even if it is one's self being attacked? It is a dilemma that any of us could face at any given moment. Do we jump right in and help or do we merely be a good witness and call 911 regardless of whom is being attacked? I do not know the answer relative to any future such situations in which I may find myself; that said though, I prefer to think I'd choose to help as I have done before on a few occasions when someone needed help. That was to observe & assess then take whatever I thought was appropriate action to help; that has included jumping into the fray so to speak. Luckily that also usually has meant me having to do little more than announce my presence to the bad guy; luckily most of them seemingly (to me) are cowards and they have fled once the threat of someone helping the victim confronted them. Once though I had to shoot the guy who was robbing me and who left me no alternative as far as I was concerned. I'd probably do it again today should the same type of situation again raise its ugly head to threaten me. In the past, I have chosen not to depend upon the mercy of violent or potentially violent criminals who threaten me, or other innocents, with serious bodily harm or death because my guess is they are merciless or they would not have made such threats in the first place. Although one can never truly be absolutely certain as to how one will react/act in the future, I hope to do likewise in any similar type of encounters in that come my way.

All the best,
Glenn B

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