Thursday, October 17, 2013

Armed Intervention

One tactical topic that keeps raising its head is the question of intervention, or extending your mantle of self-protection to a stranger.

It must be the John Wayne gene in many of us.  We want to help society.  We want to be the hero.  We want people to look up to us and say, “He’s the guy I want on my side when the chips are down.”

Let’s look at what Evan Marshall has to say about it.  Evan is a 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police department and the author of three books on handgun stopping power based on actual performance.  He has kindly given me permission to condense and paraphrase his article, THE DANGERS OF INTERVENTION, from his website

Let me be perfectly frank.  Those who think that intervention will bring fame, honors, glory, etc are delusional.  If the rescued individual doesn’t make life miserable for you in the courts, they just might kill you.

Evan goes on, I’m aware of four instances where officers responding to a domestic violence situation and when the wife realized the breadwinner was going to jail, she assaulted and killed her would-be rescuers.

There’s a couple things Evan wants you to realize.  The first is: things are never what they seem.  (That sound like excellent tactical advice to me)

The other important item applicable to all of us is the law is what the local prosecutor says it is.  So do you really want to spend 7 years in jail waiting for an appeal to be heard and your conviction overturned?

Twenty years as an LEO in Detroit would give anyone scary stories and some of them are applicable to us.  Evan once got sued for more than 100 thousand dollars for legally handcuffing a suspect.  Fortunately it was job related and the Detroit footed the bill and settled out of court.  But listen to what he has to say.  “Had I been acting as a private citizen I would have subjected my family to DECADES of poverty in order to pay the judgment and attorney fees.”

Are you counting on the media coming to your aid and championing you as the white hat good guy?  Citing another example Evan explains he and his partner were accused of being blood thirsty, trigger-happy and racist.  The media conveniently forgot they had intervened in the severe beating and robbery of an elderly woman.

So would you?

Would you jeopardize everything you own, your family’s security for a total stranger? 
Would you let everything, your home, your car, your retirement be taken away to play Knight of the Round Table?

So if you decide to extend the mantle of your protection to a stranger, do it on your terms.  Evaluate, carefully and with your eyes wide open to the consequences, the totality of the circumstances.  And if you decide to respond you should do so at the lowest level of necessary force.  Options include command voice, cell call to the professionals (the police), OC spray and lastly, the firearm.  If you think that the mere display of a weapon will stop hostilities you are extremely na├»ve and in great error.

What more could I add to Mr. Marshal’s comments?  Maybe a little.

If you think that because you’re not a LEO and not backed by deep city pockets you’re okay from predatory law suits?  Think again.  You may not have much but it’s better than having nothing.  The police at least have a support group.  The armed citizen has nothing.  

If that isn’t enough, remember, when the police do arrive, they don’t know you from the bad guy.  Your Simon Templar halo will not be visible to them.

I know a lawyer in the Youngstown area who claims to have been taught how to shoot by a member of the mob.  He likes to say,  “Nothing good comes out the barrel of a gun.”  Think about that before you rush in to save the princess.

For more on my perspective :

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