Use of Lethal Force to Protect Strangers

Discussion in 'Texas Concealed Handgun (CHL)' started by Starker, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. Starker

    Starker Active Member

    OK, this question may be a little heavy for Christmas day, but I just read something that made me think about the use of lethal force to protect strangers and wanted to get y'alls take on it.


    You are in a store where an armed robbery is taking place. The robber is holding a gun to the head of a cashier. The store is large enough that you have the opportunity to escape. However, you are carrying a concealed weapon and are in a position to shoot the robber without him seeing you.

    What do you do? Would you take the chance to save the cashier, whom you do not know, and possibly risk injury to yourself? Or would you slip out to get away from the situation and call the police?

    I guess the root of my inquiry relates to the extent you are willing to go to protect others with whom you have no relationship (i.e., strangers).

  2. lonestar

    lonestar Member

    Oct 9, 2009
    Brownwood, Texas
    I would have to say I would stick my neck out for the cashier. If there's no chance for the cashier to save theirself and i can..why shouldn't I? A person is a person no matter if you know them or not I guess..
  3. TexasRedneck

    TexasRedneck 1911 Nut Lifetime Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    New Braunfels, TX
    If possible, I'm going to wait in position. IF the perp is content with taking the contents of the register w/o harm to the cashier, that's fine - cops can catch him later. *IF* I feel that the perp is gonna shoot, then he dies...
  4. sv6er

    sv6er Member

    Nov 26, 2008
    I would absolutely stick around to help. Not to be a hero. It's just my nature. I care a lot about anyone who doesn't give me a reason not to (like criminals).

    However, in that particular situation, taking a shot at the robber might put the cashiers life in MORE risk and I would probably wait for a better opportunity to shoot.
  5. Starker

    Starker Active Member

    These are all good comments and reflect my thoughts about it.

    I can only imagine that it is difficult to live with the consequences of killing someone; however, I cannot imagine having the guilt of someone dying because I retreated to save myself.
  6. majormadmax

    majormadmax TGT Addict

    Aug 27, 2009
    San Antonio!
    It is very situational-dependent, but to be honest my first likely priority would be in getting myself and my family (if they are with me) the hell out of there.

    Whereas under Texas law we have the right to come to the defense of others, we are not the police. People with CHLs are not charged with defending the public; and any mistake--regardless of the intentions behind it--could have huge ramifications for the rest of your life. What if there is more than one robber? What if you miss? What if you hit an innocent person by accident? What if you miss the robber and he in turns kills several hostages? There are just too many variables involved...

    That said, there may be situations where I would intervene; but a hostage situation isn't one of them. In those cases my only priority would be to move myself and my family to safety and if possible, notify the authorities. That may mean having to live with any guilt that may arise if an innocent person gets killed; but my responsibility does not extend to risking my life for each and every person who is unprepared or unlucky. I spent a quarter of a century of my life doing that, and learned that now it is better that I leave that to the pros.

    Of course, I can easily say that sitting at my kitchen table; but the truth is that you never know how you'll react under a given scenario. There is probably as much of a chance that I would intervene than not. It's just hard to say, but from here and now I still stand by my response that I would depart as quickly as possible...
  7. SIG_Fiend

    SIG_Fiend Administrator TGT Supporter Admin

    Feb 21, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I would look at it like this. There are only a handful of possible outcomes:

    -Clerk gives him everything he wants, bad guy leaves, no one gets hurt
    -Clerk gives him everything he wants, bad guy kills clerk
    -Clerk doesn't give him anything, bad guy kills clerk and takes it anyways
    -Clerk doesn't give him anything, injures or beats clerk and takes it anyways

    Well, I guess there are plenty of other scenarios as well. Main thing I'm getting at is, you can assume the guy is just a coward criminal, will take the dough and leave and everyone will probably be okay. On the off chance that isn't true, he may kill the clerk. For me at least, if I had the shot and he was threatening to the clerk, I would take it. Probably the worst that could happen (excluding the obvious like a missed shot or his gun going off, etc) is you kill the robber even though he wasn't going to hurt anyone (though you wouldn't have had any way of knowing that), so you saved an innocent person and there is one less POS in the world. To me, leaving someone else' life up to chance at the hands of a criminal is not an acceptable option if there is any other choice to be made.
  8. smschulz

    smschulz Paid for CUT TGT Supporter

    Apr 13, 2008
    Houston, Texas
  9. texas_teacher

    texas_teacher Well-Known

    Feb 14, 2009
    South Korea
    Ok hate to play devil's advocate but from the position you're shooting from you wing his shoulder... perp goes down and puts one in the canalope of the clerk... on his way down there is a woman and child down an adjacent aisle that he finishes off his wheelgun into... Now you come around the corner and put another 4 center mass and the subject is stopped but at what cost?

    I also pose a question to Texas Redneck... you say that if the perp is gonna shoot then he dies... At what point do you know that the perp is "gonna" shoot?

    After all of this jibber jabber I will say that if the clerk is a friend and I have a good relationship with him after assessing the situation I would heartedly consider stopping the perp... If it was a lesser known clerk and the situation looked to diffuse itself I'd just hide in the back and drink a Dr. Pepper and wait to give a description to the cops...
  10. TexasRedneck

    TexasRedneck 1911 Nut Lifetime Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    New Braunfels, TX
    It's very situational-dependent, and part of it would be "gut", without a doubt. I've been in such situations - twice w/o pulling a trigger, once I felt I had to. Let me tell you, having a 16 year-old kid die in your arms is NOT something you want to live with, but it beat the alternative. Anyone that puts on a gun is putting themselves in line for just such a situation, and BEFORE they put it on the first time - and every time thereafter, they best look deep into their soul and ask "am I willing to kill someone today"? They need to take the time to sit down and coldly think it out - the consequences, both in terms of legal and emotional - that it WILL take out of you. It took several years for the nightmares to go away - and it was a "righteous" shoot - but it took time for me to come to terms with it - and I knew when I pulled the trigger that it was a "good" shoot situation.

    Guys (and gals), I can't stress enough how much you need to think it through BEFORE it happens - and KNOW what your options are if you do. #1 - SHUT UP until you have your attorney present. Period. No matter what the responders tell you - tell them that until your attorney is present, you have NOTHING to say. Tell them that as soon as he is, you'll be happy to sit down with them, but until then you don't want to say anything. Nothing more, nothing less. 99% of the time, you're going to be fine - but one little word that comes out of your mouth in the wrong way and you MIGHT find yourself in a world of hassle needlessly.


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