"Bright Line" Test

Dr. dbDr. db Senior MemberPosts: 1,541 Senior Member
Col. Cooper wrote about having a specific scenario in mind to cause a change from condition to condition in his levels of self defense awareness model. I remember reading an article, probably in G&A, in which a man tells his wife, "If x happens take cover because I'm going to war." Others write about a bright line ethical test to be used in daily life. John Wayne lays out his three principles in "The Shootist." I think of these as, "This ain't happenin' if I can do something about it." moments.
Several questions come to mind.

Should the bright line be specific, general, or both?

Are self defense situations too diverse and fluid for action to be guided by an ethos or moral core?

Is it enough to just decide to practice scenario based thinking and constantly adjust your, "If x happens then I will do y?"

Working as I do in a "gun free" zone, should a person have separate bright line tests for run, hide, and attack? (I think we should recognize that it is a legitimate help in a self defense situation if some people, ie children or people who don't have it in them to actively defend themselves, just get out of the way.)

Hope this isn't as incoherent as my usual stuff.
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Replies

  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,348 Senior Member
    I guess that I would take the point of view that the Supreme court took on pornography-- I would know it if I saw it and act accordingly (or at least I hope I will). That is not to say that we shouldn't think about scenarios and ask, "What would you do if?" By going over, discussing, and thinking about these scenarios, I think that it is helpful for the times that we will not have a chance to sit around and ponder the best course of action-- but every situation is going to be different so I don't think that there is some crisp line out there-- just like the rest of life, there is lots of grey.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    I spent 30+ years in public education, facing the same situation you do every day. The high school where I spent the majority of my time covered over 10 acres under the roof, and had up to 3,000 students enrolled. Fortunately, the most dangerous situation I had to deal with during that time was a threatened physical assault by a student with a big wrench (I taught auto mechanics) and an incident which deteriorated into a shoving match with a student who had been expelled from another school for aggravated assault against another kid. That one ended up with three other students coming to my assistance. The school had two full time resource officers, but the distance from their office to my shop was about a 3-minute sprint.

    There were at least two, and sometimes three rival gangs represented in the student body, and it was not uncommon for weekend turf wars to come to school on Monday, including threats of shooting and/or other forms of violence. I participated in breaking up at least three major fights that I can remember, one involving 50 or more participants. Any one of them could have turned deadly if even one kid had been armed.

    I had decided early on that in the event I had to place myself between a violent threat and my students that I would do so, but in such a way that there might be some reasonable chance of survival if at all possible. It really angered me that the same parents who would entrust their children's education to me would not allow me, a combat veteran, to defend their safety with a firearm if necessary. Establishing so-called "gun-free zones" is the equivalent of establishing "free-fire zones" where nobody but the criminals have the option of going armed! Thank you for your dedication to the safety of your students!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    I remember a scene in The Mummy in which OConnell brings down Bennie with a thrown chair. Since some of us will be reduced to throwing desks maybe we should institute a desk throwing competition so we at least get a little training.
    Jerry: I agree. It's the lack of trust that gets me. Oh well, the same logic allows 85 year old grandmothers to be randomly searched prior to boarding a plane. Everyone is untrusted.
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    Oh, also I agree. Pick your shot. You help no one if you just soak up bullets.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,700 Senior Member
    Dr. db wrote: »
    Are self defense situations too diverse and fluid for action to be guided by an ethos or moral core?

    Probably.

    Most folks who have made the decision to carry a lethal weapon, but have never been put to the test, probably have a particular scenario that they worry about the most. Having that particular worry is probably what made the decision for them. Naturally, having no other framework to go by, the little bit of training that they do is probably geared to that. I know that's the way it is for me. I perceive my threat level to be very low, yet I'm still not willing to take a chance on my family ending up at the mercy of a bad guy. Bad things happen to good people every day, and I need to know I have a 'worst case' option.

    So, people like me should probably just be as good with their weapon as they can get, with the training options they have, and try to see things coming before there is a need for a fast draw.
  • bruchibruchi Senior Member Posts: 2,582 Senior Member
    Dr. db wrote: »
    I remember a scene in The Mummy in which OConnell brings down Bennie with a thrown chair. Since some of us will be reduced to throwing desks maybe we should institute a desk throwing competition so we at least get a little training.
    Jerry: I agree. It's the lack of trust that gets me. Oh well, the same logic allows 85 year old grandmothers to be randomly searched prior to boarding a plane. Everyone is untrusted.

    i wonder who will a fight in a closed classroom between one armed person bent on killing and 20 students throwing books, laptops, chairs, desks, etc. at him with the will to overcome and survive?
    If this post is non welcomed, I can always give you a recipe for making "tostones".
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    That's the problem- - - - -the kids have been brainwashed into the "don't resist" mindset to the point that they seldom, if ever confront a threat. The "official" response to any sort of school lockdown drill was to cover the windows, turn out the lights, and cower in the dark in hopes the bad guy will pass that room by. Once that sort of behavior is ingrained for years, turning the switch from "Hide" to "Fight" isn't likely to happen. We can blame the sheeple who run our education system for that kind of indoctrination!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • Shoemaker SethShoemaker Seth Member Posts: 136 Member
    I feel a moral obligation to protect me and mine. I am inclined to do the same for the weaker/more vulnerable amongst us. If you should be taking care of yourself and won't or haven't prepared to do so, then I'm not laying my on the line more than likely. My family needs me and I like being here, so that's my priorities.
    Some threads I read for information. Others I read for entertainment value.
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 9,596 Senior Member
    Dr. db wrote: »
    Working as I do in a "gun free" zone, should a person have separate bright line tests for run, hide, and attack? (I think we should recognize that it is a legitimate help in a self defense situation if some people, ie children or people who don't have it in them to actively defend themselves, just get out of the way.)

    There are other preparations you could use in a gun-free zone.

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    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,190 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    That's the problem- - - - -the kids have been brainwashed into the "don't resist" mindset to the point that they seldom, if ever confront a threat.
    Jerry

    Jerry is spot on...in case after case we see a single armed assailant confronting a roomful of students who cower and simply wait to be executed - even allowing the shooter to reload. We have been teaching our children that "violence is bad" and punishing them for defending themselves for so long that they will (on the whole) not raise a hand to save their own lives. What a legacy we (a Nation of Riflemen) have left our children.

    During the last few years I worked I taught a "Response to the Active Shooter" course, and was amazed at the reaction from attendees when they were told that it was unlikely that the police were going to come bursting in to save them and that it was OK to fight back.
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    Definitely an eye-opener isn't it, Jay? I never cease to be amazed at the hypocricy of the lily-livered cowards who refuse to assume any responsibility for their own safety, yet the first thing they do is dial 911 (government-sponsored dial-a-prayer) and expect someone with a gun to come running to save their sorry butts! Those dummies run the schools, and presume to tell the rest of us how to respond to murdering thugs!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Almost as if those educators would like to establish a Knights and Peasants type of civilization, only a few are allowed arms for defense, and the rest, the masses / Peasants are not allowed arms for the general or common defense, the ruling classes have the Knights to protect them and establish and maintain "Order", the Peasants can do nothing but be servile and docile in the face of attack.

    It is a sick type of agenda based society that has been pushed on us since the 50s and 60s.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • KSU FirefighterKSU Firefighter Senior Member Posts: 3,246 Senior Member
    This can all be summed up as a general attitude of "That can't happen here!" exhibited by most public officials. Instead of preparing to defend against one of these events by being proactive and training Teachers and Students how to defend themselves, it is much easier and cheaper to just pretend that it cannot happen here. Reminds of me when we held a drill after Columbine. The command post and staging area were both set up square in front of the school, right in the line of fire. (Our crew spent our time in staging behind the engine). Then, the whole drill was ended prior to retaking the school or handling any casualties etc., because it was lunchtime, and the kiddies needed to go eat. End of drill and we did just great!:roll: Nothing like a lack of realism to make the drill totally worthless. The bureaucrats were happy though........
    The fire service needs a "culture of extinguishment not safety" Ray McCormack FDNY
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,190 Senior Member
    The bureaucrats were happy though........

    Yep... I can see them standing there nodding their heads saying "That went well!"

    I helped evaluate a similar exercise at Battle Creek Central High School....after looking at what they had planned and seeing that at exactly 12:30 the SWAT team would take down the bad guy and set the students free... I noted that "Anything this well choreographed is a dance, not a drill"
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • Uncle BSUncle BS Member Posts: 380 Member
    It seems that we should adapt the post 9/11 airplane attitude to many other places. It doesn't seem like anyone will ever hijack a US airplane with a knife again, it has been discussed so much that people deem it acceptable to attack a potential hijacker in this scenario. If only this behavior could be adapted to other situations lives could be saved.
    cpj wrote: »
    Wow. I never knew I enjoyed grilled foreskin.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    That is a great account !
    Another happy ending.

    The bad guy deserves the very best defense we can afford to offer.

    My congratulations !!
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    Wow! I love it!

    I tried to teach that to my MS students in a self defense club. I would tell them the only rule is they win, he doesn't. It was all dirty fighting techniques. Throat, eyes, ears, fingers in the nose clutch and rip, knee to the jumblies type stuff.
  • KSU FirefighterKSU Firefighter Senior Member Posts: 3,246 Senior Member
    As to wondering how anyone is going to react to a given situation, it has been my experience that we all revert to our training when placed in a stressful situation. If all of your training has been to run in circles while screaming like a girl, then that is how you are going to react when stressed. Its like I tell my oldest daughter all the time, the most important thing to remember about panicking is not too..
    The fire service needs a "culture of extinguishment not safety" Ray McCormack FDNY
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    I would also tell them to be aware first, run second, and only use the techniques as a last resort.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Each person's situation and lifestyle is different, and I think the self defense "rules" need to be flexible. Otherwise it's possible to get "trapped" by a mental rule and end up either getting hurt or killed because you waited too long to respond, or to get yourself in a huge legal morass because you acted too quickly or irresponsibly.

    Col. Cooper was a great gun writer but he was still expressing just one man's view. John Wayne was an actor playing a part in a movie and I don't think we should take any life lessons from the scriptwriter, either.

    Not that advice from various sources isn't valuable. But it's necessary to adjust this in accordance with your own lifestyle, and maintain a certain amount of flexibility regardless.

    For example, long before the Tx concealed carry law, whenever my wife and I were going out nights, I kept a .357 with me in the car. And a few years ago, after I had my CHL, the place where I was working contract had signs up at their entrance, saying that firearms were forbidden, even in private vehicles. I simply ignored this and kept my Glock in the center console as usual. I knew full well I could have been fired from my employer should a gun have been found, but heck with that, was my decision -- whether it was wise or not, that's life.

    A couple years ago, late Sat night, a drunk guy (illegal alien w. no license and no insurance, surprise!) crashed into the back of my neighbor's new car, totaling it. This was just outside my front window and (being awake) I got up and stuck my XD into my back beltline and went outside, and all my neighbors were outside too. The guy was tottering around and then got back into his pickup and started to drive off. I debated stopping him but knew it was inadvisable for me to do so, because my displaying a pistol in that case would be wrong, legally and also crossing that "bright line" without proper justification. I admit to considering it very briefly but decided no. Cops grabbed him anyway a couple blocks away.

    Anyway, the "bright line" should be moveable and never rigid, as I see it.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    I was just wondering about general principles.
    These necessarily aren't mine just some I've heard.
    1. I would shoot to defend my life but not property.
    2. I would shoot to defend family but not someone I don't know.
    3. I would shoot to defend a child but not an adult.
    4. I would shoot only if I have no retreat option.
    5. I would shoot to defend my children but not others.

    Like it or not the idea of a brightline test frequently finds it's way into law. So I was looking for thoughts. I think this is relevant because of Zimmerman v Martin.
    All of these have pros and cons mainly because too little information can be dangerous.
  • EliEli Senior Member Posts: 3,074 Senior Member
    I am basically a very selfish person. If there is a threat coming after ME then I'm going to stop it. If there is a threat coming after MY friends or loved ones then I'm going to stop it.

    If there is a threat coming after somebody else then THEY need to stop it.

    If I can stop a threat against somebody else with ABSOLUTE MINIMAL danger to myself then I will, but I'm not going to die because you aren't selfish enough.

    Always remember, my loved ones are more important than your loved ones, and I am more important than you.

    That's my basic Bright Line test.
  • bruchibruchi Senior Member Posts: 2,582 Senior Member
    Grew up in Puerto Rico, please explain this "Bright Line" concept.
    If this post is non welcomed, I can always give you a recipe for making "tostones".
  • EliEli Senior Member Posts: 3,074 Senior Member
    Never heard it before this thread, but from the context, I gather that it is your situational line in the sand.

    In other words, at what point do you "Go To Guns"?
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Dr. db wrote: »
    I was just wondering about general principles.
    These necessarily aren't mine just some I've heard.
    1. I would shoot to defend my life but not property.
    2. I would shoot to defend family but not someone I don't know.
    3. I would shoot to defend a child but not an adult.
    4. I would shoot only if I have no retreat option.
    5. I would shoot to defend my children but not others.

    Like it or not the idea of a brightline test frequently finds it's way into law. So I was looking for thoughts. I think this is relevant because of Zimmerman v Martin.
    All of these have pros and cons mainly because too little information can be dangerous.

    Those rules are pretty good to use as a guideline, Dr. Like all, however, we need to have some flexibility in the way we apply the rules in accordance to the specific situation.

    If we step over those very well-thought out rules we'd better be VERY sure what we're doing. A couple of theoretical examples, all people being total strangers...

    1- You come across a woman on the ground, screaming in pain and screaming for help, being beaten and kicked by 2 men, viciously. The stomping is on her stomach and the kicks are to her ribs and head.

    2- You come across a man being beaten savagely by 4-5 other men, the guy is on the ground and is getting beat senseless, and the attackers are not stopping.

    3- You come across a child being stomped by a grown woman or man. Not spanked on the butt or even slapped, but actually being kicked and stomped on the ground.

    I know these examples are extreme, but in fact #1 happened to me, and I chased the men off before the cops arrived. Regardless, I think that most of us would try to intervene in each of the 3 cases. Now compare with this...

    4- You come across 2 men who are fighting, slugging and kicking and wrestling around with each other. They are obviously not playing around but are in a serious fight.

    In this case, I'd just stand and watch or walk quietly away and call 911.

    What I'm saying is that there probably ARE situations where we'd intervene even if the people were strangers. Yes, the situations that might arise are rare, but they do occur.

    I'm essentially saying that every rule has exceptions and any set of rules needs a potential bending depending on circumstances.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,764 Senior Member
    Each situation is different. I don't have a 'bright line' in general life to decide 'it's go time'. It's the totality of the circumstances that matters.

    Now, as for home defense- I have a 'bright line.' There is a point in my house that anyone passing will be met with overwhelming force (with target ID taken into account, etc...). Something like 'you enter this hall, the balloon has gone up and overwhelming firepower will be applied.'
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,139 Senior Member
    It is all circumstantial, subjective and you will have to make the decision when you are faced with it. There is no black & white in the decision to defend yourself or another -- especially when a total stranger is in trouble.

    My philosophy is simple: if you perceive that an individual, known to you or not, is in imminent danger of great bodily harm or death, intervene! Rightly so, you intervene with a force swift and overwhelming to the person doing wrong.
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    bullsi and jason, you guys are pretty much saying that I agree with.

    bullsi points out the distinction between "in your home" (or vehicle I'd add) vs. being out in public.

    Jason agrees that even a stranger who's in imminent mortal danger should be given help. I'd only caution us all to be VERY careful if the situation involves total strangers, such as in my example #4 (who knows whether it's just two drunk buddies or whether one of them is an undercover cop?)

    Briefly, the line you step over needs to be a lot more clearly defined if all the "actors" are strangers. You might try to be a Good Samaritan and end up inadvertantly helping a druggie instead of a cop.

    But even as a stranger, were I to see a child being seriously harmed, or a woman, or a man attacked by a pack of 2 or 4 legged vermin, I'd try to do something. And that doesn't mean just walking away as I call 911 either.

    That time some years ago (about 1992) when I saved that woman from being viciously beaten by two thugs, I'm lucky it wasn't necessary for me to fire. Just "presenting" my 1911 was enough. But nevertheless I was ready. Cops arrived soon thereafter and said I'd done good. Regardless of that, I think I did the right thing, intervening, and would do it again. Now that I've actually got a CHL and we've got the Castle Law might make it less harrowing.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    I applaud your thoughts. I have heard people say they could not decide if they would rescue a strange person or a strange dog given that they could only save one. Now I have known some dogs that are better than many people but I would still rescue the person. I guess the things you all are writing about are what I was trying to get to. I just think you shouldn't be armed and unethical that being armed means we have to think about these things.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Agree totally, Dr, especially your comment that being armed means that we need to think about our possible actions. And of course, give it some serious thought ahead of time, so you won't either freeze up or overreact when the time comes.

    This has been a good thread and it's given us all some pointers to consider.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
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