Where do you draw the line?

fiundagner

New Member
Recent national news stories have brought this to the forefront of my mind, and I want to see what other people think on this subject.

You are at home on an average day, nothing in particular going on, when suddenly you notice a crowd of people have gathered outside of one of your neighbors houses. This crowd is apparently calling for the ?citizen?s arrest? and is starting to get unruly. Police are unwilling, unable, or unavailable to respond (always remember that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away). Do you get involved? When do you get involved? Are you legally allowed to get involved? How far away do you need to be to be considered not involved?

My understanding (http://www.handgunlaw.us/states/southcarolina.pdf) is that South Carolina laws allows you to intervene if you fear for your life and safety, or the life and safety of others in your vicinity. But where does that extend to? Your neighbor?s house, the guy four houses down, at the end of the block, or your friends house four blocks over who calls you because the police aren?t responding and they are starting to panic?

Maybe just as important is how you should respond. A concealed handgun is not a deterrent, but a shotgun could be ?provocative?. The shotgun makes a definitive statement, but the ?assault rifle? may be a better option for larger groups. What level of response, if you respond, is appropriate?
 

Schultz

New Member
Well since I live out in the sticks and the closest neighbors to me are idiots I probably wouldn't pay no mind unless they entered my property(past the posted NO Trespass signs), Then we have an issue. With that said If I lived closer to town IE: subdivision, eTc I guess it would depend on how close and who the neighbor was. As for weapon of choice IMO AR or AK along with my .45 as a sidearm would do the trick. ;)
 
I haven't seen any recent events where a group of people where gathering and calling for a citizens arrest. Example?

Why would any response be required by you?
 

C_Carson

New Member
Unless it became my problem (coming onto my property, endangering mine or the lives of my family) then I wouldn't get involved. I carry for the defense of myself and my loved ones, not to play "cops". Particularly with a unruly mob that outnumbers me.
 

fiundagner

New Member
I suppose I wasn?t very clear in my original post, and the example I used could have been better. Let us instead consider large scale riots and mobs, civil unrest, or even something as simple as a ?flash mob?. Clearly it is a threat to yourself if you have something they want. You have the right to defend yourself when they are on your property, that much is fairly clear. But what about when they are breaking into your neighbor?s house, or the gas station on the corner that?s only 5 houses down from you. Are you allowed to become involved? Should you become involved? How should you respond or react?

I am not advocating vigilantism, I just want to know where the line in the sand is. Where is the point of ?this far, and no further??
 

hedmisten

New Member
First, I commend you on the pun...when to "draw" the line..lol

Second, from my concealed carry instruction, as well as 5 years of Criminal Justice instruction and South Carolina statutes, I'll tell you that everything is Gray. There is a reason we have judge and jury systems in America, and on a state/civil level. I would defend my neighbors that I consider family if I felt they were in great danger or harm, otherwise, I wouldn't put myself in danger. Remember that when you come out yielding your large firearm, you are giving away the greatest strength you have...the act of surprise.
 

The General

New Member
SC law allows you to come to the aid of someone if you believe their life to be in jeapordy.

(A) A person is presumed to have a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to himself or another person when using deadly force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury to another person if the person:

(1) against whom the deadly force is used is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcibly entered a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if he removes or is attempting to remove another person against his will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and

(2) who uses deadly force knows or has reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act is occurring or has occurred.

So it depends. If there is a mob outside your neighbors house (think lynch mob) attempting to remove that person from their home, you can start shooting. However, you can't shoot if you believe it MAY happen: They have to be in the act.

Remember, however, the law does not make you bullet/club/fist proof. It only protects you in a court of law. What the mob decides to do to you while you're exercising your rights in another thing!!!

-Mike
 

C_Carson

New Member
I am not a lawyer, so I don't know when you legally could or should get involved, but if things are that bad, will you honestly have to worry about court time afterwards?

If it comes to my front door, we will defend ourselves.

If it is my neighbor's house, well, I hate to sound cold, but if they chose NOT to prepare or defend themselves; I'm not accountable for their decision, and I have a responsibility to my loved ones to be there for them.

On the other hand, I do see a sort of responsibility to my fellow man to stand up to the criminal element, for if not us, than who? If no one stands, then they will overrun us. But I strongly believe that if everyone capable of taking responsibility for theirs and their loved ones self preservation, then less people would have to stand on the front lines to sacrifice themselves for those who are not willing to protect their own lives.
 

PCShogun

Member
Good questions and Love some of the responses. While this is in the CCW section, I believe this does not specifically apply to Concealed Carry holders. You also have the right to carry ON YOUR PROPERTY.

Assuming the police are unwilling or unable to respond, that will go a loooong way in court should you have to defend yourself or a neighbor. "I called the police, your honor, and they said I was on my own!"

Still, it would depend on the neighbor, and the situation. To be blunt, if your an ass of a neighbor, you are on your own. I am not risking my life, or my families, to support someone who does not support me.

Showing up with a weapon in hand will deter, period. A big gun does a lot in forcing people to take a long look at what they are doing and decide if it is worth it to continue doing it. Now, if they are armed too, it adds a whole different element. Problem with a mob is: Who do you shoot? If you are outside the mob arena, the trouble makers are likely in the middle where you cannot get to them easily.

So, my answer, like everyone else it seems, is to see what the situation is and make a personal decision at that moment.
 

Enjay

New Member
I am, perhaps, too much of a bleeding heart. I don't think I could stand by and watch my neighbors being beaten, tortured or killed without doing whatever I could safely do to prevent it. Secure my children, grab the shotgun (you did say it's a crowd, right?) and some buckshot and go do what I can. If I couldn't see it I probably wouldn't even know about it to begin with and therefor wouldn't take action, so from my house we're probably talking half a block to a block away.
Would I shoot first and ask questions later? No. I'm not naive enough to think that someone I know and like couldn't commit a heinous crime that might get a group of people up in arms against them, but even then I'd probably still do my best to calm them down and let the police handle it.

I do understand that some people may bring problems on themselves, and that if they don't value themselves enough to take steps to protect themselves you're not going to do it for them, but in the same vein how many people turn away when a violent crime is committed? Just keep on going when they hear someone crying for help? Far too many, I think. I'm not a hero, I don't want to tie on a cape and be everyone's savior, but I'm also not going to help the bad guys by doing nothing.
 

fordnut

Active Member
Guess I will add my .02 worth....

First off, I have to know what is happening and why....Maybe the mob is right and my neighbor should be hung....

I feel that if they are after him just because he is there....Sorry, neighbor....I keep myself at home with a lot of firepower at hand....

I read an article once that made a lot of sense to me...Something you might want to keep in the back of your head...

If you do have to shoot someone...make it last, and get good witnesses...

Our Court system moves slow...Say you save your neighbors butt...You have to put someone down...and you have good witnesses...You might not get your day in court for 6 months or so....

Do you still have good witnesses...Have you had a loss of the real actions, has your witnesses lost a little memory...

A smart Lawyer can take people apart on the stand. Do you want your life to hang in the balance???

Just be sure you either have No Witnesses, or, very good ones...

Steve
 

Torontogosh

New Member
I think I would probably close the blinds and watch some tv. Now, if they were making such a ruckus that I couldn't hear the dialogue on Battlestar, then I have to take action...

Ok, jokes aside, I think Carson is on the money. I have no context of the situation, and my primary responsibility is to my family. What if intervening ends up bringing the mob to my front door? What if somehow the net result of getting involved ends up getting my wife killed? What if it turns out the crowd were angry parents because the the target of their rage is a pedophile who works at a school? I like to think I am a pretty ethical person, and generally helpful, but if Hell is breaking loose next door, I'm not sure if I want to invite it over. Additionally, we have all seen how fast the entire country will demonize you if someone ends up dead. If a mob was surging toward you...who would you shoot? Would you go for a warning shot? Basically, way too much can spiral out of control, and all the jury might see is someone who was safe at home deciding to leave that safe zone and entering a dangerous situation with a gun. It could be hard to claim self defense when you traded your safe couch for a front row view while holding a weapon.

This year alone we have seen two big self defense stories. The young mother who warded off the home invaders became a hero of sorts. But, she did everything "right". She called for help, barricaded, and put her childs needs first. Zimmerman's tale is yet to be completed, but I think we can all see how horribly it can go wrong. Even if legally vindicated, he'll be bankrupt by the end of the month, and a certain segment of the population will always see him as a murderer.

Good topic. I think it is important for all of us to spend some time thinking about how we could/should react if trouble ever comes knocking.
 

qwikshot

New Member
If it were my Liberal neighbor, I would let him defend himself with his golf clubs. Heck he has maybe 12 or 13 of them in his bag. After they run out he could throw golf balls till the cops show up. He would be fine! Just ask him.

If it were any of my conservative neighbors, they would have already started shooting, so all I would need to do is, make sure the scattered "mobsters" stay off my property as they run for cover.

When the time comes, the ones who have prepared will know what and when to do the "IT" you are refering to.

Peace and Grace to all.
 
Too many variables. From a group trying to make a citizens arrest, to civil unrest and rioting. Different situations call for different reactions.

In all cases, a wise person would make sure they had all the information required, before they got involved in someone else's business.
 

PCShogun

Member
qwikshot said:
If it were my Liberal neighbor, I would let him defend himself with his golf clubs. Heck he has maybe 12 or 13 of them in his bag. After they run out he could throw golf balls till the cops show up. He would be fine! Just ask him.

If it were any of my conservative neighbors, they would have already started shooting, so all I would need to do is, make sure the scattered "mobsters" stay off my property as they run for cover.

When the time comes, the ones who have prepared will know what and when to do the "IT" you are refering to.

Peace and Grace to all.
Now THAT was a well thought out response to a tense situation. Well Done :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

Nagao

New Member
I'm with the rest of the cautious posters. If I were unarmed I'd be more willing to get directly involved with minimal information. But being armed comes with a LOT of responsibility and liability. I'd really have to know what was going on in better detail.
 

armaborealis

New Member
South Carolina also follows the Alter Ego rule (Common Law; reference State v. Hays and State v. Cook). That is, you can step into the shoes of another and employ deadly force on their behalf.

The issue there is that you assume all responsibility for THEM meeting the four requirements for self-defense in SC.
1) They must be entirely without fault. If they took some action to incite the crowd (say, they threw a punch then retreated inside) and legally sacrificed their defensive mantle, then you would be liable.
2) They must be actually in danger of OR actually fear imminent death or serious bodily injury. If you got involved and they later say, "Oh, yeah, I wasn't actually in fear of death or SBI" then you're hosed.
3) A reasonable man must determine that the above determination of imminent death/SBI was correct, and that deadly force was the only remaining response.
4) Any duties to retreat must be met. Generally this is moot, due to the SC "Stand Your Ground" law that prevents you from having to retreat in any place where you have a right to be. But what if, unbenowst to you, the neighbor is behind on their rent and being evicted and has no right to be on the property? What if the neighbor is actually engaged in some sort of unlawful activity (say, maybe they have some marijuana in the house or something?) unknown to you which sacrifices their Castle Doctrine provisions?

Getting involved on behalf of another is opening yourself to a lot of criminal and civil liability issues.

I personally think the best course of action is to be a good witness and get 911 involved. Let the cops show up to deal with the situation. The police have lots of tools AND sovereign immunity. If you feel an urgent need to get involved (maybe you live way out in the sticks and police response time is >30 minutes or something), there may be options on the continuum of force lower than deadly force: shine a light on the gathering, provide verbal directions, issue verbal command, or consider a non-lethal agent like pepper spray.

Remember in South Carolina that brandishing is a serious crime. You can generally only brandish in a situation where deadly force is authorized. You can open carry on your own property, and I regularly do so. If you regularly do not, however, and suddenly do decide to go out and open carry, then a court can and likely will consider that in applying the first prong of the test above when determining if you sought to engage in mutual combat or if you and the neighbor were entirely without fault.
 

bigfutz

Active Member
qwikshot said:
If it were my Liberal neighbor, I would let him defend himself with his golf clubs. Heck he has maybe 12 or 13 of them in his bag. After they run out he could throw golf balls till the cops show up. He would be fine! Just ask him.

If it were any of my conservative neighbors, they would have already started shooting, so all I would need to do is, make sure the scattered "mobsters" stay off my property as they run for cover.

When the time comes, the ones who have prepared will know what and when to do the "IT" you are refering to.

Peace and Grace to all.
Plus One for Quikshot. As for my neighborhood, anyone dumb enough to ignore the sounds of hunting dogs barking, four wheelers, and frequent target practice from every direction "gets what they gets."
 

Placid

New Member
If they are in the yard- not iminate threat of life, if they are armed- get the hell away, Going to your neighbor yard is dangerous in a court case...can't really do anything because you can't really know whats in his mind, what if hes armed himself and ready, or he knows these guys and its a big joke?... my cwp instuctor was very good at saying unless you know EVERYTHING - DONT ACT!



-Placid
 

Tigerstripe

Active Member
thats a tough one.
who are all these other people? do i know them too?
if not doesnt someone have to stand up for his fellow man?

when they came for the .... i said nothing
when they came for me................
 
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