I am always grateful to see a Good Samaritan step in to do the right thing, but it’s worth considering our Active Self Protection before stepping in recklessly. Would you have tackled this shoplifter?
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Original video with some details here (Google Translate from Afrikaans required): http://get-asp.com/qqn4
Is it good ASP to be a Good Samaritan? What precautions should we consider?
- Every person gets to decide who they are willing to protect. For some, their “flock” is only themselves and their immediate family. That’s an acceptable answer! For others, they are willing to protect their friends, coworkers, and extended family. For a few, it might mean being willing to protect anyone who is weak, powerless, and in need. Each of us must decide the size of our flock and have that decision firmly in mind when it is time to act. There is no moral or legal requirement to be a Good Samaritan like this and stop a shoplifter. Each of us must make the decision in advance how large our flock is!
- As each of us considers whether to be a Good Samaritan and step into encounters that do not directly involve us, we must consider the implications on our lives and families. Does your desire to step in override your duty to your spouse and children and loved ones? Or is it part of your care for your family to protect others wherever you can? We must also all realize that when we come across an incident in progress that it can be VERY difficult to determine who is the aggressor and who is the defender, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, and that must give us pause as well. This Good Samaritan made the good call in the moment, but note how little time he had to make it!
- In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. Having a plan in place and knowing in advance in your soul whether you’ll be a Good Samaritan is an important part of being ready in the moment.
- We must each decide what is worth protecting. Life is always worth protecting because it is of inestimable worth; as unique bearers of the image of God, people are the most valuable “thing” imaginable. Property is something else, though. With property we always have to balance the benefit against the risk to ourselves and our families. Even where it’s legally allowed, you should consider whether it’s wise or prudent to defend your property, because doing so puts you at risk and not just the bad guy. Again, this Good Samaritan did great, and should be praised for stopping a thief. That said, he put himself at significant risk to stop him!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
(music in the intro and outro courtesy of http://www.bensound.com)