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Thread: What would YOU do?

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    Post What would YOU do?

    The scenario: You are in a store/bank/etc. A man enters and shoots a cashier, killing her. He then grabs a woman and puts a gun to her head and uses her as cover. (You are carrying, but he hasn't noticed.)
    He then tells the manager to open the safe or he will kill the woman. He states: "You have 20 seconds or I'll kill her."

    You have cover, there is no bystander that could be injured by your shot. Your only shot is to half of his head as the woman is covering the rest. You are 20' away with no obstructions in the line of fire. He has told everyone not to move or he will kill them. Moving for a better shot is not an option.

    Would you do nothing, assuming that he won't kill anyone else? Or, would you take the shot?

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    I don't think I would know unless I was there in the heat of the moment. That is a tough question...what would YOU do?!

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    I am a firm believe in the concept that no one really know how they will react in an extreme situation until they're faced with it... unless they have prior, similar experience.

    With that said, I would think the best move would be to take him out the first chance one has. He has already killed so one or several more is not likely to cause him concern. And he has announced his intentions as well. While he may not be an immediate threat to out fictional armed customer, he still does present a deadly threat. Neutralize him at the first opportunity.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member Mr H's Avatar
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    Assuming I'm NOT in Maryland???

    ;-))

    Seriously, though... the scenario is interesting but I see 2 big issues.

    1 - that's a tight shot in the best of circumstances, and I would wonder that Joe Citizen could take it safely.

    2 - it's a hypothetical, and there is no way to answer without having to encountered something similar.

    Now... let's say I can relate to (and control)#2, and have the skills to handle #1 under that pressure, then the answer becomes a resounding "maybe".

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    Regular Member Broondog's Avatar
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    there is no sure-fire solution to this crisis but if i may speak hypothetically.....

    if the BG is not moving around much then it might be possible to get the kill shot or maybe even a shot to his gun hand. this is an iffy proposition at best.

    another option might be (though still iffy at best) would be to shoot the hostage in the leg. the thought process here is to hope that she will most likely begin to drop giving you a clearer shot at the BG. sure, she gets hurt but hurt is better than dead. this action would also most likely turn Mr. BG's attention away from her (and others) and towards you and possibly even the odds (gun vs gun).

    yeah, i'm sure i'll get blasted for this but what the heck, it's just a hypothetical situation right?


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    TTcrunchberry wrote:
    I don't think I would know unless I was there in the heat of the moment. That is a tough question...what would YOU do?!
    First of all, I meant to post this in the discussion section. My apologies.

    I posted this because this is one scenario that I'm not certain what the right thing to do, is. He has killed one person for no reason. It is probable he might kill more. Eliminating him might save more.

    Even though he is holding a gun to the woman's head, a bullet into the brain would stop him from pulling the trigger even if he had his finger on it. What if you hit the hostage instead? Is my life in danger? At what number of deaths do I act?

    I would take the shot, while praying very hard. One requirement for my carry gun is a calibrated laser. At 20 feet, I would feel confident of only striking him. That is what I think I would do. It is a tough call; That is why I asked the question.

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    First, I would turn my body weak side facing the BG.

    Second, my 1st priority is my safety and my life and that will not be compromised.

    Third, I would most likely wait, maneveur, generally try to get to a different position. As the BG has already demonstrated a desire to murder then my assumption is that he will continue to do so when convenient for him. My hope is to get to a different position with a better target.

    Again, if I can not get a good clear shot/target, then I would maintain my position of strong side away from view and wait. My 1st prority is my safety.
    Live Free or Die!

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    Given the premise of the OP, I think you have to take the shot in spite of the additional risk to the hostage. Let's assume that you don't miss your intended target. You still have to hope that the shock of being hit pulls the assailant's point of aim off the hostage before his autonomous clench reflex pulls the trigger.

    My main rationale is that the assailant's previous action of shooting a clerk has already escalated the situation past a robbery. The assailant now has little to lose by choosing not to leave witnesses. You would be defending your own life, and that of the others in the bank, thinking you're going to save the hostage's too is unrealistic.

    Without the element of the assailant shooting the clerk before announcing a holdup, I would say no. You would be escalating the situation not defusing it.

    Thank goodness this is hypothetical, I hope none of us are ever faced with this choice!


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    Me too! But, even though it may seem morbid, I think it is good to think through scenarios. Granted, most of us aren't LEO's, but they aren't put on duty being told to figure out what the right thing to do is, when it happens. They train for many scenarios.

    We choose to carry a firearm. Some may carry only for SD. That was my original plan. But I couldn't stand by and do nothing when people are being injured or killed. I would not consider my safety before the safety of many. I couldn't live with myself if I had the means to stop a murderer and I didn't act because I was afraid of getting killed.

    That is me. We are all different. My life experiences and my faith has created the 'me' that exists at this point. I don't have a wife or children and I can imagine that can certainly change one's outlook on this scenario. But, by not acting you could cause another father, mother or child to die, perhaps more than one.

    Let 's pray that none of us ever have to face this scenario for real.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    open4years wrote:
    Me too! But, even though it may seem morbid, I think it is good to think through scenarios. Granted, most of us aren't LEO's, but they aren't put on duty being told to figure out what the right thing to do is, when it happens. They train for many scenarios.

    We choose to carry a firearm. Some may carry only for SD. That was my original plan. But I couldn't stand by and do nothing when people are being injured or killed. I would not consider my safety before the safety of many. I couldn't live with myself if I had the means to stop a murderer and I didn't act because I was afraid of getting killed.

    That is me. We are all different. My life experiences and my faith has created the 'me' that exists at this point. I don't have a wife or children and I can imagine that can certainly change one's outlook on this scenario. But, by not acting you could cause another father, mother or child to die, perhaps more than one.

    Let 's pray that none of us ever have to face this scenario for real.
    Playing "what if" games is always a positive move... don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise. I have done this for probably more years than most on this site have been alive for both driving and defensive shooting scenarios. And I can tell you for my driving "what if's", they have saved my life, and the lives of family members, quite a few times.

    The best time and way to play defensive what if games is when you are in a potential situation/location which could turn real. A restaurant. Standing in a line. A mini-mart/gas station. A shopping center. You get the idea. Imagine situations in places such as these where suddenly something extreme begins to unfold. What you would do, how you would hope to react.

    So play what if scenarios frequently. One of them could save your life.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member younggun20's Avatar
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    Like mentioned above keep weak side to BG, wait for an opportunity. Call 911 leave the phone in my pocket or whatever seemed plausible at the time. If he dropped the girl possibly take the shot..

    The What if game only leads to more what ifs... Its like the song that never ends.. it goes on and on my friend.

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    younggun20 wrote:
    Like mentioned above keep weak side to BG, wait for an opportunity. Call 911 leave the phone in my pocket or whatever seemed plausible at the time. If he dropped the girl possibly take the shot..

    The What if game only leads to more what ifs... Its like the song that never ends.. it goes on and on my friend.
    It can. And if someone takes this to an extreme, it can become an obsession and lose most of its effectiveness. That is why I am realistic and selective when I do this. As I wrote, it has saved my life and that of others quite a few times in driving situations. That fact that I used it as a training tool to avail myself of escape possibilities as well as maneuvers directly affecting my safety.

    As for SD situations, I have used what if imaginings in several instances to my advantage. I was fortunate that nothing came of these instances. But at least I had developed a plan and some sort of defense.

    So yes, if the "what if" imaginer is more of a dreamer, then reality could sneak up and bite him on his butt. However, if he lives in the real world and understands reality, it could save his life.

    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    I am a firm believe in the concept that no one really know how they will react in an extreme situation until they're faced with it... unless they have prior, similar experience.
    Agreed ^

    It's not my job to protect other people in public. I'm not a LEO so I don't think id try to interfere. Trying to be a Hero can quickly turn you into a bad guy if you miss or if he doesn't go down right away and manages to kill the employee hes got a hold of. If i saw a really wide open opportunity and there was minimal chance of collateral damage yes i would definitely take the shot(assuming im already done soiling myself). But as long as hes got a hold of that employee i'm not going to risk her life because theres still the small chance that if the manager complies with his demands he'll let her go.
    HOOAH?

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    Regular Member buster81's Avatar
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    That's a tough position to be in. Where is my nearest exit? Do I have actual cover, or just concealment? Is my family with me or am I alone? Is the manager opening the safe?

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    I would wait. Remaining unseen would be my priority. If he spots me, I'm either another hostage, or it's a gunfight, and neither are ideal. I wouldn't risk the hostage's life unless it was all too clear that he was about to kill another. I would wait for a better shot. But if it looked as though he was about to execute someone else, I would fire to the best of my ability, doing my best to avoid hitting the hostage. Still, if I'm unseen to him and he's not expecting armed company, than I feel as though the odds of him exposing himself from behind the hostage momentarily are decent.

    I feel that it would be my responsibility. If you can stop something like this, you should. The real crime would be letting it continue when you could have shut it down.

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    That's a shot only taken by guys in movies.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

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    Well I am not LEO so shooting the hostage is not an option (dont want to be charged for shooting her).

    Not a clear enough shot to risk, unless i was one of those quick draws shooters you see on TV. I have to take careful aim to pull off a shot like that, which i am sure the Gunmen would notice.

    No I would stay put gun ready but concealed. Hopefully the bank manager does what he is told. If for somereason he kills the woman. I would shoot him before he could get an other human shield.

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    I carry for the protection of my family and myself only. I am not a leo. I do not carry to protect others who refuse to protect themselves. If he shot the hostage he he has I would then fire in fear of me being next or of my family members being next.



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    JustaguyinLA wrote:
    Well I am not LEO so shooting the hostage is not an option (dont want to be charged for shooting her).

    Not a clear enough shot to risk, unless i was one of those quick draws shooters you see on TV. I have to take careful aim to pull off a shot like that, which i am sure the Gunmen would notice.

    No I would stay put gun ready but concealed. Hopefully the bank manager does what he is told. If for somereason he kills the woman. I would shoot him before he could get an other human shield.

    If you were a LEO, would shooting the hostage be okay? :shock: Sounds like Keanu Reeves in "Speed". Jeff Daniels tells Neo to "shoot the hostage", Jeff being the hostage of Dennis Hopper.

    But seriously, I'll echo a few other sentiments. I carry to protect myself, my wife, and my family. As a gun owner, I am under no legal obligation to protect anyone. My moral obligation is to me and my family.

    The bit about "in defense of innocent persons." Yes, true. But first me, then family, then innocents. I didn't join the police force and me getting killed by "doing the right" thing will not help my widow. I've had my a$$ in the grass during my time in the Army and did my part already.

    I'm not a cold-hearted b@stard who would prefer to resign myself to letting the innocent die, but "what if" scenarios aren't the real deal. I'd have to assess if the "what if" became the reality.

    (edit: darn grammar)

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    Broondog wrote:
    there is no sure-fire solution to this crisis but if i may speak hypothetically.....

    if the BG is not moving around much then it might be possible to get the kill shot or maybe even a shot to his gun hand.* this is an iffy proposition at best.

    another option might be (though still iffy at best) would be to shoot the hostage in the leg.* the thought process here is to hope that she will most likely begin to drop giving you a clearer shot at the BG.* sure, she gets hurt but hurt is better than dead.* this action would also most likely turn Mr. BG's attention away from her (and others) and towards you and possibly even the odds (gun vs gun).
    yeah, i'm sure i'll get blasted for this but what the heck, it's just a hypothetical situation right?


    I saw that movie too!

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    architect wrote:
    Given the premise of the OP, I think you have to take the shot in spite of the additional risk to the hostage. Let's assume that you don't miss your intended target.* You still have to hope that the shock of being hit pulls the assailant's point of aim off the hostage before his autonomous clench reflex pulls the trigger.

    My main rationale is that the assailant's previous action of shooting a clerk has already escalated the situation past a robbery. The assailant now has little to lose by choosing not to leave witnesses. You would be defending your own life, and that of the others in the bank, thinking you're going to save the hostage's too is unrealistic.

    Without the element of the assailant shooting the clerk before
    announcing a holdup, I would say no. You would be escalating the situation not defusing it.

    Thank goodness this is hypothetical, I hope none of us are ever faced with this choice!
    A good hit to the brain is supposed to stop the reflex action, even if his finger is on the trigger.

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    SouthernBoy wrote:
    open4years wrote:
    Me too! But, even though it may seem morbid, I think it is good to think through scenarios. Granted, most of us aren't LEO's, but they aren't put on duty being told to figure out what the right thing to do is, when it happens. They train for many scenarios.

    We choose to carry a firearm. Some may carry only for SD. That was my original plan. But I couldn't stand by and do nothing when people are being injured or killed. I would not consider my safety before the safety of many. I couldn't live with myself if I had the means to stop a murderer and I didn't act because I was afraid of getting killed.

    That is me. We are all different. My life experiences and my faith has created the 'me' that exists at this point. I don't have a wife or children
    and I can imagine that can certainly change one's outlook on this scenario. But, by not acting you could cause another father, mother or child to die, perhaps more than one.

    Let 's pray that none of us ever have to face this scenario for real.
    Playing "what if" games is always a positive move... don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise. I have done this for probably more years than most
    on this site have been alive for both driving and defensive shooting scenarios. And I can tell you for my driving "what if's", they have saved my life, and the lives of family members, quite a few times.

    The best time and way to play defensive what if games is when you are in a potential situation/location which could turn real. A restaurant. Standing in a line. A mini-mart/gas station. A shopping center. You get the idea. Imagine situations in places such as these where suddenly something extreme begins to unfold. What you would do, how you would hope to react.
    So play what if scenarios frequently. One of them could save your life.
    I agree; No surprise there! I have also saved my life and the life of others by thinking through scenarios.

    I was approaching a red light, after topping a hill. I played "what if" with the scenario of an approaching vehicle behind me. I realized they wouldn't have time to stop.

    So, I left three car lengths behind me and I kept my eye on the rear view mirror. Then the scenario became real. A car was rapidly approaching and then they braked so hard, there was smoke everywhere.

    I followed my plan. There was a grassy area to my right. First, I moved forward while watching the approaching vehicle. I realized that they would hit me even if I moved all the way up to the next vehicle. So, I drove off the road and onto the grassy area. The vehicle stopped one foot from the bumper of the car that had been ahead of me.

    There was a study done (no, I don't know the source) years ago where two groups of basketball players were monitored to get a baseline of their abilities. Then one group practiced an hour a day, for two weeks. The other group spent an hour a day, for two weeks, imagining they were on the court and visualized themselves sinking throws.

    I know that both groups tested, at least, the same. So, thinking through scenarios can be as good as the real experience. Many LEO's have stated they acted on reflex when 'it' hit the fan.

    There have been many times in my life that I've saved my life and perhaps the lives of others. I rode motorcycles for several decades and I still would be if it wasn't for medical problems.

    It isn't unusual for people to pull out right in front of you. I adopted the thinking that each driver was going to pull out in front of me. I weighed my options and quickly developed a plan. Part 1 was to get the driver to notice me. I never had a wreck, but I had some close calls. I would have been killed if I wasn't being observant and thought through scenarios.

    I sold the Honda GoldWing, that I had ridden over 25 years. The guy, that bought it from me had a car pull out in front of him on a 35mph road. He died. I can't say for sure, but I don't think it would have happened to me. I drove, on that road for many of those 25 years.

    If you don't think you need to do it because you carry a gun, then do so while driving. Drive defensively - which basically is thinking through scenarios. Is that car going to pull out in front of me? Decide what to do if it happens, or move to another lane to reduce the risk.

    Sorry, I've taught driving courses and I owe my life to it for keeping my skills current.

  23. #23
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    Good hypothetical. I don't think I would take the shot, too risky to the hostage. There are a million ways that taking the shot could go wrong. I might hit the hostage. I might hit the guy and his reflex pulls the trigger and kills the hostage. I might miss them both and really make things bad. The bullet might glance off him. Who knows. I would keep as much cover and concealment as possible and hope to heck that the guy would get the money and go without killing any one else. If possible I would draw my gun and keep it out of view. Eventually he's going to have to move. He's either going to get the money and go without killing anyone else (In which case I'd let him go, let 5-0 handle him) or he's going to execute the hostage (at which point I would definately take the shot in order to save myself and anyone else that he might decide to shoot) or finally he might hold onto the hostage as a shield while he shoots at other customers in the store...in which case I would probably stay right where I was at and hope to hell he didn't hit anyone, but I wouldn't be leaving my cover while bullets were flying.
    God is the one driving this stagecoach, I'm just riding shotgun.

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    About the only thing I could do is tell the hostage the only consolation I could give her is that a second after she starts winging her way to Heaven I'll be send that a$$hole screaming to Hell.
    AUDE VIDE TACE

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    Just an idea here... if the potential criminal KNEW that some or most of the patrons of that bank were armed and free to send him to hell...

    What do you think the chances are he'd start any of that?

    You all know why the mass shooters go to schools and churches instead of gun ranges. You know there are more people shot and killed in places where guns are "banned" than in places where they are common and accepted.

    Yes, it is important to think about and mentally plan for such an incident. But the more of us who carry, the fewer opportunities these criminals will have. They much prefer helpless victims.
    I will not knowingly initiate force. I am a self owner.

    Let the record show that I did not consent to be governed. I did not consent to any constitution. I did not consent to any president. I did not consent to any law except the natural law of "mala en se." I did not consent to the police. Nor any tax. Nor any prohibition of anything. Nor any regulation or licensing of any kind.

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