One of my favorite parts of the week is listening to the Michael Bane podcast. He is often much more reasonable than many people who talk on the subject of firearms and preparedness. This week he discussed the ramifications of the Zimmerman case and what we can learn from it. I highly recommend a listen. But one of the things he said captured a sentiment I totally agree with. The quote was this (or something quite similar):
Just because I have a fire extinguisher in my house doesn't mean I roam the streets looking to put out fires.
Take a moment and think about that mentality. I have a fire extinguisher in my house, two, actually. I have one in my truck. When the days comes where I take my car to a track day I'll install one in my car. If there is a fire in my house I will certainly attempt to take care of it myself, even if it is dangerous. Just the same, if I see a fire while I am out and about, if I think I can help I will. But I don't have a responsibility to put myself at risk to do so. There are people with much better equipment and training that are a phone call away and I will gladly call if responding to a situation creates too much risk.
This is the same philosophy used in providing protection for yourself and your family. Yes, there are professionals that are better armed and trained than most people. And even if you consider yourself to be better trained in some aspects than most police officers, they have legal authority and protections you do not. But just as I keep a fire extinguisher and a smoke alarm, it's reasonable I also provide tools for my protection and get training to use them. But this shouldn't mean I think of myself as a cop. I'm not. I have neither the training, nor the equipment nor the responsibility to serve and protect.
Just as with a fire, I will assist in a situation if I think I can help, if I think the need to save lives is dire or if the risk is small. But that's not my responsibility. We have designated police in our society. My first move should always be to engage them first, then render assistance if that seems appropriate.
My main duty is to myself and my family. If I do something on the street that ends up risking my ability to protect myself, my family and my freedoms I am making a poor choice. I can't protect my family if I'm in jail. I can't protect myself and my family as well if I'm crippled by a law suit or lose my ability to own a firearm and vote. If I see two people fighting in the street and run to the aid of one of them, do I know whether one of them is undercover police? I do not. Do I know the history of those people? Do I know who the aggressor is? I do not. And I don't have the ability nor the responsibility to subdue and detain them both until the facts are ascertained. It's best that I call the police, do what I can without breaking laws or putting myself at serious risk and render aid to people when the fight stops.
Anyway, just wanted to share that thought. Stay safe out there!