I periodically discuss self-defense on this site but haven’t delved must into the topic of defending others whom you don’t know. The reason I haven’t delved into this topic is because, for the most part, defending somebody you don’t know is an extremely risky proposition. Without any knowledge of the situation a stranger may find themselves in you cannot make an educated decision on whether or not your intervention would cause further grief (for you or for the stranger). But there may be times when you stumble across a situation that doesn’t seem right to you. If your gut instinct is telling you that a situation isn’t right then there’s a very good chance that it isn’t and you may want to consider intervening.
This story is a good example:
Last night when I saw a tiny girl in a miniskirt and heels, slumped over in the arms of a guy, I had to stop and at least ask what was going on. At first, the guy had a startled look in his eyes, and was definitely sweating–maybe from the strain of carrying her, or because he was so damn suspicious. His first response to me was that her friends told him to take her home from an event, but I knoooow that gals travel in packs, especially when going o-u-t for real, and few friends would ditch their distressed miss into a strange man’s arms.
I wasn’t sure if this girl just drank too much, or was potentially drugged, so I treaded lightly at first.
My instinct was to ask this dude as much info about Jane as I could until he either cracked and gave up, or his story didn’t add up and I could straight up report him for being a creep. Key questions:
- Where are you coming from?
- What are you doing here tonight?
- How much did she have to drink?
- Where are you headed?
- Where are her friends?
- Why aren’t you bringing her back to her own place?
- What is her name?
- Where does she go to school?
Most importantly, I didn’t give him the option of being alone with her. Confronting a suspicious person can be dangerous, so always exercise caution if you choose to intervene in a suspicious situation. Approach carefully, pay attention to body language and don’t be alone with this person.
Since this is nominally a gun blog most of the time discussions of defense revolve around the use of a firearm. But many defensive situations can be resolved without having to use violence. Seeing a passed out person being carried off by another lone person should raise a few red flags. Those red flags don’t authorize the use of a firearm but they certainly authorize a cursory investigation. Our species has been developing instincts in our current form for a couple hundred thousand years. Those instincts have kept us alive all of this time, which means they’re probably worth listening to.
While I won’t go so far as to claim I know what the right response is in every situation I do believe it’s a worthwhile idea to do what you can to help keep your fellow human beings safe. That can often be accomplished as easily as being physically present. Predators tend to look for isolated prey and the presence of even one additional creature is often enough to persuade them to reconsider an attack.