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Sat Oct 20, 2012, 12:20 AM

Should there be a duty to rescue law?

Some countries do. Watching this four part series (the relevant part is at about 6:45) got me to thinking, should there be duty to rescue laws in the US and should it extend to non cops defending another with deadly force? As a bonus to those who ask "why not just fire a warning shot", Mr. Ayoob mentions that at 1:00-2:00. All of the four parts are worth watching regardless of your choice to carry, or not.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty_to_rescue



FWIW, I am ambivalent.

38 replies, 3939 views

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Arrow 38 replies Author Time Post
Reply Should there be a duty to rescue law? (Original post)
gejohnston Oct 2012 OP
Glaug-Eldare Oct 2012 #1
MotherPetrie Oct 2012 #2
holdencaufield Oct 2012 #4
gejohnston Oct 2012 #5
PavePusher Oct 2012 #8
Eleanors38 Oct 2012 #24
TreasonousBastard Oct 2012 #3
msongs Oct 2012 #6
gejohnston Oct 2012 #7
AtheistCrusader Oct 2012 #28
trouble.smith Oct 2012 #9
Glaug-Eldare Oct 2012 #11
trouble.smith Oct 2012 #13
Glaug-Eldare Oct 2012 #14
Angleae Oct 2012 #16
Glaug-Eldare Oct 2012 #17
Angleae Oct 2012 #19
Glaug-Eldare Oct 2012 #21
trouble.smith Oct 2012 #29
oldhippie Oct 2012 #31
trouble.smith Oct 2012 #33
oldhippie Oct 2012 #34
Kennah Oct 2012 #10
SecularMotion Oct 2012 #12
holdencaufield Oct 2012 #15
PavePusher Oct 2012 #20
Eleanors38 Oct 2012 #23
GreenStormCloud Oct 2012 #18
Eleanors38 Oct 2012 #22
Glaug-Eldare Oct 2012 #25
Eleanors38 Oct 2012 #26
littlewolf Oct 2012 #27
Remmah2 Oct 2012 #30
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #32
MicaelS Oct 2012 #35
upaloopa Oct 2012 #36
gejohnston Oct 2012 #37
oneshooter Oct 2012 #38

Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 12:44 AM

1. Nope. Not everybody is fit for that role.

I want to hold people to a lower standard when it comes to defending themselves rather than others. Some people don't have the skills, tools, or nerve to render aid with deadly force, and shouldn't be punished for refraining from doing so. Even those with the skill and nerve may not find an opportunity to do so safely. Their prudent hesitation shouldn't be grounds for civil penalties. On the other hand, I wouldn't object to a statute requiring witnesses to a violent crime to either render aid or seek to bring them aid (e.g. calling police, alerting other bystanders).

Just to remind other readers: Most people who witness a violent crime do not have a gun. Presumably, a "duty to rescue" law would apply to them more often than it would ever apply to an armed witness.

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 12:48 AM

2. Unfuckingbelievable. You're ambivalent about making it a law to FORCE people to shoot?

 

Isn't the 2nd amendment already obscenely distorted enough?

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Response to MotherPetrie (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 12:52 AM

4. But how do you REALLY feel?

 

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Response to MotherPetrie (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 01:02 AM

5. it goes beyond that

As members in a civil society, do we have an obligation to help one another? We do it with our taxes with the social safety net, would it apply to action as an individual as well? If you notice the list of countries that have such laws, they seem to have good safety nets.
I was brought up to believe that if stand by and do nothing to stop a wrong of any kind, you are partly responsible. (an inaction is an action. Although I don't think it is part of the Methodist and Mormon traditions I was raised in (mixed marriage) but it does fit in the philosophy I adopted. But, I digress.) It can range from not calling the cops or stop Mansion from killing Mrs. Tate. But it does not have to involve shooting.
According to the Wiki article, many European countries have such laws, where dialing the equivalent to 911 would satisfy the requirement.
The down side is of course, should someone be forced to kill another (other than police snipers to rescue hostages of course)

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Response to MotherPetrie (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 02:19 AM

8. "force people to shoot"?

 

If that is what you think is at issue here, your reading comprehension is teh phayle.

But I think what you are actually attempting to do is warp someone elses words to fit your predjudices and to monger fear. Good luck with that.

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Response to MotherPetrie (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 07:31 PM

24. Well, I'm sure you and others will find yet new ways to distort the Second.nt

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 12:51 AM

3. Aside from the firearms thing...

such laws can have serious problems, not the least of which is the constitutional question of whether or not you can require someone to "do the right thing." A legal requirement to shoot someone is, under any circumstances, far different from one prohibiting one from shooting. There's already been a spate of laws trying to stop people from just flying by things like auto wrecks and heart attacks with mixed results-- adding crime to the mix doesn't seem to make much sense.

More practical at the moment, are those situations where you might want to sit back and let it work itself out, which it often will, or where you don't really know what's going on. You've got enough trouble dealing with the situation before you and really don't want to worry about more legal troubles if you don't intervene.

From what the pro contingent here says, actual intervention isn't really that common and defensive shooting is less so. Interjecting a law that might seem to require you to shoot can't end well.

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 01:25 AM

6. half the police in america would go to jail for failing to help citizens against bad cops lol nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #6)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 01:33 AM

7. for the first time in the gungeon

I half way agree with you. I most likely agree with you everywhere else in DU, but I digress.

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Response to msongs (Reply #6)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 01:31 AM

28. No, THEY have immunity. ;)

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 02:42 AM

9. It would be extremely unconstitutional IMO. There should be some form of good samaritan law

 

to protect you from civil/criminal prosecution if you do intervene appropriately to prevent a felony however. imo.

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Response to trouble.smith (Reply #9)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 02:59 AM

11. I don't like the idea either, but how would it be unconstitutional?

States have pretty broad power to prohibit or require just about anything.

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Response to Glaug-Eldare (Reply #11)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 04:18 AM

13. The government can not legally compel you to endanger your life or to take anothers

 

except for the draft I suppose but that's not really what this is. I'm not a lawyer mind you but I think any law that mandated a duty to risk your own life would quickly be challenged and found to be unconstitutional. A law that protected a good samaritan who acted to prevent a felony from criminal/civil prosecution would be more reasonable IMO. for example, good samaritan is in convenience store and an armed robber enters and demands money from the clerk. The good samaritan shoots the robber and severs his spinal cord causing him to be a quadripalegic for the rest of his life. the robber sues the good samaritan in civil court. A law that would prevent that case from ever even going to court would be nice.

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Response to trouble.smith (Reply #13)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 04:32 AM

14. You say that, but can you cite that?

Where in the U.S. Constitution are states prohibited from doing this?

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Response to Glaug-Eldare (Reply #14)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 05:23 AM

16. Start with the 14th amendment.

"nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"

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Response to Angleae (Reply #16)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 05:49 AM

17. I don't see it.

The 14th clearly doesn't prohibit use of deadly force in defense of yourself or others, or we wouldn't have the self-defense laws we do today. Even when that deadly force is applied by agents of the state (police, corrections officers, sheriffs), the 14th has never been interpreted as a constraint against this.

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Response to Glaug-Eldare (Reply #17)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 06:04 PM

19. It prohibits the states from forcing you to do things.

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Response to Angleae (Reply #19)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 06:38 PM

21. Where?

There are lots of things states force people to do. Identifying yourself to police, wearing clothes outside, paying taxes, etc. Not even including compulsory actions related to exercise of Constitutional rights (demonstration permits, gun registration) and privileges (auto insurance, emissions tests, trade licensing).

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Response to Glaug-Eldare (Reply #14)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 03:13 AM

29. how about the fifth amendment?

 

no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process. mandating that I shoot someone whom I perceive to be commiting a crime is equivalent to the government compelling one citizen to deprive another citizen of their life without due process of law. This then is clearly equivalent to the government itself depriving citizens of life without due process. Furthermore, it also deprives me of my liberty and possibly my life by compelling me to engage in armed conflict with another which might be legally acceptable in a time of war on a battlefield as a conscript but is certainly inappropriate in a time of peace and on the streets of our own cities.

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Response to trouble.smith (Reply #29)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 12:59 PM

31. " due process of law" ...

 

... can be merely the state legislature passing such a law and the governor signing it. That's your due process of law. Unless the law violates some specific part of the Fed or state constitutions, it is due process.

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Response to oldhippie (Reply #31)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 11:22 PM

33. I don't think the state can circumvent the 5th amendment rights of every citizen

 

with one broad stroke of the pen. Mind you, I'm all about the second amendment, castle doctrine, SYG, and the individual RKBA of all kinds; however, I am not all about the government telling me that I am required to put my life in jeopardy simply because I choose to exercise my RKBA. Having said that, we arrive at another constitutional dilema; that being, such a mandate, by its very nature, could not be fairly and equally imposed upon the population unless the government were to also mandate that any unarmed citizen is also required to jeopardize his/her life if he/she observes an alleged violent felony being committed. Every citizen is governed by the same laws, applied fairly and equally to all. This concept is the bedrock of any republic. So then, if you are in the convenience store and you observe an armed robber in progress, you would be required to pick up the nearest can of beans (or whatever) and hurl it at the robber in order to be compliant with the law. No can of beans available? Then you would be required to engage in hand-to-hand combat with gun wielding criminal, nevermind that you are 85 years old-the law is the law after all.

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Response to trouble.smith (Reply #33)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 11:20 AM

34. I totally agree with your reasoning, but .....

 

.... my point was that "due process of law" is "due process of law". Once a law is duly enacted, you can't use one of he constitutional prohibition mentioning "without due process of law" against it.

That fact that it would be an unfair and unjust law is another matter. And you would hope that our legislators would never enact such a thing.

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 02:54 AM

10. I vote no on the duty to rescue

The wiki page cites Washington state, but the statute is FAR removed from duty to rescue. It is in fact a duty to REPORT a crime, and there are exception within the law if one believes one is in danger. Furthermore, it says "witnesses the actual commission of" a crime.

I could have my windows open, hear my neighbors screaming at one another, hear the words, "I'll fucking kill you you fucking bitch!", hear multiple gunshots, screams, a thud, and then witness a man walking out of the house with a gun in his hand, but guess what. I did not witness a crime. Now, will I call and report it? Umm, yep, as soon as it's safe, like after I've retreated away from the window, corralled my family somewhere safe, and retrieved my Glock, then I'll call 9-1-1.

Would the statement I give to the police likely be used in a criminal trial against the man, if he were charged with a crime of murder, manslaughter, assault (if the person shot lived)? Of course. It's potent circumstantial evidence, but it's not eyewitness testimony of a crime.

"Mr. Kennah, did you in fact see Neighbor Bill shoot his wife?"
"No."

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.69.100

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 03:48 AM

12. I wanna kill kill kill

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Response to SecularMotion (Reply #12)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 05:17 AM

15. That was my job interview ...

 

... at the Post Office.

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Response to SecularMotion (Reply #12)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 06:34 PM

20. Then I suggest you seek counciling and perhaps medication.

 

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Response to SecularMotion (Reply #12)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 07:29 PM

23. Your attempt to create a distorted narrative are undermined by someone in underwear. nt

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 07:35 AM

18. NO. Using my gun to rescue someone else involves a high chance of making a mistake.

It would have to be absolutely clear who is the bad guy, and who is the victim, with no room for doubt at all. And I would have to have a favorable tactical position.

I am not a sheepdog, I am a longhorn. My horns are to protect me, not the herd.

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 07:26 PM

22. I haven't thought much about this, but a duty-to-defend law appears coercive...

requiring "positive" or "affirmative" actions by an individual in potential violation of the "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" portion of the Declaration.

The Constitution is often explained as a "negative" document; that is it prevents the state (through the use of "no" or "not") from abridging or infringing the rights in the Bill of Rights. This is a far more workable way to ensure a liberal interpretation of one's individual rights. A proscriptive "positivist" law requiring individuals to act (in a clearly dangerous situation) does violence to the "negativist" philosophy in the Constitution.

I also see profound problems with making such a law work. Talk about interpretations of what is self-defense, duty to escape, stand-your-ground, and the like!

Mahatma Gandhi would classify one's complete unwillingness to save, aid or rescue someone from the violent actions of others as "cowardice."

But a violation of the law? No.

Good post!

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #22)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 07:48 PM

25. Constitutional restraints primarily restrict the federal government

State governments have almost unlimited authority to require, prohibit, tax, subsidize, establish, or dismantle just about anything they please. The only prohibitions on the authority of state legislatures are in Section 10 and Amendments 1-8, 13-15, 19, 24, and 26.

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Response to Glaug-Eldare (Reply #25)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 09:37 PM

26. The courts' have an expression: Constitutionally vague

This is where such a law will founder when a citizen is brought to dock for not performing his/her "duty."

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sat Oct 20, 2012, 10:26 PM

27. about the only way I will "rescue" someone

is to call 911 and if the state I live in has a good Samaritan law
I will render what aid I can ... Hell even if they do NOT have a good sameritan law
I will render aid ... (CPR, treating wounds, treating for shock ... etc)
and hope like hell I do not get sued ...

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 10:55 AM

30. NO!

 

If I did see a police shootout in progress with the police at a disadvantage and I was driving a truck..........

Otherwise I avoid bodily harm.

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Sun Oct 21, 2012, 02:36 PM

32. No you can't be required by law

 

to put your life on the line for someone else. That has to be a voluntary choice.

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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 11:50 AM

35. I am not the least bit ambivalent...

I think this is a horrible idea. The shit it would start, would never, ever end.

People would be claiming:

"X saw me getting my ass beat and he did nothing. I'm going to sue X."


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Response to gejohnston (Original post)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 03:52 PM

36. Your talking about vigilantly justice. That seems to me an

extention of the fantasy of shooting the bad guy before he shoots you.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #36)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 04:02 PM

37. vigilante is a group of guys who go looking

for someone one. I'm talking about someone who is wrong place wrong time. Using your logic, the guy who took the gun away from Squeeky before she was able to take a shot at Ford, or the people who tackled JL were vigilantes. They were not.
An example of vigilantism would be Roman Polanski going after Manson and the "family" in revenge. A more modern example, which actually happened, was Spike Lee and Rosanne Barr tweeting addresses to incite a lynch mob. BTW, did you denounce that? If you are against vigilantism as a principle, then it is wrong in all cases even if you don't like the target.

Misspelling is one thing, not knowing what the word means.......................please learn it.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #36)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 07:11 PM

38. You would rather the victim(good guy) be shot first?

Before he can fire in defense of his life.

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