Tuesday, September 19, 2006

When to hesitate

I'm a black-and-white kind of guy when it comes involving myself in a situation. To me, whether or not a situation warrants action is almost always clear. If someone is in danger of being hurt, action is required. If someone is calling for help, action is required. If a situation is escalating quickly, action is required. I will never be one of those people who stands idlely by and thinks aloud, "Someone should do something!" Being able to stop something and doing nothing makes you just as bad as the perpetrator. Enabling bad people makes you no better than them.

(I should point out that I specified that you should help if you are ABLE. If you see no way that YOU can control a situation, do not attempt to!)

For all my action and resolve, there is one situation that makes me hesitate; domestic issues. Here's why. No matter how clear cut the situation seems, if it involves a husband and wife, it will ALWAYS be clear as mud. Wives refusing to prosecute their husbands is a very common thing. Wives testifying against their non-police saviors is almost as common.

Why wives insist on maintaining abusive relationships is a mystery to everyone but them, but they don't want to see their "hubby" go to jail, and they need to charge someone for the incident. Without the victim, the prosecution is almost completely lame. The only saving grace is if there are multiple witnesses who see the incident (not just hear it); even then there are no guarantees.

Getting involved in domestic situations is never simple, so think hard about some of the possibilities before hand. What would you be forced to tolerate? When would the situation warrant witness-less action? Should you wait for screams for help? (many domestic disturbances don't involve screams for help) In what situations do you retreat to a phone to call 911 before proceeding?

Engaging in a situation is always risky business, but remember that the next time you stop an assault, you could easily find yourself in jail for doing the right thing.


Anonymous said...

I think what I would tolerate depends very much on the size and demeanor of the person across from me.

In most cases, by the time it reaches the 911 point, it's a bit late. At that point I all have is my wits...which would usually lead to a pounding if junior high taught me anything.

Fletch said...

Getting pounded a bit is a small price to pay for helping someone in need...

defiant_infidel said...

Agreed. And being prepared, both mentally and in your carry on luggage, means you should only get pounded on "a bit" with any luck.