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MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
From the "and yet another reason to mind your own business" file: This incident happened a few years ago, but unfortunately, I have not able to pinpoint an exact date. Update: The incident occurred on Friday, January 28, 2000. Off duty (and not in uniform) Providence, RI cop Cornell Young, Jr. was in a sandwich shop having lunch when a (undefined) disturbance started in the restaurant. The disturbance made its way out into the parking lot about the time two uniformed police officers pulled up in response to the call. A few seconds later, Young heard one of the officers yell "Drop the gun" so he drew his weapon and charged into the parking lot, not knowing the two uniformed cops were already there in the parking lot. As he came out of the diner, the two uniformed cops saw him, and thinking he was another bad guy, told him to drop his weapon, and then fired on him when he didnt drop it, killing him. This is similar to an incident from 1994 in Memphis, when Major Rufus Gates met the same fate while working undercover at a football game. He drew his gun on a suspect, but was then shot (in the back, if I remember correctly, by a uniformed officer who thought he was just another suspect with a gun. These are also similar to another incident that happened about 8 or 10 years ago somewhere in East Tennessee (sorry I don't have more specific details), where a local Podunk cop pulled up to a grocery store and observed two scruffy-looking men firing on a clean-cut man in a suit. Assuming the two scruffy men MUST be the bad guys, he hopped out and gunned them down, both in the back, only to discover later both men were undercover federal agents engaged in a gunfight with a drug dealer. Obviously, these incidents involve law-enforcement, but they involve off-duty or undercover LE's being shot because they were misidentified as be bad guys. This is something that could easily happen to any one of us if we were ever involved in any incident, or, it is something we could easliy do (mis-identify a suspect and shoot the wrong person) if we don't have every single fact of an incident. Sometimes, the facts go beyond the incident. For instance, a man and wife having a fight on a street corner. It's obviously the man's fault for beating up on the poor defenseless woman, right? Not always. Maybe they fight all the time and that's just the way they live their life. When you get out of your car to defend the woman, you find yourself in the worst ass-whipping you could have ever imagined. Eventually, you have to draw your gun and defend yourself against the man, and when you do, the woman stabs you in the kidney with a knife for shooting her husband. After you get out of the hospital, you find yourself in court, with a "grieving widow" as the only witness. She claims she and her husband were having a "minor disagreement" when this crazy man (guess what? it's YOU) jumped out of his car and shot her unarmed husband in cold blood. You go to jail for 20 years. This is yet another incident that actually happened. This question has been posed to me before: What if it's a little kid and an adult is dragging him off and the kid is yelling "Help! He's kidnapping me!"? Ok, here's a question for you: What if the adult is the kid's father, and the kid is having a tantrum and he's not really being kidnapped? You jump in the middle of the ruckus, and (for whatever reason) you wind up shooting and killing the man. So you shot and killed this kid's father who was not really kidnapping him. Now you have a grieving widow and children to contend with. Does anyone else besides me see potential problems with this? Even if you able to avoid criminal charges, you will probably face civil charges, AND you have to live the rest of your life knowing you killed an innocent person, because you stuck your nose in somewhere when you didn't know for a fact what was happening and made the wrong guess. I know of a similar incident where this happened, and the guy that killed the wrong person wound up a jobless, homeless alcoholic, and one night in his hotel room, he put a bullet through the back of his head using the same gun he used to shoot the innocent father. Let me ask you this; If you were to make a mistake like this, and wound up dying, going to jail, losing your livelyhood, money, house, or all of these, would it be worth it? It's a question only you can answer. For me, it is not. I don't carry a gun so I can "save the world". I carry a gun to keep me and my loved ones safe (don't press your luck here, I don't have many "loved" ones). Carrying a gun does not give you any "requirement", legally or morally, to protect everyone else. There is a Tennessee law that says you can protect a third person, but there is no law that says you HAVE to. Yes, you do have legal and moral obligations to your fellow citizens. That's why they invented cell phones, and that's why those cell phones have "9-1-1" on the buttons.
Another link for related information. This link also discusses the reasons not to chase somebody. A Tennessee handgun permit offers no law enforcement authority privileges whatsoever. You cannot legally chase people just because you have a permit. Legally Armed in Tennessee
Robert V. Robinson "Robbie" My Experience and Training