To Intervene — Or Not?

Should You Roll The Dice? Cowards?

By Ralph Mroz

The case for intervening is rather simply put. There is innocent life in danger from evil people. We probably have the pre-disposition to defend the innocent from evil, and have chosen to carry a weapon to do so. In fact, we’ve probably taken extensive training on our own time and nickel, honing our skills for such action. In short: it’s our duty; honor demands it; morality demands it; for many of us it’s what we do and it’s who we are. We’d diminish ourselves by not intervening. We’d be cowards.

But there’s another valid point of view — you should not intervene to come to the aid of someone you don’t love or have any responsibility for. This is the opinion of a friend of mine, a man who is a very good cop and is as tough as they come. He’s someone I wouldn’t just not mind, but would actually want beside me in a bad situation. And you know what? Agree or not (and I’m sure this will generate huge amounts of disagreement), my friend has a line of reasoning worth considering before you make your own decision.

The Case Against

The case for not intervening is also rather simply put. To whom is our primary and greatest responsibility? The answer to any of us with families is — to them. If we are with our family when the bad thing happens, is not our greatest responsibility to see them clear to safety before we do anything else? And further, once they are safe, or if we are alone, if we decide to then intervene, we are obviously putting ourselves at serious risk. It is very possible we could be injured or killed during this intervention, and that we could not afterward provide for our family or we could become a burden to them.

Clearly, depriving our family of a parent and/or breadwinner would do them grievous harm. Remember, if you are not a police officer you don’t have any law enforcement authority and often your health insurance coverage has escape clauses if you get involved in such a thing. Ditto with your life insurance. And to what end? To possibly help third parties to whom we owe — if anything at all —much less than we owe to our own family? Simply put, by intervening we put the welfare of strangers above the welfare of our own family. That’s not an opinion, but a stark fact, and one we don’t often think of.

What of the innocent people who are in danger if we don’t intervene? The obvious question to ask is: Why aren’t they armed and prepared to protect themselves and their families? Isn’t protection of one’s family from harm the primary obligation of everyone — and not something to be outsourced to others?

Regardless, for most of us, it’d be hard to stand by and do nothing.

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