0156 – Third Party Defense

Today’s show is the third in a pretty loose series of episodes designed to help us to decide if we should get involved in situation that are taking place around us.  Remember that to even have the opportunity to make a choice in the situations we are referring to in these shows, we have to be aware.  Without awareness we are simply going to be bumbling in and out of situations without conscious control.  We never want to give up control of our destiny so start out by being aware.

We really have three choices when things go to crap around us.

  1. Dive in:  Get directly involved.  Do it instantly, do it decisively.
  2. Get out:  Our primary duty is to protect us and ours.  If we can’t act instantly and decisively, we may be better off getting out.
  3. Middle ground:  Often the best choice.  Use strategic positioning to protect yourself, be a good witness and call the cavalry.

Today is all about deciding whether or not you can legally DIVE IN!

We we get involved in a violent encounter on behalf of another person we are engaging in third party defense.  Depending on the circumstances the defense of another can be a ethical, moral and legal action.  When we evalutate third party defense scenarios here is what we need to look at:

  1. Clean hands doctrine:  The party that you defend MUST be the innocent party.
  2. AOJP:  The burden of AOJP must be met for the party you are defending
  3. Reasonable Man Standard and Totality of the Circumstances

Keep in mind that this can be a lot of information to process especially when you are viewing it real time from the outside.  Rarely do we witness situations from the outset.  This means we are missing pieces.  We will be judged on all the pieces whether we have them or not.

There are certainly times when we can clearly evaluate a situation.

  1. Uniformed officer being assaulted, shot etc.
  2. Small child being punched and kicked by an adult
  3. A situation we have witnessed from the start

But there are TONS of situations that we cannot clearly evaluate.  If we get directly involved in these situations we must understand that we are on shaky legal ground.

The bottom line is, if you put yourself in the third parties shoes would it be legal to defend yourself?  If the answer is yes, then it is legal for you to defend the third party.

Remember I’m not a lawyer and this podcast is my opinion and not legal advice.  Self-defense is a difficult legal topic and one of the areas where people can get them selves tripped up pretty easily is in third party defensive situations.  If you aren’t sure, take the middle ground and get help from the folks who get paid to sort this stuff out.  Violence is fast, ugly and chaotic.  The best way to avoid the negative consequences of violence is to avoid it all together.  The only thing worse than getting beaten, cut and shot, is getting beaten, cut, shot and locked up because you misunderstood the situation.


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