To intervene or not intervene - A Civilian CCW Licensee?
Roughly 8 years ago I was in Fairfax, VA. I flew into town for training at NRA HQ. I fell in love with VA! It's a very beautiful area, and luckily they have CCW reciprocity with Ohio. So hell yeah I brought a pistol! M&P Shield 9mm in a kydex IWB holster, a spare mag, and 115gr Speer Gold Dot JHP. Yes it's a nice area, but the reality is there is no such thing as a safe place.
I spent most of my days after class sightseeing and hanging out. The Sunday that I was set to fly out I decided to stop for pizza. I went to some pizza place outside of Fairfax, VA. I always sit facing the door, never put my back to it. While I'm enjoying my pizza I see a Lexus SUV pull into the parking lot. They sit there for a while, just talking, a male and a female inside. I pay them no mind.
Then I notice them arguing, fingers in each other's faces, etc. Lady appears to slap the man, and then an all out brawl erupts in the car! They're literally beating the crap out of each other, punching each other in the face & wrestling! All of the employees of the pizza parlor at this point are watching. They scream "Somebody should do something!" So here I sit, eating my pizza, while armed, watching a man & women fistfight in a SUV in the parking lot about 15 yards in front of me, wondering should I intervene or should I not intervene?
I was so torn, mixed emotions. They arrive together, both argued, the woman threw the first blow, but the man is the bigger person, and now they're beating the crap out of each other. Who is the good guy? Who is the bad guy? Who do I protect, or do I intervene and try to stop the fight? Will they both fight me for intervening in their 1 vs 1 fight and "private matter?" Will VA laws protect me if I intervene? What if my intervention escalates the situation, and I'm forced to draw my firearm, and I'm forced to shoot someone? So many questions racing through my head. I was not in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death. But they were, which they initiated by their own hands.
After quickly pondering over it for about 30 seconds, I decided to not intervene. I couldn't clearly determine who was right or wrong, and frankly didn't think that risking my own personal safety to enter 2 strangers lovers' quarrel was worth the risks. This may also sound selfish but I also believe that my job as a civilian CCW licensee is to defend myself & my family, and live to see another day, and avoid trouble whenever possible. Intervening in other people's domestic quarrels is not my job. And I honestly didn't know who the hell the good guy and the bad guy was!
So I stayed right in my seat in the pizza parlor and called 911. I reported exactly what happened and was happening, described the vehicle, and 2 the "lovers" inside the vehicle. As soon as I got off the phone the woman exited the car, and then the man. They kept arguing. Then they lowered their voices. About 1 minute later they hugged each other, kissed each other, and then got back into the car together and drive off. And I'm thinking to myself "WTF just happened?!" Cops arrive maybe 2 minutes after the couple left. This entire situation from start until the police arrived might have been 6 minutes total, including the 1 minute fistfight.
Even now I still do not know if I made the right decision to not intervene. But at the end of the day I did my job, I called 911 and reported a domestic dispute that turned into a fistfight, I lived to see another day, and I made it back to my family safely. The police officers in my inner circle have always told me that domestic disputes & domestic violence are always the worst calls. I'm not a law enforcement officer, nor am I a hero. I'm just a guy trying to keep myself safe and my family safe.
As a civilian we must choose our battles. Some are worth the risks, while others are not. Every action has an opposite and equal reaction so choose your actions wisely.
I am not a law enforcement officer whose duty is to protect & serve the general public. My job as a civilian CCW licensee is to defend myself & my family, and to live to see another day.
Always use your best judgement. Stay safe everyone.