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"Bad" Samaritan - Part Two

In today's Honolulu Advertiser, there was a story about three recent cases here in Hawaii in which Good Samaritans were either killed or injured. See: Deaths Spur Witness-Response Debate.

Some of the topics parallel my post entitled "Bad" Samaritan.

I wanted to clarify the title of my post. Good Samaritans are certainly good. They represent the best of us, and risk their lives to save others. They are good. You don't hear about "Bad" Samaritans because they are by definition good and noble.

My point is that the people they are dealing with are not motivated by such lofty ideals. People who are fighting with each other, or attacking another person, are not bound by reason or morality. A mad person is unlikely to say, "You are right. Violence is wrong. I should stop fighting."

A person who is fighting is just as likely to fight an innocent bystander or a Good Samaritan. In fact, a Good Samaritan may appear to be poking his nose in someone else's business, which could make the angry person even angrier.

My point was that a Good Samaritan should consider this, as well as the fact that the person may be drunk, drugged, armed, supported by friends, etc. A Good Samaritan is risking his life and safety. Who will take care of his family if he is killed?

In the Honolulu Advertiser story, Honolulu Police Major Frank Fujii said:

"We realize that oftentimes the citizens need to make split-second decisions," he said. "If at all possible and if time allows, we always encourage people to call us, call 911 (color added), because we're trained and equipped to deal with all types of situations. In these cases, you can never tell when what appears to be a benign situation will go dynamic."
I think that is excellent advice.

I have practiced martial arts for most of my life. Although I do not consider myself a good fighter, I do consider myself to be knowledgeable about fights. In a perfect world there would be no fights. But we do not live in a perfect world.

As a martial artist, I know that it takes skill and conditioning to be able to defend yourself in a fight or surprise attack. It takes even more skill to be able to defend someone else. And it may take more skill to break up a fight than it does to stop (injure or incapacitate) the attacker. A martial artist realizes this, and acts accordingly. I would think that most Good Samaritans lack the benefit of martial arts training and experience.

Call 911.

If you have to intervene, if there is no other way, at least you should realize what you are getting yourself into. Realize that the person fighting may be drunk, drugged, armed, supported by friends, is certainly angry, may be mentally unstable, could have a communicable disease... His adrenaline will be pumping. He could be much bigger and stronger than you. He could be a good fighter. Actually, he has many advantages.

If you act as a Good Samaritan, you will be walking into a highly charged and extremely dangerous situation.

Call 911.


Charles C. Goodin