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Mr. Awesome
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Please, pass this thread if the incident of losing a loved one to a vehicle collision, a fire, to a machinery or implement of husbandry will hit too close to home or if you are sensitive to tough issues.



Before I got into law enforcement and later fire fighting, I knew I would have to see some terrible things and make some terrible choices. Once that I always was concerned I would have to make is what's referred to as "The Policeman's Dilemma". I will copy and paste a version of it, in a moment. For this thread, especially, since it's on a firearm centric forum, the idea is something we should all consider.

It goes like this:

"The policeman's dilemma is the story of a lorry driver who is trapped in the blazing cab of his vehicle following an accident. A policeman on the scene sees that the driver cannot be extracted before the flames get to him. As a last resort, the driver asks the policeman to shoot him."

Now, most on here aren't in public safety and would not have a duty to stop, unless you were involved in the collision (State laws vary).


For this example, consider you are carrying your daily carry firearm. You are driving alone and see a vehicle in the ditch, obviously having just been involved in a major collision. You are the only other vehicle and were not involved in the cause of the collision, just came upon it and it is obvious it happened just before you got to it. You stop and hear someone screaming, for help. You can see the driver doesn't look too bad, but they aren't getting out of the vehicle. They see you and yell for you to help them and that they are trapped.

You dial 911 and provide the relevant information. The dispatcher asks for details of the driver's condition. You can safely approach and do so, to give the requested information to assist the driver. When you get close, you see both of the driver's legs are stuck under the collapsed dash. They can move their legs and aren't complaining of any pain, they are just stuck.

As things start to calm, from frantic, you smell smoke. In a quick moment, you see fire starting under the engine compartment. The driver starts to panic. If you have a fire extinguisher, it doesn't work. Dispatch tells you the nearest responding LEO is twenty minutes away. There is no other traffic.

As the fire grows, the driver gets more desperate. You can see the flames starting to get into the passenger compartment, through the folded firewall. If you try to help pull them out, it is apparent you cannot. You know they are stuck there, so does the driver. The flames are getting bigger and the driver is crying out, in pain. It's probably unlike anything else you've ever heard. As you lose their feet in the flames, the driver begs for death. Dispatch tells you the nearest units are still too far out to save the driver. You know, at the rate of the fire spreading, the driver will die, before any other help arrives.

What do you think you would do?
 

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In actually saw, and heard, in person,a man die in a car fire .

The sight and sound of it was worse than you can possibly imagine, and it is something that I will carry with me for life, locked away with all the other horrors in that little room that every cop who has lived some things has in their heart.
 

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Why so serious?
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I broke down a door to a burning structure and dragged out the suicidal person who started the fire. They were badly burned and lived for 3 days in ICU with tubes plugged in everywhere.

The short of this particular call, they lived 3 days in misery (if aware at all) vs perishing in the fire during the initial incident.

Sometimes there is no "win".
 

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Similar to the trolley dilemma in that we can sit here and philosophize on what the right thing to do is, but, and in practicality, it would be useless. We have the choice to save who we want to save, but until the day the State deigns to give us the authority to decide who gets to die, we'll just have to do nothing but watch and hope.
 

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It's easy to armchair this one, but I consider a carried handgun to be a defensive weapon. There is simply no way I could take a life that was no threat to me or another.
I've posted this here before, but in 1975 when I was fifteen I watched a 727 crash and burn while riding my bicycle and dragging a lawnmower with my other hand. From what I understand, most initially lived through the impact but I watched, heard and smelled the rest die. It took years for me to de-spook, but the odor of kerosene is still something that bothers me to this day. Until just a few years ago, I used to fly for work and all was well until I got the whiff of JetA fumes in the cabin. HH
 

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In this situation I might be able to give them a gun but I'm sure I wouldn't be able to pull the trigger myself.

As stated above it is a no win situation. Nothing you can do will save their life, the question then becomes what kind of death will they have?
 
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Super Moderator
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For an untold number of people in the World Trade Center, this was not a theoretical exercise. I'll not condemn any choice.

As to what I would do, that's between me and God at the moment it arises.
 

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You local friendly Skynet dealer
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Nurses, Paramedics, doctors train to prolong life and stop suffering. Sometimes those goals conflict, we can only prolong suffering. Life really sucks sometimes, as nikkeret discussed. Not only does the person suffer, but those who have to standby helpless suffer too.

With all possible respect, Star Trek broached this with "The no win scenario."
 

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This thread is kind of the antithesis of the scene in, "Saving Private Ryan" when Hanks orders his squad not to shoot the burning Germans running from the flame-throwered bunker. HH
 

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In actually saw, and heard, in person,a man die in a car fire .

The sight and sound of it was worse than you can possibly imagine, and it is something that I will carry with me for life, locked away with all the other horrors in that little room that every cop who has lived some things has in their heart.
I'm sorry you carry that burden and all the others that are surely with you. I used to work out 3 or 4x per week with 3 Dallas PD. They didn't go into detail often but when any one of them did it was simply jaw dropping.
 

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I broke down a door to a burning structure and dragged out the suicidal person who started the fire. They were badly burned and lived for 3 days in ICU with tubes plugged in everywhere.

The short of this particular call, they lived 3 days in misery (if aware at all) vs perishing in the fire during the initial incident.

Sometimes there is no "win".
Sorry for that too.
 

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Similar to the trolley dilemma in that we can sit here and philosophize on what the right thing to do is, but, and in practicality, it would be useless. We have the choice to save who we want to save, but until the day the State deigns to give us the authority to decide who gets to die, we'll just have to do nothing but watch and hope.
Except maybe doctors. Docs. makes these calls more than most people would think.
 
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