The Cornered Cat
Lessons from the headlines #2

Here we have the story of a Good Samaritan with a gun. Police say this 61-year-old man saw a 48-year-old man chasing a woman with a knife and threatening to kill her. The GS drew his gun and ordered the man to stop. When the man didn’t stop, the GS fired a shot into the air. Then the man with the knife stopped chasing the woman and several bystanders jumped in to hold him for the cops. When the officers arrived, the woman was long gone.

Lessons? You know it!

  • “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” wrote Edmund Burke. 1  We can and should praise people who step in to help others in situations where lives are at risk.
  • When one person stands up, other people often jump in to help. There’s a crowd dynamic at work, a kind of group inertia that’s just waiting for a leader to set in motion. Keep that in mind if you’re ever in a situation where you find yourself looking for someone else to take charge. If no one else is stepping up, you’re the leader. Act it.
  • Where did that bullet land? Although this story ended well, warning shots are almost always a bad idea. Shooting into the air in a crowded area is an even worse idea. You are responsible for every bullet you fire, not just the ones that hit your attacker. Even in the heat of the moment, Rule #3 always applies. If you absolutely cannot make that bullet land inside the bad guy’s body, choose another spot (such as a soft piece of dirt) for the bullet to go. If you can’t do that, a bullet is not the right tool for the job.
  • Witnesses sometimes vanish, and that can include the person whose life you stepped in to save. Plan accordingly.


  1. Or maybe not.

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