The Bystander Effect and Concealed Carry
“The bystander effect of bystander apathy, is a social psychological claim that individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present. The greater number of bystanders, the less likely it is that one of them will help.” This effect was “discovered” and named due to the murder of Kitty Genovese; if you haven’t heard of it, you need to look it up.
I’ll be the first to admit. I’ll never be a person who claims to be a “sheepdog”. I’m not carrying a gun to fight for any of you and I’m not carrying a gun to come rescue you. I’m not a cop, I’m not the military, and I’m all about self-preservation. For the self proclaimed sheepdogs out there, what are you going to do if you die and you’re the main breadwinner for the family?
Is there a situation going on in my immediate vicinity that needs to be remedied? Okay, I might step in if the situation allows. Those involved will only get help from me due to their proximity to my need and desire for self preservation.
I’m not a hero, I do not want to be a hero, and I’m damn sure not going to take on the responsibility of being Batman because I carry a firearm for SELF-defense. I’m also not going to be a fucking medic because I have bits of an INDIVIDUAL first aid kit (IFAK) on me. Those are for ME and my loved ones.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule such as kids, or those injured needing help after the incident, but, I don’t have an overwhelming urge to say that I’d come and help anyone during an incident if it meant my life would be in jeopardy.
So, for the people asking where the concealed carriers are during these situations? They’re probably going one of two things.
- The natural instinct of “fight or flight” kicked in and they secured themselves and their loved ones while evacuating the area.
- They’re following their training of not drawing on a drawn and active gun.
All of this being said, yes. A person carrying a firearm concealed can make the difference. We see it every day. The CDC has even stated that there are over 500,000 individuals who are saved annually just by individual’s drawing their firearms in the presence of a criminal. A permit stating one can carry or even the act of carrying the gun doesn’t make a person a hero. It means they’ve taken responsibility for their own safety and MAYBE those around them if the situation allows it.
Before we begin asking “But where were they?” Ask yourself… How many situations have you willingly ignored because it “wasn’t your problem” or even just felt you needed to get away instead?