It seems over the last few years I keep hearing the phrase sheepdog bandied about. The basic premise is rooted in the idea that society as a whole benefits from the lawful carry of firearms. Those that subscribe to the sheepdog mentality, though, tend to take it a step further. They see their possession of a concealed carry permit as a psuedo-deputization. The lawful gun owner who simply carried for self defense can now see himself as a benevolent protector of society, if he so chooses. Once making this leap he can spend some time ordering his concealed carry badge and some 5.11 tactical pants.
Frankly, I reject the concept of the sheepdog. Those who carry concealed should be doing for the protection of themselves and their families. It is true that society benefits when criminals don’t know who is armed, but I think it is foolish for a citizen to attempt to step into a situation when they likely don’t know all the variables. That woman screaming for help just may end up testifying that she has no idea why you assaulted her poor dear husband who would never hurt a fly.
As individual gun owners there are two other facts working against us if we try to intervene and apprehend someone. First, we do not carry the presumptive authority ascribed to police officers. There is a reason that they generally wear uniforms and carry those badges. Second, we are generally not equipped to carry out an arrest based on events not conducted in our immediate presence.
As a result, I would argue that it is far more judicious and wise to limit involvment to self-defense or defense of one’s family or close friends. While it is unfortunate, to stray beyond those bounds exposes us to too much risk of sacrificing our own freedom and livelihood.