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Is it really a gunshot? Do you assume that the gunshot was at a person rather than a bear or mountain lion? (I don't know where you are but "deserted" implies no people so an animal or an inanimate object is a more likely target.)

But let's assume I am in an urban setting, the sound really is a gunshot, and your presumption that an innocent has been shot by an assailant with generally evil intent, e.g. the assailant is likely shoot me too if I appear, is correct. (OK, I am making a LOT of assumptions here.) In that case, the right answer is quite simple: get as far away as possible. Reasoning:

  1. I have no way to combat the assailant successfully;
  2. I have no way to assist the victim in any meaningful fashion;
  3. there is a good chance I will also become a victim if I attempt to render aid.

In the end you will do no one any good, not even yourself. Also, you will not be able to do anyone any good in future.

Now, if you run away you have the opportunity to get First-Aid, EMT, and firearms training. You can get a concealed weapons permit and carry a gun with you at all times. (Well, in places that permit concealed carry.) Now if you happen to be in a similar situation again you will be in a position to both be an effective combatant AND be able to render aid to the victim. At that point in time you might decide to attempt to render aid. This becomes a much more difficult decision to make ... but it wasn't your original scenario.

Until Y'all degenerates into the singular and then you need a plural for the plural, i.e. "all y'all." Don't believe me? Go to Texas. ;-)

Hello; my name is Brian. It is with some trepidation that I post here because I am not entirely sure how or where I can contribute. On the other hand, if I knew how I could contribute then I probably wouldn't need to post here.

I seem to be a bit older than most people whose introductions I have read here. I am 58. I have spent most of my life as a software engineer, electrical engineer, technical writer, businessman, teacher, sailor, and pilot. (When I was young Robert A. Heinlein advised against specialization, an admonition I took to heart.)

My most recent endeavor was a 5-year stint in a private school as a teacher of science, math, history, government, engineering, and computer science/programming. The act of trying to teach these subjects in a manner that provides the necessary cross-connection caused me to discover that I needed to try to understand more about how I think and learn, as my ultimate goal was to help my students determine for themselves how they think and learn. Being able to absorb and regurgitate facts and algorithms is not enough. Real learning requires the ability to discover new understanding as well. (I am rather a fan of scientific method, as inefficient as it may be. Repeating an experiment is never bad if it helps you to cement understanding for yourself. Besides, you might discover the error that invalidates the experiment.)

So, now I have become interested in rational thought. I want to be able to cut to the meat of the issue and leave the irrational and emotional behind. I want to be better able to solve problems. Like Lara, I have also recently given up the search for religious enlightenment. It took time looking at my own assumptions to finally come to the conclusion that there is apparently no rational basis for religion ... as we know it. (I guess that makes me an atheistic agnostic?)

So, it is clearly a time for a change. I look forward to learning from you.

(English really does need a clear plural for the pronoun 'you'.)


Except when when the great change requires a leap of understanding. Regardless of how diligently she works, the person who is blind in a particular area will never make the necessary transcendental leap that creates new understanding.

I have experienced this, working in a room full of brilliant people for a period of months. It took the transcendental leap of understanding by someone outside the group to present the elegantly-simple solution to the apparently intractable problem.

So, while many problems will fall to persistence and diligence, some problems require at least momentary transcendental brilliance ... or at least a favorable error. Hmm, this says something about the need for experimentation as well. Never underestimate the power of, "Huh, that's funny. It's not supposed to do that ..."