Following the use of a pistol on July 17, 2022, to end an active shooter incident at the Greenwood Park Mall, a regular person is now the target of both praise and criticism.
Jonathan Douglas Sapirman, who was 20 years old, had already killed three people and hurt two more when a good Samaritan Elisjsha Dicken stepped in.
Definition of ‘Good Samaritan’
The word “good Samaritan” comes from a Bible story about a Christian man who helped a stranger.
Luke 10 contains Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. In that Bible chapter, he adds, “A man journeying from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed. He was stripped naked, beaten, and left half dead. When a priest passing by spotted the man, he went around him. When he spotted him, a Levite passed by on the opposite side. A traveling Samaritan noticed the man and felt pity for him. He wrapped him with oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took care of him, and left.”
The Good Samaritan was the person who helped the man on the side of the road who had been beaten and robbed. After the priest and Levite passed by the poor man without helping him or showing any mercy, the Samaritan helped him and saved his life.
What is a Good Samaritan Law?
The National Library of Medicine has an article about Good Samaritan Laws. The article says that Good Samaritan laws are mostly for doctors who help people outside of a traditional medical setting.
If they help someone in need without expecting anything in return, the law protects them.
Another illustration of a Good Samaritan law is one that has been passed by over 40 states and the District of Columbia in an effort to combat the opioid epidemic.
Because of this scenario, anyone who is present during an overdose or who is experiencing it themselves is less likely to get in trouble if they phone 911, regardless of whether or not they have any drugs on them at the time.
The NLM article says, “As a society, we are better off if potential rescuers (i.e., good Samaritans) are only worried about helping a person in need and not about the possible liability that comes with helping their neighbor.”
How do Good Samaritan laws affect active shooting?
Theoretically, the likelihood of a mass casualty scenario is decreased if one or more persons in an active shooter situation are armed with concealed weapons and are trained to use them.
In the massacre at the Greenwood Park Mall, an individual with a concealed weapons permit—even though firearms were not legally permitted there—acted bravely to prevent the shooter from killing more people.
The outcome of this lawsuit will probably have a big impact on gun control in the future.