Sandra Dick: Have-a-go heroes tread a fine line

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So there you are, going about your business when suddenly someone walks up to you and tries to steal your money. Do you hand it over, because surely that’s what you pay the insurance company to cover you for? Or do you get a big wooden stick and bash the culprit over the head?

Hail Bonnyrigg shopkeeper Muhammad Kashif, 22, who when confronted by a knife-wielding hooded raider kept cool, bided his time and then ‘Splat!’, crowned the villain over the napper with a wooden pole.

I do hope he followed up with a knee to the groin – in for a penny in for a pound and all that.

But confronting other people’s unacceptable behaviour is, of course, a huge gamble. What if the knifeman had dodged that swinging pole and made a lunge with his 12-inch blade? Or to a lesser extent, if the driver of the car I recently confronted after they almost smashed into me, had decided to deck the gobby woman who chased them down so she could rant on about stop signs and idiots who shouldn’t be allowed to drive?

Standing up to someone’s foul behaviour is all well and good, sacrificing your own well-being less so.

Take the online video currently doing the rounds of a Texan father and daughter who come across burglars and gave chase. Kevin Smith and daughter Alana are seen pursuing the culprits’ vehicle over bumpy roads until in a terrifying twist, the baddies’ truck does a sudden U-turn, hits the accelerator and heads straight for them.

“Oh, OK,” says Mr Smith casually, as if someone has just told him his shoelaces are undone as opposed to finding himself on the verge of obliteration. Later he shrugged off the resulting collision saying his area had been targeted by burglars and “We are not going to tolerate it any more”.

While Mr Smith sounds like a handy chap to have next door, many will remember events of almost exactly ten years ago, close to Mr Kashif’s shop, which ended in truly tragic circumstances.

David Dunn was a 63-year-old retired miner with a bit of a gammy leg and some pigeons that he liked to race. One day in October 1994 he stumbled across an armed bank robbery in the town’s High Street. An old man wielding a bag of shopping, however, was no match for yobs with a gun.

There is, sadly, a very fine line between being hailed a ‘have-a-go hero’ and actually living to tell the tale.

To have a go or not? The correct answer really is in the lap of the Gods.