1. achorusline
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    achorusline New Member

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    Urban Crime Question

    Discussion in 'Research' started by achorusline, May 11, 2013.

    Hi all,

    This is my first post here! Oh happy day!

    I have a question regarding a scene in my novel. Two characters (incidentally, both women) are involved in a late night confrontation in a very seedy part of a city. Let's call them A and B.

    A has a gun to B's head. B works in the area so maybe she's a familiar face to some of the rougher neighborhood types, though it's unlikely.

    So: How logical/plausible is it that someone, whether just a passer-by or someone from the area would try to hit A with their car, in the hopes of hurting A and letting B get away (therefore saving B's life)? Would anyone actually do that?

    By the end of the scene, A needs to be badly hurt, but I don't want B to be the one who actually hurt her. I'm not sure how A can get hurt in this scenario without some kind of third-party intervention, and it would be convenient to my storyline if she had gotten hit by a car. Can anyone else think of how A could get hit during this scene? Maybe if the standoff actually takes place in the middle of the street to begin with?

    (My other concern, aside from the dubious plausibility of someone actually hitting someone with a car to try to save someone else, is that if A got hit by a car while holding a gun to B's head, it's likely B would have gotten hurt too. But she didn't.)

    Any help would be appreciated. I am aware how privileged I am, in that I don't have the faintest idea in re: how to answer this question.

    Peace.
     
  2. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    If the person holding the gun was holding the gun to the other person's head that would mean they were standing next to each other. So it would be nearly impossible to have one party hit by the car and not the other. Plus if someone drove up the person holding the gun would most likely see the car approaching and shoot the driver or at the very least shoot at them. Your best bet is having someone on foot intervene.
     
  3. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Not if you have had Mario Kart training.

    Anyway, I don't believe it is very likely since for all the passerby knows the one holding the gun could be a cop or someone protecting his own life.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto all of the above... i think you need to rethink what it is you want to happen...
     
  5. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    There's no way that a car will hit B without hitting A as well. Besides, why wouldn't a passerby just call 911?
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe the third party doesn't care about B, but has a reason to hurt A, and takes the opportunity. Or perhaps third party C is a drunk driver (make it around closing time). Either way, both A and B get thrown, but A is seriously hurt while B Suffers nothing more than minor cuts and abrasions, maybe some bruising. It happens.

    But even the original premise can work if you sell it well. It's a snap decision, not a well-reasoned one, and you still roll the hit dice for A and B separately. If you tell t with conviction and style, your readers will buy it.
     
  7. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Haha True. :)

    Now that I think about there are lots of ways it could go down. How anyone would react would depend on their own character and personality. Some people would get a gut feeling something was off others would prefer to stay out of it. Either way Cog is right. You can sell anything if you write it properly. :)
     
  8. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I refuse to believe that you can sell a random passerby hitting a complete stranger with his car on purpose without knowing the circumstances, not to any half-sentient adult and even more so if the stranger is a woman. And if A has the gun right at B's head, a car hitting her would probably make the gun go off since when in danger the human body clenches automatically to minimize damage.
     
  9. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    Need more information about A and B. Why are they having this altercation? Why does A have a gun? Is she willing to use it?

    Right now, anything can happen without the context or any specific details. A could be an undercover officer of the law, just doing her job. A could be a criminal. For all we know, A's gun doesn't even need to be loaded. What would that add to your story?
     
  10. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    The question doesn't refer to either A or B, but rather C the passerby. You don't need to know anything about A and B because C wouldn't either.
     
  11. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    Yes, but would C even be a necessity if we knew more about A and B and their situation?

    What are the limits of who A and B are that the ONLY option out of this is to have a third party come into the situation?
     
  12. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Your point is moot. A and B could be members of the pink elephant secret police in disguise for all you know and it still wouldn't affect an answer to the question. What the OP asked is not a way out of the situation, but how plausible HIS way out of the situation is. Which is not at all.
     
  13. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Put some distance between A and B. A is using a cheap or old revolver and the cylinder doesn't line up with barrel or chambered with overpowered reloads. Gun explodes in hand. A is stunned and steps back (or B pushes A) into traffic. C never has to know either A or B. Alternately, they could be on an overpass (bridge) or rooftop and A stumbles back and falls. No need for a C
     
  14. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Let's assume C has some antipathy towards A or is friends with B and C doesn't have any qualms in putting a hurt on A. C is sitting in a parked car. B is standing a couple of yards from the car (let's say four steps in front of the car, two to the side, out of its direct path). A steps over so that she's standing a step or two away from the car's bumper, right in front of the car. She's so focused on B, that she hasn't noticed C (it would help if the car's engine was already running, but the lights were off). Then all C needs to do is raise the clutch/step on it, the car needs to move only a couple of yards to mow down A.

    A lot depends on A's gun handling: if she's holding a pistol and she's basically threatening B, but hasn't decided to kill her yet, A might have her trigger finger against the gun's frame (like all well-trained shooters when they haven't made the choice to fire the gun yet), so if the car struck her, the gun wouldn't go off. She might have her finger on the trigger, but the gun might be pointed somewhere at B's feet, then it wouldn't matter that much if the gun went off because it's unlikely she would hit B. Even if A was pointing the gun at B and had her finger on the trigger, if there's even, say, five yards between them, if the car bumps into A, it's unlikely the bullet would hit B, because the impact of the car would affect A's aim to the degree, that her aim would be off when the gun went off when the car bumps into her.

    That way, I think it might be credible.
     
  15. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    This would be slightly plausible if the driver was both a gangster and someone who knew B well.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm sure you can't be wrong, but you might not be right.

    You've already asserted a couple times that you find it completely implausible. That doesn't mean it is necessarily implausible to everyone else, in every way it could be written.

    I certainly agree that it's a hard sell. Keep in mind that achorusline's scenario doesn't leave a lot of time for reasoned consideration, and that it only takes an instant to yank the steering wheel to the right (or the left in the UK).
     
  17. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Doesn't necessarily need to be a gangster (which I understand as a "professional criminal," and a member of a criminal organization), just someone who has the mental capacity to hurt someone. C doesn't even need to know B well as such, it could be a guy she's just been to a first date with, he's developed a huge crush on her, and doesn't mind seriously hurting/killing someone to save B. There's a bunch of reasons the athor could use to explain why C would be motivated to run A over.
     
  18. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    The term "gangster" was misused as I was referring to a professional criminal who may or may not belong to a criminal organization, a person who wouldn't think twice about hurting someone without a reason (closer to a sociopath or psychopath).
    I am sorry if I seem overly insistent on the implausibility issue, but since this is a conversation I feel like we need to present arguments to support our opinion.
    The OP said that C (the driver) is either a passerby or someone from the area who might know B's face and therefore has no real relation to A or B. If C has a personal relation with B or they are dating it is a completely different subplot with completely different answers. From what I understood from the original question I assumed that C isn't related in any way to A and might or might not remember seeing B's face in the area.
    Moreover A and B are both women. Unless the story takes place in an alternate society, C would think twice before running a woman he/she doesn't know over. Protecting women is an instinct instilled in people in most advanced societies and has been so for thousands of years.
     
  19. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    Okay I totally misread everything. I was on meds, sick at home last night.

    That being said, Xatron, I don't think my point was totally off-track and if majority of the responses have pertained to the implausibility of OP's way out, wouldn't it be helpful to open his eyes to other ways out?

    I still want to know what motivates C to run A over in order to save B. What is B and C's relationship? It would be hard for me to buy that a total stranger would potentially kill someone in order to save a stranger, without knowing the circumstances. It would be more plausible for C to intervene if C was, say, a witness in a convenience store robbery and B was the robber. But a person holding a gun against someone on the street? Unless one of them is a uniformed officer, there's no immediate way of knowing what's going on.

    Even if C wasn't a total stranger, it's a huge fucking decision to run someone over. Potentially life-changing.
     
  20. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Oh yeah, I forgot that C was supposed to be a total stranger or someone who just recognizes B's face. In that case I'd say C would have to be some sort of a Travis Bickle: a little cuckoo, twitchy trigger finger, jumps to conclusions, and doesn't really mind killing a person. But it'd be a tad too coincidental for my taste that a 1/1 000 000 person like that would appear at the 11th hour to save B's hide. If C is supposed to be a "normal" person, the psychological plausibility of the scene goes out the window. At least in my opinion.
     
  21. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    First I'm not sure why the gender of the passerby is relevant. Second it's not all that implausible. People react without thinking things through all the time. I don't think I've ever met a person who hasn't done something completely off the wall that had them questioning their sanity later. As for the car I think it's far fetched but stranger things have happened. You hear about freak accidents now and then that defy all logic. If it's framed properly I think it could be sold. I do agree it would be very challenging to sell. I still think someone on foot would make more sense. People don't always make sense or behave in a sensible manner and characters should be like actual people even if they are only present for a page or two.
     
  22. Huck
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    A few of the replies insist that someone couldn't run one person over & still miss the other - but its a bloody gun you don't hold it so close that the person could do some kung fu & reverse the situation, you stay back a good meter atleast.

    Anyway if you want a car to come along the driver would most likely stop dead in the road in shock & weighing up the situation thinking if the person with the gun is a good guy, a cop or the bad guy?
    I guess it becomes a standoff, but the good Samaritan realizes there is no police car or backup & why isnt he handcuffing him? so it cant be a cop so he realizes he is also in danger now.
    Who's going to react first? the driver would most likely reverse his car back up the road, she fires at the car causing him to reverse into a parked car maybe..
    Is the victim going to fight back during this moment of distraction?, is the car driver going to limp up the road with a small firearm & save the day?

    You did say its a seedy part of town, if somebody's going to intervene it could be a undercover police officer, or is it a car full of gang bangers, a prostitute driving along doing her makeup, are they on the sidewalk or on the road?
     

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