Re: When is it time to step in?
I think the right time for someone to intervene is that second when you feel that the person is in serious danger, from whatever threat i.e. a gang, domestic violence, a drunken attack etc. And that you don't feel that anything can rebound back onto you i.e. the person attacking you, the law intervening against you etc.
Since what is evidently increasing in many countries, is the carrying of weapons (knives mainly); this being especially so in Britain. People have to be more and more careful when they perform what could be considered one of their civic duties. Like Jean de Rochefort said "being a hero is very rewarding", but isn't there some extent where we also have a sense of self protection; almost like something that is built into our mind saying that there could be danger if you intervene?
I remember watching a TV program called Crimewatch (a UK based TV show appealing for witnesses to particular crimes across Britain) where there was an argument in the middle of the street between a man and a women, a man intervened for some particular reason and as a result the man got severely beaten up alongside another intervening women helping him.
Today, society has considerably changed although I can not say of places like Japan or America. People are now becoming almost more aggressive possibly because society is demanding it from them, for whatever reason that may be.
For me the right time would be when I now it is safe to do so, although that may seem bad or whatever, self-preservation is the bottom line to our lives.
Sorry for parts which may seem confusing but it seemed right when it was in my head.