Where Is The Shame And Responsibility?

by admin on November 14, 2013

Read this news story in its entirety and then come back here for further discussion.

William Medina and Robert De Carr donned face masks and used the threat of violence to rob a small convenience store at gunpoint. Upon leaving the store they were confronted by a private citizen who had witnessed the robbery, called 911, and demanded that the thieves stop and wait for police. When the robbers refused and pulled out their guns, the citizen shot them in self-defense and killed them. Almost all of the situation was captured on video surveillance cameras.   Yet the family of William Medina and Robert De Carr would have you believe these were “good men” who did not deserve to die and that justice is needed against the man who confronted them and then defended him to the point of killing them both.

“It’s not fair,” said Virginia Medina, mother of 24-year-old William Medina, who police said robbed Krick’s Korner store alongside 18-year-old Robert De Carr on Monday. The two men were shot and killed by a private citizen while leaving the store, and family members want to see charges pressed.

“[William] had no right to lose his life over something that man could have called the police for,” said Medina. “He took the law into his own hands and walked away scot-free.”

“How about if people just start running around here, policing the city on their own? How much worse is it going to get?” said Peter Ratel, Medina’s cousin.

The family members said they are hurt by comments suggesting the alleged robbers were “thugs.” According to Medina, William was “no big hard criminal” and was rather a family-man who loved his young daughter. Robert De Carr was described similarly by his sister, Taylor De Carr. “My brother was a good kid,” she told 69 News.

While family members are demanding justice, police and prosecutors said the man who shot and killed the two suspects acted within the law.

What makes this news story fascinating is the definition of what constitutes a “good man” by two different families.   Are the families indicative of a greater cultural malaise evidenced by the lost ability to feel shame or understand responsibility?   The families blame an innocent passerby who was legally carrying a firearm (something you cannot do if you have a criminal background) for trying to stop their evil relatives from committing a violent crime.  Where is the anger at their kinfolk for masking their faces, using guns to terrify an innocent shopkeeper with the threat of death in order to rob him of his hard earned money?  The families are so warped in their perspective of justice, goodness, responsibility and who is deserving of being labeled as possessing such noble character qualities that they are threatening to sue the unnamed citizen who killed their “good” men.   There is nothing “good” about men with so little regard for the rights of others that they are willing to forcibly, under threat of death, to take something they did not earn.

How can there be any hope for a civil society if “goodness” is defined by how much you love your family but have so little regard for your neighbor?

 

“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world.”   Francis Bacon

{ 152 comments… read them below or add one }

Celia November 15, 2013 at 1:48 am

The act was deplorable I do not doubt that for a second however I draw the line at “there is nothing good” about the men who did this.
I don’t know that. I don’t know that they weren’t loving husbands, great fathers, helpful neighbours. Those things might be a stretch but the reality is none of us know that.
Their families are entitled to their grief at losing loved ones as they experienced them to be.
I have no comment about the citizen who shot them. He acted within the law. I can’t imagine he’s feeling fantastic right now.

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Celia November 15, 2013 at 1:49 am

Sorry to double post but I also don’t expect their families to feel shame or a sense of responsibility for what these men did. They did not do it and are not responsible for their actions. I won’t judge them in their grief.

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Marian Perera November 15, 2013 at 6:28 am

I have to say, if I was in a convenience store and a face-masked stranger pulled a gun on me, I would not think, “Oh, he just wants money. If I give him my money, he will leave without causing me further problems.”

I would be terrified that I was going to be abducted, raped and murdered after the guy robbed me. If you (generic you) pull a gun on someone, the person on the other end of the gun can’t read your mind. That person doesn’t know if you have no intention of actually pulling the trigger. He or she has to assume you will (you’ve committed one crime already, what’s another?). Causing someone this kind of terror is an evil act in my book, and that’s why I consider such an armed robbery evil even if no one is actually injured during it.

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Clever Username November 15, 2013 at 7:23 am

“The families blame an innocent passerby who was legally carrying a firearm (something you cannot do if you have a criminal background) for trying to stop their evil relatives from committing a violent crime. ”

The problem with this statement is that the man who shot the robbers was *not* trying to prevent a violent crime from occurring, he was trying to prevent them from getting away with it. Since video cameras captured the entire incident, I doubt that these two men would’ve ultimately “gotten away with it,” but killing these robbers rather than allow them to escape is the more “evil” act in my opinion. The robbers did not physically harm anyone, they only threatened to. Also – describing people (rather than their actions) in such pejorative language is very effective in invalidating any argument that is made.

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Yarnspinner November 15, 2013 at 8:21 am

Have written and erased a response several times here. Sadly, this sort of decline has been going on for years without ever being addressed. Or at least not addressed in any way that adequately defines and attacks the causes and attitudes that create the environment.

Thirty years ago, I had a job where I wrote summaries of magazine and newspaper articles for a reference index. One of those articles stays with me to this day: after the holiday recess in the Chicago school system a young girl, maybe thirteen or fourteen, was headed for school when she was caught and beaten to death by two of her classmates.

Why? For Christmas she had received a new jacket that was in fashion back then. Her attackers were captured by police and jailed.

The consensus of the attackers’ families AND the neighborhood in general was that the victim had it coming. Not because she had insulted the girls or because SHE had attacked them or had ever been mean. (There was some indication these girls may have all been friends.) No, she had something they wanted and it was not fair that they didn’t get the same jacket for Christmas and what else COULD they have done but kill her for the jacket.

The latest round of this “it was their fault for existing” not guilty plea is making the rounds of cities right now as teens in many areas play a scary game called “Knockout”. Teens search for a vulnerable victim, elderly people, young women, people who seem weak or incapable of fighting back (although they use the element of surprise and often take down folks stronger than themselves), run up to the target and punch them in the face, the side of the head or from behind. The blow is so hard the victim is literally knocked out, often falling face first to the ground.

People defend this as “a game” and that no one gets hurt. No, no one except the person with a concussion and broken teeth. One near victim, a young father with his child, somehow realized he was being approached by one of these kids (the attacker had a taser out) and he kicked the pins out of the young man before he could hurt anyone.

Naturally the family griped about their child being harmed by someone who couldn’t take a joke.

Someone up the column said this wasn’t really an etiquette issue. Perhaps, in the literal sense, it’s a legal issue. But in the moral sense and the ethical? While good parenting doesn’t always guarantee positive results with all children, MOST parents try to instill a positive moral code in their child, try to teach them empathy, try to teach them about delayed gratification and personal responsibility. Isn’t etiquette about these things, about getting along with others and learning to be gracious and mature?

Unfortunately, too many parents of WHATEVER background seem to have been raised without learning these attributes and sincerely believe that they and their children/grandchildren are entitled to whatever they want.

I saw examples of this every day for seven years while I was working in a small branch library. Many of those children were raised by single parents who taught them that the world owed them a living and they should take it by force. One woman used to egg her eight year old son to beat up other children because they had gotten better grades in school, got something for Christmas he couldn’t have and so forth. She used to scream at him to “Kick the little ****** harder” and would, according to neighbors, threaten the lives of other adults when they intervened.

One day several of the children who had been victims of this little model citizen got together in the parking lot by the library and waited for him. While we didn’t see it because of where it took place, we heard about it from the other kids. They watched as the Model Citizen was punched and kicked and had his face rubbed in the sand. They wouldn’t have told us about it at all, except his mother came in to scream at us for not intervening and stopping the others from beating up “innocent little baby”. She called us names that should not be repeated in a children’s library and threatened us with retribution for not saving her child. (Who was in the next day and looking fine, BTW…and who didn’t dare pick on kids smaller than himself again.)

Unfortunately, our reaction was probably as insensitive as hers had been toward her son’s victims.

“Dang,” said one of my coworkers “if I had known about that I’d have got some popcorn and gone out to watch.”

I often wonder if that little boy has upped his activities to armed robbery and assault. He’d be about the age of the two men in this article. I am sure his mother would say the same thing.

I have no suggestions on what fixes this, but can only wonder WHY anyone thinks they have the right to beat others, take from others by force and then, somehow, make their victims the guilty parties for either defending themselves or, in the case of the Chicago girl, being dead AND having something someone else wanted.

I cried every day after reading that article because I was very young and naïve and couldn’t believe others could think the way the attackers and their families did. I don’t cry as much these days, but I sigh and shake my head and wonder what kind of world my niece and my friends’ grandchildren are facing.

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KarenK November 15, 2013 at 8:45 am

I can’t add anything to the discussion that hasn’t already been said, but I wanted to say that if this story had been debated on any other discussion board on the internet, it would have degraded into name-calling and profanity. That is why I love this site!

BTW: I’m in the “cut the family some slack” department, with a side order of “vigilante should not have confronted the robbers, but once he did, he did shoot them in self-defense,” if that makes sense.

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AMC November 15, 2013 at 9:22 am

Through my work, I’ve taken a number of emergency response courses and have trained in how to respond to different types of emergency situations including fire, weather emergencies, CPR, first aid, triage, and hostile intruders. At no time during that training were we ever told to confront a potentially dangerous person with a deadly weapon. We are not law enforcement and do not have the necessary training or skills to take control of such a situation. Our job is to notify the authorities and keep ourselves and others alive until police & EMTs arrive on scene. I get that the citizen in this case did what he felt he had to do, and the police have been clear that he operated within the boundaries of the law. But I really don’t want to encourage private citizens to take the law into their own hands because they may make a dangerous situation much, much worse.

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Daquiri40 November 15, 2013 at 9:38 am

We had a man shot after assaulting someone and leading the police on a multi-city, high-speed chase. He finally abandoned the car and ran into a car repair garage. He shot at the police and was finally shot dead by a policeman. The man’s mother said that if her son really meant any harm, he would have shot one of the policemen and he didn’t, so they had no right to kill him.

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Rod November 15, 2013 at 11:44 am

I rarely use adjectives such as “evil” to describe people. However, I do frequently comment on how people put themselves in bad situation through poor choices. I’ve been the victim of armed robbery 3 times and in those occasions there was nothing to do about them. But when you can, I believe I have the ethical duty to stop someone from being damaged – either in body, mind, or possessions. In that order, too.

I don’t own a weapon, but my dad does. He took it out of locking to stop a breaking into the neighbours house. Didn’t need to pull it out. In fact, you don’t pull it out unless you intend to use it.

I disagree with regard to the “call the police, let someone else sort it out” non-involvement. Although in a different situation altogether, I’ve intervened to assist a hurt and bleeding person in the street, chase and ID a robber (not fought him), and actively stopped a guy from physically abusing his girlfriend (or at least lady friend, I didn’t ask if they were married/engaged/eloped etc.). Emergencies had been called all those times, but I believe the girl in the last case would have been seriously hurt and the hurt person in the first example robbed and sacked if someone didn’t assist him. But hey, hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Right? How did that work for Kitty Genovese?

I was not raised to

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Ergala November 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm

My husband has always told me (we have/had shot guns)….if you have to take the gun out because someone is in our home you do not do it unless you fully intend to shoot to kill. He has taught me how to load it, check it, unload it and where to aim for. Center of mass….head is too small a target. I always kind of laughed because one of them is a pump action and I imagine the sound it makes would be enough to scare anyone off. But he was absolutely right, you don’t pull out a gun unless you are going to shoot someone. Guns are machines made to put holes in things, know where you’re going to put the hole.

We had a case a few years back here that rocked our community. A young man I went to school with and whose sister was my sister’s best friend was murdered. The person who shot him was a 15 year old boy and it was in the boy’s home. J (my friend’s brother who was shot) was at the house hooking up with the kid’s mother. The kid went into his room and got his shot gun. He pointed it at J and pulled the trigger but the gun didn’t go off because the safety was on. So he turned off the safety and pulled the trigger again and shot J in the chest, killing in him instantly. He then called 911 to report what he had just done. So many people wanted this kid’s head on a stake. So did I at first, and then I found out the history of this child. His mother has severe bipolar and is unmedicated (by her own choice). She would hook up with men and then lock her two children in their rooms or in a closet so that they wouldn’t disturb her while these guys were there. The kid had finally snapped and sadly it was J who was the one who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. My friend, she works in mental health with troubled families. She has absolutely zero sympathy for this young man and wanted him locked up for life for killing J. He just got off parole because he completed his 6 year sentence with it, is living with his grandparents and is in intensive therapy. He got a full time job, finished school and is showing progress. She was furious they let him off parole. I feel so so bad for her….her mother even killed herself a year after J died because she couldn’t bear the pain of his death anymore. My friend has lost pretty much her entire family in a chain reaction. But I honestly thought that out of everyone involved that she’d have more understanding of why it happened. Grief can cover your eyes and make you have tunnel vision. One of the big reasons I give grieving families a pass in a lot of situations.

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admin November 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm

While I agree that grief can be a reason why someone behaves erratically, I don’t believe grief strips a person of their basic convictions or character.

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Calli Arcale November 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Marian –

“I would be terrified that I was going to be abducted, raped and murdered after the guy robbed me. If you (generic you) pull a gun on someone, the person on the other end of the gun can’t read your mind.”

Indeed. If a person is pulling a gun on you, the cashier, then the only thing stopping them actually pulling that trigger (as far as you know) is that you are of some use to them because you can open the cash register. Once you’ve done that, you are no longer useful to them. In fact, you are a threat, because you can identify them. So there is still a threat even if you do cooperate with them.

That said, I don’t carry a weapon, so I would probably cooperate, because it would be my best shot at survival. Better to live another four minutes than die now.

“Four minutes? That’s ages. What if I get bored? Can I have a television? Books? Anyone for chess? Bring me knitting!”

:-D

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padua November 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm

the rape and murder of “Kitty” Genovese: if you recall, this was a woman whose cries was reportedly heard by multiple neighbours who purportedly called the police for help but did nothing to intervene. she died. i’m sure she would have appreciated the intervention of someone like the ‘vigilante citizen’ that many people are criticizing. the fact is, we can’t always rely on justice to intevene, because justice isn’t always around every corner waiting to help. sometimes we need to be able to rely on each other.

if someone is carrying a firearm and uses it to threaten someone else, then it doesn’t make any sense to give him the benefit of the doubt. you pick up a weapon and threaten to use it- i’m going to assume you’re capable of doing so. it’s a good thing the shopkeeper wasn’t hurt in the process. but even better, is there was someone nearby willing to help if he was. many people would have avoided the scene and that’s a shame.

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Laura November 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

It really bothers me that people are calling the shooter a vigilante. What would have happened if he simply called the cops, and then let the two robbers on their merry way, where they proceed to go to another store and rob it, this time killing someone. If it would have happened that way, and it was found out that the shooter had a gun and did nothing to stop the robbery aside from call the police, people would be bemoaning the fact that he didn’t do anything to stop it.

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Valeria November 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

The families of these men don’t bear responsibility for their actions. They were adults, and the responsibility is theirs alone. As robbers, they deserved to be apprehended by the police and forced to stand trial, as is legal in this country. The “concerned citizen”, after having dialed 911, had no further responsibility to confront these men. It was foolish and risky. I don’t know his motivation, but we recently had a highly publicized case of a man, George Zimmerman, who imagined himself a vigilante hero, harassing, pursuing, and finally confronting and shooting an unarmed teenager. He thought that having a gun gave him that right. Where is his shame and responsibility? Where are his heartfelt apologies to the parents of the child he murdered? I don’t recall a post on this site when that happened. Surely this wasn’t appropriate etiquette?

We have a legal system and a police force in this country. They are trained and paid to confront and apprehend criminals. Civilians not trained to do this have no business butting in simply because they carry a gun on their person. If you own a sharp knife, does that make you qualified to perform a tracheotomy on a choking victim? These men, even though they were criminals, didn’t deserve to die for what they did. Death is NOT the punishment for robbery in this country. I don’t know their motives and reasons for doing what they did, and I won’t speculate on them. The store owner lost some money, but they lost their lives. It was the risk they took by committing a crime, but it doesn’t mean it’s good, or an appropriate punishment for their offense.

Owning a gun doesn’t make one trained to deal with violence. It certainly doesn’t make one morally entitled to pass judgment on whether other people live or die. People in this country, both the police and private citizens, are way too quick to escalate situations that could have been resolved without loss of life. This “concerned citizen” chose to kill. He could have easily wounded these men, but he killed them, either by choice or because he didn’t know how to inflict non-lethal wounds. Either way, what he did was wrong, no matter what his motivation. He has to bear that responsibility. At the very least, any decent person will feel regret at the thought of ending a life, never mind two. Killing is never heroic. Any solider will tell you this.

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Jeff February 16, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Can you read the article, even the police say the robbers drew their guns on this citizen……so he shot them first. Even after he shot the first robber, the other robber didn’t give up he drew his gun, and he was shot too. What was the citizen supposed to do, let the robbers shoot at him while he waits for the police to arrive.

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Wolf Chick November 15, 2013 at 2:48 pm

It’s tragic these men had to die. I understand their families are upset. They *may* have been good in the past, they *may* have been able to be good in the future, but my personal opinion is “good” people don’t commit felony armed robbery and use the threat of deadly violence if you don’t comply with their demands. I am glad the man who had to shoot to defend his life cannot be sued. It would have been better to wait for the police, but if the thieves had drawn down on the police, the police would have shot to kill. Would the mother then be saying it was unfair? The media also need to stop sticking cameras and microphones in the faces of people who have lost loved ones.

The idea that you can shoot to maim/disarm is a little unrealistic. You would have to be an expert marksman to make a shot like that. There were 2 criminals pointing guns at him, so he is actually lucky he wasn’t shot as well.

As a victim and survivor of a crime committed at gunpoint, I take issue with people who think ordinary citizens should not be able to carry firearms. If you are granted a permit, take a firearm safety course and are of sound mind, there is no reason that an citizen should not own and carry a firearm. It is a constitutional right. Criminals will find ways to secure firearms no matter what, so sometimes, ordinary citizens have to protect and defend themselves. IF I had been carrying a firearm the night I was attacked, you better believe I would have shot.

I now own a firearm. I have permit to carry a concealed firearm. I have taken a firearm safety course. I go to the firing range a couple times a year. I have only had to draw down on 1 person since I purchased my firearm. A young man who thought it was a good idea to sneak up behind a woman to try to scare her, in a convenience store parking lot, just off the interstate, at night, as a joke to show off for his friends. If he had not dropped to the ground when he saw my .380, he would probably not be with us today. But I am willing to bet he will never sneak up behind a woman again.

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just4kicks November 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm

@NostalgicGal: I thank you very much for the prayers. It means alot. I’ve been sexually harassed, screamed at, cursed at, called f@&!$ing stupid, and my “favorite” was a few weeks ago when a well dressed couple came to buy lotto tickets and when I said (just making friendly small talk) that I’m not greedy a million or two would be great, the woman looked me up and down and said, “yes, I’m sure a million WOULD get you out of government housing…..”. I (after I picked my jaw up off the ground!) said, “actually…My family and I live in a very nice renovated farm house a few minutes from here.” The “lady” looked at me and went “hmmmm hmmmm…..”. True story. Good thing I wasn’t packing that night! Joking, of course…. :)

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Jaxsue November 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm

My younger DS is a security guard at a Navy base. He carries a gun. He was vetted in every way possible (by the military). I hope he never has to use his gun, because that would mean he has to be willing to use deadly force. PPs are correct in that it is difficult to “disarm” a perp by simply wounding him.

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Natosha November 16, 2013 at 2:49 am

“While I agree that grief can be a reason why someone behaves erratically, I don’t believe grief strips a person of their basic convictions or character.”

I very much disagree with this…you must have never lost someone close to you.

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admin December 27, 2013 at 9:28 am

That would be an interesting and erroneous presumption on your part considering that I have lost both my father and my father-in-love in the past 2 years. Grief can strip away the veneer mask people wear to reveal the real content of the heart, however.

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Marian Perera November 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

Calli Arcale –

“Once you’ve done that, you are no longer useful to them. In fact, you are a threat, because you can identify them. So there is still a threat even if you do cooperate with them.”

Recently I read about the Petit family home invasion. Apparently one of the criminals involved took Mrs Petit to a bank where she could withdraw money for them. She indicated to the teller that the criminals just wanted money and that they had been “nice” to her.

After she was taken back to her home, she was raped and strangled, while her two children were murdered.

You’re right, it’s usually best to cooperate with someone who’s threatening you, because you don’t want to give them an excuse to pull the trigger. Plus, if cooperating can give you a chance to live longer or buy time to escape, all the more reason to do so. But I don’t believe that such criminals just want money and will leave me unharmed. Though I can see how someone actually in such a situation would hope that it’s not as bad as it seems and that cooperation will result in their being safe.

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Angel November 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I agree with the admin here. When you pull a gun on someone that is a clear and present threat of violence. The person had a right to fight back. It’s too bad for the families that they raised a couple of criminals–but they were just that, criminals. I would rather see them go down than a couple of innocent people. People who rob a store at gunpoint do so at their own risk. If you get to a point in your life where you are so desperate or have such a skewed sense of morals and values that you are compelled to rob a store and threaten people, you are not a “good person.” You are and will continue to be a drain on society. And it may sound callous but that private citizen probably did the rest of the community a favor. The sad thing is I’m sure the “victims’” families will probably try to bring a wrongful death lawsuit and may even win. Disgusting but that’s the sort of society we live in today.

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knitwicca November 17, 2013 at 9:05 am

As someone who grew up with firearms, came from a family of cops and has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, I take umbrage on the word “vigilante” being thrown toward the man who stopped the robbers.
Vigilantes are people who go out looking for perpetrators. They are on the hunt.

What this man did was act as a concerned citizen. He observed a crime in progress, called the police and attempted a non-violent citizen’s arrest. The robbers are the ones who put his life in danger when they drew their weapons on him.

A few years ago, in a town not far from my home, a man broke into an occupied home and assaulted one of the family members with a knife. Another family member saw this and shot the criminal. The local news media asked that the shooter be prosecuted for murder.
I loved the response from the Chief of Police (backed by the City Prosecutor). “There will be no charges filed. This is an obvious response to a life-threatening situation in your own home. Let me make it clear to the bad guys. In our town, our citizens have the legal right to protect themselves and those in their homes to the extent that the criminal threatens. In other words, you want to kill someone? Be prepared to be the one who ends up on a slab.”

For the record, that town has one of the largest number of concealed weapons permits in the state. And the lowest crime rate.

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Kylynara November 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm

On one hand I can understand the families are speaking from shock and grief. I’m not sure if they had any prior knowledge that men were involved in illegal activities. Add in that people who knew serial killers are often stunned to find out that they were serial killers. I find it hard to blame the families for being unable to realign their what they thought of these men so quickly.
On the other hand, I seem to recall a shooting at an Amish school several years ago where the families of the kids who died publicly forgave the shooter and (if I recall correctly) declined to press charges within about a day. (I believe that was not a crime where an individual had to press charges and the police prosecuted the guy anyway.) As such I can not fully absolve the family of any responsibility for their statements.

I do not consider the shooter a vigilante, though it could certainly be argued. To me a vigilante is someone who actively seeks to take the law into their own hands. Had this guy heard about this on a police scanner and rushed to get there and handle these criminals before the cops arrived, that would be vigilantism to me. As it was he happened to be in a somewhere, saw a crime taking place, and tried to prevent it from succeeding. I think we have to be VERY careful about considering that vigilantism. Under these exact circumstances, I don’t think it was the best situation. But had he showed up two minutes earlier while they were pointing the guns at the cashier and the same thing happened, we’d never know for sure whether or not he saved the cashier life. Had he come up on two men raping someone, should he have just called the cops and walked away assuming the cops would handle it. If it were anyone you knew or even yourself being raped, you’d have wanted him to intervene. As a good society, we should be VERY cautious about punishing those who intervene against evil if we do not want good men to stand by and let evil happen. And I use punish very loosely here, not simply to mean legal punishment, but also financial. To some degree, even a bunch of online postings lambasting him for standing up for good could have the effect of making him or others choose not to in the future. Not saying people don’t have every right to say it, just that maybe we should think hard about whether we really mean it. It’s certainly not like he had time to think through all the ins and outs before acting the way we do before commenting.

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admin November 17, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Regarding the Nickel Mine School shooting, the gunman killed himself before police could do it.

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Mabel November 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm

While it’s not a good idea to confront criminals unless you have police training, I don’t feel sorry for them. When you choose to break the law, you accept that there may be dangerous consequences. Perhaps the time for intervention on the part of their families was BEFORE they got to a point where they decided to do this.

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GG November 17, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Police budgets have been getting slashed so badly that response times are longer than ever As many comments have stated, if you pull out a gun it is because you intend to shoot to kill. Why wouldn’t this apply to the robbers as well? If two men are robbing people at gunpoint then it is safe to assume that they intend to use those guns. This man is not a vigilante. He did not grab a gun and go out looking for criminals to shoot. He did not chase down and shoot an unarmed teenager like George Zimmerman. He stopped a violent crime and saved the lives of everyone the two robbers may have shot dead.

Once guns are involved, you do not assume the robbers will leave you in peace if you give them money. You assume they will kill you so there are no witnesses. Sometimes just calling the police and leaving the situation up to them is not good enough. Until the police arrive you are on your own and a lot can happen during that time. Its unfortunate that these two young men felt they had no other options in life to earn money and lost their lives but they also made the decision to commit a violent felony.

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LizaJane November 18, 2013 at 10:29 pm

S, The poster clearly stated that the comparison between living together before marriage and crime was an ANALOGY to show that the more something is done, the more likely it is to become acceptable. She/ could have used women wearing pants, short skirts, men staying home and raising children or any number of other things to prove the point. That’s what an analogy is. I hope you’re not being purposefully obtuse.

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EchoGirl November 19, 2013 at 1:41 am

Couple things I wanted to add reading all the comments.

1. The “caring” drug dealer from a few posts back. Why can’t he be caring? In real life, many dealers do what they do because it’s the only way they see to get money. If he was a robber or something that would be different, but while drugs are harmful, it’s not the same as an assault. And no, I’ve never used drugs, I’m just a little saddened by the rush to judgement of someone who doesn’t directly hurt anyone. I don’t think it’s setting a low standard, it’s just teaching kids that these people are human too. It’s too easy to see people we dislike as monsters.

2. I think this goes back to some posts on this blog from awhile back about “dancing on the grave”. Not to say that the robbers didn’t set themselves up for this, but for a family to lose someone and then basically have all the coverage be about the horrible thing they did is probably more painful than I or most of us can imagine. Can’t we have a little compassion for the families?

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Jeff February 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Where was the robbers compassion for the clerk in the store, where was their compassion when they went to draw their guns , to shoot this citizen.

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Fung November 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm

everybody has their own truth to a story and the real truth lies in the middle and ignored

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BagLady November 20, 2013 at 12:48 am

I keep coming back to the fact that the man who killed the robbers confronted them and demanded that they wait for the police. Did he actually think they were going to agree to that? If he’s guilty of anything, it’s naivete in the first degree.

They pulled guns on him. He feared for his life and defended himself. It’s easy for those of us who weren’t there to say he should have shot to wound instead of shooting to kill, but we *weren’t* there.

Fact is, the baddest of bad guys/girls — even serial killers and mass murderers — have loved ones who will say they didn’t deserve to die. They were basically good people who were sick, were desperate, made bad choices. And in this case, the robbers’ families were right — they didn’t deserve to die. Armed robbery, as long as nobody gets killed in the commission of it, is not a capital crime in this country. But they took a gamble when they pulled their guns on the man who called the cops and confronted them — and they lost.

If it were my loved one who was killed, I would probably react — at least at first — as these families did. It has nothing to do with “having no shame” about my loved one’s actions; it’s just that shock, grief and anger are stronger than shame immediately after the fact. As for responsibility, these people are adults. I am only “responsible” for another person’s criminal acts if s/he is my minor child, or I put him/her up to committing the crime.

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Trawna November 20, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I’m from Toronto. Don’t get me started on the lost “ability to feel shame or understand responsibility”.

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Riri November 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm

I think descriptions like “so-and-so is a good person” and “she was so nice” are totally useless. Everyone is good to people that are close to them, and most people are “nice” when you don’t know them well. Conversely, everyone has their flaws, and you are just a small mistake from doing something that will land you in jail. There are no good or bad people, only good or bad actions. I’m sure the men’s families are very sad, but we, as third parties not involved in the action, should simply view it as, two men made poor decisions, and a third person performed an act in self defense that, unfortunately, ended in death. How nice the men were to their friends and families, and how much they loved their children, is irrelevant. The families should not be so quick to assign blame, but we should also not be so quick to judge the character of the men.

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Sunshine& Rainbows November 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm

“Killing is never heroic. Any solider will tell you this.”

I think never is way too strong of a word here, and the many police officers, soldiers and marines that I know would agree with me (my cousin considered being a sniper at one point, we had many serious discussions on this very point.)

Had the passengers of one of the flights on 9/11 managed to take out the terrorists, even if it meant killing them, would you consider that heroic?

The cop who shoots the bad guy who is holding a little boy hostage during a bank hold up?

The father who shoots the man in the middle of raping his 7 year old?

The solider who shoots the machine gunner that is mowing down his whole platoon?

Is it ugly and horrible? Always. Can it be heroic and necessary? Yes.

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Yarnspinner November 21, 2013 at 10:48 am

Sorry, but the “caring” drug dealer creates addicts and violence with his “non-violent” crime. S/he is responsible for the people who shoot down innocents to rob them or simply kill in a drug addled haze or break into homes and steal what hard working people have to fuel their drug addiction. Nope, the drug dealer may not be violent himself, but he leaves a trail of it wherever he goes…and he knows it.

As for making criminals human for children…well, yes, they are human. Let’s name a few: Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Gacy, Goehring, Mussolini, Pol Pot…..to name a few. (I’m leaving the biggest, baddest name OFF the list since to mention HIM is to lose your point completely).

I struggle daily to not dislike/judge/hate people who commit crimes of any sort…but I am exhausted from trying to find compassion. Our society has always glorified the bad guys: think of The James Brothers, Butch Cassidy, Guy Fawkes, Pretty Boy Floyd….even the Capones and the Dillingers have had their day being glorified.

Now we see a trend toward making them into victims, “good in some way” and so on. I’m sorry, I really am sorry, but at some point the gray line between good and evil has faded to almost nothing and we are left with a word where NOTHING is bad because the perpetrators “loved their family” or were “left without any other options in their view”.

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MichelleP November 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm

@EchoGirl, I hope you’re joking when you say that drug dealers don’t directly hurt anyone. Drugs lead to other crimes. Surely you know this. Where do you think drug addicts get the money to buy them??? Crimes like the ones described in this story. VICTIMS, that’s where. Are you delusional??

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DanaJ November 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I think it’s very, very difficult for family members to come to terms with the crimes of loved ones when they have seen no evidence of such behaviour themselves. When faced with something so incomprehensible, I can understand them saying: “But he was a GOOD man!” because they genuine had no idea what he was up to when he wasn’t home. I’ve seen that with parents who lost their son (my peer at the time) in an accident. “He was such a good kid! How could this happen?” but for those of us who went to school with him, he was a hard partier who had been drinking underage pretty much throughout high school. Of course he hid that from his parents – he didn’t want them to get mad. He was a straight-A student and his parents’ had a image of him a “squeaky-clean, good kid.” But he was also an irresponsible goof when they weren’t looking.

It’s a big shock when your image of someone is radically altered. So “But he was good!” I think is an expression of shock and giref. However demanding justice/revenge etc. when faced with cold, hard facts (such as video footage of your loved one robbing a store), is a sad commentary on society today. Personal responsibility is and accountability is dying out – it’s always someone else’s fault.

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Enna November 22, 2013 at 6:07 am

The families of the dead men are clearly grieving for the loss of their loved one. I believe the man who killed them must be feeling scared, confused, vulnerable and questioning himself: he’s got to live with the fact he’s killed two men and that cannot be easy. What he did in the eyes of the law may be legal but then it depends how the law is intuprted. This is tragic on all sides I think. Yes this man shot in self defeance but if he could go back in time would he have done the same thing? I think he did make a poor decision but he must have been very scared to behave in the way that he did. Was he right to intervene or not? Who knows. How as society can we stop this from happening again?

As for saying it was the armed robbers’ fault for robbing the place: yes they did put themselves in a dangerous sitaution but so did the man who shot them. I see both the robbers, the store owner and the man wo shot them all as victims of a situation that esculated. How were these men brought up? Is it nature or nuture? The thing is now those men cannot be arrested and tried for their crimes. Dividing people into good and bad is too simplistic – there are many shades of grey inbetween.

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livvy17 November 22, 2013 at 9:36 am

My kid is a good kid. But she still does bad things all the time, and gets punishied appropriately. When she was younger, and throwing a fit, she started hitting her dad. Dad warned her several times, “Don’t hit me, or I will hit you back” she continued, and eventually, did get a jab in the arm (not a full punch, no bruising, just enough to hurt). She knows now that if you’re going to hit someone, you’d better be prepared to be hit back.
This is what those young men should have been prepared for – if you use a gun, be prepared for a response in kind. The man outside wasn’t a vigilante, he defended himself, and kept the violence from spreading/repeating. The robbers could have declined to raise their weapons, and been arrested. They could have run away…no telling if the man would have actually shot them to prevent them from fleeing. But in any case, when they brought guns with them with the intention of robbing someone, they should have known that being met with equal force (from the shopkeeper or the police, if not the general public) would be a distinct possibility.

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livvy17 November 22, 2013 at 9:37 am

(And BTW, our daughter never hit my husband or I again after that one jab. )

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Lyn November 24, 2013 at 7:43 am

In my mind, these “good” men put themselves in a situation that was inherently dangerous to begin with. When you cross the line into criminality (robbing the store with guns) you take your chances. Was the citizen a vigilante? Yes and no. He had no way of knowing that the situation may have escalated and cost many lives. He had a split second decision to make and he made it. It is a heartbreaking situation for the families; however, if these “good” men had not armed themselves and committed a criminal offense, it never would have happened.

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oscar8 November 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Good men do not rob people. I would also add that smart men don’t play chicken with other armed men. The families are grieving but giving that kind of statement made it clear what kind of environment and mentality these guys came from. I would still love my son if he died that way, but I sure as heck would be blaming myself before I started blaming the man who stopped him.

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Enna November 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm

P.S I don’t think this was a good result for anyone. When two conflicting sides are armed someone is going to end up dead. There are so many “what if’s”. If the robbers had known he had a gun would they have raised their weapons or would they have shot him?

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Jeff February 16, 2014 at 5:31 pm

So just because he didn’t show his gun to the robbers before he told them to stop and wait, you should feel sympathetic to the robbers? the minute they decided to take 2 stolen guns and rob a store putting a clerk, the owner and a customers lives in danger, they lost any right for anyone to feel sympathetic for them. Second the citizen shot one robber when he pulled his gun, then the other robber when he saw his buddy shot, decides to turn around and raise his weapon, rather then giving up and waiting for police.

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LawGeek November 29, 2013 at 9:28 pm

As an attorney, I am also troubled by comments calling the shooter a “vigilante”. It is important not to conflate events that occurred in sequence, and not to attribute the ultimate outcome to the shooter’s previous actions.

He was well within his rights to confront the men. He called 911 and told them to wait for police when they tried to flee. At this point in time, his actions were entirely legal and non-violent. Many of us may find them dangerous and risky, but do not confuse these attributes with violence or legality.

He pulled his gun only when threatened with lethal force. At this point, he was entirely in the right – both legally and morally. He does not lose his right to defend himself merely because he had previously non-violently confronted them. The right to self defense does not evaporate because there was a previous opportunity to get away. At that point in time, there was no safe escape.

He is not a vigilante. I urge those using the label to do some more research on what that term means.

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admin November 30, 2013 at 11:48 am

Even more troubling are the comments I did not approve which called the shooter a “murderer”. A few people have seriously messed up ideas on right and wrong.

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LawGeek November 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm

“What would have happened if he simply called the cops, and then let the two robbers on their merry way, where they proceed to go to another store and rob it, this time killing someone. ”

Then what if they shot his uncle, and he had to use his powers obtained when he was bitten by a radioactive spider to atone for his failure to act? What then?

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EchoGirl December 5, 2013 at 1:08 am

@MichelleP: No, I’m not kidding, hence my use of the word “directly”. (What you’re describing doesn’t seem direct to me unless the person actually engages in the violence; there are all kinds of legal things that can provoke violence.) I’m not trying to say this person (who, let’s recall, was a hypothetical person to begin with) is perfect or guilty of nothing, but I don’t think it’s necessarily fair of us to brand them as cold-hearted or a person who cares nothing for anyone — that appears to be the point of the exercise in question, to realize that just because a person does bad things, even if they do more bad things than good, it doesn’t mean there’s no good in them (and not just intelligence, but actual good). I was an actor for a few years, and one of the things an acting teacher taught me is that, unless you’re in a horribly unrealistic play or playing a sociopath, the best way to play a “bad guy” is to put a sincere, non-evil motive behind the evil, because in real life, the people who do bad things are people, not some incomprehensible monster.

I definitely agree with everyone who’s said it’s shock and grief speaking. There will come a time when the families should confront what their loved ones did, but I really think that just after they’ve died isn’t the time to get in the families’ faces about all the bad things the deceased did. Like I said in my earlier post, I really don’t see the difference, except maybe in scale, between that and the Ehell-condemned practice of rejoicing in the death of a political rival. Let them grieve before we rub their faces in the idea that their loved ones deserved to die.

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Nicole March 4, 2014 at 11:23 am

There is no winner in this situation. The families will mourn the loss of their loved ones, who certainly should have reconsidered their decision to commit such a senseless crime. Additionally, the man who protected himself acted within the law, however, this does make the story any less grim.

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Frisket May 25, 2014 at 8:05 pm

I see people keep bringing up the Zimmerman case, and they have the facts wrong. Mr. Zimmerman was serving as neighborhood watch that night, had circled back to his truck, and was then physically battered by 17-year-old Mr. Martin, who had followed HIM in turn back to the truck to confront him. The fight included Mr. Zimmerman having his head repeatedly, violently slammed against the pavement, which can be lethal even on the first hit. (And if Mr. Martin had killed him, Mr. Martin would have been tried as an adult, so please, lay aside the “just a kid” business.)

If you’re going to cite a case, ladies and gentlemen, at least have the good manners to get the facts right, especially when they’re a matter of public record! The media is a bunch of boors who like to politicize crime.

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