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Where Is The Shame And Responsibility?

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

{ 153 comments… add one }
  • Tina November 14, 2013, 10:54 am

    I get the point that people should not hold up violent robbers as paradigms of goodness, but I do worry about a society where a person who is not himself under threat of violence steps in and acts as a vigilante and gets away with no punishment as well!

  • Lindsay November 14, 2013, 10:56 am

    I just finished a book called “The Dinner” that deals with this type of thing. Highly recommended!

  • Elizabeth November 14, 2013, 11:17 am

    I think the lesson is the you shouldn’t threaten someone in the street with a gun; that person may shoot you in self defense.

  • Denise November 14, 2013, 11:19 am

    I know families like those of the “victims.” And it’s so much more than thinking that their family member didn’t do anything “too” bad so they were good people. They truly believe that their family member is a victim of society, they didn’t do anything to cause physical harm, so the crime is insignificant and have serious entitlement issues.

    But, they are a grieving family. They are frustrated and casting their blame wherever they think it will stick. They probably feel guilty and responsible for where that persons life turned to. The media does them a great disservice as well as the other party by interviewing them so soon after their loved ones died. These things get sensationalized, mobs form and causes that should never see inside a courtroom have long, expensive trials.

    I am sure we all know at least one person, maybe a relative or childhood friend, someone we love that we shouldn’t. Someone that does terrible things out of rage, stupidity or laziness but has a warm, kind heart 90% of the time. I’m sure if that person was in the same situation we would also try to justify how wrong it was for them to die that way.

  • PJ November 14, 2013, 11:27 am

    I could not agree more. I’m tired of hearing family members of felons say how “good” the offender is. It is an insult to victims and to people in law enforcement who protect us from those thugs.

    I had a cousin who was killed by a police officer. He was told by the officer to drop his gun, but he chose to aim it at the policeman instead. The police officer protected himself and shot my cousin. After that, my grandmother and aunt were outraged by the ‘horror’ of police cruelty. They said ‘he’s such a good kid, he just didn’t know what to do’. Really? Why was such a good kid robbing people at gunpoint? Just because he was nice *to you* doesn’t make him a good kid. Don’t you have enough real ‘good kids’ (grandkids, nieces, nephews) to understand the difference between good and bad? –and if he didn’t know what to do: how about dropping the gun when the police officer says ‘drop the gun’?

    I worry about this attitude in our society. As a volunteer at a school in a problematic part of town, I had a ‘cultural sensitivity’ training. We read a case study about a teenaged drug dealer who supported his mother. We were told to find good qualities about him. “Organized” and “ambitious” came to mind. The training leader added “caring” to that list, because the kid supports his mother. Huh? What about all the kids he threatens and poisons with his drugs? To top it off, our reluctance to agree with this statement got us the label of “uncaring”!

  • Rachel November 14, 2013, 11:42 am

    Preach!!! Perfectly stated, admin!

  • Calliope November 14, 2013, 11:45 am

    I wish people would steer way from using black and white terms like “good” and “evil” to describe people. No one is purely good or purely evil, and I think this kind of rhetoric is harmful. When people are running around thinking that our society can be divided into two factions, good versus evil, it’s no wonder people on both “sides” are so quick to pull their guns. This isn’t a video game or a superhero movie.

  • Ergala November 14, 2013, 11:54 am

    The ONLY issue I see on the part of the bystander was that he confronted them after calling 911. If he knew they were armed and it was 2 against 1 I can see where he acted foolishly and put himself into danger. However, he is allowed to make a citizens arrest and he happened to have a concealed weapon permit and a firearm on him at the time. Do I ever want to see anyone shot? No. Is this like the Trayvon Martin case? Absolutely not. These two men were committing a violent crime (armed robbery) and paid for it with their lives. Their families need to start looking at the two young men to figure out why they died. This is not a case of someone making an assumption and then acting on it wrongly…this was a case of self defense and trying to stop a criminal act.

  • Kate November 14, 2013, 12:01 pm

    My opinion on this is the lack of personal responsibility that is severely lacking in our society. People seem to want to make everything the fault of someone else. No, no, my precious little Angel was not at fault, he made ONE mistake in his life and he was viciously gunned down. I hope this isn’t taken as hyperbole, but this really all does staRTS when these people are kids, and their parents, by their actions and inactivity, let them think that everything they do is right, simply because the kids want to do it. Not correcting their children, or making them face any consequences, because it would be detrimental to their little psyches. So they grow up not understanding cause and effect.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith November 14, 2013, 12:22 pm

    Our ability to feel shame or embarrassment is not lessened, I think, but simply directed elsewhere in our culture. Many are more embarrassed not to have fashionable clothing, a new car, or a youthful appearance than they ever would be to commit an unethical act. Perhaps the social “pendulum” will swing towards more substantial issues when the ties of family, community and citizenship are given more dignity and weight than the entitled individualism currently in vogue.

  • Kim November 14, 2013, 12:29 pm

    No “good kid” would rob a convenience store at gunpoint. If they hadn’t robbed the store and then pulled a gun on someone trying to hold them for police, they would still be ALIVE!

    The families are delusional.

  • babaran November 14, 2013, 12:30 pm

    I am a citizen who believes we can defend ourselves. I have an NRA certificate to prove I know how to handle a pistol. I plan on taking the conceal carry class.

    But I do NOT believe we have the right to shoot any teenager who comes up with a stupid idea. The crime of robbery, even if done with a gun, does not constitute the right to shoot anybody. My son is always taught in tae kwon do that the first thing you do is run. You do not confront these kinds of people. We do not know how these kids could have turned out and what value they might have been to society.

  • WifeyDear November 14, 2013, 12:38 pm

    If my family members robbed a shopkeeper at gunpoint and were killed themselves, of course I’d be sad about their deaths, but I would realize they chose to put themselves in that situation. A situation both dangerous AND illegal. I’d be more concerned about what prompted them to do it in the first place and not place blame on an innocent man that THEY threatened. I’m sorry for this family’s loss, but how can they not realize that their relatives actions are what caused their demise? Unfortunately they’ve opened themselves up to criticism by offering their opinion to the media. It’s just a sad situation all around, for the family and for society. No one wants to take responsibility for anything, anymore.

  • Susan November 14, 2013, 12:42 pm

    This is something that I think about a lot. There’s no shame or responsibility or even the concept of natural consequences. Live by the sword, die by the sword!

  • Dora November 14, 2013, 12:45 pm

    I agree with you that there is little that is “good” about someone who would terrorize a shop owner for a few dollars.

  • Shalamar November 14, 2013, 12:48 pm

    Quoting Admin for a sec: “What makes this news story fascinating is the definition of what constitutes a “good man” by two different families. ”

    Yes. This. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve read that a criminal who was shot at the scene was a “good kid” who was “trying to turn his life around”, I’d be able to retire early.

  • MichelleP November 14, 2013, 12:53 pm

    This is just another example of how our society doesn’t take responsibility anymore. It’s always someone else’s fault.

    As a former bank teller, I was always taught not to engage anyone with a gun, so I have to agree that the guy probably shouldn’t have gotten involved. Don’t be a hero, because they usually end up hurt or dead. However, two criminals are off the streets, and I’m grateful.

  • Catrunning November 14, 2013, 12:57 pm

    I have done a study on this and have seen that certain classes within our society have normalized and even romanticised criminal behavior to the extent that they honestly believe you can be a “good family man” and simultaneously hold up stores, deal drugs, be an active gang member, etc. It is not a contradiction in their minds. There seem to be very few crimes that are “socially unacceptable” in their world.

    It seems to come from several sources. 1)we have become so politically correct that elected officials, the news media, social services, etc. shy away from appearing to “judge” anyone who is in a “protected class”. It is political suicide to pass judgement on their crimes unless especially heinous. So, by default, “normal” criminal activities among those classes are deemed to be O.K. simply because nobody dares say they are not! 2) Too many kids are taught in school and in broader society that their personal conditions are always the result of racism, evil immigration laws, etc. So when they commit a crime, it is always because they were forced to because of racism, etc. And, of course, it is suicidal to deny them that excuse. 3) Crime is glamorized by the media. 4) Finally, the more a people do something that was once outside of acceptable behavior, the more acceptable it becomes. An analogy to that is living together outside of marriage. 50 years ago it was considered shameful, an embarassment to the family, sinful, etc. Nowadays, most people accept it, even to the extent that etiquette requires you to treat a live-in partner the same as a spouse.

    When a society is degraded to the extent that it cannot recognize the immorality of criminal behavior, I fail to see how it can be redeemed.

  • Library Diva November 14, 2013, 1:02 pm

    I’ve seen stories similar to this, and it’s always hard to know how to feel. In my hometown, there was a shooting at a restaurant and bar several years ago. Four people were killed. A few days after, our major newspaper sparked outrage by printing an article detailing the criminal pasts of all four victims. It actually did turn out to be quite relevant to the story, as the killing was gang-related, but at the time, the paper didn’t know that for sure.

    I do, on the one hand, have a certain amount of sympathy for the relatives of the two dead men in the story. They’ve lost loved ones under circumstances that perhaps revealed a previously unknown ugly side to the men they thought they knew, or under circumstances that justified their worst fears. Undoubtedly, even the people who commit the worst acts have another side to them, and I could understand the relatives wanting people to know that there was more to the men they cared about than this single act.

    At the same time, though, they have to come to terms with what their loved ones died doing, and what it says about them overall. And a good place to start that process would be to examine their loved ones’ final moments from the perspective of the man who just wanted to pick up a gallon of milk, and instead had a gun shoved in his face. They should drop their plans to sue (it’s probably not going to get them anywhere, anyway) and look for other ways to honor the memories of their loved ones, perhaps getting involved in anti-violence efforts, or supporting a cause or organization that these men believed in.

    I’d also suggest that the family members — and anyone who loses a loved one in any kind of public way, even a well-publicized car crash — refrain from reading any online comments on news stories about the death. People say horrible things, and I can almost guarantee that’s where Virginia Medina heard her son called a thug.

  • Paula November 14, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Unfortunately, I think these families need to assert the “goodness” of these two men because they don’t want to admit that they are probably part of the problem, and maybe they have some responsibility in the fact that these men are committing crimes. I can guess that these statements of them being “good kids” were the same ones they made in the past if these two were getting in trouble when they were young.

  • abf November 14, 2013, 1:10 pm

    Unbelievable. The first thing that popped into my mind after reading the news story and today’s post was the post from the other day about the world being some people’s ashtray. I agree with you admin. Just read this morning about the two greatest commandments. The second being “Love thy neighbor.” You don’t love your neighbor if you plot and sceme to steal his livelyhood and threaten his life in the process. You love your neighbor if you are willing to stand up to bullies who are threatening him.

  • Calli Arcale November 14, 2013, 1:11 pm

    Did the two men deserve to die?

    No. In my view, nobody deserves to die. But sooner or later we all do anyway. We do not get treated as we deserve in this world, and perhaps that’s a good thing.

    Hamlet: “Treat every man according to his deserts, and who amongst us would ‘scape whipping?”
    Gandalf: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

    It’s not about what they deserved. The man who shot them did so because they were threatening his life — and as to the question one mother had as to why he didn’t call 911, well, he did. But apparently the robbers wanted to silence him for that. There is a very real chance that had he not shot them, they would have shot him, and now they’d be facing very long prison sentences for murder.

    The only one I have some sympathy for is the alleged getaway driver, as so often these people are not entirely aware (often intentionally) of what their buddies are planning and seldom appreciate the seriousness of the situation until it is too late. Yet he is an accomplice, and in most states, if somebody dies during the commission of a felony, any surviving accomplices can be charged with murder — even if the deceased was one of the perpetrators of the felony. He’s going to go away for a very long time now, and the nature of prison is such that it may well destroy him. I hope others learn from his mistake.

    As to the families . . . well. Some of it may be little more than grief talking; people are not at their most rational when they have lost a child, even an adult child, especially in so violent of a situation, and it is not unusual for the family to disbelieve that their child could possibly be involved in something so heinous. But it is unfortunate that they said what they did, and that they are trying to get charges pressed. They probably don’t realize that this will only make prosecutors more determined than ever to prosecute the getaway driver to the fullest extent. So the getaway driver will end up suffering even more because of them. I wonder if they would even care about him.

  • Yvaine November 14, 2013, 1:17 pm

    @Catrunning, I’m pretty appalled at all the insinuations you’re making about whole races and classes of people.

  • Dee November 14, 2013, 1:22 pm

    Well, clearly the two families are delusional; growing up in households like that may be why the two thugs thought you could victimize people and still be considered a “good man”. Having said that, what the heck is an average citizen doing walking around with a loaded weapon? And how is that good for society? Why didn’t the citizen just call the police and be a witness? How is it good to glorify a guy with a Batman complex who thinks taking the law into his own hands is okay? Innocent people are hurt and killed everyday by these types of people. I think he should be charged. He’s not a police officer, he’s not trained or licensed to arrest and/or shoot suspects, and he really overstepped his boundaries. He had no choice once he was in the situation but it’s the thought process that he employed that got him into that situation in the first place that is so dangerous.

  • WaltzingMatilda November 14, 2013, 1:26 pm

    Unfortunately, there seems to be a number of threads operating in society that contribute to this sort of behaviour and attitude. First, there is a complete and increasing lack of empathy. Some people think they can do/say/have/take whatever they want and if you object, it is 100% your problem. They push in a supermarket line – but I’m in a hurry!, they send abusive or trolling emails- but I’m only joking, I didn’t mean it, they run into you on the footpath- well, why didn’t you get out of my way? Some of this is bad parenting, families don’t know each other properly any more. Some of it is parents who don’t see or don’t want to see that their child is a hellion. Yes, he’s poisoned the neighbour’s cat, throws rocks ay passing cars and terrorises the neighbourhood, but he’s not a bad boy. Um, yes he is. Lastly, I think the juvenile justice system lets kids and society down. Certainly in Australia, unless you commit a truly appalling crime, if you’re under 18, there are no consequences, maybe a fine or a caution. So when someone truly stands up to you, it’s a helluva shock. And suddenly, there are consequences for your behaviour. Gee, Mum never told me about that! The Victorians reshaped their society with a concept of ‘civil society’ as a backlash againt thuggery. Maybe we need to do the same.

  • Kimberly November 14, 2013, 1:29 pm

    Wow. Funny to read a post and then find out it is from your home town! I grew up in the city that this crime happened in, (currently about 20-30 mintues away). I remember going to the corner store where the crime was committed all the time when I was growing up. My father passed away in 2006′ and we moved my mom in with us out of that city faster than you can blink your eye. The city of Reading, PA, (I guess I can mention it since it is probably in the news story), has been named one of the major criminal cities in the US. So, when first hearing of this story, you can betcha that I side with the bystander.

    Do I wish that these young men had died? No. I wish they would have had to do the time for their crime. Do I wish that by hearing and seeing about this crime, that it would make other young men less likely to commit such a crime? Yes, I do. But, I doubt that is going to happen.

    I wish it was Federal law that no one can sue in situations like this when it is clear the deceased were commiting a crime. While I feel for the families of the deceased, they should not profit in any way from their deaths’. Clearly, these young men were not all that “good”.

    It was stated in one news report that one of the deceased needed funds to pay child support. I have to ask if this is the case, “Why then, were they not out looking for jobs, since this incident occurred in the middle of the day or late morning, instead of trying to gain these funds by committing a crime?” We have many jobs listed in our weekly Sunday paper. There is no excuse to commit a crime. There are many, other legitimate ways to earn funds.

  • Ergala November 14, 2013, 1:33 pm

    Several years ago there was a huge fire that burned down a large section of the main street of a local town. Above the store fronts are apartments. There happened to be two young men who lived there who were on parole at the time of the fire. When this happened the young men came up missing, people immediately started speculating that it was THEM who started the fire. Even the papers were running stories on their past criminal records and why they were prison before. Imagine the shock that came when their bodies were found in the rubble. They were the only two deaths in that fire. One of them was found still in his bed and the other was found near a fire escape. The cause of the fire, really bad old wiring and the fault was placed on the owner of the block. These two young men had absolutely nothing to do with the fire yet were immediately blamed for it simply because in the past they had a few brushes with the law.

    We also had a young man disappear this past summer during a fishing trip. He fell out of the canoe he was in with some friends. The local paper ran the story but instead of concentrating on the possibility he was lost they speculated he was running because he was due in court to answer for assault charges against a former girlfriend. The picture they put with the story about him possibly drowning was a picture of him in court in handcuffs. Three days later his body was found downstream. He had drowned. His family was absolutely crushed that the local paper decided to insinuate that he had been trying to run, a lot of people blasted the paper on their FB page calling them insensitive, tasteless…you name it.

  • Lo November 14, 2013, 1:43 pm

    @Belgian Guy

    The point you bring up about why a person has to kill with a gun instead of incapacitate someone is one of the reasons I don’t support concealed carry laws. I grew up with guns. Anyone who does and learns proper respect for them learns that the act of pulling a gun is not to be treated as a bluff. No one should carry one unless they are prepared to kill someone with it because as a self-defense tool that’s it’s sole purpose. In the heat of the moment and at close range there really isn’t a distinction to be made for the average citizen between a maiming shot and a killing shot.

    If this man acted purely in self defense, which I believe he did after reading the article, then he was in his right to take the shots he was able to make. Whether they result in death or injury after the fact is beside the point. The harsh is reality that in a place where guns are permitted to be carried by citizens in public, once you pull a gun on someone to threaten their life you are essentially forfeitting yours.

  • S November 14, 2013, 1:46 pm

    “Finally, the more a people do something that was once outside of acceptable behavior, the more acceptable it becomes. An analogy to that is living together outside of marriage. 50 years ago it was considered shameful, an embarassment to the family, sinful, etc. Nowadays, most people accept it, even to the extent that etiquette requires you to treat a live-in partner the same as a spouse.”

    I’m sorry, you’re really comparing shooting people to living together before marriage?

  • wren November 14, 2013, 2:02 pm

    Funny how some don’t accept that when you enter the world of crime, you are entering a violent, dangerous place where there are lots of guns, and most of the people in that world don’t have your best interests at heart. In my city, every newscast seems to feature an interview with a distraught family member who wails that their lawbreaking relative who was shot was “a good kid.” This story reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons when Homer has some kind of major problem and he says “And it’s society’s fault because… ?” as he expectantly waits for those near him to explain how he was forced to behave dreadfully — by society. It’s not HIS fault!

  • Ashley November 14, 2013, 2:27 pm

    I will agree with the others who stated that the fact that the family is on about what good men these two were can be partially attributed to their grief. Think about all the school shootings and stuff that go on or the Boston Marathon bombing. Someone goes and kills/injures a bunch of people and there is ALWAYS at least one family member that winds up on the news saying something about “He was such a good guy, we never expected this from him”. Even if there is absolute proof right then and there that the person they are speaking of just went and shot 20 people, they are still on about what a good kid he was. I’ve never faced that kind of shock before, thank goodness, but I can imagine that if I did my mind would be split, trying to figure out how someone I cared for in some way could be responsible for something like that. We’re all able to look at this objectively because we aren’t related to these men. We’re not mourning the loss of a son who also happened to be a bank robber.

    As for the man who shot them…this is where things get hairy. Based on what is presented in the story above, he called 991 and told them to wait. That’s when they drew their guns and then he drew his AFTER they drew theirs and he felt threatened. If that is indeed the case, then he’s justified in drawing his gun because they drew theirs first. But if anything about this situation is iffy, it’s the fact that he confronted them about the fact that he had called 911. Would they have drawn their guns if he hadn’t confronted them like that? Is there some sort of citizens arrest thing that comes into play here? We only get what is presented in the news story, and the time I spend reading the news each day has taught me that there is ALWAYS more to the story.

  • JS November 14, 2013, 2:33 pm

    I also struggle to label the robbers as “evil” and the vigilante as “good” in this situation. First of all, let’s be clear: the vigilante was not acting to help anyone, or to stop anyone who is in immediate harm’s way. The robbers had LEFT the store. No where does it indicate that they had a hostage. The vigilante was there to arrest the perps of a crime and possibly recover stolen property. That’s what we have trained police officers for, whom the vigilante had called. Police are trained to respond appropriately, to minimize the possibility of exactly what happened here: a standoff and two dead men. What would’ve happened if the vigilante hadn’t inserted himself? Worst case, the robbers get away. Is that as bad as two men being killed? If so, then why don’t we have the death penalty for robbery. I’m not saying the vigilante was evil. But frankly, this is NOT behavior I want society to encourage.

    And I echo PP’s sentiments that grieving families make all sorts of “outrageous” statements in their grief. These men were robbers. They were also someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s father. That loss, under these extreme circumstances, is incredibly painful. Let’s not jump all over them for acting out in their grief.

  • Karen L November 14, 2013, 2:35 pm

    My only comment is that the news story you linked to is exceptionally badly written. Your summary is concise and to-the-point and so there is no need for anyone to have to torture themselves reading the original article.

  • Redneck Gravy November 14, 2013, 2:40 pm

    As someone that has been mugged, if your “good son” tries to mug me again, he will have a large hole in him. I never wanted to carry a gun, I am forced to so that I can defend myself from robbers.

    Not my Fault – I’m sick of hearing it. You choose to do a bad thing – you lose your choices to be safe yourself.

  • Gena November 14, 2013, 2:55 pm

    I think the basic issue is familys’ refusal to see the truth. I have a cousin who murdered someone and is in prison for life. And it’s not like he was a choir boy, he was in and out of trouble long before this.

    this was 30 years ago, and to this day my mother does not believe he did it. She will finally admit that he was there, but is convinced someone else was there as well and actually did it. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, and the fact that my cousin has never said anyone else was there.

    she simply does not want to believe that the precious little boy she used to baby-sit turned into a cold blooded murderer.

  • Alexis November 14, 2013, 3:10 pm

    Shooting someone for commiting armed robbery is a bit much–it’s not a Capitol offense for a reason. If that was the full story I WOULD say its vigilantism and yeah that dude should be arrested.

    BUT it sounds like the robbers made threatening moves and in that case it’s perfectly understandable/reasonable to shoot in self defense. It sounds like he followed a similar standard as the police.

  • Library Dragon November 14, 2013, 3:30 pm

    At 24 one is no longer a “kid”. This the time to be an adult, make adult decisions, and take responsibility as an adult. Medina chose to commit a violent crime. He didn’t stumble into the store and knock over the cash register, accidentally pocketing a few dollars. Medina pulled a weapon first.

    In the US we are told over and over again that we must work to take back our communities and not rely on politicians or police to do it for us. Someone stepped up, called the police, and put himself in danger to stop the criminals. Yes, he shot after being threatened with fire arms. He didn’t go out shooting. The shoot to maim idea is for TV and the movies. Shooting someone in the leg? Well, they still have a fire arm and the ability to shoot you. When a shoot to maim bill was introduced in Brooklyn, NY, Vice President Joe Biden commented that is should be called the “John Wayne Bill” because of the unrealistic sharpshooting skills required. I am glad to see that the families cannot sue the citizen involved.

  • Marozia November 14, 2013, 3:46 pm

    It seems one of the Ten Commandments have been broken here.
    8. You shall not steal.
    And these are supposed to be ‘good kids’? ‘Goodness’ does not go round robbing at gunpoint.
    Medina no doubt loved his daughter, but what kind of an example did he show by robbing a store?

  • Skittle November 14, 2013, 4:19 pm

    As a carrier of a concealed weapon, with the proper permitting, and a citizen of PA, I would have shot the robbers as well. Just because they hadn’t hurt anyone yet doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have shot the individual who had called the cops on them. I’m sure they didn’t pull their weapons just to show them off. I would rather error on the side of defending myself in a situation like that as opposed to hoping I wouldn’t get shot and waiting for the cops to show up. I’m sure in Reading, the response times are relatively quick, but in the rural part of the state where I live, one is lucky if the 911 operator can even get the correct department sent out, let alone get a fast response.

  • Jaxsue November 14, 2013, 4:20 pm

    @Jinx, there is no similarity between your examples (I know about both cases) and the alleged perps in this story. These guys were armed, and they most likely intended to use the guns if the shop owner resisted. I can’t imagine the terror and helplessness the shop owner felt. We should stay away from the apples/oranges comparisons.

  • Kate November 14, 2013, 5:08 pm

    As an Australian, the whole idea of people packing guns as a regular occurrence is really foreign to me. My workplace has been held up a few times, sometimes by armed offenders, and our policy is ‘do not engage’. If someone pulls a syringe or knife on you, the property they steal can be replaced, but your life can’t. I don’t think anybody should have been pulling guns on anyone in this case.

    As for the ‘but he was such a good person!’ line, this happens all the time. My friend is a police officer and has been assaulted by the family members of people he’s arrested – even when the arrest is due to domestic violence, or someone stealing their family members’ property.

  • just4kicks November 14, 2013, 6:02 pm

    Due to a need for a little extra cash, I have taken a part time job at a small gas station/convenience store very close to our home. I work mostly night’s and a few weeks after starting, we were robbed. I closed the store that night and thankfully, the robbers waited until I closed up and had gone home to break in. I will admit that most nights I am very frightened walking to my car. In the same situation, although I nor the store has a gun, I don’t honestly know what I would do if I were to come face to face with a robber. I most certainly would hand over all the money and try to get out of there without injury. If I had the proper training and a firearm, well…hopefully I’ll never have to find out.

  • Rodinne November 14, 2013, 7:01 pm

    @Belgian Guy

    If you are forced to draw a weapon on someone, you always, always, always shoot to kill. If you merely wound someone, such as shooting them in the leg as you suggest, it is still possible for them to kill you. Yes, it would be nice to shoot them in the shoulder of the arm with which they are holding the weapon, but it’s a much smaller target than the head, and if you hit it, even if you impede their ability to fire again, the trauma to the nerve may cause them to reflexively pull the trigger, endangering you or bystanders.

    This is why the decision to carry a gun is so important. As Lo said above, you are affirming your decision to kill someone if necessary. If you cannot do that, you should not carry a firearm. Unarmed, you are far more likely to seek shelter. Armed but unsure, you are far more likely to hesitate rather than withdraw or draw your weapon when you should.

  • Alie November 14, 2013, 7:11 pm

    I just want to mention it, because someone brought it up:

    There’s this myth that you can just shoot someone in the leg to disable someone. That’s just not true. You have several major arteries running through your leg, and so a shot in the leg can very easily be fatal. There is no “good” or “safe” place on someone’s body that is guaranteed not to be fatal. If you shoot someone, you have to accept that your shot could kill that person, pretty much no matter where you shoot the person.

  • Cat November 14, 2013, 10:12 pm

    They were not shot because they were robbing a store. Accoring to the article, they were shot because they pulled out their guns and were preparing to kill the man who stopped the robbery.
    It reminds me of the three teenagers who tried to kill a police officer. He was trained in the use of automatic hand guns and they were not. He managed to kill all three and he emerged from the gun battle unharmed. One of the teen’s grandmother was furious. Her reasoning, “If the officer was such a good shot, he should have shot the guns out of their hands. They didn’t deserve to die just because they were trying to murder the officer.”
    I have a concealed weapons permit and have had training both by the NRA and by a police officer. Killing someone is almost the last thing I would want to do. The last thing I would want to do is to be murdered by “a good person” who just happened to decide to murder me.

  • Jinx November 14, 2013, 10:25 pm

    @Jaxsue sorry for the misunderstanding, I want comparing the people who were shot in those scenarios, but rather the idea that civilians put themselves in (what they perceive as) a dangerous place, and react in self-defense (sometimes understandably).

    My point was, in all of those stories, the person who did the shooting did not have to put themselves in that place.

    Again, I think that we have a right to defend our own lives, but I think we can avoid deaths by not backing ourselves into a corner.

    As you can tell by my post, I don’t believe that the people in the other stories were in actual harm, and that they are terrible stories. In those stories, the shooters created a scenario where they initiated confrontation. That is the mistake.

    Sometimes in life we don’t get to chose if the confrontation occurs. I don’t understand why people perceive a threat, then back themselves into that corner. That was my point, I’m sorry my initial post was long.

    I don’t doubt the shopkeeper felt terror, and the men might have used the guns on him. The man did not come in to rescue the shopkeeper, which is good in a way… if you’re not trained in these scenarios, they can escalate… but he still confronted them when they left the store, which was a mistake.

    I’m not trying to argue about who was more “right” here… obviously the man who killed the other 2 wasn’t robbing a store…but none of us should really get to pick and choose who lives and who dies like that when situation could have been avoided.

  • David November 15, 2013, 12:01 am

    It makes me sad that the two dead men will never get a chance to make amends, but there is no guarantee that they would have ever tried to make amends in any way.

  • Kovi November 15, 2013, 12:23 am

    @ Tina: I’d hardly call this guy a ‘vigilante’. He’s a guy who tried to do the right thing, and stop two hard criminals from getting away. Unless I am mistaken, a vigilante is more along the lines of someone hunting down criminals, or taking the law into their own hands. It’s not the same thing as self-defense.

  • lakey November 15, 2013, 12:39 am

    PJ, your experience with the sensitivity training for people working in schools is truly sad, not to mention not constructive. How can we help kids to be the best they can be when we promote such low expectations of them? Teaching in schools where most of the students are low income is very difficult, but assuming that the kids aren’t capable of acceptable behavior isn’t going to help them to get anywhere in life.

  • NostalgicGal November 15, 2013, 1:05 am

    @ Just4kicks

    I’ll pray for you.

    In the mid to late 80’s, I lived in a major northern metro, and they had a study come out, someone looked at about a decade of shootings in 24 hour stores (mostly convenience stores) and if you worked a shift that included the hours of 11pm to 2am, you had a 50% chance (even chance) of being taken out in a bodybag within 2 years.

    Suddenly they couldn’t get ANYONE to work those shifts. That is where a lot of places HAD TO go to the ‘fishbowl/fort knox’ setup to get someone to work. (at least 2″ of bullet resistant glass enclosing the counter area-inside it was the registers, lotto machines and tickets, gas pump controls, and the cigarettes… at least two people on duty, and both wearing ‘panic button’ remotes on lanyards around their neck; and they LIT the place up like a sunny summer day) The money pass-slot thing was such that there was NO WAY you were going to shove even the smallest weapon through it, yet alone more than fingers. And the glass would take a .44 slug or a shotgun blast point blank.

    I don’t carry a gun but I respect the rights of others to LEGALLY own and possess the same and I expect those that do to be responsible with them. I’ve had much self defense training and one thing that got beat through my thick skull. IF you are going to defend yourself, IF you are going to fight back… you must do it instantly and unhesitatingly and with no mercy. You may end up dead if you do fight back. You may end up dead if you don’t. If you do not have a weapon in hand or something you can use as a weapon in hand; you will not have time to fill that hand. And yes I have fought back when I had no choice. I sure try not to be in or get into that sort of situation, but. A few times I ended up there. Against more than one and against weapons.

    I can understand the citizen outside that store. It may not have been right. I do understand why he shot to kill and did kill; when they drew on him.

    I would not have stood in their way, I would have called 911 and tried to get pictures of them and help the trained authorities (police) take it from there. There’s no winners in this one.

    I also understand the families, yes grief is a strange thing, but. I won’t take that your family member had a gun, committed a crime then forced someone to make a decision no one should have to by drawing a gun on them; that they are good people. Good people don’t do what they did in this case.

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