Thursday, April 18, 2013

"Just Give Them What They Want"...

That's a common refrain when talking about crime and criminals. We hear it a lot, sometimes from police chiefs after a successful DGC addition. They'll caution the public that they don't recommend confronting the goblin, that they consider it best to give the attacker what they want and comply with demands, etc. There's just one problem with this line of thought: sometimes the bad guy shoots you anyways.

Worcester store clerk shot in face in ‘senseless’ violent act during seven-hour crime wave in city
WORCESTER — Police continue to investigate the shooting of a Honey Farms store clerk on Vernon Street where two masked men entered the store and shot the clerk in the face after stealing money from the cash register.
The shooting, about 12:30 a.m., was part of a violent seven-hour span in the city, in which two people were shot, two officers were injured apprehending a man with a gun, and another Honey Farms convenience store was robbed. Police are not linking the two convenience store robberies at this time, but also have not ruled out a connection.
The clerk did everything like he was supposed to. He didn't fight back. He handed over the money. And, as the bad guys were leaving, they shot him in the face anyways. Even after giving them what they wanted, he was still nearly killed. Tell me how this could have gone worse had the clerk decided to give the crooks a .357 Magnum round instead of the cash...

Even better, since this is Massachusetts, I wonder how much time the shooter will actually spend in jail. No doubt the charges of possession of a firearm without a valid permit will be the first things pleaded away; I strongly suspect that the attempted murder charge will get dropped to assault and battery or something lower. I'd be shocked if the shooter gets more than a couple years for this. Because, hey, he didn't kill anyone, right?

It continues to amaze me that people really put their faith in the intentions of those bent on using violence to get what they want. Here you have the perfect storm of what should have been a textbook convenience store robbery: older clerk, late at night, bad guys come in brandishing a firearm - this should have been easy. Clerk hands over the money, they leave, the insurance company sorts it out in the morning. For reasons known only to the shooter, though, they decide to shoot the clerk in the face even though he'd already complied.

He did what they told him to do, and they shot him anyways.

Think about that the next time some chief of police - who has access to machine guns, don't forget - tells you that the best thing to do is give them what they want. What if they want you to die? I'm not comfortable placing my life in the hands of some violent thug with a stolen handgun. Mssrs. Smith & Wesson, OTOH, have been reliable friends and partners and deliver a .355" projectile where it's supposed to go with precision and accuracy - I'd rather rely on that.

The only person you can count on when the ball drops is you. Never forget that. The police are minutes away; the bad guy may very well want you dead; and other folks may be too scared, self-absorbed, or otherwise occupied to lend a hand. "Give them what they want" is such shockingly bad advice, because it presumes that the goblin pointing a gun at you is operating on the same rational parameters as the rest of society. They're not. They're violent predators. They *might* take the money and leave - or they might shoot you in the face because you might be able to identify them, you didn't move fast enough, or they just felt like shooting you in the face.

When you allow a goblin to decide your fate, you're putting your life on the line - literally.

That is all.

Thanks to Brad_in_MA for the hat tip!


TigerStripe said...

It's not just chiefs of police that give that advice. Tactical trainers give it as well. My own policy is that if someone pulls a gun on me or someone else for any reason, the will receive a legal injection for doing so. TS

Daniel in Brookline said...

I was thinking about this the other day in a different context - that of a traditional battle, where the typical military goal is to cause your enemy to surrender. Unconditional surrender, that is, as made famous by Ulysses S. Grant, and sometimes summarized as "I'll do anything you ask! Please stop hurting me".

Of course, a dishonorable enemy might accept your surrender, disarm you, and destroy you... which is why surrender is the absolute last resort; it leaves your enemy in complete control of whatever happens next.

So what these police chiefs are advocating is unconditional surrender before the battle has even begun... on the theory that, since your enemy is now in complete control, he will exercise restraint.

Perhaps I've misunderstood the concept... because that just doesn't make any sense to me.

Ed said...

The police chiefs are playing the odds with the "do not resist and give them what they want" advice. Works most of the time, but not all of the time. Problem is, sometimes the thief wants you dead and unable to identify him. Why should you trust him? Is the police chief giving you that advice making you at peace with the possibility of your impending death? If you have the attitude that you are about to die unless you decisively, now, then you act decisively.

Remember, the thief is also playing the odds that you will not resist and give him what he wants, thorough enjoying the control over your life. Instead, give him what he does not expect, and be done with him. Otherwise, you condemn others to the same fate as you.

So, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, clerk?

Anonymous said...

I have a dream where a gun grabbing legislator (upChuck, Fineswine, Bloomie, take your pick) gives that particular nugget of sage advice whereupon an audience member whips out a pistol and demands immediate repeal of GCA68 and NFA34. When said legislator balks, he/she gets one between the eyes. as an abject lesson to the remaining congress vermin. not advocating, just a dream.