Friday, April 26, 2013

What Would You Do?

Just another in a long line of posts to keep you thinking is this story:

Customer Breaks Up Armed Robbery At NH Pharmacy
MANCHESTER, NH (CBS) – A Manchester, New Hampshire man helped thwart a robbery at a local pharmacy by tackling the suspect who was demanding drugs at gunpoint.
Police say thirty-year-old Nicole Chase walked into Ken’s Pharmacy on Elm Street and handed the pharmacist a note demanding Percocet. Police said the note also indicated she had a gun.
The woman produced a gun - which was actually an airsoft gun - and pointed it at another patron of the pharmacy and threatened to kill that person if the pharmacist didn't hurry up. Another patron who witnessed the robbery noticed that the gun was an airsoft gun, knocked it out of her hand and tackled her in the store and held her until police arrived.

This is a classic "what would you do" scenario for a concealed carry holder for several reasons. First off, how do you respond to a hostage scenario? Secondly, if you did notice that the gun in question was actually a BB gun/air soft gun, would that change your response?

It's hard to say. From a legal standpoint, you're obviously better off not confronting the robber. If your life is not directly in danger, it's a harder case to make for a defensive shooting. I think very few of us would worry about the legal ramifications, though, if someone is waving what appears to be firearm around and threatening to kill other people. It'd be a cold hearted DA that prosecuted that case if you dropped the person on the spot.

As for noticing that the "firearm" in question was actually an air soft or BB gun, that adds another layer of complexity. On the one hand, the law makes no differentiation between those and real firearms with regards to intent: armed robbery is armed robbery, whether it's a Glock, an airsoft replica, or a blue gun. You tell your victim you have a gun, it is an armed robbery. The response shouldn't be different - are you willing to bet your life that it's an airsoft gun pointed at you?

But we do not live in a perfect world. I'm looking at the picture of the woman - she looks like someone addicted to percocet - and thinking to myself, that guy had better hope they don't decide to go after him. Small, slight, gaunt; if the guy who tackled her was a 6' 4" former linebacker, he'll be VERY lucky if he doesn't get sued. By the same token, had he been carrying his own sidearm and shot this person, while he would have certainly been justified, it's also possible he'd see a civil case brought against him. You know, since NH has decided that "stand your ground" laws shouldn't apply.

It's unfortunate that we have to think this way, it really is. Someone threatening to kill other people over a robbery should lose their right to complain about what happens - either being tackled or getting shot. When someone threatens your life, it shouldn't matter if they have a BB gun, a howitzer, or a butter knife - if they tell you they intend to kill you, that should be sufficient cause for defensive measures.

It does drive home the point that you need to know the laws of your location, both from a criminal and civil standpoint.

That is all.


Exurbankevin said...

As much as I *hate* Tuesday-morning quarterbacking this sort of thing, this particular occurrence is slightly different than most: The robber threatened to shoot another customer if they didn't get what they wanted.

Which means if I were there, I would have skin in the game. That could have just as easily been me or a member of my family that was threatened.

It's one thing to step into the line of fire for an employee of a business I frequent. It's another to protect the lives of my family.

BB gun or not, if you threaten me or my family, that's where the line is crossed.

Anonymous said...

many leo's have shot bad guys with airsoft guns.or even a cellphone they mistook for a gun.In this case,had the bystander shot,I'd recommend the Reagan defense."I didn't know".

wizardpc said...

We actually had something like that here in Nashville a couple of years ago. Armed guard on his way to work walked in on a C-Store robbery. Goblin had an Airsoft pistol of some sort. When he saw the guard, he ordered the guard to turn over his weapon. Guard reportedly said "Uh, yeah, I don't think so" and then promptly shot the guy in the face and killed him.

Here in the south, we don't prosecute for things like that.

wizardpc said...

So, I don't know if the story changed since you first read it, but:

Thomas Farrell, who was in the store picking up a prescription, witnessed the encounter and says the pharmacist challenged the woman by pulling out a gun and pointing it at her. It was then she threatened to shoot an elderly customer.

So, the pharmacist had a REAL gun pointed at the ROBBER. That makes getting involved to subdue her much, much easier