Something is terribly wrong with the thought processes of some people in our country. Somehow, somewhere along the lines, something has become sickeningly distorted. And one of the most disturbing examples, in my opinion, comes from the families of criminals who become angry when their loved ones (who committed crimes, lest anyone forget) are jailed, injured, shot or even killed. An example caught my eye just the other day with the title of a news article claiming that a mother says it “wasn’t fair that her robber son was shot by his intended victim.”
You read that right: She’s condemning her son’s victim. This is not an episode of The Twilight Zone, in which one might expect backwards thinking, unexpected twists, astonishing situations or some tragic paradox to be present. In this particular scenario, a mother is upset that her 28-year-old son died from a gunshot wound he suffered while trying to rob a Pizza Hut.
According to the Charlotte, NC, reporter in the accompanying news clip, “I do want to be clear: The family does know he was trying to rob this place. They know that that was wrong. But did he deserve to die … at the hands of a Pizza Hut employee, no less?”
The fact that this question was posed bothers me. An armed robber was committing a crime in which people’s lives were at stake! If there was a need to stop the threat, it should not matter who pulled the trigger — whether it was an employee, a mom, a former marine or a police officer.
Still, the criminal’s mother believes it wasn’t fair for the victim to shoot her son. In the CBS News clip, she says, “If there was to be a death, it was not the place of the employee at Pizza Hut. That is the place of law enforcement.“ She goes on to explain that, apparently, the robbery was an act of desperation. Her son was suffering financial difficulties, so he grabbed a gun and went over to his former place of employment to steal money to help provide for his child. (Can anyone else say with me: That should never be an option!)? “I do not believe that [my son] would have hurt anyone,” she continues. “Why in the [h*ll] did this guy have a gun?”
May I make note: No one could haven possibly known the robber’s motive or what he intended to do with that gun. If he was desperate enough to get a weapon and rob a restaurant, who are we to know what else he was desperate enough to do? Along those lines … are victims now expected to conduct psychological evaluations when their lives are being threatened? If someone were holding a gun to my head, do I first need to understand WHY before I use whatever means necessary to protect myself or my loved ones? Am I supposed to assume that the bad guy is just desperate and doesn’t intend to hurt me? It’s ludicrous. I don’t know all of the details of this particular case, but I believe that if someone rushed into my place of work, demanding money and waving a weapon at me, I should not have to confront my attacker with a list of questions or go through some motive checklist before it’s acceptable for me to defend myself and stop the threat.
The robber’s mother claims that if the police had been involved, her son would now be facing jail time instead of being placed in a casket. But we know there are no certainties with that, either. There’s no way to say how this would have ended up if the employee had not defended himself with a gun. The robber could have injured or killed people. He could’ve been involved with a confrontation with law enforcement … and possibly been shot or killed by an officer. And if the robber had ended up in jail, would the mom have been happy then? Or, in that case, would the blame have simply been shifted to others?
Sadly, this is not the first time a victim has been seen as the guilty party. It happens all the time. Even if someone is completely in the “right” with a justifiable shoot and isn’t involved with a criminal case, oftentimes, a civil suit is just waiting around the corner. Why? Apparently, someone is mad that the bad guy didn’t get away with the crime.
Undoubtedly, victim blaming is one of the most important reasons for the responsibly armed to be just that — responsible. Be safe. Train hard. Take precautions. Use good situational awareness. And prepare yourself. Carrying a firearm for personal protection is about much more than being physically safe. It’s about being morally, spiritually, financially and legally protected, as well.