White store owner cooly shoots down four black armed robbers, and the Times tells it straight

I can’t believe it. The New York Times describes in graphic detail how when four robbers held up a restaurant supply store on 125th Street in Harlem in broad daylight and began harming the employees, the store’s 72 year old owner, Charles Augusto, took out his shotgun and shot the robbers, killing two and wounding two. There’s no passive voice in the Times’ account, no odd, PC gaps in the narrative (as there were the Times’ story about the shootout in the U.S. Capitol building a few years ago). No. The Times reporter, Robert D. McFadden, unapologetically shows a law abiding citizen killing dangerous criminals:

Watching it happen, Mr. Augusto, whom neighborhood friends call Gus, rose from a chair 20 to 30 feet away and took out a loaded Winchester 12-gauge pump-action shotgun with a pistol-grip handle. The police said he bought it after a robbery 30 years ago.

Mr. Augusto, who has never been in trouble with the law, fired three blasts in rapid succession….

The first shot took down the gunman at the front. He died almost immediately, according to the police, who said he was 29 and had been arrested for gun possession in Queens last year and was the nephew of a police officer.

Mr. Augusto’s other two blasts hit all three accomplices, who stumbled out the door, bleeding….

However, I doubt very much that Charles Augusto is white. If he were white, the Times would not have highlighted his efficacious behavior in gunning down the robbers. The Times account of the U.S. Capitol shooting is a case in point. A heroic white officer had a shootout with the invader, and was killed himself saving the staff, and the Times didn’t actually describe what he did. The whole story was designed to undercut his bravery, effectiveness, and sacrifice.

Whenever white men use firearms to prevent crime, the liberal media do not state clearly what they actually did, because that would show white men, and white men with guns, in a favorable light.

[The following exchange occurred before the entry was posted.]

A reader writes:

I assumed the store owner was Italian. But in retrospect you are probably right that the store owner is not white.

Mike Berman writes:

I just saw Charles Augusto interviewed on NY1, New York’s local news channel. As far as I can discern, he is Italian. He looks and sounds Italian. How are we to digest this information? Have crime reporters at the Times made some sort of U-turn or is this story just an exception which proves the rule? I’m not about to pop a bottle of champagne.

LA replies:

That’s remarkable. It’s a first to my knowledge. The Times saying: the store owner (an Italian, the white group that elite liberals most despise) picked up his weapon, he aimed, he fired, he shot the first black criminal dead, then he shot the other three black criminals who staggered into the street and collapsed.

My gosh.

- end of initial entry -

Marco Jawsario writes:

I like to think of myself as VFR’s resident expert on Puerto Ricans, having grown up with more Puerto Ricans per square mile than 99 percent of white Americans. Of all my Puerto Rican friends, adversaries, teammates, and acquaintances, I knew one lone Puerto Rican named Charles. Evidently, wise Latinas have chosen not to name their sons “Charles”—but Carlos.

LA replies:

Of course I thought it seemed like an Italian name. I based my initial guess that he was nonwhite (probably Hispanic) solely on the fact that the Times portrayed him in positive terms.

Also, VFR welcomes back Marco Jawsario and hopes to see more of him.

Gintas writes:

Hooray for Charles Augusto! There is no telling how many lives he saved.

Jim C. writes:

I know Robert McFadden. He’s funny as hell—and definitely not PC. In my opinion, their best metro guy.

Bill in Maryland writes:

“White store owner cooly shoots down four black armed robbers, and the Times tells it straight”

Actually they don’t since they don’t mention the race of the robbers (“black”, “African American” do not appear in the article). It is of course highly likely that they were black (the ineptitude of the crime, the fact that it took place in Harlem, the statement by a relative of one of the dead “Why would he go to a family store? He got money!”).

LA replies:
True, they didn’t tell the race, but the actual fact was that it was a white shooting blacks, and Times told the shooting straight despite that fact, which normally would not happen.

The more typical Times treatment would be something like this:

When Mr. Augusto saw his employees being roughed up, he became concerned. There was an old shotgun on the premises that he had purcheased 30 years ago but that had never been used. A shot was fired, and one of the robber fell to floor and soon died. Then two more shots were heard, and now all four men were wounded or dead.

Leonard K. writes:

The robbers’ names are:

James Morgan
Raylin Footmon
Bernard Whitherspoon
Shamel McCloud

See this and this in Daily News.

Karl D. writes:

This seems to be the common M.O. for the armed black thug robber or robbers. From stories I have read or footage I have seen, they come in with guns blazing acting like some Rapper thug hero in some bad movie.

Then as soon as the intended victim pulls out a gun and starts blasting away they run for the hills in shock and rarely return fire.

True cowards one and all. Most thieves know that it is simply not worth it to go against an armed citizen. I would also state that a lot of blacks are all bark and no bite. They have gotten so used to the cowering liberal white that they just take it for granted.

On a separate note. I would love to know what kind of “load” or “Shot” Mr. Augusto was using? For a man of his age to hit and take out as many people as he did in such a chaotic moment is truly impressive. Nerves of steel comes to mind.

LA replies:

Also, the Times says he was 20 or 30 feet away from where the robbers were harming his employees.

Mike Berman writes:

“On a separate note. I would love to know what kind of ‘load’ or ‘shot’ Mr. Augusto was using? For a man of his age to hit and take out as many people as he did in such a chaotic moment is truly impressive. Nerves of steel comes to mind.”

My bet is on 12 Ga., 2 3/4 in. 00 buck. Big pellets with a nice spread spell major damage while making it difficult to miss. Yes, a dear slug makes a bigger hole but it only gives you one projectile, as opposed to 9. And those 9 have dispersed very nicely after 20 to 30 feet.

LA replies:

But with the spread, how did he avoid hitting his two employees at that distance?

Leonard D. writes:

“the actual fact was that it was a white shooting blacks, and Times told the shooting straight despite that fact, which normally would not happen.”

I think you realize this by your tone here, but obviously the NYT is capable of using the active voice if they want to. So why do they use passive voice in crime reporting? They use it to downplay that which they cannot overtly support. In NYT-ese, black criminals don’t shoot people—it would be judgmental and inflammatory to say that! Guns shoot people, while in the vicinity of alleged criminals of no race whatsoever. Thus, we can infer that the NYT supports criminals, particularly black criminals.

With active voice, there is similar (but opposite) meaning: they use it to highlight that which they cannot overtly oppose. Thus, the meaning of this frank reportage is clarified: the NYT frowns upon people—particularly white people, although they cannot mention that—shooting criminals, especially if they are black, although they cannot mention that, either. “They’re very upset, the people who live in this area.” Indeed.

LA replies:

First, I have to think more about your thesis.

[In my original reply to Leonard which I’ve deleted, I had said that people in the neighborhood were mourning the shot criminals, suggesting that they sympathized with them, On reading the article again, I realize this wasn’t correct. Yes, they were upset that the men had been killed and wounded, especially relatives, but they were also upset that these men had committed a robbery which caused them to be killed and wounded. No one was quoted saying anything negative about the store owner.]

Charles T. writes:

From above:

“On a separate note. I would love to know what kind of ‘load’ or ‘Shot’ Mr. Augusto was using? For a man of his age to hit and take out as many people as he did in such a chaotic moment is truly impressive. Nerves of steel comes to mind.”

Could have been a 1 oz. slug. Very hard hitting. Also—buckshot. Depending on the choke, it can keep a tight pattern for a good ways out. Nerves of steel is right. It is not as easy to use a 12 ga. as one might think. Mr. Augusto did the right thing in protecting his employees—what he did took guts.

Anthony Damato writes:

I read your piece on the Harlem robbery, then read the article in the Times. I sent a comment to Mr. McFadden, and he gave a brief reply. [reply not included]


READER’S NAME: Anthony Damato

Dear Mr. McFadden,

Your report on the store shooting in Harlem was a welcome change from what one normally reads about such cases. I saw that the article had additional contributors, and the same goes to them for their skill. You describe the facts, reactions and atmosphere with a sort of objectivity rarely seen today, and did not bend over backwards to interject sympathy, excuses, or a knee jerk latent “understanding” or compassion for the robbers within the story. This sort of writing, were it more frequent in the pages of the New York Times, would convince me to become a subscriber. Kudos, well done. Anthony Damato, Transylvania, Romania.

Mike Berman writes:

LA wrote: “But with the spread, how did he avoid hitting his two employees at that distance?”

Not as big a spread as you may be imagining. Here’s an illustration of what I mean:


Bob Vandervoort writes:

Interesting stuff. In any event, it might keep robberies in NYC down for a little while as word gets out. With this in the news, even the dumbest criminals will think twice (at least for a little) while before robbing a store, knowing they could get shot by the owner.

Charles T. writes:

Here is the paragraph stating that people in the area were upset.

” “How the hell are you going to rob someone in broad daylight?” said Sarah Martin, president of the General Grant Residents Association. Looking around at the crowd of people, she added, “They’re very upset, the people who live in this area.” “

It seems this paragraph could be read that people in the area were upset at the attempted robbery. I say this because the next paragraph states: “Gene Hernandez, 47, sympathized with Mr. Augusto, but not with the would-be robbers. “If I were him, I would kill a dozen of them,” he said. “You have to protect your workers and your family. Case closed.””

And again in another paragraph: “Venus Singleton, 51, said she hoped that Mr. Augusto would not get into trouble over the shootings. “I hope that the gun was licensed and that he was in his rights,” she said.”

Now, this is the part of the article that really upsets me personally:

“A law enforcement official said that the district attorney was considering a possible misdemeanor weapons charge against Mr. Augusto, indicating that he did not have a permit for the shotgun.” This type of stuff really p*&*&*s me off. The guy protects his employees and the authorities start warting around over technicalites about Mr. Augusto!! We live in a bureuarcratic country that has gone mad over procedure.

If the police charge Mr. Augusto, the citizens of NY need to protest vigorously. They are hammered with crime daily and the police want to charge an honest man who resists the criminals and protects his employees in the process. Disgusting.

Mr. Augusto has guts. Kudos to him.

Stephen T. writes:

Though people like fancy, exotic semi-auto handguns, there is a substantial school of thought that holds that the best weapon for home/shop defense is in fact the mundane pump shotgun like Mr. Augusto had. Just the psychological shock effect of a shotgun discharge—the earsplitting explosion, especially if you’re sonically immediately downrange of the barrel—has an instant dampening effect on the bravado of the type of punk who attempts these kinds of robberies. As would the sight of one of their accomplices hit by a full load of 00 buckshot—lifted completely off his feet and transported a couple of yards backwards in mid-air. It’s not surprising to me that they immediately discontinued the brilliant plan and headed for the exit en masse. I also find it not surprising that the shotgun had been sitting, apparently unfired for something like 30 years, yet still functioned flawlessly. There are a lot of semi-auto handguns I wouldn’t trust after that long in disuse.

I remember reading a statement by a career residential burglar who reported that the scariest thing he ever heard was the sound of a shotgun shell being chambered in a darkened house he had just broken into.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 14, 2009 01:22 PM | Send

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