What are store owners to do about flash mob robberies?

James P. writes:

Earlier this week the supposed conservatives on the local AM station discussed the flash mob robbery of a 7/11 in Germantown. The commentators avoided the racial issue, and their general attitude was nauseating: “These are just children stealing candy bars, it’s no big deal”—as if these were grade school kids and not adults or near-adults purposely committing a felony. [LA replies: I’m amazed that nominal conservatives would dismiss the importance of a gang invading a retail store and emptying it of its merchandise.]

In the liberal world we live in, the most prudent response of the person behind the counter is to ignore such mob robberies. Yet I am curious what you and your readers think a shopkeeper ought to be able to do, in an ideal conservative world, when a mob of black teenaged thieves invades his store.

LA replies:

How about taking out a gun, standing at the doorway brandishing it, and either (a) ordering them to leave or (b) arresting them?

James P. replies:

Even in an ideal conservative world, you shouldn’t brandish a gun unless you’re prepared to shoot it, and criminals will not always be deterred by the display of weapons. Do you take the view that the shopkeeper (or clerk) should suffer no penalties if he shoots someone who is attempting to steal from the store but who is not otherwise threatening anyone’s life?

LA replies:

Ok, then what recourse does a store keeper have whose store is being empied out?

James P. replies:

“You may brandish your gun at criminals but you may not shoot them” is an untenable doctrine. Thus, if the store owner stands there brandishing a gun, and orders them to leave or arrests them, then he has to have the right to shoot them if they refuse to leave or refuse to submit to arrest.

LA replies:

Then I stand corrected. I was giving a common sense reaction, not a legal one. I was thinking of a man in his store, and it’s being invaded by a gang of looters, and he needs to stop them. What can he do? He uses force to protect himself and his property. Certainly people have the right to take out a gun when a burglar enters their home. Why does a store owner not have the same right when his store is being ransacked?

Paul K. writes:

You wrote: “How about taking out a gun, standing at the doorway brandishing it, and either (a) ordering them to leave or (b) arresting them?”

That would work if the threat was credible. Unfortunately, if the storeowner were to shoot a “youth” for stealing a package of Doritos, he would be destroyed by our legal system. The youths know that and so they feel fearless when in a pack. Black group violence will continue until the law addresses the problem as a unique phenomenon that must be specifically targeted; for example, it would have to enact a Riot Act stating that no prosecutions would be brought against those who used deadly force in defense of their lives and property under such circumstances, and civil suits were also limited.

As things stand now, storeowners are going to have to start keeping their doors locked and allow in only one or two youths at a time; this practice is already followed in many areas. We can all look forward to living in a society in which we all have to be treated the way black teenagers have to be treated, just as when we fly we all have to be searched and frisked the way Muslims need to be searched and frisked.

N. writes:

All we need do is look at stores in the black section of Washington, DC to see where convenience stores will go. The windows will be covered with heavy wire mesh to repel rocks and other projectiles. The doors will be heavily reinforced with thick glass and steel, and they will be double doors like a space station airlock, so that only one or two people can enter or leave the store at any given time. Perhaps the clerk will have a “panic button” that electronically locks both front doors at the same moment, in order to hold suspicious people for the police.

All of this will cost money, and so the store will have to charge higher prices. The higher prices will then be deemed evidence of “racism” by the usual, liberal, suspects. And the rest of us will learn to avoid any store that looks more like a command bunker than a place to shop.

Doug H. writes:

There is nothing that can be done by the store owner or any other property owner unless he is willing to face the law himself. Several years ago, I caught a black teenager climbing to the top of my privacy fence and throwing rocks at my small dogs. I went outside and told him to get down. I was very nice about this. He came in my front yard and I told him to get out of the yard and leave my stuff alone. Then he came back into the front yard and stood near my wife continuing to act in an intimidating manor. He knew, as your readers have stated, that there was nothing I could do. It didn’t matter if he was black or white. Teenagers know an adult cannot lay hands on them. All I could do was stand around and watch for him to do something threatening. I finally spotted him running around behind the house and attempting to throw a rock through my sliding glass door. At that point, I stepped out and got him on video camera. He ran away. I called the cops. Their response. NOTHING.

This reminds me of how my dad used to tell me that when he was a kid they had to watch out because any adult in the neighborhood could yank them up and spank their rear end if they got out of line.

Robert B. writes:

It seems to me that the use of a gun is more than justified. Many of your readers incorrectly assume that a person acting lawfully will get in trouble for defending their property. This is not the case. There was a Hmong liquor store owner in St. Paul who had been repeatedly robbed by the same two black men. They never pulled a gun, but would instead grab some booze bottles and run out the door. One day he shot one in the store and dropped him. Then he ran out the door after the other one and shot him while he was running away. The Hmong store owner only got into trouble over the second shooting. He got five years, but only served nine months and did the rest as probation. There were no civil lawsuits attached to this.

In another St. Paul case, a Vietnamese man and his wife had been repeatedly bullied by a couple of black males. One day when the two men showed up to harass him and his wife, he went into his home and came back out with a rifle. The two blacks jumped into their car and sped off—but the Vietnamese man opened up on them with his rifle as they drove away. He killed one and wounded the other. He was charged with aggravated assault and murder in the third degree. The jury acquitted him. It seems that the jury felt that since the police would not/could not do anything, the man had a right to deal with it as best he could.

In the former case, the public was on the side of the liquor store owner and the outcry was so great against any real prosecution that they gave him a slap on the wrist. Understand that under Minnesota state law, if a person runs away, you have to let him run away. Neither man did that, and both got away with it.

LA replies:

Those are really interesting stories.

However, as others have said in this thread, even though both men ultimately got off with a light sentence or no sentence, people don’t want to do things that are going to get them in trouble with the law.

Robert B. writes:

You wrote:

“However, as others have said in this thread, even though both men ultimately got off with a light sentence or no sentence, people don’t want to do things that are going to get them in trouble with the law.”

But, had the liquor store owner only shot the one in the store, nothing would have happened to him. Shooting one or two flash mob members in the store would be the same thing. The Vietnamese man got away with both crimes via jury nullification—that says something about how the general public really feels.

LA replies:

The Vietnamese man got off through jury nullification—but he was arrested, charged, and tried. I’m just repeating a point Irv P. and Tim W. made, not in this thread, as I mistakenly said before, but in the thread about a teacher who has been suspended from his job for making negative statements on his Facebook page about homosexuality and homosexual “marriage”: that, as Tim put it, even though he will probably win in the courts, “Most people don’t want to have to go to court over something they say. They don’t want ‘controversy’ to surround them. So even if they know they can win a First Amendment lawsuit, they’ll just keep quiet.”

Similarly, even if a storeowner believes he will probably be acquitted for using a gun against a flash mob, the fear of being arrested and tried will, in most cases, keep him from doing it. I don’t know that this is true, but it’s a reasonable argument.

August 20

Robert B. replies to LA:

I understand what you’re getting at, Lawrence. But I think that mentality is precisely what got us into the present mess we are in as a society. In my mind, it is a form of cowardice. And it is that cowardice that the “Other” senses in “us” at the present moment in historical time. It is the same societal cowardice that allows a group of whites to stand by doing nothing while another white is assaulted and beaten by a group of blacks while a larger group of whites stands by and watches. This isn’t new—I saw it 40 years ago when busing/school integration began here. Some whites hung together, others—the majority, reacted with fear in the face of black savagery.

We will never retrieve our civilization as long as we allow the “other” to have its way and do as it pleases with us. As my mother used to say, paraphrasing Shakespeare, “A coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man but once.” At what point will the white man decide the pain is great enough that he will fight back? I don’t mean just physically, but mentally as well. What will it take for us, as a people, to stand together and reclaim our civilization? I know you have thought about this as well—all thinking men give this weighty topic thought. But the question remains unanswered.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 19, 2011 11:22 AM | Send

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