Armed Encounter: Allied Veterans Internet Café

So you’re sitting at The Allied Veterans Internet Café, gambling on the Internet. Wait. What? “Allied Veterans says what it’s doing is not gambling, because the winners are all pre-determined,” wftv.com reported back in February 2009. “The gambling-like games are just a fun way to find out if you’ve won.” Uh. OK. Sure. “Some of the centers like Allied Veterans are said to take in as much as $400,000 per day.” So, you’re sitting at a gambling den operating at the margins of legality, where there may be a hundred grand in cash somewhere nearby. What’s wrong with this picture? . . .

If you think about it, you’re sitting in an establishment that handles enough cash to be a target for armed robbery. But hey, that’s also true for jewelry shops, grocery stores, liquor stores and pharmacies (cash and drugs).

One crucial difference: an internet gambling den attracts the wrong kind of people. Customers at the margins of society. Just as you’re more at risk in a drug store in a bad part of town, you’re more at risk at a semi-legit casino than a big time operation. As we shall see . . .

Notice how casually the robbers approach the door. This is both a good thing and bad thing. On one hand, it indicates that they’re not hopped-up on drugs and/or adrenalin, on a hair-trigger, ready to inflict violence. On the other hand, it may indicate that they’ve been here before, both literally and psychologically.

Note to the wary: don’t get to thinking that an attacker’s body language will signal an imminent attack. It may do, but it may not. In this case, the robbers go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye. They begin by knocking a customer flat on her ass.

At this point, someone who was mentally prepared for the possibility of violence, someone who’d positioned themselves so that they could watch the door, would dive for cover for concealment—having thought about the possibility beforehand. If he or she had a weapon, they would have drawn it at the same time.

Notice that this list includes no one. Faced with armed robbers, the unarmed customers freeze. After a shot is fired, they finally duck under the machines for concealment. Which they can’t do because there’s no space to do so.

Back it up. Look at the cop’s position by the door. His desk seems carefully placed to reduce his ability to see who’s coming in the casino before they enter. It gives him no time to do anything about anything should something occur. Which it does.

A fraction of a second after the perps push the customer to the floor, the cop pushes his chair backwards. Within one second, the bad guy has a gun against his head. He’s lost the fight for his life, and his ability to defend the innocent lives he’s been hired to protect. It’s a miracle he wasn’t assassinated on the spot.

He should have been ready. Hey, what do you expect from a low-rent rent-a-cop? But here’s the thing: when you enter an establishment with security, you should check your 10-40 like a bad guy.

If the security looks good—a professional guard who’s armed, alert and positioned properly—you can relax a little. If not, you should amp-up your awareness. Big time. Hello? Someone thought to hire a guard. There’s something worth stealing here, and officer Krupke is not ready, willing or able to do a damn thing about it.

I’ve walked straight out of high end stores with low end security.

To his credit, this particular rental cop doesn’t give up. He tussles with the perp a bit, pushing the gun muzzle away from his noggin. He gets a bit of distance and draws his weapon. BG 1 leaves. The rent-a-cop fires.

We can’t see either the bad guy’s or the guard’s location, so we can’t pass judgement on his decision to shoot. Who don’t know who might have been near the perp and whether the guard’s life or anyone else’s was in imminent danger.

Yes, this is important. The guard fires a single shot and hits the second perp. BG2 leaves and, later, dies. But there was no guarantee that BG2 would hit the highway (literally), or that his accomplice wouldn’t return. In other words, did the guard really need to fire?

For those of us who practice armed self-defense, this is a crucial point. Just because there’s gunfire around your immediate area doesn’t mean you have to shoot. The basic rule still applies: you are only allowed to use lethal force if your life, the life of your loved ones or, yes, other innocent lives are in imminent danger.

As the rabbi says, imminence must be imminent. The danger of deadly force in and of itself is not sufficient justification for shooting.

I know what you’re thinking: who gives a shit? If I’m in a room with a bad guy shooting up the place, I’m going to shoot him. Well think again. You could shoot the wrong person. You could get shot by the guard or cops steaming in. Shooting makes you a target. You could get shot.

There are a lot of ways a gunfight can go very, very badly. You could do everything “right” and still die. As this video illustrates, your best chance at survival is to avoid places where violence may occur, and prepare yourself for the possibility that it will. Always.

comments

  1. avatar Vincit Veritas says:

    What kind of self-respecting semi-legal fringe organization isn’t secure enough to protect their gray-market stash?

  2. avatar swampcat says:

    I tend to disagree. I had a run in with a roided up guy a few years ago. He blocked my car in traffic and tried hard to get me to step out and start something. I did not. This stranger had a very distinctive car. About two months later the casino nearby was robbed at gunpoint by a man fitting the same description and also driving that very same car. The perp robbed the patrons and then robbed the cashiers. Before leaving he delivered the same sort of “dare ya” speech he gave me and then executed the two unarmed, cooperative middle aged women cashiers.
    He was caught a week later but the cashiers are still dead.

  3. avatar David says:

    I would also note that BG2 died from a gunshot wound to the *back* incurred as he was attempting to GTFO. Whether or not Florida’s self defense statute protects that poor gaurd from criminal liability, some plaintiff’s lawyer is still going to get a nice big check out of Allied Veteran’s insurer for BG #2’s estate, I gaurantee.

  4. avatar htown9 says:

    In Texas you are also allowed to use lethal force to protect property, just ask Joe Horn(even your neighbors property), if you dont know who he is google it.

    1. avatar John Fritz says:

      Joe Horn. Interesting.

      1. avatar DSimpson says:

        Here is Mr. Horn’s visit with the police– apparently on the same day as the shooting. Considering all of the circumstances, it is a very interesting video…

        http://www.click2houston.com/video/16783397/index.html

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    Once the BGs drew their weapons, they were threatening the immediate use of deadly force which can be met by the use of deadly force. So it looks to me like the rent-a-cop handled himself just fine and was well within his legal rights to fire. No patrons were injured in the crossfire, the security guard wasn’t hit, one BG put down — that’s about as good as it gets. Civil suit? Don’t make me laugh. Even Ron Kuby wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole.

  6. avatar Don says:

    That was frightening. It looks like the guard did as good a job as you could expect from him. He probably is a low rent security guard. By engaging the criminals, clumsily as he did, they were focused on him and not the rest of the people who scattered.

    Well, either way, a place like that is not my kind of climate.

    -D

  7. avatar Betty Johnson says:

    I think they should close all allied these places down, this is not the first time that crime has taken place. In the one located in Melbourne Florida crook rob the Hess down the street for $30.00 and came there to play with the money, they got caught because the card that they used to access the computer was assigned by name. People are addicted and they lose their money. I say close them down they only draw crime

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