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.