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This video is very sad, but there are lessons to be learned for the armchair self-defender.  Lessons that may save someone’s life.

Here is what I see:

1.  Zombie mind criminals do not care about a victim’s life. Obey immediately or die. It makes no difference to them.

2. Just give the criminal the cash and let him walk away, and live…or….

3. Go medieval on the guy as soon as he pockets the pistol and beat the ever loving stuffing out of him every way you can. Then run away and live.

4. The criminal actually tells the guy to back off prior to shooting him. The victim doesn’t believe the BG will kill him and pushes his resistance, but not nearly enough. He tries to take a middle road and is shot for his trouble. He should have listened to the BG.

5. Despite taking a several bullets, the victim doesn’t just drop instantly from his wound. Dying takes time, sometimes. It appears he died from a neck wound.

If I’d been unarmed and unaware of my circumstances, I would have let the mugger have the cash in this situation. The only other option at that point would have been swift, violent animal aggression.

But who wants to be at the mercy of a criminal? If carrying a pistol, I would not like being frisked as the victim was and possibly losing the gun, and that might increase my aggression in this situation. I don’t think there would be time to draw or stab, bare hands only, control his gun hand and bash his head with and into everything possible.

These scenarios are worthy of thought.  Any other thoughts out there?


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  1. The cash wasn’t worth his life. I would have gave him the money, gotten a good look at him and noticed his clothes, any tattoos, accent, etc, and then watched him

    Then there are those who would pull a gun from their pant leg, shout at the perp, and start shooting. But that would be wrong too. The video footage would seal your fate.

    Martial arts masters would try a move on him, maybe that would work.

    In the end, give him some money and live to tell about it. Then find another ATM to use from now on.

    • I don’t know a single jurisdiction in the United States where using lethal force against an armed mugger would “seal your fate.”

      In fact, the recent reality has been precisely the opposite: IIRC, a NYC store owner who shot a couple of robbers had his unregistered weapon charges quickly dropped by the DA in the face of nearly instant and overwhelming pressure was applied.

      Even in California, the overwhelming sentiment of the citizens is in favor of good guys defending themselves with lethal force against the bad guys.

      This isn’t to market the idea of carte blanche shootings by the good guys – but time and time again, DAs of all jurisdictions in the US who have attempted to prosecute folks who act in self defense have gone down in flames.

  2. Assuming I was not armed like the victim in the video? As soon as the BG put the handgun in his pocket, I would have attacked as fast, as hard and as merciless as possible, I would have been punching, kicking, biting, twisting arms, breaking fingers, smashing his head, basically inflicting the absolute maximum amount of possible violence and mayhem on the guy as I could. At that point, there would be no “Give my money back and we both go home”, because he drew a gun on me which I have no other way to interpet than a direct threat to kill me, but if he was stupid enough to put it in his pocket, then I have the right to prevent him from being able to get the weapon out again, even if it means I have to kill him with my hands. If he had kept the gun on me, I would have handed over the cash, and backed slowly away as instructed. The worst thing to do is a half-way response, like oh, I’ll resist a little bit, but not too much, maybe I’ll yell a threat even though I’m unarmed and then give in. In my opinion, either comply fully, or commit to full on resistance, knowing you are getting into a fight to the death.

  3. The victim had no violence of action. Going half-assed against an armed assailant will likely end poorly for the victim.

  4. I still remember one of those “out of town visitor to NYC gets killed” stories about 20 years ago.
    Family from Utah was mugged in the subway – shaken but uninjured. Their teen son decides to play hero and chase after him, and was fatally stabbed.
    I feel bad for any crime victim, perhaps even more so when they have a window of opportunity to flee or at least try to fight back, and don’t take it.
    But attempting to engage the criminal when they’ve gotten what they want and are more interested in leaving than harming you – that’s not too smart.

      • Buuurr, my law partners represented the family of Brian Watkins. Aaron’s synopsis is completely wrong in every respect and remarkably disrespectful.

    • His name was Brian Watkins. My former law partners represented the family.

      Your statement is completely wrong in all respects.

      The gang that jumped the family slashed his father and stomped his mother. They were not “shaken but uninjured.” They were being beaten and stomped. Brian was not “playing hero.” He tried to defend his parents and was stabbed. When the gang tried to run away, Brian chased them. The poor kid didn’t know that his pulmonary artery had been severed and he was already as good as dead. He never caught up to the bastards who stabbed him and was not injured in his pursuit. He died from the original wound.

      The gang members were apprehended buying tickets to the Roseland dance club with the money they had killed for.

      • Did Charles Bronfman continue to represent the family? I never heard what compensation was finally granted. As a fairly devoted US Open fan I was infuriated by that tragedy. I also started driving up to Flushing from Philadelphia in a heavy SUV. No more subways from 7th Avenue.

        • Yes, Charlie and Jim Burchetta represented the family. The case is sealed.

          FYI, I always thought that Charlie was some kind of savant. He could keep an entire case in his head and never wrote a single note during a trial because he didn’t need one.

    • Aaron, your recollection of Brian Watkins’ murder is completely incorrect.

      Brian died defending his parents. His father was slashed across the back with a box cutter as he was handing over his wallet to the gang of thugs that were robbing him. Brian’s mother was thrown to the ground and stomped on her head. They were not “shaken but uninjured.”

      When Brian came to the defense of his parents, he was stabbed once in the chest with a four-inch knife. Then the gang ran away. Brian chased but did not catch them. The poor kid did not know that an artery had been punctured and that he was bleeding internally.

      My former law partners represented the family. The family acted with class and dignity throughout the terrible ordeal. You should have checked your facts before you posted anything so wrong and defamatory about their son.

      • Ralph,

        My sincere apologies – both to him and his family, and of course to you, as well. The Brian Watkins story was quite heart wrenching when I first read about it, so I can’t quite understand how it got turned around in my head unless I had somehow confused it with another incident.

        No crime victim deserves to be slain, whether they comply, or resist.

        Again, quite sorry for that… there was no intent to be disrespectful or defamatory.

        • Not an issue for ne, Buuurr. The situation was played up by the city as if the kid had done something wrong. That was the mayor’s way of trying to get the city off the hook. On the other hand, the police report was correct. The cops did not try to get political, and caught hell from the mayor because of it.

  5. I remember reading in a LEO trade magazine (late 70’s early 80’s) about a case where a long-time LEO (30+ years of memory serves me) was shot & killed because of the failure to recognize that someone would actually shoot him.
    He used to talk about how in all his years as a cop he never had to draw his gun. When the time came, he was unable to recognize that the perp advancing on him with a gun (he was busy writing a ticket or something) was actually intending to kill him. He basically just stood there dumbfounded until he was shot to death.

    The absolute first rule to survival in any type of survival situation (the stereotypical “plane wreck in the wilderness” to the robbery at the ATM) is to fully realize that you can die unless you take action. In some cases you may die even if you do take action, but you may not.

    The human brain and the will to live remain the essential survival tools – if used properly. All else is supplemental.

  6. This is why the importance of mindset must be emphasized.

    Walking or driving up to an ATM without even a cursory look at anyone standing around in the vicinity is asking to be robbed. There are many places to withdraw your money, and it is better to be accused of paranoia than to end up dead on the pavement. A random person loitering next to an ATM is potential trouble that is best avoided.

    Another lesson from this is that one must assume the criminal is armed. I cannot speak Portuguese, but from the video I get the impression the guy handed over the money and later thought he could take the guy because the crook wasn’t obviously carrying. Once things progressed to a physical fight the crook reached for the piece and shot back.

    Lastly, I do not know what piece was used but it would seem the myth of pistol stopping power has been validated here. The victim took two rounds at very close range and was still ambulatory and walking around after the fatal wounds.

    • Portuguese wouldn’t have done you any good here, because the report was in Spanish. If it had been in Portuguese, I’d have been able to help you with the translation, but since I don’t speak Spanish, I’m only getting vague impressions here and there, mostly what the images are telling me anyway.

      The other point this brings up for me that I haven’t seen yet is the need to have backup weapons. It’s true this guy didn’t respond with the ferocity required to take control the situation when he decided to attack, but his cause would definitely have been helped if he had been equipped with a knife or a baton or even another pistol.

  7. I am armed for four reasons in decreasing order of importance and priority.
    1. To protect my family and myself.
    2. To protect others.
    3. To protect my property.
    4. To protect others property.

    I pray that in my response to any situation I remember to make decisions based upon those priorities. Never will I place anyone (other than the BG) in jeopardy to solely protect property. I hope that I can never be caught as unaware as the victim here (I find myself, because I’m constantly aware of the weapon, more aware when armed then not). But, the Observe, Orient, Decide, Act Loop which I spent nearly 30 years adhering to, makes me decide the best course of action to achieve success of my goals but keeping in mind the priorities of possible outcomes. Further, I agree with all of the posters above who state that the victim here, when he decided to act, did not act with enough violence of action to achieve success. I cannot tell any of you what to do, because I cannot judge for you your commitment and capabilities to act. If you carry you should consider taking self defense classes designed to protect your weapon when carrying.

  8. Complete lack of awareness, followed by a complete lack of conviction, followed by a complete lack of blood.

    If you’re going to surrender and hope for the best, do it and run. If you’re going to fight, do it to the maximum extent possible. The bad guy should not have had functioning fingers, eyeballs or testicles inside of a few seconds, and if you can’t do that, and don’t have a firearm, don’t fight. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

  9. If you are going to attack you cannot hesitate at all. You should go 100% animal from the start to the finish.

    From what I have seen one of the best ways to attack is using both your hands to control the hand with the gun. If possible with one hand on the wrist and the other on the gun. Keeping the gun pointed toward the attacker or anywhere away from you. Then you head-butt the guy viciously. Aim for the jaw as it is more likely to cause disorientation or unconsciousness. As you are striking continue attempting to remove the gun. You could also kick to the testicles. There is no shame in that.

    You should learn how to properly head-butt so you do not have the opposite effect happen.

  10. Honestly, I would have given the guy my money and backed away. Priority #1 is to see my kids every night. My gun is for when it doesn’t look like that’s going to work or the stakes are higher than just some cash.

    Outdoor ATM’s are one of the top 3 locations for muggings. It’s like throwing a worm in the water.

  11. It sounds harsh, but I would give him my money and shoot him in the back as he was walking away. Personally, I don’t think our society should have any tolerance whatsoever for thieves and murderers. As dishonorable as it is, if a person is willing to take your money by force, then it isn’t that much of a leap to killing unarmed victims.

    • With ATM fees being what they are, this is a wise course of action. Spending $2 on gum to get debit cash back is less than handing $2.50 over to the bank for the same withdrawal, and one is less likely to get a knife or a gun to the back in line at Walmart.

      • “I refuse to use ATMs. The machines are just bait to lure you into a very nice kill zone.” and the BGs know you have cash and are distracted.

        I use Pentagon Federal Credit Union and USAA so there are branches and ATMs on bases and in the Pentagon. Less worry about BGs that way. If I need cash and don’t have time to get there I just borrow it out of my stash in the gun safe. It’s easier to avoid potential situations than survive them.

  12. I don’t know what I would have done.

    The one time in my life I faced a predator, I did not avoid him. I looked him straight in the eye and never broke eye contact. He looked away and waited for an easier mark as I walked by.

    But that was a long time ago when I wouldn’t have wanted to fuck with me either.

  13. His best chance was when the BG was grabbing the money from the tray. He’s focused on the money, bent over in front of the victim. If he was armed, he could have easily drawn his gun. As he was, he should have taken control of BG’s head and introduced his teeth to ATM and gotten the hell out of there. Fast.

  14. Sometimes no matter what you do, it doesn’t matter.
    I watched a family man get his throat slit on camera, after he did everything required for the bad guy. Bad guy was never caught.

    Look to implement extreme violence at your earliest opportunity and don’t stop until he/they are very dead…. Oops, I meant “stopped.” Do it quick like your life depends on it because it does.

  15. history full of simpleton die, no gun your dead.
    Man brings a gun, if you see a gun, no matter gut cause your dead.
    BG presumed with gun, your life means nothing, fact is your dead.
    Any time you think your will survive, should assume will die.
    Why do you think, 2nd amendment constitution is written down.
    246 years ago slave, peons all knew what happens when confronted.
    Survival is number one fact of life for any one with a gun.
    Armed man on sight usually shoot on sight. Armed men seeing guns shoot,
    ask your question later after your survive.
    Militia of none, no gun, no ammo. Komifornia 2012.


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