As reported, a clerk at a Mac’s convenience store, located in Ontario, Canada, was fired after using his own knife to successfully scare off a knife wielding robber. Sean Sportun, director of loss prevention and security for Mac‘s Convenience Stores, watched the surveillance camera footage and decided (from the safety of his office) that the armed robber wasn’t “wasn‘t particularly aggressive” and that the employee shouldn’t have defended himself.
Here we have another case of a crime victim successfully defending themselves, only to be second guessed by someone who wasn’t there, and whose life was not in danger. Sadly, this seems all too common in Canada. Mr. Sportun may believe that it is reasonable to play armchair quarterback and fire an employee who dealt with a robbery first hand, but he is in error. A person reviewing security camera footage is sitting in the comfort of their office, rather than facing a potentially deadly criminal. Mr. Sportun had all the time in the world to pause the playback of the security tapes, while the clerk had to make a split second decision that could affect his very life. Also, security cameras just don’t convey the full situation, such as subtle body language and inflection in the robber’s voice that can determine how a threat is interpreted. It is simply wrong to fire an employee for doing their best to defend their life during the type of stressful situation that an armed robbery involves.
Even if, for the sake of argument, Mr. Sportun was correct in his belief that the armed robber was not dangerous when he first made his demand for money, that does not mean that the robber would have stayed that way. Many robbers become violent, even after their victims comply. This deli owner cooperated, only to be shot because the robbers weren’t happy with the amount of money in the cash register. This man (in the 4th robbery on that page) handed over his valuables, but was then pistol whipped. This other Oak Park man was also pistol whipped after complying with a robber’s demands for his property. This man was shot after armed home invading robbers weren’t satisfied with the value of his belongings. Robbers are unpredictable, and often rob to get money for their drug habits. It is not prudent to bet one’s safety on the belief that a robber will act reasonably.
Fighting back against robbers, on the other hand, can be quite effective. This armed barber shot an armed criminal who threatened him and his son. This armed pet shop clerk shot an armed robber who threatened a fellow employee’s life. This armed pizza delivery man defended himself against 3 armed robbers. This armed citizen stopped a bank robber, while this armed Israeli citizen stopped a terrorist. This pizza delivery man was able to defend himself against an armed robber with nothing more than a hot pepperoni pizza. This motel clerk was also able to stop an armed robber.
Those who would like to let Mac’s convenience store know how they feel about this incident can do so here.
The video clip below is of a different Mac’s convenience store robbery, where the clerk was beaten by the armed robbers and collapsed on the floor after the robbery. After having seen this video clip, I can certainly understand why the clerk here would wish to defend himself.