The sad shooting of WZTV reporter Erika Lathon – after she complied with a robber’s demands – once again demonstrates the fact that compliance is no guarantee of safety when facing a violent criminal.

Nashville Police say in a statement that WZTV is offering the reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person who wounded reporter Erika Lathon late Thursday after she withdrew cash from a Bank of America ATM near downtown. Police said the robber demanded money from Lathon, who complied, but he then shot her in the arm and ran away.

Robbery is primarily a crime against a person’s body, rather than a crime against their property. For that reason alone, a criminal who commits robbery is not the kind of person to whom anyone should wish to trust their life and safety.  Unfortunately, complying with a robber’s demands in the hope that they will decide not to inflict harm is to do exactly that.

Sometimes robbers inflict harm when the victim has no property to hand over

An example is this street Chicago armed robbery, in which the victim was shot after the robber learned that the man had no money to steal.

Sometimes robbers inflict harm when the victim has insufficiently valuable property

An example is this Hartford, CT home invasion that I have previously discussed, in which the home owner was shot by a robber after the robbers determined the man’s property wasn’t valuable enough to have been worth their time.  Another example is this St. Petersburg, FL deli robbery, in which a robber shot the deli owner multiple times after being dissatisfied with the amount of money in the cash register.

Sometimes robbers inflict harm even when the victim fully complies

Two examples are from Algona, IA and Humbolt, IA, in which a robber murdered two female convenience store clerks within an hour, after they had fully complied with his demands.  Another example is this Buffalo, NY robbery in which a woman abducted, robbed, pushed from the criminal’s car, and shot in the shoulder.

The reality

The reality is that a criminal who is willing to engage in a violent crime such as robbery or home invasion, is not the kind of person with whom one will likely be able reason with, or from whom compassion can be expected.  Compliance with such a violent criminals’ demands does not guarantee safety.  Indeed, those who engage in crimes of violence are often drug users seeking funds to feed their addiction, and when lacking their drug may be unpredictable and irrational.

Still other criminals have sexual assault or other violence as their primary goal, and robbery as a secondary goal, making cooperation with the criminal’s demands for property utterly ineffective.

Armed self defense is the solution

I have written about hundreds of real-life armed self defense examples on this website, but they are only a tiny portion of the approximately 2.5 million times that Americans use in a gun self defense each year.  Such armed citizens save themselves from crime, and also save other would-be victims when the criminal is prevented from victimizing another person in the future.