I’ve previously discussed how robbers often harm even those victims who fully cooperate.  A terrible pair of casse from Algona and Humboldt Iowa reinforce this point:

Vicky Bowman-Hall did everything the masked robber told her to Monday night. The 47-year-old mother of 11 filled the duffel bag with cigarettes and money from the convenience store cash register. Then he shot her in the head. She died a short time later at Kossuth Regional Health Center.

About an hour later, the scene repeated itself 25 miles away in Humboldt. There, the bandit shot and killed 61-year-old clerk Sheila Myers.

Here we have a robber who demanded and received full cooperation from his victim.  The robber was also masked, making it unlikely that the victim would be able to identify him.  Rather than just leaving with his ill-gotten gains, the robber decided to execute the mother of 11 children, shattering countless lives.  Then, as if one cold-blooded murder wasn’t enough for the day, the same robber is believed to have take the life of another innocent clerk shortly thereafter. According to news reports, a suspect was taken into custody and charged with multiple crimes, including murder, and was said to have been “grinning broadly” as he was escorted into court.

In response to the first murder, Lisa Abens, operations director for the company that owns the place of business said in a written statement that Bowman-Hall, an assistant manager, followed company policy and “did everything correctly but was still the victim of a senseless act.”  I find myself in great disagreement with that statement.

The fact is that many robbers will decide to harm or even kill even the most cooperative victims.  To provide a few examples this bakery owner’s wife, this homeowner, and this deli owner were all shot by criminals, despite having offered their full cooperation.  To cooperate with a robber, rather than acting in self defense, is to trust one’s life to a person who has already shown a willingness to break the law and use violence as they see fit.  At least from my perspective, that is not a wise choice.

Fighting back against robbers, however, can be quite effective as a means of reducing the risk of injury.  This pregnant woman used a gun to defend herself, her unborn child, her toddler, and her husband from an armed robber, and suffered no harm. This armed barber shot an armed criminal who threatened him and his son, saving their lives.  This armed pet shop clerk shot an armed robber who threatened a fellow employee’s life, as well as his own life, preventing them both from being stabbed.  This armed pizza delivery man defended himself against 3 armed robbers, and walked away unharmed.  This armed citizen stopped a bank robber, while this armed Israeli citizen stopped a terrorist, suffering no harm themselves.  This motel clerk was also able to stop an armed robber and ensure that neither a fellow employee, or a nearby mother and baby were harmed.  While I could provide more examples, the point should be apparent:  armed self defense works.

While it is very sad when an individual chooses not to act in self defense, and pays with their life for that decision, it strikes me as far worse when a company has a policy that forbids employees from defending themselves.  Here, based upon the company’s operations director’s statements, it appears that the store where Vicky Bowman-Hall worked had a policy of directing employees to cooperate, rather than defend themselves.  If this is the case, then that company policy is both wrongheaded and sadly common.  Indeed, other companies, such as Pizza Hut and Mac’s Convenience Stores have fired employees who successfully defended themselves against robbers, apparently believing that their company policy trumps the employee’s right to preserve their own life.