As reported, a pair of armed robbers were fatally shot as they tried to rob a liquor store in Chicago, Illinois.
Police say that at about 8:30pm, a 15 year old and a 17 year old entered Z&S Food and Liquor on the 1300 block of West 87th Street in Chicago, Illinois, armed with a gun. One of the robbers reportedly hit the clerk who was behind the counter and hopped over the counter. The owner of the store saw the robbery, drew his own gun, and fired on the robbers, according to news reports. Both robbers were reportedly fatally shot.
Robbery is primarily a crime of violence against a person. The taking of property during a robbery is very much a secondary concern for the victim, which is why robbery of a pack of gum can result in a 20 year prison sentence, while a similar theft might only be punishable by up to a very brief jail sentence (with most people receiving only a small fine upon conviction). Our legal system (and common sense) recognize that given the great harm that robbers will often inflict on even cooperative victims, along with the fear and trauma even in cases where no one is hurt, robbery is properly understood as a deadly threat to a victim. That fact justifies the use of a gun in self defense against a robber.
In self defense cases where the shot criminals are young, there is invariably criticism of the crime victim who acted in self defense. That criticism is misplaced and unwarranted, as the age of a violent robber is not relevant. That is because a 15 year old and a 17 year old who are bent on committing a violent robbery are just as able to inflict harm on their victim as a 20 year old robber. A crime victim’s right to defend themselves and others is not diminished by the age of the attacker. Instead, when a person (including a 15 year old) chooses to commit a crime of violence like robbery, they place their own life in peril through that unwise decision that they are knowingly making. Thus, the responsibility for the death of a robber lies squarely on the shoulders of that robber.