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« Stirfry

What would you do?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published July 29, 2008

You're standing in front of a neighborhood store when a man walks up to the front door carrying a rifle, dons a mask, enters and demands money from the clerk. Customers in the store rush out. The armed robber goes behind the counter, opens the cash registers, grabs cash and then fires at least three shots into floor.

He walks out, and heads for the getaway car that's waiting for him some distance away.

What would you do?

The question is prompted by what took place Friday afternoon at the J&D Supermarket on Belmont Avenue. The brazenness of the hold-up is made all the more dramatic by the fact that there were people inside and outside the store. Yet, no one attempted to intervene.

Is that why violent crime in Youngstown remains such a major problem? Criminals seem to believe that they're untouchable. The only time force is met with force is when gangbangers cross paths.

Here's another question: If you were licensed to carry a firearm and were packing, would you have shot first and then asked questions?

Law-abiding residents are tired of being held hostage in their neighborhoods. They want something done, but what?




1Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

The PD had just reported that 'overall crime in the city dropped 13 percent for the first half of the year, compared with the same period in 2007' so I thought this was part of the 2010 plan or just another movie being filmed and so I stood aside and watched.

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2apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Come on Tugboat, don't take one incident and extrapolate it to the crime stats. YPD didn't say crime was nonexistent, just down.

Had I been packing heat, which I would never do, I would have intervened and stopped the crime. Isn't that why people pack heat?

Otherwise, I would have called YPD, looked at the perps to provide a good description, gotten a license plate number and description of the getaway vehicle. It's the responsibility of citizens to do what they can to help LE solve and prevent crime.

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3Bull_Chip(170 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Bertram posted “Here's another question: If you were licensed to carry a firearm and were packing, would you have shot first and them asked questions?”

Well Mr. de Souza, in short – NO. It is the responsibility of a Concealed Carry Permit Holder to avoid such confrontations. If the perpetrator made no hostile move towards me and I could reasonably expect to escape and avoid a confrontation, under the law, I must do it if I am not in my home or my car (those were recently allowed by the implementation of the “Castle Law”).

A Concealed Carry Permit does not provide an individual with law enforcement powers. If a permit holder had shot the suspect (until convicted in a court of law, he is presumed innocent) under these conditions, he would have been liable for criminal and civil charges. The family of the suspect (assuming you did kill him) could sue you for the loss of a loved one and companion and they likely would win.

Was the suspects intent to cause serious injury or death to anyone? Was anybody seriously injured or killed in the robbery?

Law abiding citizens can only defend themselves and their family, not enforce the laws of the land with deadly force. That power is given only to dully trained and authorized law enforcement officers. So yes, I would depend on the YPD to keep other citizens safe.

Scary, isn’t it, relying on the YPD to keep you safe if you are not a Concealed Carry Permit Holder. Enough said.

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4henryviii1509(274 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

one does not obtain a 'license to carry', one obtains a 'license to carry concealed'. some carry un-concealed and don't need a license to do so.
one of the smart, law-abiding, un-concealed carrying citizens could have prevented this robbery by the mere sight of the firearm by the supposed robber.

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5yavorcik(2 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

The answer isn't to turn the city of Youngstown into more of a wild west shooting gallery than it is now. The answer is for law enforcement, beginning with the prosecutor's office to begin doing its job. Brazen criminals? Who could blame them when Mahoning County has a prosecutor who is more than willing to offer soft plea bargains to hardened criminals who have committed multiple offenses--often while they are on bail awaiting trial for other offenses.

Why wouldn't violent offenders and gangbangers brazenly roam our neighborhoods when they have been able to execute witnesses to their crimes at will, thus escaping prosecution and sending a very clear message to law abiding citizens: keep your heads down, your eyes averted, and your mouths closed. Or else.

The brazeness to which Mr. de Souza refers is a demonstration for the complete lack of respect or fear criminals in our county have for the prosecutor's office. An office characterized by procedural errors and missed deadlines that hand criminals "Get out of jail free cards," too-lenient plea deals, cozy relationships with defense attorneys, conflicts with judges, cronyism, and a lack of support for the police who are on the front lines of the battle against violent crime. In short, we have a prosecutor who is, as the Vindicator has pointed out on numerous occasions incapable of doing his job--despite the fact that county commissioners have given him the additional resources--including five additional assistant prosecutor positions--he said he needs to protect the public.

What the people want done, what they need, what they deserve, is a prosecutor who will try the tough cases personally and on a regular basis, not just when its a case that is sure to draw media attention. They need a prosecutor who will apply the highest professional and ethical standards to himself and the members of his staff. They need a prosecutor and staff that the police can call 24 hours a day for advice and support so debacles like the Tate case are not repeated in the future. They need a prosecutor who will use plea agreements to serve the interests of justice and public safety rather than to lighten the workload on staff attorneys and make life easy for defense lawyers. They need a prosecutor who will do everything possible to protect victims and witnesses because they are essential to effective prosecution. And they need a prosecutor who offers real solutions to the challenges facing the criminal justice system in our community rather than one who offers lame excuses and blames others for his failures.

Residents shouldn't have to take the law into their own hands to end the reign of violence and terror that is turning them into prisoners in their own neighborhoods while gangsters who should be prisoners fearlessly and cavalierly rob, kill, maim, and rape. They pay their prosecutor for doing that job. It's time they got their money's worth.

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6apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Well said and true Yavorcik. But unless his opponent can also claim to have been shot by the mob, then beating Gains is nearly impossible. The valley isn't too bright when it comes to electing capable people. Name recognition and belonging to certain ethnic groups is far more important than qualifications.

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7yavorcik(2 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

This election is not about Gains being shot, its about everyone who has been shot since Mr. Gains and what he has done about it!

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8apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

I agree with you completely Yavorcik. Gains has been a poor prosecutor and much of the reason for the criminal justice systems failures.

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9NoBS(2013 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Let me start with the easy question: "Here's another question: If you were licensed to carry a firearm and were packing, would you have shot first and then asked questions?"

I do have a CCW permit, and the training you get when you obtain your permit makes it clear that your gun is for the protection of YOU and YOUR FAMILY. You are explicitly NOT to go around playing cop just because you are allowed to carry a gun. So, in your scenario, where I'm just standing outside the store, and my life is not in danger, nor are my loved ones in danger, my gun stays in its holster. I do not try to be the big hero and save the day.

This does not mean I will do nothing. I will get as good a description of the bad guy as I can - maybe use my cell phone camera to take a picture or two, even. I will call 911 and give the police all the information I have about what's going on.

If the bad guy comes out and points his rifle at me, I will first take cover, and then I will defend myself. At that point, he's threatening me, and it's now appropriate that I take action to not allow myself to be a victim.

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10Woody(452 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Actually under Ohio law you do have a right, it is not a duty, to protect a stranger if the protected person would have had the right to use self defense. You would have to be able to prove it in a court, but that should not be to hard. What Ohio Concealed Carry training discourages is playing cop.

In this situation, I might have reacted differently and dropped the crook.

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