The Cross And The Switchblade, Redux

Ariah Fine links to this story posted at NPR about a mugging victim that offers more than he was demanded of…and asks if any of his readers know a similar story.  If its true, it is really remarkable.  Twice in my life I have been threatened with deadly force, and truthfully, both times I fought back, and was lucky enough to come away relatively unharmed and without any monetary loss.  Of course, neither experience afforded me the opportunity to “also give up my coat.”  I don’t think I made a conscious decision to fight instead of flee, in one case, it was my job to arrest the individual, the other was probably one I could have escaped if I had attempted.

Whats interesting to me is that after the danger had passed, (the wallet had been surrendered, and the mugger turned to leave) the victim actually stopped the mugger to offer more.  That was probably more dangerous than the initial encounter.  You never know what type of predator you are dealing with, and a confused, frightened, armed kid is way more dangerous than a calculating, experienced criminal.

I try to teach my kids about situational awareness, simple things like observing the immediate area of a parking lot or glancing inside your car before stepping in.  Avoiding danger is far better than dealing with it.  Another point I try to drive home with people (my kids included) is that feeling secure because you have a weapon is foolish.  Anyone can be taught to shoot the center clean out of a paper target.  Staring down the barrel of a gun held by a shaky hand will empty your bowels right quick, I promise.  The chances are your attacker will have the drop on you, and any attempt to pull a weapon out will result in your immediate loud, messy demise.  If we can get criminals to stand 12 feet away and not move, ok, you got a chance.

I bring all that up because there is a great deal of fanfare here in the South about the right to carry a firearm.  So, i want to ask another question beyond Ariah’s….

If you were robbed at knifepoint, gave up your wallet or purse, and the mugger started to walk away, would you then draw a weapon and shoot him in the back to retrieve your belongings?  What if he or she was a youngster?

* Yea, the title I used was a stretch, but, not that much, if you think on it.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.



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11 responses to “The Cross And The Switchblade, Redux

  1. I live in California. I’m paranoid.
    Given, I don’t live in the barrio or the ghetto or anything, but I do simple things like check my car and then only unlock the door I’m getting into.
    I avoid walking at night without a large man or dog (preferably both).

    But I don’t carry a gun.
    A) Because it’s illegal to carry concealed in California, and
    B) Because it wouldn’t do me much good for all the reasons you have listed.

    And to answer your question, no I wouldn’t shoot a retreating criminal to fetch my belongings. The conscious decision to take someones life over material possessions puts me on the same level as the person mugging me in the first place. If you escape unharmed, go somewhere safe, cancel your credit cards and move on with your life.

  2. All good points. To add 2 cents: There were a number of muggings outside the bar that I worked in in college. The typical MO was that a group of youths would hang out on the corner (which you’d find on every corner in that neighborhood). When their victim walked by, one of them would run up behind him and punch him in the back of the head. Then the group would rush up and kick and punch him until dazed/out.

    Not much chance to pull a weapon, but if you were aware enough to turn around before the first hit, I’m guessing they’d call it off.

    It’s my understanding that that’s a pretty common mugging technique.

  3. democommie

    I’ve had a couple of half-assed attempts made in my direction. Both times I walked away, fast.

    I was talking to someone about home invasions/robberies (I may have said this here before) around the subject of whether an AK-47 or a .3o8 was a more sensible “home defense” weapon–I said that if I had to have a gun I would prefer a .410 or 2o Gauge. In any event, if someone came in my house I’d throw the mattress up against the bedroom door and call the cops on my cellphone–then the neighbors.

  4. I would think the .410 might be a little light. The 20 gauge is a good call, especially if you want your wife to be able to shoot it as well.

    If a 12 gauge is too much, remember there is a 16 gauge. I had an Ithaca model 37, 16 gauge pump growing up that was great.

  5. The nice thing about a shotgun…everyone knows what that metallic chambering sound means, and no one ever wants to see one pointed their way.

  6. And Mychal, my Dear, all you would have to do to a would-be mugger is threaten to text him to death, and he’d haul ass away from you.

  7. That was bad, even for you.

  8. democommie

    The guy who advised me to get the .410 was an Olympics shooting alternate back in the early 60’s (IIRC). He said that you need to saw it off about four inches in front of the receiver. He said it would be better to go to jail for a year or two then the cemetery forever.

    Besides I prolly won’t need anything like that. I can scream like a girl if the occassion demands it!

  9. democommie


    I saw “The Cross And The Switchblade” when it was originally released. What a lame movie. Now, if they could redo it with, say, Jason Whosis from “The Transporter” as the priest, kicking the snot out of Satan, that would be cool!

  10. I can’t remember the guy’s name, but the young thug turned evangelist actually stayed with the Primary Wife’s family and spoke at her Dad’s church. The book was good, the movie was lame.

  11. democommie

    ” The book was good, the movie was lame.”

    Erik Estrada AND Pat Boone; ’nuff said!

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