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Walmart Employees Fired For Disarming Gun-Toting Robber

from the no-good-deed dept

Walmart has pretty specific rules for how employees are supposed to deal with shoplifters, however, it does seem a bit bizarre that the company would go so far as to fire some employees who disarmed a gun-toting thief. Obviously, the idea is that they don't want to encourage other employees to do the same thing, but does it really reach up to the level of firing the employees? At some point you have to wonder if there's a middle ground that makes sense.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:28am

    Middle grounds increase prices. Walmart simply cannot survive increased prices.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:34am

    3...2....1.... cue the lawsuits
    1 - Fired employees.
    2 - People in the store "traumatized" for life.
    3 - The thief for being manhandled.

    While it is amazing these employees did something to try to help, in the sue happy culture Walmart only has 1 answer that works. Remove the people who placed them in danger of having to litigate. I don't have the answer for a middle ground, but until someone finds it you will continue to see corporations trying to protect their bottom line.

     

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  3.  
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    Travis Miller (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:34am

    old news

    While I agree it is stupid, hasn't this story been around every year just with different companies?

     

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    Mike Stabile, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:41am

    Abdication or responsibility and victim mentality

    The idea of protecting employees by encouraging them not to protect themselves and their store is a blow to the human spirit. It is also a win for creating more dependent people. Just what this nation needs, more people counting on something outside themselves to solve their problems. So punish the ones that do take care of themselves. Love it!

     

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  5.  
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    Yogi, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:42am

    insane

    Reading Techdirt alone, the US seems like a completely insane, totally corrupt country. Something like the former Soviet Union.

     

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  6.  
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    Chargone (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:28am

    Re: insane

    ... other sources don't actually make it look any better. they just make it more obvious how wide spread the insanity is...

    (well, that and show that this is not just being limited to the USA, sadly.)

     

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  7.  
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    Martin P, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:43am

    Policy

    "...but policy is policy" Actually policy is the default mode of action *unless* there's a good reason to divert. Clearly WalMart hasn't the sophistication to understand that.

     

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  8.  
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    Blatant Coward (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:51am

    Re: Policy

    Walmart doesn't do sophisticated unless it makes them a buck.

     

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  9.  
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    Tom Landry (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:02am

    from what I read elsewhere the robber said "Dont make me use this". That being the case all these guys had to do was wait it out. Obviously one of them had visions of glory and ticker-tape parades held in his honor so he went for the grab. That move could have easily left them or others dead.

    For once I can understand where Wal-Mart is coming from.

     

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  10.  
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    Wes Sumner, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:17am

    Victimization is Our Policy

    The type of situation mentioned normally has no good outcomes.

    More often than not, the robbers will attempt to "disable" the victims for fear of identification, etc. Too many cases of those being robbed being taken to the back of the store and shot dead.

    I, for one, would not believe an armed bandit was not going to shoot me just because he said so. That kind of stupidity is for the movies.

    No amount of policies are going to change human nature, just like no amount of silly laws has done. Policies like this just encourage victimization, and the psychological damage from such events is never fixed.

     

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  11.  
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    Getefix, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:53am

    Re: Re: insane

    Having left the U.S. and moved to Iceland I must say that there are significantly higher levels of insanity in the U.S. than here, and this is compared to a country plagued by economic collapse, active volcanoes and the Eurovision song contest.

     

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  12.  
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    Pixelation, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:19am

    Re: Victimization is Our Policy

    +1

    The people on the planes on 9/11 were probably told that the terrorists would land the planes safely.

     

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  13.  
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    Jaws4theRevenge (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:27am

    Re: Re: Re: insane

    You got a problem with the Eurovision Song Contest?

    It's like a night in with friends where you watch shitty B-movies and get drunk... except done across a whole continent.

     

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    Michael Lockyear (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:36am

    What makes this case even more ridiculous is that the staff in question were SECURITY staff!

     

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    btrussell (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:36am

    Re:

    "Obviously one of them had visions of glory and ticker-tape parades held in his honor so he went for the grab."

    I am sure.

    I suppose the ladies were applying make-up and fixing their hair in preparation of the TV news crews.

     

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    abc gum, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:38am

    I hope there is never a wallymart airlines

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:39am

    Re:

    Since you read the accounts you would have come across the fact that the four employees were in a small closed room when the man pulled the gun and charged at them. So I am not sure it is obvious to anyone but you that anyone was looking for a tickertape parade. Sounds more like they wanted to leave the room alive, but hey your version is cool too, it is nice to be an internet asshole and make the world fit your vision isn't it?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:48am

    Re: Re: Policy

    No corporation does sophisticated unless it makes them a buck. Let's not let petty jealousy of a company make us forget that corporate American policies are pretty much interchangeable if you don't look at the letter head on the policy.

     

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    Rekrul, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:54am

    So the moral of this story is that as long as you carry some sort of weapon, you can steal from Walmart with impunity. Sure, at the point where they determine that someone is stealing, they'll call the cops, but by the time they get there, the thieves would be long-gone.

    It's a wonder that Walmart locations aren't being robbed on a daily basis by groups loading up on expensive items, flashing a gun and then just walking out of the store.

     

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  20.  
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    chris, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:59am

    Re: ?

    So u would trust word a thief had to say would you?

     

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:00am

    If the thief takes his manhandling to court...

    ...it starts looking like attempted robbery is where the real money is. A few thousand from the tills or a multi-million dollar settlement?

    In fact, most criminals would be better off failing miserably and taking their case to the nearest lawyer. Traumatized while botching a B&E? Felt a little blue (and possibly bruised) after fumbling through a home invasion? Customers and employees fail to cooperate with your threats, written and otherwise?

    I think those are all winnable cases. Crime pays even if you can't/don't follow through.

     

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    Mike, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:01am

    I worked for a company years ago with some strict guidelines about dealing with criminals that included not doing any cowboy stunts. That went out the window when a guy put a gun in my face. There are more important things than a job. If you have a reasonable suspicion that a guy waving a gun or knife or even his crank around is going to do something mortally stupid, make sure it's his mortality he's risking.

     

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    Joseph Durnal, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:02am

    Re: Re: Victimization is Our Policy

    +1 & +1 for "Lets Roll"

     

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  24.  
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    Chester, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:06am

    I don't pretend to know anything about this story but I imagine someone of the 4 took first action and then the others would be forced to follow that action. Assuming for a moment Walmart was correct in firing for breaking the specific policy, the situation I imagine could be different for 3 of them? I imagine if anyone was in this situation and one of us tried to manhandle the gunner at some point we MUST assist or either one of them could get us killed with the gun during the battle. I for one am pitching in to make sure its not pointing my way if it goes off! If everyone is involved but you and they are all pointing the gun away from themselves I think it is more likely to be pointing at you.

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:10am

    Re: Re: Victimization is Our Policy

    Yeah I was thinking that too. Honestly, if I were on a plane that was hi-jacked I probably would have opted to fight. if I have to die I will be damned I will let them kill as many people as they planned. I also understand, having not been in such a situation, I just hope I would respond that way.

     

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  26.  
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    Joe (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:18am

    Re: Abdication or responsibility and victim mentality

    It's also a win for enabling more crime. If criminals know they can act with impunity, they will.

     

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  27.  
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    abc gum, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Policy

    Oh please - wallymart is much worse than the average corp

     

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  28.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re: Re: insane

    For those in the know and the irony it involves. Getefix you heathen! ;)

     

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  29.  
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    alternatives(), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:39am

    Silver lining

    Perhaps now the un-employed person can go find a better job with a better employer.

    Have you ever been fired - YES
    Explain - I had the skills and sense of leadership to take the opportunity to disarm a robber. Attached is the court record and contemporaneous newspaper reports.

    Attach other labels like 'ability to make quick decisions' et la and Bam! Better Job.

     

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  30.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:40am

    Product of the times

    I find it wholly disheartening the knee jerk reaction to a hero is to fire his ass.

    My first thought was they want the "see something, say something" to actually work and we cant have somebody take matter into there own hands rather than appeal to a higher authority right?

    It sets a bad fucking precedent in my book to say don't intervene because we'll fire your ass. The title of alarmist screams at me but i'm going to say it anyway. The next step is utter complacency waiting for someone else to intervene not just for your health or your property but your very life.

    Also to Chester, I'm with you the second man theory(Google it) in live action works for me as well.

     

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  31.  
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    Chuck (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:40am

    Re:

    Seats extra.

    "Rolling back seats so your whole town can fit!"

     

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  32.  
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    Jon Renaut (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:53am

    Re: Policy

    I think WalMart has a very strict "You don't make judgment calls, you follow the rules" policy. They probably feel they have to in order to maintain order in such a large organization.

    I worked at a Ritz Camera in college (before everyone went digital). Our biggest local competitor was the WalMart photo lab, and we often got customers coming in with pictures that WalMart refused to print. WalMart had a strict no-nudity policy, which extended all the way to infants waist-up in the bath. While I can't imagine a reasonable person in our society finding that obscene or inappropriate, it violated policy, so they wouldn't print it.

    I don't mean to support or condemn WalMart here - I'm not really sure what side I come down on - but I think that, based on corporate policy that the fired employees certainly should have known, this was the correct call by WalMart.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Policy

    [citation needed]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:59am

    Re:

    Ummm, walmart is robbed on a daily basis. People load up expensive items and walk out the front door. You don't need a gun if no one even stops you.

     

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  35.  
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    Shon Gale (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:06am

    You pull a gun on me you better shoot immediately because I am going to take you down. The more you threaten me the meaner I get. If I'm going to die it will be fighting. So screw Walmart because I won't be protecting their money. I will be protecting my life. Of course if that's the only job you can get is at Walmart then you need to go back to school and learn something useful. Walmart is a transient operation and is not a future for anyone including their managers.

     

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    PRMan, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:23am

    Re: Silver lining

    Thanks, but we are still required to get recommendations from your last 3 managers...

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Policy

    Got some proof to back that up? If you're just going to bring up stuff that's been printed in the past 10 years, I can show you at least one other company that has been in the news for the exact same issue. Even the argument that it would be a different company for each issue isn't truly valid. Because of Wal-mart's size they are going to be at the forefront of most issues that come up in the US if not the world. You go create a company and grow it to a size where it is employing 1.8 million people and show us how to do things the "right" way ok?

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:26am

    It's funny how Americans try real hard to justify the right to bear arms (people have to defend themselves!), but then when something like this happens, they point at the employee and go like "He was foolish! He could have gotten someone killed! He deserves to get fired!".

     

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  39.  
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    Lisa Westveld (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:31am

    The policy makes sense, though. Walmarkt pays insurance fees just in case it gets robbed and can easily deal with the losses from such robberies. But if the employee or any customer was shot by the robber due to this stupid action then it would have a huge damages claim against it. It's likely that images of the robber were already available due to the security camera's so if he had escaped, the police would just have to do their job, use those images to find him and arrest him in a more secure way.
    What could have happened? The robber could have used his gun, shoot the four employees, reload his gun and shoot them again to leave no living witnesses and then run through the store to escape, shooting at anything else that moved. These four weren't brave. They aren't heroes. They've been stupid and very, very lucky. It's like letting your child play with a living rattlesnake, expecting nothing bad happens.
    But firing them for this is also a bit extreme. It's better to educate them and use the event to educate other employees. Suspend them for a week or whatever. But don't take away their jobs because that would definitely discourage other employees from ever caring for their employer. Because they might have been stupid, they also cared enough to put their lives in the path of danger to support their employer. People who care are what you need as a company...

     

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  40.  
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    btrussell (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Re:

    "What could have happened? The robber could have used his gun, shoot the four employees, reload his gun and shoot them again to leave no living witnesses and then run through the store to escape, shooting at anything else that moved."

    Yes, but it didn't. Because the robber no longer has a gun to shoot.

     

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  41.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:44am

    Re:

    Wrong premise. They weren't "playing" with a rattlesnake, they were cutting its fucking head off.

    Self-reliance is a virtue not something to be punished for. And for dam sure isn't stupid let alone anti-heroic.

    You want complacency when it comes to your very life be my guest but I'm sure as hell supporting the person(s) that protect mine. Your appealing to authority sickens me.

     

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  42.  
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    Cowardly Anon, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:50am

    I read this story a few days ago on another site. I have to say it's stupid. Reading through the specifics shows that they did follow procedure. The man was cough shoplifting, a manager was called. The shoplifter was taken into a room to recover what was stolen. Once in the small enclosed room the man pulled a loaded and cocked gun. The three employees were between him and the door.

    What would you do? A gun has just been pulled on you and you are in a small space. Fight or flight will kick in pretty quick. Running will probably get you shot. So what does that leave?

    Frankly I'm disappointed that Walmart wouldn't take this into consideration. It's not like the man pulled the gun when he was first approached. He waited until he was in a room alone with the manager and loss prevention officers.

    If they had of ran or let the guy go, and someone had of been shot, I wonder how Walmart would have reacted?

     

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  43.  
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    Ben in OKC, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:51am

    9/11

    It seems that this mentality of not confronting the armed gunman, was the same mentality that people had before terrorists crashed three planes into buildings. Now, a lot of people think we should resist rather than sit there hoping for the best.

     

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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:55am

    Under most circumstances...

    ...this policy makes sense. If you don't engage the robbers, you're much more likely to leave the store alive. This isn't just a policy from one scared mega corporation - this is the policy in thousands of tiny jewelry stores, millions of banks, and so on across America, and for the same reason.

    However, for every twenty stories where the employees didn't engage the robber and left the store alive, I can show you one where the circumstances were just different enough to warrant fighting back and risking your life. This story - where a gunman charged the employees in a small room - happens to be one of them.

    So far as I know, there are no policies about charging gunmen, so Wal-Mart should cut them some slack.

     

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  45.  
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    Bill, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:56am

    Walmart

    They figure they can take the loss and pass the COST on to the consumer....

    Anyway who wants to put away a bad person in a jail with 3 square meals, clothes, shelter, and TV? NOT

    Can't wait for the day that they give these bafoons game consoles to ride their time out in each cell .......

    What ever happened to a finger for the first offense, then a hand, then your head?

     

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  46.  
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    ChrisB (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:01am

    Re:

    Congratulations. You just died to save a laptop from a life of crime.

     

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:02am

    Re: 9/11

    Your off just a bit. We weren't intentionally complacent for 9/11 regardless of the awareness of the triggers, ammo or the gunman themselves.

    Wrong premise for a complacent point and a resistance is a invalid variable.

    The correct one is self-preservation for oneself, let alone our fellow man.

     

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  48.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:02am

    Re: 9/11

    It seems that this mentality of not confronting the armed gunman, was the same mentality that people had before terrorists crashed three planes into buildings. Now, a lot of people think we should resist rather than sit there hoping for the best.

    No, this isn't a 'mentality', these policies pre-date 9/11, and you're an idiot.

    Policies like this are about risk assessment. If you're in a plane, and someone is trying to hijack it, you should fight back. Your risk of death is high enough to warrant getting out of your seat and maybe being shot by the hijackers.

    If you're in a convenient store and some punk comes in to steal beer and cigarettes, you shouldn't fight back. You're in almost no danger there in the aisle (only slightly more behind the counter), so why risk yourself over beer and cigarettes?

    Again, the key words here are risk assessment. Human lives are more important than cash from a bank, jewelry from a store, or beer and cigarettes.

     

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  49.  
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    ChrisB (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:04am

    Re:

    > Running will probably get you shot.

    That is why you run in a zig-zag.

     

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    chris (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:22am

    Re: Abdication or responsibility and victim mentality

    The idea of protecting employees by encouraging them not to protect themselves and their store is a blow to the human spirit.

    it's a corporation's policy of protecting itself by encouraging employees to not protect themselves.

    in walmart's view it would actually be better from a litigation perspective if the thief actually hurt one of the employees.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: Abdication or responsibility and victim mentality

    Is the $10/hour job at Walmart really worth getting hurt over? If I worked there and someone came to rob the place I would let them, its Walmart's loss, no need to make it my loss too. And Walmart is insured.

    When you talk about personal responsibility... my responsibility is to myself and my family first. Screw Wallmart. Walmart has hired retail sales folks, not a security force. We can't all just take the law into our own hands. We have law enforcement for a reason.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re:

    And in some cases they load up on expensive items and walk out the back.

     

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  53.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Re: Walmart

    "What ever happened to a finger for the first offense, then a hand, then your head?"

    In a purely Christian sense, the New Testament happened.

     

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  54.  
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    FarSide (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Abdication or responsibility and victim mentality

    So why does your preference to stay out of harm's way conflict with the others' preference to disarm the bad guy?

    Did anyone say you would have to be obliged to subdue criminals if these guys weren't punished?

     

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  55.  
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    Atkray (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:51am

    Re: Walmart

    "What ever happened to a finger for the first offense, then a hand, then your head?"

    Coming soon to a country near you.

     

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  56.  
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    Jesse, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:51am

    I am happy to see Walmart places employee safety so high on the priority list.

     

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  57.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re:

    While I don't necessarily agree with Shon, he quite clearly said:
    """If I'm going to die it will be fighting. So screw Walmart because I won't be protecting their money. I will be protecting my life."""

    Reading really is fundamental.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Abdication or responsibility and victim mentality

    Nah, it's just TAM displaying his sociopathic tendencies again. Basically, he just hates people because they only obstruct him getting his own way all the time. And if he isn't profitting, he's not interested. People are all well and good for bringing things to you, and taking them away again but even his own children come second to his wallet.

    I mean, how can you deal with a guy who farts into a special bottle that he realises at the coast just to be safe nobody is stealing and using something that belongs to him?!!

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Victimization is Our Policy

    Because you can crash a Walmart and kill everyone inside at the same time.

    Apples = Oranges = Genius

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Re: insane

    Well, the US government has sought to oppress it's own people virtually since it's very conception. This is the country that invented Public Relations for the sake of spreading propaganda to it's own people because it believed that the masses were ignorant and stupid and had to be lied to for their own sake and conned into . This ideology still persists. Just be lucky you're in the West where government oppression is tampered by the democratic process (ie. inability to use force and the military on it's people) or you would be looking at N.Korea, without a shadow of a doubt.

     

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  61.  
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    velox (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Policy

    Do you ever notice that the bigger the corporation gets, the more centralized planning they employ?

    Ironic I think.
    Centralized planning has been rightly discredited because it is inflexible, but then those who run large organizations worry less about flexibility than they do loss of control.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Victimization is Our Policy

    Did you think he was comparing flying a plane to flying a, um, building?

    You must of had a pretty amazing education to have the intelligence to be able to miss the point as impressively as that.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:51am

    I wonder what people would say if they fought the gunmen and he took 3 customers out, a baby and a nun before losing him?

    There really is no "right" road on this issue. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Victimization is Our Policy

    You seem to miss the point that hijacking a flying plane is very different from someone robbing a retail store. They do not have much to do with each other at all, the risks involved are very different and thus they require different responses.

    Unless the person robbing the store is currently pointing a gun at you directly then you are not really under much of a threat at all. When someone hijacks a flying plane then everyone is at the same risk simultaneously. Planes are a lot smaller than Walmart stores and they crash a lot easier.

    To say that one should act in a Walmart robbery the same way one should react to a plane hijacking is wrong. However, if you want to get shot protecting Walmart then be my guest, you'd be doing the world a favor.

     

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    BongoBern (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 9:18am

    Wal-Mart is eccentric no getting around that. The best plans so often go awry. Flexiblitiy with employees - they are human. Rules should be more like guidelines in many cases.

     

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  66.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 9:44am

    Whole heartedly disagree...

    "These four weren't brave. They aren't heroes. They've been stupid and very, very lucky."

    The only difference between stupidity and bravery is ...success!

    They were brave because they were successful and lucky. Had they failed, then, they would have been stupid and unlucky.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 9:45am

    The real hero in this story is the manager that fired the guy. I'm sure it wasn't his call, but he had to fire an employee he knows can single-handedly take out robbers. And he told this guy "you're fired". He coulda got his ass kicked by some sort of low-budget superhero. Give the man some love.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 10:12am

    Re: insane

    Funny..The former Soviet Union's corrupt government had a higher turnover rate than ours currently. USSR had 7.8% while our gub'ment has less than 2% over the last 30+ years. It may have dipped to 2.1% with the last election.

    The Corporate "Citizen" is the only voice heard in this country.

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Policy

    Sure... Walmart profiting on employees dying of cancer.. http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202427898741&slreturn=1&hbxlogi n=1

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: ?

    I'm sure he has a wall street job so, Yeah he does as gospel

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re:

    Bonuses are coming up. One less person the manager has to give $75 bucks.

     

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    Joe (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Abdication or responsibility and victim mentality

    OK, you want to be a victim. I got it. ;)

     

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    Joe (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Victimization is Our Policy

    Actually, they're very similar. Both involve deciding whether you want to be a victim or not. While I'm not going to hang around Walmart 'protecting' them, if someone threatens me (verbally or by waving a gun), they better be ready because it's going to be on. Adopting the victim mentality that you advocate only ensures that you will remain a victim.

    You might notice that while terrorists have attempted to blow planes up since 9-11, they haven't attempted to take over any planes. Why? Most likely because of what happened on Flight 93 and the terrorists' awareness that it would likely be repeated in the future.

     

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    Ling Ling, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 10:52am

    Re: Silver lining

    In 99 cases out of 100 the hiring manager would look at this person and think, "huge liablity potential" and pass. The Walmart policy, which is the same in most Fortune 500 companies, is all about liability. In the absence of such a policy if an employee tries to disarm a robber, fails, and anyone is hurt or killed, the company is on the hook for a huge financial settlement. If the company has such a policy and doesn't fire the employees after such a move, it shows a disregard for the policy and sets them up for that liability.

    I went through this myself as a regional HR manager with a national hotel chain when an employee that was a former cop used a gun to apprehend a robber. A company wants an employee to just let the robber take the money and it will deal with the crime after the fact, including beefing up security to prevent another occurrence. If the problem continues, more resources are added.

    All that being said, the policy relates to robbery. IF a psycho walks in and just starts shooting, it's a different story.

     

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    Ccomp5950 (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re:

    Wrong, your video game experience doesn't apply here. Having had to actually shoot people (US Army) and avoid being shot myself this is how you would do it...

    Zig zag = common point in the gunmans field of vision. He just has to hold his gun up and fire at you when you cross it again.

    Across his field of vision and to the nearest object of cover if you must run.

    But in this situation if you had ran you just signed the death certificates for 3 other people.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 11:06am

    Re: Under most circumstances...

    I've worked for several retail outfits over the years. Only one really hammered home the idea that their money is not worth your life - someone tries to hold up the place, hand it all over and hold the door for them to get the hell out ASAP. Oddly, they also had a certain code that could be called over the PA system that meant all employees should go to the area of the call, a passive show of 'force' or witnesses or whatever.

    I'd only ever heard it called once in my years there. The Loss Prevention (LP) team of 2 alerted management to a team of 4 shoplifters at work. The code went out over the PA and we all wandered up to the front of the store (with zero idea of what to do once there). Then we saw the outright brawl going on right outside the windows.

    LP woman in a knock down drag out with another woman trying to get in a cab at the curb. LP man being wrestled by an old woman (!) who was actually a man in a dress. Our burly receiver/custodian calmly arm-locking a larger man from behind. And - I will NEVER forget this - our girthsome female store manager seated squarely on the back of a weakly struggling third male shoplifter.

    It took forever for the cops to arrive, felt like. Not one of us went out there - I think it was so surreal that no one knew what to do. Assistant managers may have told us to stay put, I can't recall.

    Turns out the woman shoplifter had snatched a pair of scissors off of the front desk on her way out. The man restrained by the custodian was trying to reach a boxcutter in his jacket. The guy in the dress broke LP's arm as they fell to the ground. These weren't just thieves they were maniacs that exploded into violence when LP stopped them outside the doors (standard procedure - let them leave with stolen merchandise then confront them).

    None of the employees involved were fired. I don't recall if disciplinary actions were taken or not, but they were all there and working for the remainder of my time at the store.

    One of the reasons I left my last job in retail was the complete lack of security procedure at all, it was never even discussed, not at any time. It's scary to realize that you'd be alone at a cash register with no idea of how to even contact another employee...you'd be on your own.

    The Walmart LP folks did what they did. Should they have let the guy stroll out into a crowded entrance/exit with a gun he'd threatened to use? I saw an interview with 2 of them where they raised that issue - they were faced with instantly considering not only themselves but many others...

    I don't think that's a firing offense.

     

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  77.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Abdication or responsibility and victim mentality

    > If I worked there and someone came to rob
    > the place I would let them

    How do you know they're just going to stop at robbery? Maybe they figure killing you is a good way to keep you from helping the cops catch them later on.

    If you don't take advantage of an opportunity to disarm them, you may very well pay for that decision with your life.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Abdication or responsibility and victim mentality

    > We can't all just take the law into our own hands.

    Actng in self-defense or defense of others is not taking the law into your own hands. It's acting in accordance with the law, since the law specifically permits such actions.

    > We have law enforcement for a reason.

    Yep. To solve crimes after they happen and arrest those responsible. Law enforcement is reactionary, not prophylactic. It cannot (nor are they expected to) prevent crimes in from happening in the first place. Sure, the cops may show up after a robbery-murder at Walmart and collect evidence and track down the perpetrators and arrest them, but that doesn't do much for the dead register clerk who was murdered to keep her from being able to identify the criminals.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    Heh... At one time I worked computer support for a large brand name store that directly competes with Walmart.

    They didn't have a "Security Department" they had a "Loss Prevention Department". They didn't care much about the safety of their employees or customers, it was the merchandise that needed to have security.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    "The workers say they don't know where they would have withdrawn to, with the door behind them closed in a small room and the man charging at them."

    Did you miss this part? I don't know about you, but my logic says that if a guy is "charging" with a gun, he intends to do harm. I'm not sure about you but this tells me there are 3 possible outcomes:

    1) do nothing and count the wounded/dead, or let the police count the wounded and dead because you are among the dead, and maximize the casualties.

    2) defend and disarm the aggressor with no one getting hurt aside from possibly the aggressor and eliminate the casualties.

    3) defend and get hurt but minimalize the casualties.

    Which do you choose?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    Re:

    let alone its customers

     

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    TDR, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    To me, the guys did the right thing. Doesn't matter if the gun is pointed at you or not, if a robber has it out, it's pointed at someone, putting that person in danger even if you yourself aren't in the crosshairs. It's never wrong to try to protect someone in that situation if you can. People here have said it's just taking unnecessary risks to protect the store, but it's not. It's taking a risk to protect the people there as well as yourself, any of which could potentially be a target to an armed gunman. And risking your life to help someone else is one of the most selfless things a person can do. I've never been in that kind of situation before, but if I were, I'd like to think I'd be able to do that.

     

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    TSO, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Re: insane

    What do you mean, "seems"?

    I emigrated from the USSR. I lived there and I live here. I can compare. And I sh!t you not, USA right now ~~ Brezhnev era USSR

     

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    philosopherott, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually running in serpentine is only true for running from someone who is trained to shoot; if running from someone who is not a trained shooter you are better off running in a straight line. Serpentine from an amature you are likely to run into the path of the bullet.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: 9/11

    yes risk assessment is key in this kind of situation. In your convenience store scenario the risk assessment can be very different depending on how the thief behaves. If you have someone come up to the counter, make you aware of the gun but not actually point it at you and inform you that they want free beer and cigarettes, then the assessment is that all that's at risk is beer and cigarettes if you cooperate.

    However if they make you aware of the gun by pointing it at you and then advance to the counter and demand cigarettes and beer, they are a loose cannon with a gun. The assessment is that while the merchandise will be lost, your life and/or safety is at risk.

     

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    Anonymous American, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: insane

    I wish I could say I was surprised...

     

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    btrussell (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    Find him and lock him up!

    What are you saying now?
    Thank God for these brave souls and that no babies or nuns were murdered?

     

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    Tom Landry (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re:

    perhaps you could point me to the report that said the guy had charged at them.

    I'm under the (perhaps naive) assumption that all were questioned and from that info they found that one tried being a hero.

    I'm on the fence about them being fired but at the same time, I'm not rushing to hammer the "Evil Empire' of Wal-Mart. I can see their concerns as well.

     

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    abc gum, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Policy

    "Got some proof to back that up?"

    Where have you been - on Mars or freeze dried ?
    Please go stick your head down a toilet for ten minutes or so.

     

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  90.  
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    Rekrul, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re:

    I meant more openly. Sure, people shoplift smaller items and get away with it, but what's to stop a group of 4-5 guys from walking into the store, filling their carts with TVs and Blu-Ray players and then just brazenly walking out the front door in full view of security, who are instructed to do nothing if a weapon is displayed?

    Until they go past the checkout lines, Walmart would be risking a lawsuit to call the cops on them, and once they do walk past the checkout, they can be out the door and into a waiting van long before the cops show up.

     

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  91.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Re: Under most circumstances...

    I don't think that's a firing offense.

    Yes, that's what I said. :)

     

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    Lisa Westveld (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 2:51am

    Re: Re:

    Option 4: open the door and allow the thief to walk away... They were just between him and the door.
    Besides, there were 5 people in that room! It wasn't that small, I think. (Besides, why did the four of them even need to be there, if the room was that small?)

     

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  93.  
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    Lisa Westveld (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 2:57am

    Re: Whole heartedly disagree...

    Brave because they saved a laptop? Never. You can be brave if you try to rescue another person, or even an animal, from certain death. It's even brave if you tried but died in the attempt! But these four were protecting just a laptop which is worth far less than a human life! This while they just know that all they have to do is remember what the guy looked like and turn over the video surveillance tape to the police after he's gone.
    Bravery requires a valid reason to try something that would otherwise be just stupid. A laptop just isn't worth it.

     

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  94.  
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    Lisa Westveld (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 3:02am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, cutting the head off with a blunt butterknife! In a battle between guns and fists, the guns often win.
    Besides, these employees weren't just responsible for their own lives but also of the customers in the shop itself! And I assume it's a reasonable busy shop. If he had shot those four enployees and escaped the room, chances are that he would have shot a few customers too just to escape.
    Basically, they were also lucky because this robber just didn't dare to shoot. Most people aren't murderers and pulling the trigger of a loaded weapon to shoot someone else isn't easy. A more cold-blooded robber would have shot them all...

     

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  95.  
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    Lisa Westveld (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 3:05am

    Re: Re:

    But they didn't know it would have a happy ending before they pulled their stupid stunt! They were lucky and the Walmart policy makes a lot of sense because next time, the employees will be less lucky and nearby hospitals will be dealing with multiple victims of shot wounds and most likely the local funeral homes will get some additional work to do too...
    It was stupid, since it was about a laptop. Maybe an expensive one but still worth far less than the injury of a bullet in your body.

     

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    Any Mouse (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Policy

    That article says nothing at all about cancer, and in fact speaks mostly about the banking industry. Walmart has a mention, and little else.

    So, again, how does that make them /WORSE/ than the average corporation?

     

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    Any Mouse (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 5:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Policy

    Right. Got nothin'.

     

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    Any Mouse (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 5:44am

    Re: If the thief takes his manhandling to court...

    Depends on where you live, doesn't it? There are still a few states where you don't have to even give an intruder warning before you open fire.

     

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    Any Mouse (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 5:46am

    Re:

    Except, you know, you can't take a weapon to work... Nice try, though!

     

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    Any Mouse (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And we don't know that the robber wouldn't have shot them out of hand, either. Since we don't know, your own argument becomes defunct as well, doesn't it? If a person feels threatened, they /are/ going to defend themselves. Not saying these people were heroes, just saying their survival instinct might be better than you are giving them credit for.

     

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    Any Mouse (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 5:51am

    Re: Re: Whole heartedly disagree...

    You keep bringing up this mythical laptop. The crook was in the security office. He wasn't after a laptop, he was after cold, hard cash.

    If 'this guy is going to shoot me' isn't a valid reason to defend oneself, then what is? Honestly, I think you draw the line a little too short.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "But they didn't know it would have a happy ending before they pulled their stupid stunt!"
    Exactly!

    What you call a stupid stunt, I call a reaction. Afraid for your life? Fight or flight?

    I would be looking to get my job back for wrongful dismissal.
    "What makes you think I was protecting their product and not my life? I don't care about your company that much and to prove it I am here to sue your ass off!"

     

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  103.  
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    btrussell (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Police should do this for bank robbers as well. Or any armed criminal.

    (Besides, why did the four of them even need to be there, if the room was that small?)
    In case the accused was armed.

     

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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Abdication or responsibility and victim mentality

    >my responsibility is to myself and my family first.

    Where did you get the idea they did it to protect Walmart?


    >We can't all just take the law into our own hands.

    If someone is threatening to shoot you, yes you can. It's called self defense, and just as the name implies it's something you do yourself. In fact there are lots of times it's completely acceptable to take the law into your own hands. Just because something is "the law" doesn't automatically mean only law enforcement can deal with it, or even that its law enforcement's responsibility at all.


    >We have law enforcement for a reason.

    Yes. And that reason is to catch people after they've broken the law. Although it's part of a police officer's job to stop a crime in progress when they happen across it, almost the entirety of their job is to catch people after a crime has been committed.

    Furthermore, companies like Walmart don't forbid employees from stopping a robbery for the safety of employees or customers. It's to protect them from lawsuits when an employee tries to stop a crime and something goes wrong. While I suspect the odds of someone getting hurt are probably lower if you just hand over the money, if I'm the one facing that risk I'll make the decision for myself. Playing the averages is a pretty sure bet when its someone else's life being put at risk. When it's your own, you have to decide for yourself. Saying there's a single "best" way to react, regardless of circumstances, is simply ignorant.

    According to the article, the employees felt they didn't have a choice. To say they were wrong without being in their place (or even bothering to educate yourself on any of the specifics apparently) is both ignorant and arrogant. In fact they appear to be saying they did it for exactly the reason you yourself say they shouldn't have. The difference is, if they make the wrong call they pay the price. If you're wrong about their situation, you don't. And neither do the corporate attorneys responsible for setting the policy that got them fired.

    As you said yourself, their responsibility was to look out for themselves, not Walmart. Which means if they felt their chances of being killed were better if they jumped him, that's exactly what they should have done. And in fact that appears to be exactly what happened.

    There are many circumstances under which attempting to disarm a criminal would be reasonable grounds for firing. This doesn't appear to fit into that category.

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Never been in that situation, have you.

    But do go on and indulge your imagination.

     

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  106.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Under most circumstances...

    Oh, I wasn't disagreeing with you, just offering some RL experience for backup. :)

     

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  107.  
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    David, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Madness

    This really is common sense out of the window. The guy would have been free to cause mayhem otherwise. What planet does Walmart inhabit to allow gun-toting criminals to have free rein? As we Brits say; bloody good show and a damn fine display of bravery. The folk who dealt with the gunman should be given awards and their jobs re-instated.

     

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  108.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Victimization is Our Policy

    You need to work on your reading comprehension.

     

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  109.  
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    abc gum, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 9:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Policy

    Does the average corp:

    demand their employees clock out and work extra hours on the threat of being fired?

    leave recalled products on the shelf after being warned several times?

    exploit slave labor abroad? (well - ok yeah they do)

    treat their customes like criminals?

    etc ...

    but yeah, I'm sure you're right

     

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  110.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Feb 20th, 2011 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Under most circumstances...

    Oh, okay. I wasn't sure, so I thought I'd reaffirm my position. :P

     

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    Canucklehead, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't

    I worked a summer job at 7-11, doing graveyard shift. You meet all the fun characters on that shift. One shift, a gang banger wannabe is threatening customers, and lit a fire in the store. I threw his ass out of the store and controlled the fire, and got a written commendation.

    The very next week, two drunks started to fight, tearing the store apart. I threw the troublemaker out of the store, and got a written reprimand siting official policy.

    Thanks for the mixed signals, corporate America. Seems like criminals have more rights than their victims.

     

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  112.  
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    Darryl, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 8:40pm

    What an idiot !!!!

    what about if when this moron was 'disarming' this 'gunman', that the gun accendently went off, and killed a 10 year old child?

    What if the person who was carrying the gun as legally allowed to do so ?

    What if he was an undercover cop ?

    If you are SO stupid that you try to take a gun off someone, then you have no right to work at Wallmart, or ANY other company.

    If you are THAT STUPID, you are a risk to yourself, and to everyone around you.

    Wallmart would be criminal to NOT fire this idiot.

    It's a wonder that the man who had the gun, does not sue him for all he has, for assault and theft.

    these are the kinds of idiots that need to be in jail, for their own safety and for the safety of everyone else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  113.  
    identicon
    Darryl, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Victimization is Our Policy

    >Actually, they're very similar. Both involve deciding whether you want to be a victim or not.

    Tell that to the 10 year old child who gets in your way, as the gun goes off, and due to YOUR actions, that child dies!

    Was that child able to decide if they wanted to be a victum or not ?

    And it would be harder to take over a plane post 911 due to the extra security, the installation of strong and secure doors for the cockpit, and changing the rules so that no one can enter, and the cockpit, is to be locked at all times.

    Maybe the terrorists are just as aware of those measures as I am, and as you should be.

    To consider WHY no one has tried to take over an aircraft..

    I might even be due to homeland security, and the dreated airport safety group you people seem to hate so much.

    So what we need then according to you, is strip searches, naked x-rays, and background checks to allow you to ENTER WALLMART ..


    Good one..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  114.  
    identicon
    Darryl, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 9:12pm

    What if the man he disarmed was a cop trying to stop a crime ?

    Did the idiot who took the gun of the other man, get charged for being in posession of a firearm without a license?

    What if that gun had of 'went off' once the idiot grabbed in off the robber, and when it 'went off' that someone was killed ?

    What if the guy who had the gun was FBI or a cop and had pulled out his (LEGAL) gun to catch a criminal ?

    So this wallmart idiot, attacks the FBI agent, takes his gun and the criminal gets away to kill other people !!!

    You hear the is a crazed gunman running around a shopping mall, you enter the mall and you see a man with a gun, you attack him, and you kill him, you are a hero.

    Except that was not the gunman that was a cop trying to find the gun man.

    And due to your actions and stupidity, the gunman kills another 20 people, because you killed the only person capable of stopping him..


    He not only should have been fired, he should have been imprisoned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  115.  
    icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), Feb 21st, 2011 @ 2:02am

    I was going to reply but

    My dear Daryl it seems I have a new joke to tell.

    How many hypotheticals does it take for moral justice?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  116.  
    identicon
    Darryl, Feb 21st, 2011 @ 6:58am

    Re: I was going to reply but

    as many as you like, the more the better..

    if it takes that much for you to understand, that is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  117.  
    icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), Feb 21st, 2011 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re: I was going to reply but

    My first comment may be alarmist and yet it didn't take me 6 steps to get there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  118.  
    identicon
    Edmon the AP, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 5:38pm

    Gun Toting Shoplifter in Utah and the AP

    I work or should I say use to work for Walmart also as a AP. They are right regarding the letter of the policy pertaining to AP-09,and shoplifters with weapons. Saying that I do agree with the fired associates and you regarding the incident in Utah. You would have, had to be there. Now regarding there defense or dispute regarding their being fired. CCTV is all Ihave to say. Was there at anytime the opportunity to allow the subject to leave, after the weapon came into play? Now regarding security, the question is "Did they or anyone else feel their Life was in Immediate, Immient Danger to justify their actions. Did anyone put up hisor her hand and say, "Ok, weare going to allowyou to leave, just go." What was the frame of mind of the subject, would that person had left or turned and fired. There is still time to appeal,it's called the Open Door Policy, which is a type of Walmart Intervention, from Informal to Formal. Does it always work no. As a former Walmart AP, I based on what I read agree with there actions. But again CCTV. Now regarding Walmart and when I worked there as a AP. I had to work alone. My AP Manager would not get me help, would not come out of the office to assist. So one day I got hurt.That manager became upset that I did. Though I was fully within AP-09. He tried gave me adverse action after I filed my Work Comp claim, followed me off work, threatened me to get my doctor (the company work compt doctor) to clear me though I was hurt, would call my work comp doctor to force him to clear me, would corner me in back rooms theatening me to get cleared, had other managers involved in harassing me, tried to get me to do duties I was not cleared to do. etc etc. As a AP you do put your life in jeapordy constantly when it comes to physical in order observation, surveillance, and physical apprehensions. You just never know. All you can do is try to be your best, adhere to policy (AP-09), because your actions anmakeor break a case. Any I have testified in court on many cases,Walmart, and other companies. As as a former Peace Officer, when something likes this happens, your heart races, and your mind is running a hundred MPH. You have to make SPLIT second decisons when I comes to crime and criminals. ASking yourself in a mili-second,"What AM I Going To Do - Now". Only the individual or persons involved can answer that question. You would have to had been there. But again,Walmart does cover their tracks. They have been in the business long enough to know defense. Again I say CCTV. Close Circuit TV. What will the evidence show? That will determine if they can fight their dismissal. I do hate to be in their shoes. What would I have done. Only the AP's can answer that question. Again was "Their Life, or the Life of Another in Immient Danger? From what Ihave read, I would say Yes. Those Offices are very small, there in most cases is only one door, would the shoplifter feel they would really let him just walk? Would the police be waiting outside, was there time to call, and an imporant question "Did the Shoplifter have Priors, the AP's afterall are witnessesto his or thier crime. And we are not just talking about the shoplifting. There's also Enhancements. Brandishing a Load (or unloadedfirearm.) They alll ook the same when you see the pistol butt. A firearm is always considered LOADED. There's also now Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Some parolees would say "I'm not goingback to jail. Is that immient danager you ask. Yes

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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