Old school robbery gone wrong…

What does a 70 year old man, a 50 year old non-working handgun, a bandanna, a grocery bag and a local bank add up to? Prison time:

Police say a 70-year-old man told them he tried to solve his financial problems with a grocery bag, bandanna and a 50-year-old handgun that doesn’t work.

Instead, Donald Cesare is in the Erie County Prison on federal bank robbery charges stemming from a holdup Thursday at the First National Bank in Millcreek Township. – [Yahoo/AP]

Now obviously, this guy was desperate. Seriously, who tries to hold up a bank with a 50 year old, non functioning firearm? But he seems like a nice guy. Probably didn’t really want to hurt anybody. Even wanted to apologize to the teller.

Pity he couldn’t figure out a better way to deal with his financial woes. If I had a broken, 50 year old hand gun, and nothing to do, I’d hold up a bingo hall. “Please put your left hand in the air, and with your right hand, slowly pass all of your bingo cards forward…” That would be totally cool…

Man, 70, charged in Pa. bank holdup – [Yahoo/AP]

Guns, violence, and you…

There’s an interesting case taking shape in Washington. It involves guns and the second amendment. Looky:

The justices are facing a decision about whether to hear an appeal from city officials in Washington, D.C., wanting to keep the capital’s 31-year ban on handguns. A lower court struck down the ban as a violation of the Second Amendment rights of gun ownership.

The prospect that the high court might define gun rights under the Constitution is making people on both sides of the issue nervous.

Are they now…?

Critics say the law has done little to curb violence, mainly because guns obtained legally from the district or through illegal means still are readily available.

And I just so happen to be one of those critics…

Heller said Washington remains a dangerous place to live. “People need not stand by and die,” he said in court papers.

And I would tend to agree…

He said the Second Amendment gives him the right to keep working guns, including handguns, in his home for his own protection. -[Yahoo/AP]

We shall see. To be perfectly honest, this whole debate makes no sense, and really overlooks the fundamentals of the problem at hand.

Removing guns from the picture will not remove the threat of violence. The Brady bunch seem to think that guns are a big problem in our society. They are wrong. Our society is jacked up. That’s the biggest problem with our society today. They need to focus on fixing our societal problems, not treating the symptoms of the these problems.

Even if they are to make all firearms illegal in the US, criminals who need weapons will simply get them on the black market. They are simply making it difficult for law abiding citizens to acquire guns. The criminal element doesn’t use legal channels to procure firearms anyway, so it won’t make any significant difference to them. And while this is a secondary issue, violating another’s rights just so your irrational fears can be assuaged is sheer, unadulterated nonsense.

And no matter what any law makers say, law enforcement officers cannot possibly protect everyone. The result? Law abiding citizens of the good old U.S. of A. will be left defenseless, while the criminals remain armed. If an armed robber breaks into my home while I’m in bed one night, I would consider being unarmed a darned bad position to be in. But somehow this group of illogical, emotionally blinded gun pacifists seem to think that this won’t ever happen if they make firearms illegal.

The funny thing about these people is that most of them are so focused on the “guns” that they don’t seem to be able to see anything beyond that. Let me give you an example to illustrate how some Brady folk think:

A man is robbed at gunpoint. When asked what the most heinous thing about the experience is, he responds: “Having that gun pointed at me was so scary. He could have shot and killed me! We need better gun control laws.” OK. That sounds rational doesn’t it? But wait, it gets better. A week later he’s robbed at knife point. When questioned again about the experience he proclaims “It’s a good thing he didn’t have a gun. He could have just shot me and taken my money!”. Aaalrighty then. I suppose knives can’t kill then. Right.

A week later this same man gets beat up, in the same area he was robbed twice before, by a high schooler with a baseball bat, then robbed, stripped naked and left bleeding in a ditch. Later, queried once again, he replies, “At least he didn’t have a gun. He could have shot me.” Heh. Sure thing. If you aren’t at least chuckling to yourself at the narrow mindedness of this perspective, you should slap yourself. Twice. Really, really, hard.

Seriously, the man was robbed three times, almost stabbed once, and beaten half to death with a baseball bat, and yet all he could think about is “I didn’t wanna get shot.” Yes, OK, you got me. This story is fictional. But it accurately illustrates the error of the many arguments gun control lobbyists are using. Guns do not cause violence. They are simply a tool, like a knife or a bat.

You are no safer if guns are outlawed because they can still be obtained illegally. And more importantly, you can still be killed, quite easily in fact, without the benefit of a gun. Banning anything that can kill you is a senseless endeavor. Even as you sit there now reading this, there are at least 10 non-firearm related items in your immediate vicinity, that can be used to kill you. Trust me.

Honestly, I think the only people that can make these arguments are people with a blind, abject, paralyzing fear of guns, unable to see nothing else. But the problem is that these people will still continue live in fear, even after guns have been make illegal, and will proceed to try and ban anything and everything they can think of.

Whereas, on the other hand, there are actually some very tangible benefits to everyone being armed. I think a criminal would think twice about robbing some random people on the street, if they though there was a good chance they might get shot in the process. But that could just be me.

Now truth is, I don’t keep a gun cocked and loaded on my nightstand at all times in case of a break in. Primarily because my little cave isn’t likely to get burgled out here in the middle of nowhere. And also because nothing I own is irreplaceable. But I don’t see where I have the right to do anything to prevent others who live in more dangerous neighborhoods from taking steps to defend themselves against a break in. That just isn’t right. And that is where I have a problem with these people.

OK, I’ll stop preaching from atop my pile of automatic rifle crates now.

Supreme Court could take guns case – [Yahoo/AP]

Places that are unwise to rob. Armed or not…

I’ve probably mentioned before my theory about peoples lack of imagination causing them to do some not-so-bright things. Well, either I’m wrong, and this armed robber may actually have had a very vivid imagination, or I’m right and he just ain’t that smart:

A karate academy was not the best target for a robbery, a Colombian thief found when his attempt got the chop from practicing students, police said on Friday.

The robber was recovering in a hospital in Santander province north of Bogota after the martial artists used their combat skills and took away his gun. – [Yahoo/Reuters]

OK, so as I was saying, I can only assume this guy either “imagined” that he could walk into a karate academy and rob them at gunpoint, or wasn’t smart enough to look for an easier target. You make the call.

The wording of the article was funny though: “used thier combat skills”?? That’s putting it a little mildly isnt it? I mean, the man is recovering in a hospital ward! Sounds like he got a sound thrashing…

Gunman gets chop during karate robbery – [Yahoo/Reuters]

Apologetic Felons…

Yet another case of a contrite robber… With double to fun…

During the first robbery, on Aug. 13, the robber apologized to the clerk, saying, “Sorry, I have to do this,” and taking $600, police said.

A week later, he returned and ordered a clerk to empty the cash register. Then he thanked the clerk and again said he was sorry before fleeing. – [Yahoo/AP]

Stories like these make me think about what really makes a person a criminal. Sure robbing someone at gunpoint is wrong, but does that automatically make you a bad person? This guy was obviously quite conflicted. Does robbing a bank out of necessity make you a “robber”? Or a “criminal”.

I know it does in eyes of the law, but the law is blind. Why would you ever let a blind lady with and old fashioned scale drive your car? So I generally look at things from a more moralistic view. But I don’t really subscribe to the idea of intention based morality, so can’t argue that this guy really didn’t want to hurt anyone, and is therefore not a “robber”. But I think it bears a little deeper examination.

To use another more well defined (on the surface at least) example, what makes a person a killer. When someone says: “Be careful with that guy, he’s a killer!” what exactly does that mean? People kill for lots of different reasons. You can’t very well lump the scared house wife that kills the rapist who broke into her house with her husbands snub nose .38 in the same category as the guy who shoots another because he “looked at me funny”.

There is obviously a big difference. Here’s what I think. A killer, or criminal, is a person who’s first solution for everything is to resort to criminal activity. They are unwilling or unable to see alternatives. It’s kind of like Abraham Maslows’ famous saying: “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

I think a killer kills because to them it is the best solution they have for many of their problems. A felon steals or robs because to them, it is the only solution they know to implement successfully. If you look at it this way, then these people are all suffering from one problem. Either an absolutely uncompromising level of ignorance, or a debilitatingly severe lack of imagination… Are you bored yet? :)

Man sorry but robs store anyway- twice – [Yahoo/AP]

The love of money is the root of all… Stupidity.

A group of Chinese bank employees tried to court Lady Luck a little bit too aggressively. And got dumped. Big time:

Five Chinese men accused of stealing 51 million yuan (6.7 million dollars) and then buying lottery tickets in an attempt to win the money back went on trial Tuesday, state media reported. …

… Ren actually replaced the missing funds after he won the lottery.

But Ren became bolder when he began collaborating with Ma, stealing another 50.95 million yuan from the bank during a 30-day period between March and April.

They spent a total of 47 million yuan on lottery tickets in Handan, but failing to win, went on the lam in mid-April, only to be arrested by police days later. – [Yahoo/AFP]

Now come on people, given the infinitesimally small percentage of people that are actually guaranteed to win the lottery, how many of you would rely on the lottery as the hinge pin of an bank embezzlement scheme? I’m not bank administrator, and I don’t even consider myself particularly good at math, but I’ve done the math on this, and though it varies from lottery to lottery, I’m pretty sure that winning the lottery purely by the buying of tickets en mass is not altogether particularly cost effective, and is certainly not guaranteed.

I guess if you aren’t using your own money, then maybe you might be a little more flippant about it, but having successfully done it once, (and reaped what I’m sure were relatively “meager” rewards) why would you take the risk of doing it a second time? Insanity? Greed? Both? I’ll admit I’m not a gambling man by any stretch of the imagination, but the practice of “Quitting while you’re ahead” is a well known concept, even to me…

Bumbling Chinese bank robbers on trial for bizzare lottery heist – [Yahoo/AFP]

How to tell when college is not for you…

When you have to rob banks to pay the tuition…

A college student accused of robbing a bank had been worried for months about his mounting tuition bills, his mother said.

“He just really was struggling, working two jobs here, you know, temp jobs, two jobs and trying to get the money,” said Franki Butler, whose son Andrew was charged this week with robbery. Andrew Butler, 19, and another man were arrested Tuesday after a Valley Central Savings Bank in suburban Reading was robbed, police said. Police recovered an undisclosed amount of cash. – [Yahoo/AP]

I will say this. College is not for everyone. You go to college so you can avoid having to resort to things like robbing banks to pay your bills. Not the other way around. If you really can’t find of a better way to pay your fees than to rob a bank, then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t go…

Teen accused of robbing bank for tuition – [Yahoo/AP]

A robber with… Class?

I read about a fairly strange robbery group hug at gunpoint today:

Police on Capitol Hill are baffled by an attempted robbery that began with a handgun put to the head of a teenager and ended in a group hug. – [Yahoo-AP]

From the article, the robber apparently has a fairly good tongue for wine and cheese. And likes hugs. What I thought was interesting was the fact that the off-the-cuff de-escalation tactic of inviting him to a glass of wine had the effect it did. It could easily have back-fired though. A hard core thug would hardly be interested in a glass of wine, no matter how good it is. And forget about sampling the cheese. Maybe she recognized something about him. This guy probably had a good background, was just having some problems, and made a few wrong decisions. He probably just needed a hug to begin with.

I mean it’s not the first time I’ve read about repentant robbers, but a group hug? It could also be possible that this guy was on something. And if that is the case, I’d like to have some of it. Whatever it is. Just pass it down here…

Attempted robbery ends in group hug – [yahoo/AP]