In February, Washington D.C. resident Benjamin Portman’s roommate and girlfriend were robbed at gunpoint by three armed men while walking home one night in a very well-lit area of the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The concerned citizen asked officials at a community meeting he attended three weeks ago:
What should someone do in that situation? It seems to me you have two choices. Either run for dear life, or basically give them whatever they want and hope that they’re not going to hurt you.
Paul Quander, Washington D.C.’s Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, replied to Portman:
The reality is, often times, the choice that you have to make is, you give them what they want. You walk away, and you live and you survive…
[Portman interrupts and asks how one knows if they are going to live and survive]
The problem that I see is that sometimes if you are armed, it escalates the situation. And it is much better, in my opinion, to be scared, to be frightened, and even if you have to be, to be injured, but to walk away and survive. Because you’ll heal, you can replace whatever was taken away, but the trauma of that gunshot to you or to someone else is traumatic. And when citizens start firing, then it may not be the bandit that you hit but someone else…
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
“Ward 3 Public Safety Meeting”
“You give them what they want. You walk away, and you live and you survive.” Some Chicago-area store employees have tried that recently… and ended up dead. RIP Judi Simpson-Beaver, who was shot in the head and chest while complying with the robber. RIP Lyn Ward, who was shot in the neck while running away from the robber.
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