Seems About Right to Me

Looking over stories in the New York Times ( on the basis that it is a good thing to know your enemy), I came across a story that absolutely warmed the cockles of my heart. I understand why not everyone would feel as I do, but this is truly a tale about morality.

They strode into the restaurant supply store in Harlem shortly after 3 p.m. on Thursday, four young men intent on robbery, one with a Glock 9-millimeter pistol, the police said. The place may have looked like an easy mark, a high-cash business with an owner in his 70s, known as a gentle, soft-spoken man.

But Charles Augusto Jr., the 72-year-old proprietor of the Kaplan Brothers Blue Flame Corporation, at 523 West 125th Street, near Amsterdam Avenue, had been robbed several times before, despite the fact that his shop is around the corner from the 26th Precinct station house on West 126th Street.

There were no customers in the store, only Mr. Augusto and two employees, a man and a woman. The police said the invaders announced a holdup, approached the two employees and tried to place plastic handcuffs on them. The male employee, a 35-year-old known in the community as J. B., struggled with the gunman, who then hit him on the head with the pistol.

nytimes.com

Yeah- that’s right, another robbery in New York- go figure, right? Four punks, who felt as if this Mr. Augusto  Jr. should just hand over his hard- earned money to them, were in for a shock-

Watching it happen, Mr. Augusto, whom neighborhood friends call Gus, rose from a chair 20 to 30 feet away and took out a loaded Winchester 12-gauge pump-action shotgun with a pistol-grip handle. The police said he bought it after a robbery 30 years ago.

Mr. Augusto, who has never been in trouble with the law, fired three blasts in rapid succession, the police said, although Vernon McKenzie, working at an Internet company next door, heard only two booms, loud enough to send him rushing to a window, where he heard someone shout: “You’re dead! You’re dead!”

The first shot took down the gunman at the front. He died almost immediately, according to the police, who said he was 29 and had been arrested for gun possession in Queens last year and was the nephew of a police officer.

Mr. Augusto’s other two blasts hit all three accomplices, who stumbled out the door, bleeding.

nytimes.com

Oooh- Snap! that’s a big error on the part of the robbers- and they got what they deserved- I know that this is traumatic for this older man, because it is traumatic to shoot anyone, even if they had it coming.

There was no way that Mr. Augusto could have known if these robbers would leave them alive after the robbery, and he did exactly the right thing, since, as I have pointed out before, the Police are a reactive force, generally brought in after the fact. They solve crimes, but in reality, rarely prevent them, although they surely would love to.

The reaction of the relatives of these robbers was striking-

Outside the emergency room entrance of the hospital, at 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, relatives and friends of the dead and wounded men screamed and wailed in anguish as word of what had happened spread.

“No! No!” a woman cried. “They said he just died!”

Another crying woman, surrounded by family members, heard one of her relatives had been shot trying to rob a store.

“Oh my God!” she wailed. “Why would they want to rob a store?” She started to scream: “Damn! Why? Why would he go to a family store? He got money!” She slumped against the wall and began to pray.

Later, a man ran into the emergency room and came out screaming, “Oh, God!” He held his head in his hands and sat at the curb, apparently devastated.

A youth about 16, crying and pacing at the emergency room entrance, slammed his fist into a yellow pole.

nytimes.com

Where were these people in providing a moral compass to guide these young mens’ behavior? It clearly wasn’t an economic thing, judging from the comments of the relatives, so why? The only answer I can come up with is weak morals. A person cannot be led by the nose if he or she has the moral clarity to resist. These young men did not, and now two are dead, and two are in the hospital, and the short story line is, “That’s Justice.”

Unfortunately, this occurred in New York, so Mr. Augusto does not get off with a medal, but with a citation-

Paul J. Browne, chief spokesman for the Police Department, said that Mr. Augusto had not been arrested or charged. He was being treated like a witness and was still being questioned early Friday at the station house. It was unclear if the shotgun was registered, but Mr. Browne said, “There is a lower threshold for owning a shotgun in the city, a permit as opposed to a license.”

A law enforcement official said that the district attorney was considering a possible misdemeanor weapons charge against Mr. Augusto, indicating that he did not have a permit for the shotgun.

nytimes.com

No good deed goes unpunished, as they say, especially in New York. This man not only thwarted a robbery (a crime in itself), but possibly saved not only his own life, but those of his employees. For that, he should be given a medal.

There need to be more Mr. Augustos.
Blake

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2 Responses to “Seems About Right to Me”

  1. FairestWitness says:

    It seems to me the anti-gun ordinances in New York should be scrapped after the Supreme Court decision regarding the gun ban in Washington DC. It violates our Constitutional rights. Good for Mr. Augusto!

    • Blake says:

      The decision on gun legislation is still the province of the states themselves, as it should be, according to the tenth amendment.
      You might think common sense should prevail, but government with common sense is an uncommon thing.