Shooting at shoplifters? 

As I made my way through the usual heavy afternoon traffic, dreading the upcoming construction zone and wishing I had taken a different route, I noticed an Oklahoma City Police Department crime scene unit right next to me, slowly making its way through the same traffic. I began to wonder what must have happened. All the usual scenarios began playing out: "Armed bank robber shot at scene; news at 5." "Meth lab brought down; more at 10."

As I approached the traffic light at Northwest Expressway and Pennsylvania Avenue, I saw the crime scene unit pulling up to a number of patrol cars along the north mall parking lot and a large portion of the parking area taped off with yellow crime scene tape. I saw several plainclothes detectives huddled around an area of the taped off parking lot. I also noticed all the news vans setting up in the parking lot across Penn at Verizon Wireless. I determined from the size of the tape job and the distance of the news media from the mall that some horrific scene had just played out. I was visualizing a crazed gunman or a suspicious package. It was obviously something terrible.

Whenever a person pulls a gun, there's an intent of bodily harm or possibly the thought of killing someone else. Why else would you aim a gun at another person? Really?

What is a person's life worth?  Is it worth a pair of designer jeans, a fancy watch, or possibly a flat-screen TV? What if I owned a whole department store full of fancy stuff and someone decided to take a few of my precious things? Would it be my right to pull a pistol out and shoot at that person with the intent to injure or kill? Would that thought even cross my mind? No, not even if I owned a huge vault full of weapons!

That being said, my question is this: Who deemed it appropriate or necessary to shoot at shoplifters? If you haven't heard, on Oct. 15, a security guard at Dillard's at Penn Square Mall chased two shoplifters out of the store. As they attempted to flee in their car, he opened fire. Really!

My next question is, why would a security guard in a shopping mall need to carry a handgun in the first place? You may ask, "What if?" Well, if an armed robber or crazed gunslinging, bomb-carrying civilian came into the mall, do you honestly think an armed security guard is going to do anything but take cover? Now, there may be the rare occasion where a guy being paid $12-to-$15-an-hour might throw himself between you and a bullet, but we're talking about shoplifters. Do you suppose this security guard had a radio? How about a pen, say, to write down a tag number?

"Floyd Shaw
Oklahoma City

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