Defensive gun use: Pizza Hut edition
Regular readers of these defensive gun use articles, pardon the repetition, but last week’s news compels me to say again: places with cash registers should be assumed to be targets of armed robbery, sooner or later.
That’s just what one South Carolina Pizza Hut worker was ready for last week when, around 1:30 AM, three males entered the business, which was closed for service, with the intent of robbery. What these amateurs hadn’t banked on was meeting an employee who was packing his own concealed handgun.
He opened fire immediately upon identifying the threat, killing gun-wielding 29-year old Michael Grace with a single shot. Grace’s accomplices did what “friends” of robbers usually do when one of their own meets an armed citizen. They ran, and as of this writing are still at large.
The Pizza Hut employee is reportedly not facing criminal charges as a result of the shooting. However, he has been placed on leave by his employer. It’s likely that this restaurant has a no-guns policy for employees, as many businesses do. That would be fine if those establishments guaranteed employees’ safety by placing numerous armed guards around and inside the facilities.
On the block where the restaurant is located, ten other crimes of robbery, theft, and burglary are reported to have occurred in October alone, up to the date of the shooting. Pizza Man was wise to be ready.
We at GunCarrier applaud Pizza Man for his preparedness, willingness to act, and accurate shooting. Hopefully his co-workers have thanked him as well.
Assuming there’s a company no-guns policy, Pizza Man isn’t alone in what is probably a willful defiance of policy in exchange for personal safety and, in this case, the safety of his co-workers. As an instructor, I hear from many people who either work under such policies or drive trucks that are subject to inspection based on the policies of the company in charge of the site they’re driving to.
In most cases, these are oilfield and pipeline workers traveling alone, often at night, and almost always in areas where there is no cell phone service. Most say they comply with policies to stay unarmed and therefore vulnerable to crime. Some have employers who support armed employees; I have been fortunate to provide concealed carry training at some of their offices. All workers fear the loss of a job or their supervisor's sometimes profitable contract if “caught” with a firearm on their person or in their rig if a random or site-wide inspection is performed when they’re on another company’s site.
Recent history has produced a mixed bag of results regarding employees found to be carrying against policy, even when being armed has saved lives. Some are fired, but then hired back. Some have criminal charges filed against them. In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether having a life-saving device concealed on your person is worth possibly losing your job and, at least in the media, your reputation. It’s my distinct impression that there is a lot of support from gun supporters in a community, but media attention is almost always unflattering to the gun carrier.
That’s where this story ended, until a few days later when a media reprisal of the same tale with a new take appeared. The robber’s parents have taken to the press in protest. They’re questioning why Mr. Pizza would be armed in the first place, and have implied that shooting criminals is the job of police. Their argument goes further, bemoaning the fact that Grace was shot in the head. “Even a criminal has a right,” said Grace’s father.
A criminal has a right to a fair and speedy trial after arrest. That much is enshrined in our country’s seminal documents. A criminal gives up his or her right to life when they impose an immediate and serious threat upon the life of another. A gun carrier does well to hit his or her target under stress. Calls for wounding shots are the mark of an uneducated speaker who needs to spend some time on the range or in use-of-force scenario training with their local law enforcement agency.