(image courtesy of Robb Allen)
4 Walmart employees fired after disarming gunman caught shoplifting
LAYTON -- The shoplifter smashed Gabriel Stewart up against a wall. It didn't take him long to realize that pressure against his lower back was from a loaded gun held by a desperate man who didn't want to go to jail.
The gunman had a firm grip on Stewart's shoulder, telling him and three of his Walmart co-workers, "Don't make me do this."
So, here's the story. Loss prevention spots Steve Scumbag taking a netbook out of the box and stuffing it into his shirt. Following procedure, they meet him at the door and confront him. He pulls a gun on them, using one of them as a shield. Thinking quickly, they disarm him and hold him for the police.
Job well done, right? Well, not according to WalMart. The company's response?
They fired all four.
You see, WalMart company policy is to release and disengage any shoplifter who produces a weapon. Since these four employees did not disengage, they violated policy and were terminated. This is a direct consequence of living in a litigation-happy, zero tolerance world. There's no distinction between hassling someone who had a Swiss Army knife keychain and someone actively pressing a gun into your co-worker's back.
The policy itself is questionable, but understandable - you don't want Loss Prevention thinking they have to confront armed criminals over a $20 pair of sneakers. However, that there is no latitude for folks taking measure to save their own lives - and the lives of everyone else in the store - is just insanely stupid. These folks had precious little room to negotiate - he had one of their employees in his grasp with a gun in their back. That employee had no choice...
And, once again, we feel the need to point out that Steve Scumbag was a violent felon who was forbidden to own guns, and yet was still carrying a concealed firearm. Once again, criminals do not obey the rules. Gun-free zones are meaningless. Gun control in this instance was a complete failure. Not only that, but someone so wildly unstable as to be ready to kill someone over a $300 electronic device? He's out on the street? That's the truly frightening part...
WalMart really screwed the pooch on this one...
That is all.