December 31, 2008

They need tuition money

  Two young men, desperate for money, decide to hold up a liquor store in Florida. They each need $2,500 and they need it now. We'll talk about their "urgent need" in a minute.

  They select a target. The big guy behind the counter is a veteran of the liquor store wars. Armed bandits have robbed, or tried to rob him a dozen times before.

  Ordered to hand over the money, the big guy reaches under the counter near the cash register and comes up with a sawed-off shotgun. Sure, sawed-off shotguns are illegal, but so is robbery.

  When the stickup guys see the shotgun, they begin shooting. Their shots go wild, hitting liquor bottles on the back wall. The counterman is cool. He unloads both barrels of his 12-gauge, double-O buckshot. Each load contains nine .33-caliber pellets. At close range that's something like getting run over by a cement truck.

  One bandit is hit in both legs and the other gets hit in the hip and goes down — for good. The (femoral) artery is severed, and he bleeds to death in just a few minutes. The other guy hobbles out of the store and drags himself into the parked getaway car.

  Police check two area hospitals before they find the wounded bandit unconscious on a gurney in the emergency room. He is charged with murder, attempted murder, and armed robbery.

  Why is the guy with the shot-up legs charged with murder when it was the liquor store guy who fired the fatal shot? Under Florida law the act of robbery was the "cause" of the shooting that resulted in a death.

  The gunslinger at the liquor store may face criminal charges for using an illegal weapon, but his "act of self-defense" will be a major factor in the outcome.

  I said these two goof-balls needed money. They desperately needed $2,500 each. They needed the money to pay tuition at the community college so they could enroll in the Police Academy. That's right. They wanted to be cops!

  The surviving bandit asks the detective assigned to the case a strange question: "I suppose this will look bad on my police academy application, won't it?"


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