Friday, June 10, 2011

Details on the Chicago robbery spree

I did a quick post a few days ago that mentioned the mob robberies in Chicago. Details emerge now on several of the attacks, and I thought one of them warrented some commentary:
In another incident last Saturday evening, Krzysztof Wilkowski, after shopping on Michigan Avenue, was sitting on his scooter a couple of blocks away checking his phone for a restaurant when he got whacked in the face with a baseball.
The very onset of the robbery was initiated with violence, so there was no decision making needed on what the aggressors intentions were. I think hitting someone in the face with a baseball constitutes "serious bodily harm or death," so there can be a solid presumption that things are only going to escalate from there. Then there's this:

At first, he said, he thought it was a prank, but then he looked up and saw 15 to 20 young men approaching. "My first reaction was, 'I'm about to get robbed, what do I do?' " Mr. Wilkowski recalled in an interview.
That would be a hell of a prank. Whenever I've been hit in the face, there's an instinctual reaction in that I'm immediately pissed, even when the hit is from a can of beans falling from a shelf or whatnot. I think it's a natural human reaction, and my primitive ass can't be any different than the next guy. Now, 15 to 20 guys is a major disparity of force, and they are approaching after they have already initiated violence that can cause serious bodily harm -- I think that if I had been the victim here, I would have been able to immediately identify this as a deadly threat. No question. He doesn't mention whether the attackers had weapons, but in this case I don't think it matters:

The 34-year-old insurance company employee from a Chicago suburb grabbed the keys from his ignition and held tight to his phone. A few of the attackers dragged him off his scooter and pulled him onto Chicago Avenue where they punched him, hit him with his helmet and tried to grab his phone.
A group of people taking you to the ground where one stomp on your head or neck can end your life -- that is without question a deadly threat. Add in there that they beat him with a motorcycle helmet. Soldiers and Marines are trained to use their helmet as a deadly weapon, whether it's on their head and being used to head-butt, or if one is picked up off the battlefield and used as a bludgeoning tool, so this is clearly an attack that the victim is fortunate to have survived.

I can't answer the victim's question of "I'm about to get robbed, what do I do?" in this particular attack. I don't ever want to be in a situation where that is the thought that I am having, and I'm sure he feels the same way. Being in Chicago, the victim was no doubt unarmed, which having a firearm would have given him a more advantageous course of action than holding tight to the very object the violent group of men were trying to take when they beat the snot out of him. It also doesn't mean that the victim would have chosen carrying a firearm as an option even if it were legal, but at least it would have been his choice. Lawful armed defense is an option in Virginia, and still there have been attacks on unarmed victims. I'm sure at the time they would have found a handgun to be handy item.

You would be hard pressed to catch me in a Gun Free Zone, as I make it a habit to avoid such places as best as I can. Attacks like this are still relatively rare, but as you can see they still happen. I think avoidance and deterrence are the standard which we should all live by, but if pressed with an attack that can be easily counted as serious harm or death, I won't be the one trying to hold off the crowd with car keys instead of a full-up Glock if I can help it.


Broken Andy said...

I know this sounds crazy, but my thoughts would have been "screw the cell phone and the scooter, RUN!"

Unknown said...

That would have been his best bet, for sure. I don't know why he chose to stand and fight it out.

mike's spot said...

I too go to instant anger whenever hit in the face/head. Anyone who doesn't is a liar.

Without knowing how far away they are its tough to say, but I'd either run the scooter AWAY from them, or run the scooter INTO as many of them as momentum would allow.

If I cannot remove myself from a violent situation, I'm at least going to try to make them work really really hard for the violence they want to cause me.

Besides, give em the phone and maybe they could track them till they flipped it/crushed sim card/ jailbroke it.

Unknown said...

I like the motorcycle-as-a-weapon idea. Everything is a weapon. I would hope that if I'm ever in a situation like that one, I won't freeze up and wait for the hurt to come.