When your visit to the convenience store goes bad, what do you do?
Recently in Charlotte, we've seen an increase in convenience store heists, with three store robberies in a seven-day period. This isn't a situation any of us would wish to be engaged in.
But what if a robbery does go down, and you're there when it does? Knowing that you must do something, and under no circumstances do you want to become a victim, it all comes down to this question, "What are my options?"
Of course, your ultimate goal in this type of situation is to walk out of there personally unharmed, and to have not caused harm to any other innocent people in the store.
So, that makes option one; compliance with the perpetrator of the crime.
Option two: Hiding. If you feel that there is a way for you to safely hide from the perpetrator, do so. This could be in a locked bathroom, a locked freezer area, etc. Somewhere that you are out of site, and out of access, of the bad guy. Once you are secure, notify 911 as quickly, and quietly as possible.
Option three: Escape/flee/run away. No help is going to get there quickly unless someone that is aware of the crime calls 911. If you have the opportunity to escape from the store, then do so. But you must be sure that this does not draw the attention of the perpetrator, especially if he is armed with a firearm, because you could quickly become the object of his attention and bullets could start flying your way. The bad guy knows that the first person out of that store is going to call 911, and with an average police response time of between one and five minutes in most urban areas, the suspect knows that his time, and his options, have now become extremely limited.
Finally, in today's world, option four is definitely one we need to discuss; the role of the legally armed citizen. Please understand that just because you are legally carrying a handgun, does not mean that you absolutely have to use it. But, if confronted with the legal justification to utilize deadly force (according to North Carolina General Statute 14-51.3, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat in any place he or she has the lawful right to be if: He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another), then that is a decision that must be made based upon the circumstances you are confronted with at that moment.
I must stress to the reader, do not attempt to use a firearm unless you have been properly trained.
Those of us in the protective services industry look at a firearm as nothing more than a tool that is utilized to accomplish a certain task of protecting the lives of ourselves and others. But we must train with that tool on a regular basis to remain proficient, just as you should do as a legally armed citizen.
Regardless of which option you choose if confronted with this situation, remember that you are responsible for any actions you take and you must be prepared to answer to those actions in a court of law.
I leave you with this thought, if you are ever in a convenience store robbery, remember that you do have options. Comply, Hide, Flee or Fight. Choose wisely and stay safe!