6 thoughts on “The Gas-Station Clerk”

  1. Well, it gets more complicated than that. I’ve almost walked in on two gas station robberies, and even got interviewed on TV for the second one.

    As it turned out, the clerk was in on it and after they fired him for other causes, they discovered that thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was missing. The manager thought the clerk had partnered up with his drug dealer to stage the fake stick ups. Later that manager got fired after he OD’d in the parking lot in between the pumps, and then three days later he was dead from the same heroin problem.

    But that’s still not as bad as the managers at the Denny’s across the parking lot. After a couple of them got fired, they showed up with guns and robbed their restaurant’s safe.

    So you could shoot the robber in the gas station, but he might be Tina’s boyfriend or brother, and then Tina would be all sad, on top of getting fired and probably going to prison as an accomplice.

    You could shoot the people sticking up the Denny’s, but they were formerly also the people who made sure your Grand Slam came out on time. If you don’t interfere, the police will pick them up later because all the employees know who they are. Then the robber/managers will use their skills in prison, and eventually Denny’s food will improve because the convicts that Denny’s hires to work in the kitchen will have already learned how Denny’s managers do things.

    The gas station I mentioned subsequently hired a feminist SJW as the manager. They were better off with the heroin addict. She got rid of the men and put women on third shift. The male third shift clerks had usually carried two or three guns (disobeying store policy), and had been military, or with Blackwater in Iraq, or ran tactical shooting ranges, or were martial artists who were former prosecutors who had also been gun dealers, and everybody kind of knew that, or picked up on a vibe they had. But the women who took over third shift kept getting robbed until the gas station decided to no longer have a third shift. Now everyone in a huge area has to drive an extra mile or so to get beer and smokes at night.

    So maybe it would be best to let Tina get robbed so management will switch her to day shift and put some scary firearms expert on third, preserving the convenience of having a nice, well lit gas station/convenience store that’s open 24/7 to serve the local neighborhood.

    And all this is supposed to turn over in your head as you commit to a course of action. It’s amazing any bad guys get shot at all.

    1. Thank you for your cogent explanation, grounded in personal experience, of the “stuff show” of 21st century America. This should be required reading for everybody.

  2. The problem with the example is how contrived it is. We have to ignore all sorts of confounding factors. For example, in the first case, Tina won’t die right away even if we don’t pony up $50k in the next few seconds. That gives her much more time to resolve her problem through the usual means which don’t necessarily involve us. But in the second case, she might die in the next few seconds, if we don’t stop the gunman. The urgency of the decision is important factor which is glossed over. So is the fact that in the second case, we have far more impact on the situation.

    If we include all the weird factors that supposedly make shooting someone in the act of committing an armed felony cost $50k, then we should for the first case as well. After all, Tina may be trying to scam us in the first case. We don’t magically know what other harm we may be exposing ourselves to by donating that much money for a sap story (maybe word gets around that we’re a gullible mark and suddenly there’s many sap stories out there to tap our soon-to-be former wealth).

    I guess my take on the matter is that we can claim to have circumstances that make these moral dilemmas equivalent, in which case, they are equivalent by tautology. But that doesn’t make them so in the real world.

    1. People are overthinking this.

      The original essay was published on a pro-2nd Amendment pro-concealed carry site that was cautioning people carrying arms about the consequences of intervening in a situation where they were not threatened directly.

      Just because you caution people about using a weapon to which they have a 2nd Amendment right doesn’t make a person anti-2nd Amendment, just pro-common sense.

      On the other hand, there have been publicized incidents where a concealed-carry holder intervened to a good outcome with respect to the innocents who were threatened by someone with a gun.

        1. I learned about an interesting pistol defense trick that I’d never heard of, and it somewhat related the the gas station I mentioned above.

          One of the more interesting regulars was a tow-tuck driver that I got to know pretty well. He has brain damage from where his sister hit him in the head with a golf club when he was a child, and as a result he can’t feel pain. His sensations are just fine, but pain doesn’t get processed, as he can frighteningly demonstrate. I guess it happened early enough so that he is absolutely fearless except for heights and needles, both of which terrify him. He’s studied just about every martial art there is since he was young, even traveling to Asia to study, so we had a lot of really good discussions about that.

          He also served in Iraq. He explained that after an IED attack our forces would evacuate the wounded and leave, and then the Iraqis would sometimes set up an ambush for the tow truck that would come for the damaged vehicle. He was the one who drove that tow truck. He he loved his job.

          While he was over there working in one of the depots, a transformer exploded and blew him across the floor. The security footage showed that he just got up and went back to work, while still smoking. So the doctors started asking questions and found out how truly strange he was. Crazy fearless strange. Perhaps a danger to himself and others strange. Then they found a heart murmur and that was a good excuse to send him home.

          So he came home and started driving tow trucks and doing repos. The first night he did a repo for the company, the guy training him beheld who he was partnered with, and quit the next morning, saying the new guy was totally crazy. I can see that.

          He was made for repos in a way few repo men are. He likes it when people punch him in the face. He can’t feel it and he just smiles back with an amused and evil grin. He’s had guns pulled on him nine times. He likes that too. If it’s a semi-auto and they’re dumb enough to press it into him, he leans into it to push the slide slightly open, which prevents the gun from firing. He’s done that at least twice, once with his chest and once with the back of his head. After the gun went “click” and he grinned crazily and responded, the two individuals collapsed into weepy, terrified apologies.

          And if you check your semi-auto, sure enough, some pressure at the muzzle toward the top of the slide will open it up a bit. I wouldn’t want to trust my life to that trick, but this repo guy doesn’t mind a bit. He’s wired different.

          He has mastered the intimidating display, and has punched people’s car hard enough to leave dents. And yet he’s the funniest, nicest person you could meet. He’ll work till 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, operating on virtually no sleep, to make sure no mom or family is stranded on the side of the highway. His drug of choice seems to be adrenaline.

          Other repo men think he’s crazy, and in a way he is. Violent death doesn’t seem to be in his risk calculations because he doesn’t care. He uses a tilt-bed truck for repos because he likes the opportunity for violent confrontations that the slow method provides. He doesn’t initiate the violence, he just hopes to encounter it.

          All this has made him pretty well known in the business, so he gets requested on the high-end repos. Two years ago he repossessed a Mclaren P1 up near the mall. The owner was coming out of some high-end department store and had his hands full with shopping bags. As the owner started running, the repo guy waved and sped off. His take on that repo was over $80K. I had my doubts that he’d get that much money (surely tow truck drivers don’t actually make that much!), but after a few months, he did.

          Late last year he was sent to Cincinnati to repossess a Bugatti Chiron. He getting around $200K from that one (the repo guy gets 20% of the outstanding debt), and he set his own personal automotive speed record on the way back to Lexington without even getting to the last gear, and without the special key that enables the full 1,500 horsepower. Apparently they have color-coded keys that enable different settings. He did use it to pick up a chick in a bar that night, but sadly, she thought it was a Ferrari. He found that disgusting.

          He always looks grimy because he’s hooking up cars and lives in a trailer, but he laughs because he tows so many nice cars for folks who think he’s a hick tow truck driver, and he’s making $200K or more a year doing what he loves, and all without a college degree. He laughed and said “If they only knew!”

          Well, they’ll probably never know because he’s outside the liberal bubble, and maybe they’re better off not knowing. I can’t recommend what he does as an alternative to stacking up student debt because he’s so unique that on the spectrum of disorders, he’s way out there with the Marvel Comics characters.

          Anyway, he’s always given me a great discount on tows because we’re buddies.

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