While I am pleased with the outcome:
He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out
“He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, ‘Here you
go,'” Diaz says.
As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, “Hey, wait a minute. You
forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the
night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”
The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, “like what’s going on
here?” Diaz says. “He asked me, ‘Why are you doing this?'”
Diaz replied: “If you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then
I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get
dinner and if you really want to join me … hey, you’re more than welcome.
When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen, “Look, I guess you’re going to
have to pay for this bill ’cause you have my money and I can’t pay for this. So
if you give me my wallet back, I’ll gladly treat you.”
The teen “didn’t even think about it” and returned the wallet, Diaz says. “I
gave him $20 … I figure maybe it’ll help him. I don’t know.”
Diaz says he asked for something in return — the teen’s knife — “and he gave
it to me.”
I have to wonder how often such a response to robbery will turn out so benign and how many potential thugs will be enabled by this story. I fear that such a response on a broad scale would encourage crime more than shame criminals into rethinking their career path.
Do criminologists have currently enough data to give us good answers to the obvious questions brought up by this story? If not, what sort of experiments could be run to get the answers with minimal risk to the experimenters?
Is there some sort of reliable character assessment can be done in the second and a half it takes to draw and fire your gun in the face of a deadly threat such that you are out an hour of your life and $20 rather than days or weeks of your time and many thousands of dollars defending against a civil suit or criminal charges for shooting a “choir boy”?