Sunday, December 5, 2010

Whose Job Is It To Keep metro-Detroit Citizens Safe From Violent Crime?

It has only been mere days, since the cold-blooded and senseless murder of Mr. Brian Stuckey - a 29 year-old father of four young boys - at the Detroit BP Gas Station at the intersection of Seven Mile Road and Rutherford Street.

Unless you are a hermit who lives in a cave, you already know that in the early morning hours of this past Wednesday Mr. Stuckey was targeted for an apparent robbery attempt by two predators. When the crime was "all said and done" Mr. Stuckey was shot in the heart by a shotgun blast wielded by one of the firearms toting bad guys, who realized a booty of nothing more than a wallet and a leather motorcycle club jacket.

The two killers are still at-large and as a consequence area residents of the city are on edge and the predictable "blame game" has started in earnest. A litany of persons are being blamed for Mr. Stuckey's murder.

Let's now enumerate and evaluate who "some" folks are blaming for this tragedy.

Shall We Blame The Victim?

To begin, many citizens are only too eager to blame the slain victim - Mr. Brian Stuckey. After all, many of these "victim-blamers" coldly reason publicly in barbershops all across the city or on their Facebook personal pages, "Who in their right mind goes to a gas station in Detroit at 3:00am?"

The real fact of the matter is that there is nothing wrong with going to a gas station at any time of the day - early morning or late in the day. I will however concede that if the victim had waited until daylight to fuel up his vehicle, he stood a statistically less chance of not being an apparent robbery victim. In truth, most robberies happen after darkfall. At this time of the year, robberies predictably rise as a consequence of more darkness for predators to use as cover for their crimes.

However, let's not delude ourselves into believing that violent crime does not happen in Detroit during broad daylight. It does happen, has always happened, and will continue to happen during the day. Citizens concerned with personal protection must be vigilant at all hours of the day.

Additionally, I have heard some people suggest that the victim's wearing of a motorcycle club jacket should've afforded him some enhanced level of protection from harm. In fact, last night while I was in attendance at the prayer vigil, at the same BP Gas Station where the crime originally occurred, I had several conversations with folks inside and outside the local biker community who shared that sentiment.

Lots of things were both said publicly at the microphone and in side conversations that expressed the surprise, shock, sadness, sorrow, and anger of this young man being killed. I won't repeat much of what was said last night but more than one person intimated to me that the Stuckey's murder was the first known occurrence of a biker being killed in Michigan.

Personally, even as an outsider to the biker family, I felt saddened by this incident. However, I am not deluded about the type of predators who coldly stalk our city's streets looking for someone to victimize via a robbery, rape, or a murder. They do not respect customs, symbols, authority, or rule of law. When they are working, anybody is "fair game."

Shall We Blame The Gas Station?

Surprisingly to me, there is a large number of folks who are trying to lay the blame of this tragedy at the feet of the gas station: the owner, the clerk on duty, or both.

The clerk, if you listen to some blame-game players, was at fault for not calling 9-1-1 faster than he did. It has been reported that he did not call-in the crime until after the victim was shot dead and lying on the pavement. Some people believe that the clerk should have called for the authorities as soon the victim-to-be was led into the building at gun-point.

A different take on the clerk's actions or inaction - depending on your view - can explain or offer insight on what transpired. Despite the fact that the clerk was behind thick plastic, no one really knows with any certainty if that barrier is indeed bullet-proof.

Moreover, if the plastic wall is truly a barrier for bullets could it stop the assault of a shotgun blast? If we don't know the definitive answer to that question, then we must admit that the clerk's life was also in danger that morning. So, if you believe now that it is possible the clerk's life could have also been in danger that night then you could not possibly blame him for the death of Mr. Stuckey.

From the clerk's vantage-point, there were no clear hints or clues that the armed predators were going to actually murder Mr. Stuckey even though he was being robbed at gun-point. One lesson to be learned here is that any time a firearm is pointed at a person, his life is in jeopardy even if he fully complies with every unreasonable demand given to him by his captors. Sometimes, victims get shot and killed for no good reason at all.

Let's now play a new game - Devil's Advocate. Let's pretend that the clerk was 100 percent safe behind the bullet-proof glass and that he did immediately call 9-1-1. It is entirely possible that the clerk would have gotten put on hold by the emergency phone operator. Severe cuts to 9-1-1 phone operations leave many area residents listening to a recording instead of immediately having the opportunity to report a crime.

Furthermore, let's now discuss the Detroit Police Department's (DPD) officially published response time to high priority reported offenses - it is abysmal. It was last published as being 28 minutes for high priority reported crimes in progress. That's a life-time. If you find yourself in trouble, you need to find a way to stay alive for 28 minutes - on average.

Now let's add into evidence the facts that the clerk, who was on duty at the gas station that day, was the only employee working and was on his very first day on the job. Subsequent media interviews at the gas station have revealed that the clerk was obviously so shaken up about the incident that he quit.

Not many people, after hearing all of the facts, could blame the clerk. So, the next obvious scapegoat is the person who owns or manages the gas station. "How dare the owner of the gas station not train his employees how to keep their customers safe?"

Let us be abundantly clear - it is not a gas station attendant's or anyone else's job to keep customers safe from violent crime. In this case, the clerk's job is to sell gasoline, lottery tickets, and weed papers to the eager clamor of eager shoppers who frequent that gas station.

I've heard every possible red herring ever deployed in the name of empty rhetoric to explain how Mr. Stuckey's death is somehow the end result of hostile gas station owners consumed with sucking every known dollar out of the black community without regard to the community. It sounds more like black racists using an excuse to defame the only folks willing to do business in the black community.

Do You Really Want To Know Who Is Responsible For Mr. Stuckey's Death?

The answer is so easy that the people, who are most consumed with hearing themselves talk without regard for their conversation's content, miss it. The two predators who stalked, robbed, and shot Mr. Stuckey are responsible for his death. That's it.

The responsibility of any specific person to not be a crime victim rests with that person. It is his job. If a person is not ready or prepared to defend himself, he will be a victim when a predator arrives. You can cooperate, reason, plead, and beg for your life but at the end of the ordeal your captor may just shoot you just because he felt like it - no good reason at all.

The questions before us now are many. Only time will reveal the answers: Is someone going to turn the thugs in to the authorities? Will the killers be stalked and hunted down in the streets via vigilante vendetta? Who else will die needlessly and senselessly in the streets of Detroit? Will the community come together and stop protecting dangerous criminals in our neighborhoods? Will folks exercise more responsibility for their safety?

What are you going to do?
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