Do Money and Guns Bring Out the Worst in People?

Despite my strong feelings in favor of gun  control, I usually don’t like to use isolated gun shooting incidents to support my position. I’d rather use the numerous research studies that utilize far more data and statistical analyses compared to one highly publicized shooting to back my beliefs.

However, I’m going to make an exception in this case.

This situation involved a laundromat owner in Philadelphia who was robbed at knife-point of approximately $2,000. When the robber left the store, the owner of the laundromat chased the robber out the door, but not before grabbing his handgun (which he had a license to carry).

The owner chased the robber down the street, and at one point the robber just threw the $2,000 cash in the air, but the owner decided to shoot him anyway.

Police say the suspect, a 40-year-old man, was shot twice in the chest. According to investigators, the suspect turned and raised his hand while being chased by the owner, and the owner feared the man had either a knife or a gun, so he opened fire.

In addition, an innocent 52-year old woman was shot twice in the hand during the chase. As of this writing, the suspect was reported to be in critical condition, while the bystander was said to be in stable condition.

Here is a video that captured part of the incident:

You’ll notice a couple of things in the video.

First, the robber is running away; not sure how this justifies the owner shooting at him. Second, the money is all scooped up in a matter of seconds by people in the area.

Apparently this laundromat owner was willing to possibly kill someone over $2,000. And several people were willing to sell their integrity for a few dollars they found on the street, likely knowing where the money had come from.

I can’t describe in words how despicable I find the actions of the laundromat owner. If I ran the world, this laundromat owner would be in jail for attempted murder.  My guess is that the gun gave the owner a sense of bravado, and he thought he could use it to take the law into his own hands to get his money back.

If he had simply called 911 immediately, things might have worked out better for everyone. Two people would not have been shot, and multiple people would not be walking around with money that is not theirs. In a way, that doesn’t make them much different than the robber.

So there’s lots of examples of the worst of humanity here – the robber, the owner, and the money thieves. But at the top of my list for bad behavior, I’d have to put the laundromat owner.

And I don’t care if the police have decided not to pursue charges against the owner; perhaps legally they didn’t have enough evidence to go on. But morally, there’s no way the owner can justify such actions.

And I can’t help but wonder – what if the owner didn’t have access to a gun.


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