Friday, July 30, 2010

Compassionate Woman Stops Reluctant Robber With Lie

ABC calls this story: "Faith Stops Florida Robbery" and "Christian Woman Stops Robbery With Faith".


"I'm here to rob you."
"Let me tell you about Jesus, I'm a Christian."
"I am too and I hate doing this, but I still need to rob you."
"Do you have a family?"
"That's why I'm doing this."
"I can help you get a job."
"I've got a job."
"Then why do this?"
"I need $300 or I'll get evicted."
"I'm sorry, I have to take every cent."
"Well, they'll charge me for this."
"They'll charge you for the money I'm stealing?"
"I'm the one responsible."
"OK, I won't rob you. And, hey, it's a BB gun."

The dishonesty-in-reporting brigade ignores the fact that he didn't stop until he thought he'd be robbing her...and it gets chalked up to a robbery stopped by faith.

Are people more willing to steal from a corporation than an individual? Yes.
Are people less likely to victimize people once some personal connection is established? Yes.
Did a shared religion help establish a connection? Sure.
Would this robbery have been averted by almost anyone else letting the gunman know that they would have to personally pay back what he stole? It seems likely to me.

The claim that she'd have to pay is also, as far as I can tell, a lie. Essentially, she talked him out of robbing the place by explaining how he'd be robbing her, and not just the store.

So, why doesn't the headline read "Compassionate Woman Stops Reluctant Robber With Lie"?


  1. It's because the US is a Christian Nation :P (that was sarcasm, just so you know)

  2. Of course theists who read/hear/watch this story will claim that God did intervene in the robbery in order to stop on that!

    As far as the media covering/reporting the story is concerned, I'm not surprised by this type of headline. I see this type of thing happen quite often.

  3. Because it panders less, and the pandering version gets more people to read it because it makes them feel good?

  4. I'm glad it worked out well for the clerk, but she should have just given him the money. You never know who you're dealing with. I think it's irresponsible to applaud her dangerous actions.

    They also downplay the fact that the would-be-robber is a Christian. I wonder if he had self-identified as an atheist, would they have similarly downplayed his atheism?

  5. Watched this "news" piece on Fox at the gym this morning. The whole time I kept thinking: "So God let all those other christian tellers be robbed because...???" Apparently you have to actually mention Jesus before he will help you.

  6. I'm highly suspicious of this.
    Their interactions seem about as natural as the first couple minutes of a porno.
    I would not be surprised if it comes out that these two people know each other and this was staged to "strengthen people's faith"

  7. "I'm highly suspicious of this.
    Their interactions seem about as natural as the first couple minutes of a porno."

    Start Scene

    Robber enters bank

    Teller "Can I help you today!?"
    Robber "I'd like to make a withdrawal *pulls out gun and puts on shades* From my pants

    *sex ensues*

    End Scene.

  8. See, God never loses... 'cause He's great. I mean, he provides for all His children, like the robber. His children inherit Heaven, so why would it be wrong to rob, no?
    Anyways, both methods (robbery and lie) are perfect example of the "mysterious ways God works" that are, of course, above our understanding and morally perfect.
    Isn't it?

  9. This could be an example-story in a lecture about ethics.

    The woman tells a lie to stop a robbery. The man is ready to steal from a corporation, but not from an individual.

    Thats consequentialist ethics and has nothing to do with Christianity.

  10. This works. My mother used to get nuisance calls where they would just hang onto the phone and not saying anything, back in the days of mechanical relay exchanges where if the other end didn't hang up the call would still be connected the next time you pick up the phone.
    She would pull out the bible and start from the beginning. They would hang up before finding out what happens on the second day.

  11. "Compassionate Christian robber evicted from home for not having the courage of his convictions" is a better title.

  12. I guess it's OK to steal if you are a Christian. After all you will be forgiven if you repent (after spending the money of course). So much for the "Big 10" being much of a moral guide.

    This story was written because it fits the expected feel good pattern of our culture. As with most human interest stories, it probably has little to do with the facts. Since the news is now largely entertainment, why expect anything more than sitcom scripts.

  13. If this was a real event, I'd say it was the clerk's calm approach and establishment of solidarity that dissolved the situation rather anything else. Sure she used her religion but she could have used just about anything else, such as the shared struggle in a troubled economy.

  14. The media is a ass, old story.

    More interestingly, you guys have a new website banner. It looks nice.

  15. @Ing

    How do you know you're watching a bad porno? When it contains the dialog "you're a Christian? Me too!"

  16. I live in South Florida, where this story took place. The funny part is that it seemed that the local news station ran it as a fluff piece to make the religious feel all warm and fuzzy.* It was only the next day or two and the guy robbed someone else. I guess the miracle didn't take!

    Regardless, it says something more about the hypocrisy that Christians are only willing to rob someone if it isn't obvious that they are of the same faith.

    *Typically, their religious fluff pieces consist of stories where families predictably thank God after some horrific tragedy only resulting in someone nearly dying instead of actually dying. In this case, the event is called a "miracle" by those interviewed and the reporters themselves. Meanwhile, tragedies resulting in death seem to have no supernatural elements in them unless Pat Robertson is reporting. Curious, ain't it?

  17. Yea and remember in Columbine when those two kids when around killing classmates. I believe the last thing they asked the students before they shot them was "do you believe in God?" Now, in contrast to the logic of this article, the Columbine massacre should be evidence that God doesn't intervene and save people when they bring up his name, ya know, since people who said "yes" were killed and people who said "no" weren't...but instead I'm sure Christians would just spin it and tell you that atheism causes kids to shoot each other and make themselves into the victim, ignoring the relevant point at hand, as usual.

    It's awfully convenient, isn't it, that God only helps you out in that situation if the gunman also happens to subscribe to your faith. What if the gunman was a Muslim? or a Scientologist or a Satanist? What do you suppose are the odds that God would have intervened in that case to save the woman?

    It's pathetic that the news wastes time and money reporting things like this. It makes me fucking embarrassed of my country.

  18. Blast Radius- Yea and remember in Columbine when those two kids when around killing classmates. I believe the last thing they asked the students before they shot them was "do you believe in God?"

    Actually the reports indicate that one of the killers only asked that of one person, Valeen Schnurr, and she survived. Since the killers were taunting everyone before shooting them, if Schnurr was known to be pretty religious it shouldn't be that strange that they would ask this without atheism as a cause.

    Despite this, the student that this claim is often made of, Cassie Bernall, is still presented as a Christian martyr. However, as has been noted time and time again, some religious people will not let a good story go just because it never happened?

  19. Who cares how she stopped him? She stopped him. You people, I'm telling you...get your heads out of your behinds. To defuse a situation you have to talk to the perpetrator in the language he understands. Worry about your anti-religious crusade once the gunman has made his escape and go brag online about how you threw money at him and wet yourselves. If a criminal gives you an opening that allows you to turn the situation around, then take it, no matter what it is. You lie all day long for reasons amounting to less than nothing anyway, so lie when it counts.

  20. Projecting a wee bit in that last statement, are we, poor Tom?

  21. The headline should have been "Robber Fail" and it should have been posted at ebaumsworld or something. Much more interesting that way.

  22. It seems Tom doesn't know that if you tell a single lie, you're a liar and go to hell. That's why good Christians tell everything that is embarrassing about others. (It's not gossip, it's the truth!)

  23. I also believe the "Are you a christian" thing in columbine is an urban legend. I've heard it never actually happened.

    Shouldn't the real story be the oddness of WTF really caused someone with such reluctance and seemingly some dignity to be desperate enough to commit crimes? That one seems more interesting to me

  24. Tom- If you look out to the horizon you will see a dot. That is the point and by how far you missed it. The point of the post was not about how the woman stopped the robbery. It was about how the media uses sensationalism to sell a story even if it means not giving the whole story or spinning it to the extent that what ever truth there was is unrecognizable.

  25. Like many students around the world, I have waited tables when the need was greatest.

    ALL the restaurants on the continent made the employees responsible for robberies.

    One job I had, a colleague quit after a table of drunkards ran out without paying a huge bill, leaving her not only receiving no wages at the end of the week, but actually owing her boss money.


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