A New Hampshire gas station clerk has been fired for using a handgun to defend himself from a knife-wielding robber, The Telegraph reported today.
Shannon “Bear” Cothran was working after midnight at a Shell station in Nashua “when the would-be robber entered the store, walked behind the counter and threatened his life.” Cothran pulled his legally-carried handgun, inducing his assailant to leave. The encounter ended without violence, as is overwhelmingly the case with defensive gun uses.
For that, the parent company that owns the Shell franchise, Nouria Energy, fired Cothran, despite his manager and district manager pleading his case with corporate. And for their part, the company is hunkering down and weathering outrage from customers who think Cothran deserves gratitude, praise and support instead of instant termination followed up with self-serving corporate weasel-words.
“At Nouria Energy, our employees are our most cherished assets,” they unctuously proclaim on their website home page. “Their safety and the safety of our customers is priority number one.”
Somehow, the immortal line spoken by John Vernon in “The Outlaw Josey Wales” comes to mind.
“It is with that goal in mind that we do not allow firearms in the workplace,” the excuse-making continues. “We specifically train our employees on how to react during a robbery attempt to prevent the situation from escalating. Cashiers are instructed to give the intruder what they ask for in an attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully and as soon as possible.”
Give intruders what they ask for? What if what they’re asking for is your life? What if they want to eliminate witnesses? What if they’re just evil killers? Does the corporate propagandist who wrote those ignorant platitudes know? How? And would he have been able to express such confident advice to clerks in Los Angeles, or Indianapolis, or Wichita Falls, or Cincinnati, or…
Y’know, I could do this all day, but the point is made. How about it, "T.J. Winick, Vice President of Boston-based Solomon McCown & Company," how would you like to go deliver the eulogy at those funerals and talk about how much you cherish corporate assets?
“Make no mistake: we care about the personal well-being of employees like Mr. Cothran, whose years of service are truly appreciated--not about the money in the cash register,” the unbelievable narrative drones on. “So, we are especially grateful that this situation was resolved without injury.”
Yes, it was, thanks entirely to Cothran’s preparedness and resourcefulness. You people have one heck of a way of showing gratitude and concern for personal well-being.
“We do respect the constitutional right to bear arms,” they demonstrably contradict themselves. After all, if they did, they’d …uh…respect it.
“However, we believe the best way to keep our employees and customers safe is to prohibit weapons in the workplace,” they offer as a proclamation of blind faith, with absolutely no empirical evidence to substantiate such a denial of reality.
“Our training and policies are aligned with what is customary in the retail/ conveniences store industries and is consistent with advice offered by security and police organizations,” they deflect, hoping that will take the decision-making burden off of them, by blaming some faceless, nameless generic “authority”.
How many of those police departments practice what they preach at their workplace? What peer-reviewed studies have been referenced to arrive at such a conclusion, especially when the lives of real human beings are what are being placed at risk with such policies? Exactly who are the experts who maintain it is safest to be defenseless against an armed and desperate assailant, and what valid data and accreditation does Nouria have to back that up, as opposed to, say, the people who actually train law enforcement firearms instructors?
When Nouria forbids an employee from protecting himself, are they also accepting a duty to protect his life and safety? Are they also admitting an attendant liability should their policy fail, and result in tragedy, as opposed to the happy outcome Mr. Cothran achieved by ignoring risk management bureaucrats, who may have never taken even a basic defensive gun use class in their lives?
Just what are PR guy Winnick’s professional credentials for representing such corporate apologia as fact, as if he actually knows what he’s talking about? (Curious: If he does, you can't tell it from his CV. And evidently Solomon McCown's workplace violence response expertise involves lucky survivors placing their hands on their heads.)
It’s almost funny: The Nouria website advertises a click-through graphic featuring one of their low-level redshirts (and anyone who’s watched the original Star Trek knows what that means) with the caption “Secure Career Apply Now!”
The website also allows you to send a message (or alternatively, you can contact CEO Tony El-Nemr on Twitter or Facebook), and most useful of all, it provides a handy store locator so people who actually do “respect the constitutional right to bear arms” can identify all the Nouria locations that don’t.
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