November 30, 2011

"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."

"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."

57 comments:

cubanbob said...

An amazing story. An amazing guy. I hope the kid had an awakening and changes his ways.

Smilin' Jack said...

So heartwarming. Now the the kid will be nice and comfortable as hs continues his career of robbery. (Do not think about his future victims!)

Albatross said...

"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."

Either that, or they laugh at you and use your coat to keep themselves warm as they mug other people for the rest of the night.

Albatross said...

Just something to think about.

bagoh20 said...

That's great if it's true, but it's incredibly unlikely to be the outcome in most cases. Still, if true, then the kid is the exception more than the victim is. Most victims are decent people - most crooks are not. Maybe there is hope for this one.

PETER V. BELLA said...

The guy is a mook. A mamaluke. He is lucky he is alive. What a macaroon.

Karl said...

"Bullshit"

bagoh20 said...

Now, the guy also could have beat the shit out of the crook. I'm not sure which would be a more effective rehabilitation. The beating at least would be easy to interpret correctly.

fivewheels said...

Gotta love NPR, where they hear this story and headline it: "A Victim Treats His Mugger Right".

Reading that, I kept waiting for the part where, having caught the d-bag off guard, he clocks him in the head and calls the police to haul him off.

But in airy-fairyland, hey, the proper penalty for armed robbery is dinner and some extra cash. At this rate the 1 percent will be those of us who aren't muggers. Thanks a ton.

Largo said...

For the cynics:

If the kid is set on a life of crime, this might have been some minuscule aid and comfort to the enemy (read: cost to society). But this is a sort of nurturing that can change a life around dramatically. If it happens once out of ten times, even once out of a hundred times, the benefit to society in that once outweighs the cost to society of the 99, I am sure.

And I think the muggee had a pretty good take on the kid. Hell, the kid gave him his knife at the end.

So Jack, I see where you are coming from, and I don't think coddling is warranted as a rule. But I think your snark is very ill-placed.

Michael The Magnificent said...

What Karl said. I'm not buying it.

fivewheels said...

Not sure I understand your math on the 1 in 10 or 1 in 100 hypothetical. You're saying it's a good deal to let 99 armed robbers go on to more crimes if one of them turns out to be a kind, good-hearted soul (who just happened to mug a guy and threaten to cut him) and doesn't commit another crime?

So it's better to prevent one single crime than to prevent the 99 crimes caused by the failure of naive do-gooderism?

Yes, I'm a bit of a cynic, but if this story is remotely true, I think the odds are better that this guy kills someone innocent than that he becomes a nice NPR-listening liberal in a movie-of-the-week transformation. And I hate to gamble that innocent life on feel-good B.S.

Largo said...

"So it's better to prevent one single crime than to prevent the 99 crimes caused by the failure of naive do-gooderism?"

Fivewheels,

I think you have introduced a counter-factual here. I don't think the muggee was in a position to stop the single crime. The kid had a knife!

Now it came to pass that the muggee eventually gained possession of the mugger's knife, and could have then have done a "Gotcha, you SOB!"

But how did the muggee get the knife? Assuming the facts in the story (what else can we do?), the mugger voluntarily surrendered the wallet back to the muggee, along with the knife!

I suggest that, at -this point-, it is reasonable to assume the mugger is not -hardened- as a mugger (notwithstanding his -seriously- bad actions). It may be only temporary, but this truly is a sign of the muggee becoming socialized by the mugger. And the mugger no longer has his weapon, so his immediate threat to society is attenuated.

I reckon that there is a fair chance that he will go on to mug again. But I also reckon that nothing would more harden his criminality than to play gotcha.

But whatever the appropriateness of the muggee offering the mugger his coat etc, the mugger's actions at the end are probative. In probability terms, we have have a expected value regarding the mugger's future that is a -conditional- expectation. I think that by the meal's end this mugger has shown himself highly atypical.

"I think the odds are better that this guy kills someone innocent than that he becomes a nice NPR-listening liberal in a movie-of-the-week transformation."

He may be unlikely to be a movie of the week NPR listening liberal. Well I tell you, if I thought that this -was- likely, I would be inclined to send him to jail instead! ;-)

The serious question of odds here is: "the odds are better that this (atypical) guy kills someone -given that we send him to a temporary incarceration through turning on his trust-, than that he kills someone -given that we don't-: yes or no?"

Perhaps we would each compute different answers to THIS question. But no answer to this question would indicate the degree of "feely good BS" suggested by high belief in a Hallmark ending.

Perhaps the answer I would give to what I believe is the serious question is one which would, in the end, show me to be sentimentally naive. I am not at this point claiming to be otherwise. But I think at least that I can come up with the right question.

Largo said...

I suspect that some of the antipathy on this to the muggee's behavior is a visceral response to the initial kindness he showed the mugger (offering his coat), independent even of his later actions (setting him free).

I think one could coherently approve of only the former, of only the latter, of both, or of neither. They are quite independant.

More nuance, less snark.

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

Some years ago, I helped a prostitute out by giving her money with no sex involved. I also gave her my mittens. Later, she was awarded sainthood by the church.

The Crack Emcee said...

Shouldn't the tags be "crime" and "gullibility"?

I like the approach, though - up to a point:

"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."

Takes off coat, throws it over criminal's head, and then beats him silly to the words, "My God, you're dumb,..."

edutcher said...

The guy is very lucky to be alive.

Most of our more aggressive street terrorists would have beaten his head in by the time he got to, "Hey, wait a minute...".

If they hadn't just shot him first thing.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Haven't you guys ever read Les Mis? It's like Jean Valjean and the candlesticks!

Bob_R said...

You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. After you have done this, immediately go to a government sponsored radio station. Create a long, smug, story about your actions. Assert that what you did will reform the man who harmed you. For this is the way to the hearts of crunchy blue state babes.

Shanna said...

Lovely. Kill em with kindness, basically.

That kid had to not be all bad, since shame was effective. It wouldn't work on everyone.

Robert Burnham said...

Everything that comes out of NPR should be seen as lefty/democrat party propaganda, because that's what it is.

Viewed in that light, what's the takeaway message of this little story? Hmmm?

Paco Wové said...

Start with a joke*, stir in a bit of crypto-Christianity, and voilà, an NPR feature.

*Two liberals were walking down the road when they came upon a man who had been robbed and badly beaten. They looked at each other and exclaimed: "We must find who did this and help them!"

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

.

Too good to check.

.

Robert Cook said...

I was mugged once by two guys...I was walking to the subway early one spring morning...the sun was up, but few people were out. I had my arms full--a tube of drawings in one hand, a messenger bag over my other shoulder. They claimed they had a gun, but I didn't believe them...they didn't show a weapon. However, they were two, and I was one, and, encumbered, was in no position to flee or fight.

I pulled out my wallet, opened it and withdrew the $40.00 cash I had in it, and handed it to them. They didn't grab or ask for the wallet and so I didn't lose my ATM or credit cards or I.D. They didn't lay a hand on me.

Once they had the money in hand, they actually apologized, and said something to the effect they "had to get uptown." From the context, I gathered they needed money for dope. They went on their way and I headed on to work, still in possession of my subway tokens.

The point? Not all muggers are violent or sadistic or remorseless. Many are simply people whose life circumstances have led them to make bad or desperate choices. I'm sure these many would prefer to be able to lead better lives, and at least some of them can and will rehabilitate themselves.

I'm not naive, and I know some will become hardened criminals. Years ago, a former work colleague of mine, part of a group of us out for dinner and drinks to celebrate two of our number moving on to better jobs elsewhere, was stabbed to death by a young man wielding a screwdriver who was trying to break into my colleague's car as he and the rest of our group continued their party late into the night at a hotel bar. The man was spotted from inside the bar and two of our group ran out to intervene. The man fled, and rather than let him go, my two colleagues chased him down, until, cornered, he lashed out and struck his victim in the heart. My colleague died within a minute, I'm told. (I had to work the next morning and had left the party a mere hour or two before this crime occurred.) The murderer was caught and tried and sentenced to prison.

Even so, I do not make the mistake in seeing every criminal as like every other crimnal, all merely violent automatons. Each is a person whose unique life path has brought him to a certain place at a certain time, but none of them are necessarily fixed in that place or frame of mind.

Robert Cook said...

"...what's the takeaway message of this little story? Hmmm?"

Umm...that the Christian values of mercy and forgiveness amd understanding are for suckers?

Shanna said...

Many are simply people whose life circumstances have led them to make bad or desperate choices.

The reason I hate thieves in general is that they are so incredibly selfish.

Although the title of this article is ludicrous (the 'proper' way to treat a mugger, seriously???), in this particular situation the man in the story seems to have been able to take the attacker out of that selfish mode. Will it lead him away from a life of crime forever? Who the heck knows. But it is a nice little story to counter the thousands that don't turn out so well.

I see that the guy was a SW and maybe he was just able to read this particular kid well enough to know he had a shot at getting through his head. ANd in the process, he got his wallet back and didn't have to go through the PITA of getting a new drivers license/all new cars (which I have had to do before, thank you thieves!).

RC, you might have been less forgiving if that person had taken your wallet rather than your money.

Pogo said...

Last week, in my little town, two Somali men pistol-whipped a 70 year old man as he exited a restaurant downtown.

They took his watch and wallet, and left him bleeding on the sidewalk.

NPR did not interview the victim to find out why he didn't treat his mugger right.

Pogo said...

I'm waiting for the NPR story on a woman who treated her rapist right.

Paco Wové said...

But Pogo, not submitting = DEATH. Didn't you read Robert Cook?

Karnival said...

Right out of William Saroyan's "The Human Comedy".

Anglelyne said...

Karl: "Bullshit".

Guess I'm not the only one who experienced the oddest sensations of deja vu reading this heartwarming little tale. Maybe do-gooder feel-gooders all run together in one's memory over the years, but the exchanges with and about the restaurant staff seemed awfully familiar. Let's just say that if this turned out to be plagiarized, re-heated, urban-legend hooey, I wouldn't be at all surprised.

Pogo said...

@Paco Wové
Cook states that the true Christian would not only allow himself to be mugged, but that real "mercy and forgiveness and understanding" requires it.

It explains their love of the government, which robs us at will in much the same way.

Or a la Sylvia Plath 'every liberal adores a fascist, the boot in the face, and the brute brute heart.' it's why they go for Che Guevera and Castro and Stalin and Mao.

They love that tough-guy-ruler shit, in leaders and muggers.

It is increasingly difficult to tell the difference between NPR and The Onion.

Robert Cook said...

"The reason I hate thieves in general is that they are so incredibly selfish."

Ah, so you agree the heads of the big banks should be in prison.

MadisonMan said...

That's a great story. But we never here the similar story about the guy who offers his coat and gets killed because of course he is not around to tell it.

I've never been mugged. I have no idea how I'd react.

Pogo said...

Sure, all the top Goldman Sachs guys should be in jail, including Geitner and Obama.

But not until we give them our coats and take them to dinner and treat them right, so we get a good NPR story out of it.

Robert Cook said...

"Sure, all the top Goldman Sachs guys should be in jail, including Geitner and Obama."

So, we can agree on at least that...although Obama is not, as far as I know, guilty of thieving, but should be tried for murder.

Paco Wové said...

"a nice little story to counter the thousands"

seems... imbalanced.

lohwoman said...

This happened in February 2008. Time for a follow-up, NPR! Did the mugger take a different path in life? Is Mr. Diaz a burned-out social worker by now? I'd like to know.

junyo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
junyo said...

Since the muggee is a resident of NYC, he was pretty much legally armed with nothing but manly bravado. Under those circumstances, I think he did pretty well. He wasn't robbed, wasn't injured, prevented anyone else from being robbed on the platform for at least a couple hours, and there a small but greater than it was before chance that the mugger might reform himself.

But of course the correct course of action would have been to get into a fistfight with the knife wielding mugger, beat him senseless, sawn off a hand with his own knife and then turn him over to the authorities so he could go to Criminal U on Rikers. That would have cost everyone less, and been a better ending, than a few minutes of compassion and some soup.

Shanna said...

Ah, so you agree the heads of the big banks should be in prison.

Did they hold a gun on someone and threaten death unless they handed over their cash? In that case sure.

In any other case I'm going to need a little more information.

Also, I hate the whole 'big' whatever. All big means is that you've been successful enough to add on stores/banks/whatever. Are you claiming that every bank that has made it to the point of being 'big' should have leaders throw in jail? Maybe you could tell me what they did that was illegal first.

Jay said...

Robert Cook said...

Ah, so you agree the heads of the big banks should be in prison.


Of course you, nor anyone reading, could possibly articulate what the heads of the "big banks" stole, or how.

C R Krieger said...

What junto said.

And, it's Advent and maybe NPR slipped into some pro-Christian sentiment.  And, since they are a QUANGO, not really a violation of the separation of church and state.

Regards — Cliff

C R Krieger said...

That would be "junyo".

Sorry, Junyo.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saint Croix said...

It is a very nice story. I think Bob R is right to compare this to the Bible. This is how Christians should behave. But it's also true that you should not make a public display of your charity. (And this is very public). Also, as you give a mugger your coat, Christianity does not promise that you will be rewarded on this earth for your goodness. No, Christianity tell us how to behave, but also instructs us that our goodness will cost us. Indeed, you might even suffer a horrible death (as Jesus did).

Indeed, the whole point of Christianity is that it's a religion. No need to brag about your charity (God knows about it), and no need to worry about bad things happening to you on this earth (you will walk with God in the next).

If you follow Christ all the way, you are very likely to become a Christian martyr. Needless to say, many of us have trouble accepting this. And so liberals spin stories about nice criminals, and conservatives overlook the parts of the Bible that might cost us personally.

The Crack Emcee said...

Robert Cook,

I was mugged once by two guys...

They knew you,...

Robert Cook said...

"Of course you, nor anyone reading, could possibly articulate what the heads of the "big banks" stole, or how."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmLIm4islMY&feature=related

E.M. Davis said...

Diaz almost employed a sort of reverse pyschology ... which worked.

I'm betting the teen with the knife didn't look quite so imposing, and possibly had a look of regret already on his face.

It made him an easier target for the kindness approach.

Other muggers, not so much.

WV: canobul - Gingrich, by way of Hulsey?

William said...

The three times I was mugged, I fought back. This is not so much a reflection of my courage as of my cheapness.....It's pretty to think that a simple act of kindness can change the course of a life. I think that was one of the plot points of Les Miserables. I guess it's possible, but it's just as possible that an act of kindness would just make the mugger feel more guilty and thus, in the end, more hardened. I don't need your coat, you condescending bastard. I just need your money so I can buy my own.

PatCA said...

Nice story, but why did NPR air it? It's part of liberal dogma that criminals are good guys deep down.

Expanding this to a workable principle, now you know where OWS and Occupy San Diego, sympathizing with the guy who shot up the White House, get their values.

Robert Cook said...

"Nice story, but why did NPR air it? It's part of liberal dogma that criminals are good guys deep down.

"Expanding this to a workable principle, now you know where OWS and Occupy San Diego, sympathizing with the guy who shot up the White House, get their values."


Have you really misread the story so badly, or are you purposely misrepresenting it to suit your rhetorical purposes?

And do OWS and OSD "(sympathize) with the guy who shot up the White House?"

David said...

Seems to me that the act of kindness has its own value, regardless of the long term outcome for the kid.

Robert Cook said...

"Seems to me that the act of kindness has its own value, regardless of the long term outcome for the kid."

David, how nice to see you (and cubanbob at the head of the comments) see the story for what it is and not as serving some ulterior propaganda purposes of NPR. Acts of kindness do have their own value, and are to be applauded for themselves.

Geoff Matthews said...

Problem here is that the actions aren't scalable. Eventually, crimes will have to be punished.

Robert Cook said...

More Taibbi on the criminality of the financial institutions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NHh8Ea0-dc&feature=related

More damage--more terrible and more far-reaching--has been done by "respectable" white-collar crooks in their offices than by all the street muggers currently active combined.

Rachel said...

I don't believe a single word of that story.