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Shame on you. +autozone. Devin McClean acted promptly, bravely, and correctly - he deserves praise and thanks for saving a life and preventing a violent crime.  It's the idiot who made the policy that got him canned who should be fired.
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Yes Eric.  We know you have a love affair with guns.

On the other hand, what do you propose that AutoZone do? Praise the guy, and send the message "It's OK to break the rules as long as it turns out OK"?  Would you still be singing McClean's praises if Autozone fired him after his intervention caused the suspect to panic and start shooting rather than panicking and running?  And what should AutoZone do next time if it doesn't turn out totally OK?  Tell the guy "Sorry, McClean pulled it off, but we're canning your butt because your unpredictable robber reacted differently than McClean's unpredictable robber"?
Measure by results.  McClean acted correctly, results were good, he shouldn't be fired.  The next case should also be judged by its consequences.

And if the subject had panicked and started shooting, that wouldn't have been something McLean should be blamed for. The suspect came there intending violence to begin with.  McClean reacted as a veteran with firearms training should do - he defended those who couldn't defend themselves.  He did his duty as a veteran and a man. 

If we followed your logic, chemical fire extinguishers should be forbidden because somebody might breathe the fumes.  Crime management, like other kinds of risk management, is about minimizing harm, not being paralyzed because your efforts to prevent it might fail. 
And here I thought that banks had policies ordering tellers to not try to be heros during bank robberies for the same exact reason - for minimizing the likelyhood of harm.

Also, your comment regarding chemical fire extinguishers is totally not following the logic.  Properly following the logic would be "The fire code requires the installation of this type of fire suppression in this area because that has the greatest chance of stopping fires.  Installing a chemical extinguisher instead is out-of-code and will get you a fine, even though there's a remote chance that a fire that's suitable for a chemical extinguisher may happen".

Do you fine the company for not having the proper gear called for by code, or praise them for thinking ahead and having a chemical extinguisher just in case, even though the odds say it won't be the best choice in that location?

And tell me - does this Machiavellian "measure by results" only apply to life-n-death issues, or are all corporate policies breakable under that guideline?  If a store manager increases profits by 3% by totally flouting the corporate policies regarding returned parts, do you can him or give him a bonus because it worked out OK?
If most bank tellers were armed, stress-inoculated veterans the rational minimax policy for banks might be different.

Obviously, you praise the choice that prevents loss of life, even if it's out of code.  Results trump regulations.  The store manager credits McClean for saving his life, which tells me that second-guessers - including you - should shut the fuck up. He lived to go home to his family because McClean had the courage to damn the rules and do the right thing.

Your red herring about parts policies is being ignored with the contempt it deserves.
It's not a red herring - it's a legitimate question.  If in some situations, "screw the rules, it turned out OK" is acceptable, but in others it isn't - what determines if it is or isn't OK?  It turned out OK for McClean, so he's off the hook.  But you obviously think the hypothetical manager should get canned for messing with the return policy even if it turns out OK.

So where do you, Eric Raymond, draw the line between the two cases?  At what point is it still "You broke the rules your fired", and when does it become "but it turned out OK so you get a bonus"?
Your implication is that the hypothetical manager boosted profits by denying the customers return service they were entitled to under company policy.

Breaking the rules to preserve life is different from breaking the rules to look better on your quarterlies by screwing the customer.  Only a moral idiot would even imagine these behaviors to be comparable.
Right. They're not comparable.

So where exactly is the line between them, where is the point where they become different?  Breaking the rules to save life is OK.  Is it OK to save property (for instance, chasing off an arsonist rather than a robber)?  What if screwing the customers over was the major reason the unit showed a profit and thus saved everybody's job?

The problem with "He's a hero so it's OK" is that it's really hard to draw that line of exactly how much of a hero the guy has to be in order to draw a pass.
Life is tough. Ethical decisions are hard.  These facts are not an excuse to be a rule-bound asshole.

The distinction between malum prohibitum and malum in se is relevant. The ethical man does what he judges to be right, and rules that just create "malum prohibitum" be damned.  If his judgment fails, he eats the consequences.
His judgement, that it would be ok to violate an important policy, was wrong. Getting fired is the soft option, he could have gotten killed.
Yes, he could have gotten killed.  I have no doubt he knew that.  Fortunately for others at the scene, he accepted both physical danger and the risk of condemnation by others to save lives.

That is what a man, as opposed to a pathetic slug in a man's approximate shape, does. 
He didn't save lives, he put them at risk.
That's not what the people there thought.  Their experience beats your armchair theorizing.
My informed armchair theorizing. The "Beard Bandit" committed a  series of robberies, and had robbed that very store before. Without actually shooting anyone - he has no incentive to shoot unarmed customers or employees. It is inconceivable that he would have shot cooperating victims this time either. Puling the gun on the robber, however, massively increased the risk of someone getting shot.

He prevented some small number of robberies, and saved some money. That's not worth risking people's lives.

* * *

When I was a teenager I found the kind of L. Neil Smith libertopia where everyone's armed and enlightened compelling, but too many people aren't like that, and I don't find the world of The Probability Broach credible any more.
I repeat: that's not what the people there thought, and their experience beats your theorizing.  If you told the man who's life he saved that McClean shouldn't have acted, he'd be entitled to (a) laugh at you, (b) curse you for a fool, and (c) spit on you in contempt.
+Peter da Silva and +Valdis Kletnieks are preaching nothing more than the counsel of cowardice. We are not Pierson's puppeteers. We are men and women. Cowardice is not moral for us. We have a moral duty to stand up for ourselves against thugs, be they robbers, rapists, arsonists, or murderers.

As I posted myself a few days ago when I saw this story, AutoZone lost me as a customer because of this.
Their experience is that of someone faced with a gun. That's scary.  Stress warps your perceptions and memories. It's one reason eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable.

I have personal experience with this. I was in a car accident, and reported the other car being a white compact, because that's what I remembered... right until I got the photos that showed a black compact.
It's not that Autozone should not have fired him for violating the policy, it's that Autozone should not have that policy in the first place. It is an immoral policy. As to boycotting Autozone, what other parts store will you patronize that does not have the exact same policy? These policies are pushed by their insurance companies, who would have to pay out. Only when companies with these policies are held liable for shootings that occur on their properties, and legally shielded from liability if they don't have these idiot policies, will the policies change.
What worries me about this trend is that they want you to rely on law enforcement, who have stated clearly through the court system that it's not their job to protect you.
what is worrisome is that those who confuse target ranges and movies with real life will try to act like combat veterans.
> These policies are pushed by their insurance companies,
> who would have to pay out.

Insurances usually make their decisions based on big data. They might request this because they have data that proves that NOT having guns in stores is safer, in general.
>They might request this because they have data
>that proves that NOT having guns in stores is
>safer, in general.

No, no, no, they have data that shows that not having employees with guns costs them less money in settlement payouts. Employee or customer safety is only of concern to the insurance company in as much as it affects their bottom line. Thus, the need for legal protection for the company in the case that an employee or customer does something stupid with a gun. Indiana's parking lot law gives this sort of shielding from liability.
Make sure you post on their Facebook page as the article suggests.
+Roland Mieslinger, the data are badly skewed by the gross tilt toward banning guns in the workplace...leaving the experience heavily toward the crazy worker who goes in and shoots up the place.
+Roland Mieslinger By that logic, red sports cars are 4 times more likely to be involved in traffic accidents, and should pay higher premiums as a result. Never mind that there are 4 times as many red sports cars than any other color...
"The ethical man does what he judges to be right, and rules that just create "malum prohibitum" be damned. If his judgment fails, he eats the consequences."

Well, his judgement did fail, and he is eating the consequences.  So save your outrage about the eating of consequences and hand the guy the ketchup.

+Valdis Kletnieks "Well, his judgement did fail, and he is eating the consequences."

Are you serious?  Your logic ends in "Make no effort to be good, for harm may result."  Or, possibly worse, "Unless the State has allowed you to take good action, you will be punished if you do so."

HIS judgement didn't fail.  Autozone's did.
+Valdis Kletnieks: Yeah, he's eating the consequences...of AutoZone's stupidity. He did exactly what any moral man should have done. I don't hear him complaining about being fired; what I've seen from him says that he'd do it again.

AutoZone is eating the consequences of their stupidity.
+K Kutani No, the logic ends in "he presumably knew the policy and decided to act the way he did anyhow, so he has no reasonable expectation for the policy to not be enforced the way he was told, and all the people who have their panties in a wedge over this should recognize that".

+Peter Thoenen Surprisingly enough, we seem to be in agreement here.. the apocalyse must be upon us. :)
+Valdis Kletnieks: You can spin it that way if you want, but you're not addressing the root of the issue: that the policy is st00pid and immoral.
+Jay Maynard It's not at all "stupid and immoral" when you remember that it's a corporate policy, and set that way because it has the best chance of a good outcome for the corporation.

You don't like it, address the fact that most corporations are required to be behooven to their shareholders, not their employees or customers.  But that discussion is way out of scope for this thread.
+Valdis Kletnieks: "best chance of a good outcome for the corporation"?! Defend that proposition. Try not to load your argument up with too much anti-gun idiocy, either.
Wouldn't the only sensible conservative proposition be to see whether Autozone succeeds or fails relative to gun-totin'er auto parts stores?  Surely the Invisible Hand of the market will sort out gun-use policies, right? 
+Jay Maynard OK. We can take it as a near-given that in any given robbery of a store, the direct impact of the loss of money (which will be probably only a few thousand dollars at most) is far outweighed by the costs incurred if somebody gets shot (everything from lawsuits to the downtime and expense of having somebody come in to clean the blood and brains off everything that got splattered).  So the preferred outcome is one where nobody gets shot at.

"Results revealed that self-protection of any kind apparently reduces the probability of the robbery being completed. Armed resistance is more effective than unarmed resistance; resistance with a gun, although relatively rare, is the most effective victim response of all. Resistance with a gun also appears to reduce the likelihood of the victim being injured. However, two types of resistance appeared to increase the risk of victim injury: (1) unarmed physical force against the robber and (2) trying to get help, attract attention, or scare the robber away. The robber's possession of a gun also appeared to inhibit victim resistance, which can sometimes provoke a robber to attack; robber gun possession thereby reduces the probability of victim injury. However, even controlling for victim resistance, robber gun possession is associated with a lower rate of injury to the victims. Tables and 45 references (Author summary modified)"

Note point 2: "trying to get help, attract attention, or scare the robber away".   In other words, even if pulling out your own gun is a good way to defuse a robbery attempt on your person, what McClean did was one of the cases where you end up increasing the chances you'll have to pay to get the blood cleaned off everything...
+Valdis Kletnieks, the statement you cite is inconsistent. Your point 2 conflicts with "Armed resistance is more effective than unarmed resistance; resistance with a gun, although relatively rare, is the most effective victim response of all. Resistance with a gun also appears to reduce the likelihood of the victim being injured." The problem with your assumption of point 2 as controlling is that you assume that the point of drawing one's firearm is to scare the robber away. It is not. The point is to stop the threat of violence from the robbery. If the robber turns and runs, you have avoided injury. If the robber puts his hands in the air and obeys your orders to drop the weapon and lie on the ground while you call the police, you have also avoided injury. And if the robber continues to threaten you and you shoot him, you have avoided injury (to yourself, which is all that matters; the robber's life is forfeit if he tries to shoot someone resisting his violence who has a firearm of their own).

The study you cite says that resisting with a gun lowers the risk of injury the most. That alone should induce employers to at least not prohibit those with the willingness and ability to put up armed resistance from doing so.
+Jay Maynard The economic harm of the loss of business while there's Police Line Do Not Cross tape up and taped body outlines on the floor might outweigh the loss from the theft.

Why are you so averse to letting the market decide whether Autozone's policy is good or bad for it?  You're already exerting your consumer pressure on them by boycotting the chain, which is of course your prerogative (just as people for whom gay rights are a major issue boycott(ed?) Chik-Fil-A).  I don't get why you're unwilling to assume, as I think you would in almost any case not involving guns, that Autozone management/ownership knows its business and runs it in such a way as to optimize its profits.
Self-defense is a basic human right. The current hobbyhorse of the Left, health care, is not. Neither are so many other things that he Left thinks businesses ought to be forced to pay for.

Why are you so willing to throw away basic human rights?
+Jay Maynard Is self-defense a more basic human right than economic self-determination?  Is the right to bear arms more fundamental than the right to run a business that you own the way you think is correct?
Not playing your gotcha game any more, Adam.
Self-defense trumps everything.  Nobody is allowed to say that I must remain in mortal danger and not defend myself.


Self-defense is the most elementary human right.  If you aren't starting from that premise, then we aren't going to agree on anything.
Good example of when policy does not account for the actual threat landscape for where that policy is applied. Thier policy is broken and needs to be amended.
Their Twitter feed and Facebook page have gone dead silent since this happened. Previously, each had about a post a day about something that Autozone was sponsoring, but not since Dec. 4.
One thing to bear in mind when judging corporate "don't be a hero" policy is consideration of second order effects. When i was a shift manager at a pizza place, a friend moved to another pizza chain which had a similar policy. They fired employees who prevented a robbery (don't think guns were involved). The reasoning behind the policy is to avoid retribution from the robber's friends. I don't believe gun control works, but I can understand that consideration.
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