If you're planning to hold up a bodega, the best advice anyone can give you is, "Don't do it." If you can't be dissuaded, please read on.
Here in Chicago, most people don't call the local convenience stores bodegas, but the name seems to be gaining traction. New York is famous for its bodegas. There's something cool about the way it sounds when the detectives of Law and Order or Blue Bloods talk about "the suspects entering the bodega."
For my gun control friends, some of whose views I share, this piece is not about advocating for anyone to go out and buy a gun. Neither am I encouraging anyone who already owns a gun to go around looking for crimes in progress. I am not advocating for anyone to shoot anyone.
Gun ownership varies from state to state, but here's a snapshot of Illinois:
There's about 120,000 Concealed Carry permit holders in Illinois. Cook County accounts for about 30,000 of those, while Lake County, where I live accounts for about 5,000. Statistically speaking, if you hold up a bodega in Cook County, there's a good chance that you will encounter a law abiding citizen carrying a loaded gun.
If that gun-toting citizen takes exception to your holding up his favorite liquor store, currency exchange or gas station, you can see how that might impact your plans for a quick get away.
On Halloween night, 55-year old Reginald Gildersleeve walked into a bodega (it was actually a combination convenience store and currency exchange) on the southwest side of Chicago. He was wearing a mask and brandished a gun, which turned out to be a toy gun.
After announcing a holdup, there was some sort of exchange between Gildersleeve and another customer in the store, whereupon the unnamed customer pulled out a real gun and shot Gildersleeve dead.
In Illinois, Armed Robbery can get you 15 to 30 years in prison or even a life sentence, depending on aggravating circumstances and previous, criminal history. There hasn't been a death penalty in Illinois since 2011, so even if Mr. Gildersleeve had been apprehended and convicted of Armed Robbery, he would have been facing life in prison, at most.
Street justice can be the most severe kind.
It's possible that Gildersleeve's mask and toy gun were merely a part of the Halloween ritual, albeit an ill conceived part. If that was the case, then it would make Gildersleeve's death all the more tragic.
Igbinosa Oronsaye, whose mother married Gildersleeve three years ago said, “Something doesn’t seem right. He didn’t deserve to get shot multiple times.”
You can read more about it here.
Sadly, if you are going to get shot by a Concealed Carry permit holder, you probably will be shot multiple times. That is the risk you face when you hold up a bodega in Cook County, Illinois. The authenticity of your gun, or lack thereof may not be a mitigating factor.
Illinois Concealed Carry permit holders, go through about 16 hours of training. Veterans get 8 hours credit toward that requirement with their DD 214.
Those who carry concealed weapons are not trained to be police officers or to take the place of police officers. They are neither authorized nor trained to restrain a perpetrator or suspect or whatever kind of five-o lingo you want to use.
The training is simple. If you are in a situation where you fear for your life or the lives of those with you, your only option is to draw your weapon and shoot the threat in the center of his/her body until he or she is no longer a threat. Or until your gun is empty.
If you are holding up a bodega, no one is going to try to shoot the gun out of your hand. That was only in TV Westerns made before 1970.
The point is, Concealed Carry is the law and you should know what you're up against. Like Baretta used to say, "Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time."
Maybe today Baretta would say, "Don't steal the bread, if you don't want to be dead."
When I moved out of the city (Chicago) to this bucolic suburb out here, I discovered that there was a gun ban in place. It made me feel very "NRA," an organization which I actually hate.
The thing is, how were they going to force home invaders to comply with the gun ban?
Even if I were the most anti-gun, anti-gun person alive, I would still not want any would-be intruders to feel that they could breach the security of my home without the possibility of facing an armed homeowner.
A gun ban seems like an invitation to criminals. I'm not obligated to own a gun, but the fact that I could own one might be deterrent enough to save someone's life.
Now we've got gunslingers walking the streets with the blessings of the state legislature. That's just the way it is. If you are thinking of holding up a bodega, it's something you should to take into account.
If you walk into a bodega and pull a gun, real or otherwise, you might get shot multiple times.
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