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Reply #59


Response to JoeyT (Reply #53)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 04:41 PM

59. it's not a simple yes or no question at all-- it's another red herring....

As I mentioned up thread, I'm a chapter officer and my union chapter's grievance officer. That means it's my job to enforce our contract with our employer, which describes the terms and conditions of work in our workplace. Maybe it's that experience that makes it difficult for me to make blanket pronouncements of the sort you're asking for. A contract is only as good as its enforcement.

First, however, let's dispense with the red herring about whether or not "going to the aid of others" is the issue here. This employee left his workplace-- and any threat to himself-- went to his car to retrieve a weapon, returned to his workplace with the gun in violation of his terms of employment, and then engaged the thief without regard for the safety of his fellow workers. The appropriate response, once he himself was safely removed from the situation, would have been to call 911 and summon the police. By trying to be a cowboy himself he risked making the situation MUCH more dangerous for everyone concerned. Once he was outside, the best way to aid the others was to call the police and let them handle it. That's what they're trained to do.

You're right-- his gun was apparently legal, and so is self defense. But once he returned to his car, he no longer needed to defend himself, so returning to the store with a gun was not self defense at all. It was cowboy vigilantism.

Instead of doing the right thing, he made the classic mistake that defines why private gun ownership has led to so much violence in the U.S. He figured "I've got a gun, so I can handle this here and now, by myself." That's the thought that has led to almost as much tragedy in this country as the classic "hold my beer and watch this." You can't push me around because I've got a gun. And turn that damned music down!

But back to your specially pleaded question. I believe that when we accept the terms of work offered by an employer we are bound to abide by them if we don't want to risk being terminated for not complying. We don't have to agree with them. Most importantly, we don't even have to comply with them-- as someone noted below, they're workplace policies, not divine law. God knows I violate my employer's rules often enough, sometimes just to be more productive. But no, I don't think it's unreasonable to be terminated if my employer finds out-- especially if violations have strong potential to cause tragedy. I know my contract pretty well. I make choices every day about whether to abide by it, but when I choose to ignore it I risk justifiable termination. And I'm fully aware of that.

I'm not going to defend this guy's actions because I honestly think he made poor choices that put his coworkers and himself at greater risk than if he had called the police. But I'll also admit that I think gun ownership and gun violence are among the most enduring social problems this country has.

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LineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply it's not a simple yes or no question at all-- it's another red herring....
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