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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


July 22, 2016

An Early Morning Education

Harry M. Covert

Where does it say in the law – or anywhere else – that good people just oughta give up and let robbers and gun-toting thieves have their way? I mean, shooting, stealing or threatening us and getting away with such conduct.

 

A few days ago the clerk in an open-all-night convenience store was threatened by a gunman with a shotgun at about four o'clock in the morning.

 

The 18-year-old boy wasn't the slightest bit sweet and nice about it at that time in the morning. The clerk was not in the least asleep.

 

The clerk took the situation in hand. Before the threat got out of hand, the clerk didn't hesitate. He grabbed the long gun from the would-be tough guy. The latter wasn't so tough and ran away in the morning hours in Thurmont.

 

I could barely contain myself as an old time police reporter. I laughed and almost spilled my coffee. My first thought was to call the clerk and congratulate him. What a hero! Imagine the shock the armed robber must have experienced. He ran up against a good citizen who had the guts – intestinal fortitude for the mild mannered – to take control of the situation. Bravery on the home front, par excellence.

 

The clerk has been identified as Joseph Layman. I haven’t met him, but I hope to.

 

Now that's not the rest of the story. First, instead of being promoted on the spot, or given a raise, or honored for saving the owners’ money, or becoming a role model, Mr. Layman was fired. You've heard the old cliché “no good deed goes unpunished.”

 

The owner's excuse was that Mr. Layman must be canned because of a franchise agreement. Boo! Hiss! Hogwash.

 

Now, the store owner has had second and third or more thoughts on the future of the clerk. Inquiries from news agencies everywhere encouraged, probably intimidated, the proprietor.

 

To me it took a lot of courage to thwart the robbery. Mr. Layman deserved better.

 

If I'm traveling near the store in Thurmont, I probably won't drop in for a snack.

 

The good news further is if Mr. Layman needs a job he can have one with Kirby Delauter at W.F. Delauter & Son.

 

Mr. Delauter offered the job on social media. The situation has changed and for the better, despite some coercion. Now Mr. Layman has been rehired, promoted to manager and given a pay raise. Ain’t the press good?

 

I understand reacting to the gut-toting robber maybe a bit ill-advised. But, by all that's holy, it worked. The robber, who has to be described as the alleged thief in good journalism, was caught and is commiserating in jail under a $200,000 bond.

 

If Mr. Layman had been hurt, quite naturally we'd be having a different thought that maybe he shouldn't have. But, he did stop the armed incident.

 

Yes, Mr. Layman took bold action. Could have been fatal but it wasn't. He deserves a civic club honor.

 

What in the world is wrong with standing up for law and order and personal safety?

 

Nothing!

 

A legal assistant I know was driving from a Virginia courthouse. She stopped at a red light. A would-be armed carjacker poked his head and gun arm in the passenger side window. The legal eagle didn't scream and holler. She reacted and shot the guy with .38 cal. Smith & Wesson. Was he hurt you ask? No, he was dead. True stories are best.

 

A little lesson for today.

 

hmcovert@gmail.com

 



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