There was a time somewhere between learning that there were pretty things in the world that we didn't have the funds to afford, and the rude awakening of "oh shit, I can be arrested for this," that we have all shoplifted something we probably don’t remember today.
Whether it was a piece of candy Mom said no to, or some clothing item we were sure we would die without, I am going to go ahead and say we are all human and make shoplifting mistakes.
But is that means for us to be shot dead?
This morning as I doing my normal web rounds, I came across the story of 27-year-old Shelly Frey, who was shot and killed, in front of her kids, for shoplifting from a Texas WalMart.
According to news reports, which paint the deceased as the aggressor and the armed guard as the hero, when Shelly was confronted at the store's exit, she hit the off duty police officer with her purse and fled to a waiting car.
The guard then chased them into the parking lot and held their car door open in an attempt to stop them from leaving, but the driver sped off. The guard fired, and the bullet hit Shelly Frey in the neck. She died shortly thereafter, in front of her children.
The story itself was gruesome enough, but what was even more troubling was the commentary that followed on posts about Shelly's death.
Some of the posts read as follows:
Mother had no business acting a fool and putting her life and others in danger. She paid the ultimate price for her behavior.
Yes it's unfortunate that she lost her life and as trivial as it may seem that what she was suspected of stealing was probably not worth it but she and no one else but her and her girls who were with her at the time is to blame for her untimely demise and as hard as everyone wants to believe that she didn't deserve to die there will always be consequences to one's actions. Fate and Karma are joined at the hip and whether you believe it or not this is a stark reminder that they do exist
Oh give me a break! She had a history of shoplifting and was banned from all Walmart stores! She ran and was in a moving car! Sorry, you come at me in a car, I will shoot your ass! Hitting the tire will not bring it to an immediate stop! Stop playing Monday morning quarterback and acknowledge that if this idiot mom had adhered to the Walmart ban she would be alive! My only condolences go to the children...not this bonehead woman and her ratchet crew!
I hate to draw correlations between two cases that are entirely independent, but another headline this week was the receptionist who took her own life after falling for a radio prank concerning Kate Middleton's pregnancy.
An outcry of people placed the blame on the radio hosts who have since been suspended from their positions at the radio station, but a man shoots a woman in front of her children for shoplifting trivial WalMart merch and gets slandered in her death.
Something has to give.
I have done numerous stints in retail, have been enraged to high levels when I noted shoplifters racking up on our goods and walking out of the store. Shoplifters of all kinds: short, tall, black, white young and old, but one or two of our most infamous shoplifters stand out the most to me.
One was an elderly white lady who was in her late sixties. She was the sweetest customer one could imagine, but frequently racked up and walked out of the store with tons of merch, until we were finally on to her. The second was a younger beautiful woman in her early thirties who would come in with her toddler and shove items into her Chanel bag and walk out undetected.
Never once, even after knowing these women were repeat offenders, did any of us have a reason to feel as if we wanted to inflict bodily harm on these shoplifters.
Without a doubt there is a certain level of responsibility that comes with being a member of society. You're expected not to lie, cheat, steal or kill, but does the ends justify the means?
Is shooting a mother in front of her children going to deter shoplifters of the future? My guess is absolutely not, but a little compassion when it comes to the blame game goes a long way.
Whether she stole a pack of gum or a microwave oven, her demise didn't have to be in this way, and there are better, far less trigger-happy ways to intercept a shoplifter.
Now the shooter has blood on his hands, two children are traumatized for life and without a mother, and WalMart, well, WalMart walks away unscathed as what she stole is probably covered by insurance.
Point proven: Shoplifting is bad, but there is no happy ending.