When Waffle House Fires Annie Oakley
A bit of controversy erupted this past week when an Atlanta area Waffle House Restaurant was robbed in the wee hours of the morning. Waffle House, for those of you north of the Mason Dixon line, is a small 24-hour diner with 1,800 locations, primarily in the south. They are known for both their pecan waffles and the extraordinarily weird crap that happens at many of their locations.
For instance, one time a Waffle House employee called police to report an armed robbery, and then yelled “April Fools” to responding police officers. There was the time a man drove his truck through a Florida Waffle House, trying to kill his wife who was a server there. Or there was the incident an Augusta, GA, where an air conditioner repairman found a man living on top of the Waffle House he was working on. We can’t forget the time a customer in the parking lot of a Tennessee Waffle House got hit by three “dine and dash” teenagers. He got trapped on the hood of their car as they sped off. He managed to dial police while holding on to the hood at speeds up to 60 mph. And of course, lest we exclude a story I wrote about previously, where an employee announced to co-workers that he was about to start pleasuring himself; and then proceeded to do so. That little escapade was video recorded by a co-worker and placed on Facebook. Classy.
As you may expect, last week’s turn of events would not be any normal, run of the mill Waffle House robbery; no, it would be unique. A waitress on duty, and who was not the employee confronted by the potentially armed robbers, ran out to her car as they departed. She extracted a 9mm gun from the vehicle, and fired a shot in their general direction.
She was terminated by the company the following day for her actions. Hence the controversy.
Gun control supporters, peace activists and NPR enthusiasts applauded the company decision, while numerous gun rights activists criticized the action. Snowflakes were still in their safe space, and could not be reached for comment. My personal position on the matter might surprise you.
I agree with the company’s decision. They made the right call.
I am well known in my little circle as an ardent 2nd Amendment supporter. I am a member of the NRA, and am licensed to carry a concealed weapon. None of that affects my opinion that what this server did was foolish and unsafe.
The robbers had left the building. The potential for bodily harm for her was greatly reduced at that point. She went outside the building, a voluntary action which actually again increased her risk of injury or death. She drew and fired a weapon “after the fact”, as the robbers were running away, without apparent concern or awareness of what was beyond the people she was firing at. That is a major, major violation of firearm safety practices. No, even though she was not charged with a crime by law enforcement, the company was fully justified in the action they took.
That is not to say I agree with everything related to this story. The woman was terminated over the telephone, which is, in my opinion, very unprofessional. Of course, if I was going to piss off Atlanta Annie Oakley, I might want to do it from a distance as well. Secondly, and more important, was the revelation that all Waffle Houses are “gun free zones”, with each of their 1,800 locations posting a sign informing customers that guns are strictly prohibited. A company spokesman indicated that “As a family-friendly restaurant, [Waffle House] strives for policies that make everyone feel welcome”. Perhaps you have seen the signs. They say, “Crime Friendly Zone. Please Beat Us and Take Our Money”.
OK, they don’t really say that, but that is the way they can be read by the less than desirable elements of our society (a.k.a. scumbags).
Quite honestly, posted gun free zones are merely announcements that nefarious actions are more likely to be successful. I don’t have statistics to support it, but I’m pretty certain that Waffle House did not see a commensurate drop in armed robberies when those signs went up; proving, of course, that criminals cannot read.
That must be the case. They would no doubt realize that robbery was off limits if they could simply understand the sign. Sad that our educational system turns out to be the root of all crime.
This is particularly frustrating because the facts show that licensed concealed weapon carriers are far less likely to commit a criminal infraction than those who have no such designation. In fact, statistically they commit fewer criminal acts than members of law enforcement. A study showed that permit holders in Texas and Florida “are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than a sixth the rate for police officers”. In states that allow it, the murder rate has dropped proportionately with the increase in CCW permit holders.
We’ ain’t the problem, people.
Everything was not lost in this particular case, however. Our Atlanta Annie has picked up the support of many in her community who are tired of seeing a criminal element thrive. A local gun shop and firing range has offered, and she has accepted, free firearm safety training. I think that is a good thing. What she did was wrong, and her actions endangered herself and others. Her intent, however, was something many of us can identify with. And there is a good chance those particular robbers may never return to that specific Waffle House. Turns out Atlanta Annie gave them a sign they could understand.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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