Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I can't stress to you enough how important it is that you read this post

I'm feeling very proud of my big brother today. He's a cop in California. Yesterday he got a call about a suspicious person parked in front of a bank. He had been sitting there for 1-2 hours. When he and his partner arrived, they noticed him immediately and my brother approached his vehicle. The first thing he noticed was that he was wearing a "bank robber" outfit. And he had a painted on mustache. Hmmm. Suspicious. So he began questioning him. He said he was waiting for a friend inside the bank. He knew this guy was bad news, but he needed enough probable cause to make an arrest. He asked him for his license and registration and when he leaned over to get into his glove box, he saw the butt of a gun sticking out the front of his pants. Usually in this type of situation, my brother and I'm sure most officers would yell something like, "DON'T MOVE!" or "PUT YOUR HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!" with an expletive thrown in there perhaps. Well for some reason, my brother very calmly and collected said:
 "Sir, I can't stress to you enough how important it is that you do exactly as I say. I see your gun and if you reach for it I am going to shoot you."
A lot of words. He said that even as he was saying it, he was thinking what in the world am I saying?! I thought it was pretty funny. The guy was very cooperative and eventually confessed to everything. At first he said the gun was for shooting squirrels out of his yard. Then they found his robbery note that he was going to hand off to the teller. They charged him with attempted robbery and a felony vehicle code section because he falsified his license plates to conceal his identity.

Now most people just laugh this kind of criminal story off. It ends up in the news under the "Stupid criminals" section. What they don't know is that this guy was desperate. He wasn't a bad person. He had no record and had led a good life for the most part. What does it take for someone to get to this point of desperation? For this guy, it was bad. He had lost his job a week ago. His wife was recovering from surgery pertaining to an ongoing battle with cancer, and he was losing his house. This directly tells the story of America right now. Hard things are happening to everyone. People handle hardship a number of ways. While I feel heartbroken for his circumstances, it was a very poor decision that he made to rob a bank. His situtaion went from bad to worse. But, my brother's intervention may have prevented the unthinkable. If he had gone through with the robbery, would he have shot someone or multiple people? Would he have been killed himself?

Thankfully we'll never know because of the actions of my brother. It's easy to relegate these types of stories to the stupid criminal files, but everyone has a story to tell. Maybe it's because of the line of work "we" are in, but we tend to want to know the motivation behind the act. Why do people do what they do? Why don't they know they have other options? Clearly there are other factors involved other than desperation.

It's an interesting perspective at times. Pride in what my husband and brother and other loved ones do when they "get the bad guy", and yet a deep compassion and heartache for the ones who's lives have fallen apart.

Oh, and just as you might have suspected, everyone is using the "I can't stress to you enough. . . " line now. My poor brother is getting teased bad. During briefing, the Sgt. will say something like, "I can't stress to you enough how important it is that you wear your rain coats today."

In fact, I think I will start using the expression myself.

17 comments:

Damsel Underdressed said...

I can't stress to you enough how much I thouroughly enjoyed this story. ;)

I commend your brother for his calm and vigilant actions.

Slamdunk said...

Ahhh, it is all in good ribbing. Your brother did a fantastic job--thanks for him and all those who do the tough job.

911 and the Randomness.. said...

That's amazing! Your brother did a great job.

Mama Hen said...

I agree with Damsel...I can't stress enough what a great story this is...and a good chuckle too. OH enjoyed it as well!
Isn't that inner conflict interesting? The anger at the (would be) criminal and yet the compassion that is just as strong?

The crazy Shaw Family said...

Awesome. good for him, and what a blessing that he was prompted to say the right thing. Glad to hear he is safe. How sad for the man who was the attempted robber.
Here's hoping that everyone's situations get better soon.

Erin said...

That is amazing on so many levels. I will now be using that phrase as well.

Cop Mama said...

Great, just great! That's awesome, good for your brother. Ok, yeah, it's kind of funny too!

BTW, you are a good writer too! Good post!

MONICA-LnP said...

your brother is awesome!
nice to read a great story,with a good ending.
That line got me to read your post and most certainly worked for your brother.

Paula said...

I am saying a prayer today for your brother and thank God this ended safely. Your brother is awesome.....I cannot stress this enough!

Dori said...

Yea for good endings!

Natalie said...

Damsel took my line...

I think that it takes quite an amazing officer (or person, for that matter) to learn another person's story, even if that person is going to jail.

FroneAmy said...

I totally giggled at the ruthless teasing your brother is getting now. But on a more serious note, it was very likely that his calm response kept the situation low key.

It's really sad to hear the rest of the story behind this would-be robber, though. Sounds like it was written for TV, doesn't it?

April E. :) said...

I'm with FroneAmy...there is an abundance of teasing I am sure...that's how our cops roll! What a great job though!!! So many outcomes to a situation like that...well handled! Well done!

mrsofficer said...

Great post, and good for your BRO! Let's hope someone else uses that line soon so they guys all have someone else to tease!

Lavender Avenue said...

Good post, good things to think about, as well as a funny story...

Stacia said...

Great post!! Good job to your brother. I'm sure there will be something else to make fun of soon enough in his dept. :)

BunnyO said...

Aww I'm so happy for you and your bro! What an amazing thing he did, staying calm like that and commanding the situation!! I know what it's like to be that proud LEO sister,too, girlie! Give him a great big high five for me!!