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Advocating fear.

Police in Allentown, Pennsylvania, warned people about the dangers of defending themselves against criminals, after several citizens fought back in recent days against the thugs, and one got hurt.

Though there has been a months'-long wave of robberies in the area and violence is rampant, "Law enforcement officials emphasize that the best way to reduce the risk of being hurt is to cooperate with the robbers. Victims should ... get detailed descriptions so police can do their job," reported the Morning Call.

It would be interesting to see the police explain that sentiment to Jonathon Garcia-Gonzalez, who was physically attacked on the night of January 9 outside the Mundo 99-Cent Plus store where he works. As his boss, Luis Polanco, stood helpless, three men attacked Garcia-Gonzalez. One of the men choked him while the other two tried to get his necklace and wallet. To save Garcia-Gonzalez, Polanco went outside with his pistol, and he told the three men to back away.

Even though the attackers didn't appear to be armed and they had seen the gun, they pulled their hoods up to conceal their faces and stalked toward Polanco. He fired into the ground, scaring the thugs away.

This incident was only one of the "more than 100 armed robberies" in the area since August. The robbers who are committing the crimes are brazen, acting with a virtual disregard for law enforcement. They are attacking businesses and patrons when many people are out and about, "where many of the city's trendiest and most upscale neighborhoods are located."

Not many people are fighting back; they're living scared. "'While still cordial, store owners and employees--especially when alone--scrutinize customers they don't know nervously and closely." Though the criminals have physically hurt victims on occasion and have mentally traumatized victims time and again, the police still advocate standing idly by as the robbers run wild because the police are afraid someone will get hurt.

They point to Shirley Klotz, a black belt in martial arts who tried to physically subdue an armed robber. She thought the robber was going to shoot her 19-year-old assistant. Klotz got shot in the forearm when her plan went awry. The Morning Call said, "he was too heavy for the petite hairdresser. They both fell, but the man held on to the gun."

But imagine how the scenario might have played out if Klotz were a marksman with a .38-special, with a drop on the criminal from behind.
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Title Annotation:against the robberies
Author:Williamsen, Kurt
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 20, 2006
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