Aug 15, 2009

More About the Human Side of a Recent Harlem Shooting

As you've probably heard by now, a recent robbery at a hardware store on 125th Street turned fatal earlier in the week when the store owner shot two of the four robbers with a registered gun.

The NY Times has a piece today about the men involved in the shooting, focusing mostly on Charles Augusto Jr., the store owner who has been working at the hardware store for 49 years. Community members hold Augusto in high esteem for having stayed through some dangerous and rough years in Harlem to provide hardware services and goods to local residents. As the article notes, Augusto has not had an easy life -- his only son committed suicide some years ago -- and it's clear that he feels no pride in having to defend himself last week. From the article:

Despite all the congratulations, Mr. Augusto said he wished that the men had left when he urged them to and that he would not have had to use the shotgun.

“I know the pain these people must feel,” he said, referring to the families of the two who were killed. “I don’t know what feels worse, now or when my only son died.”

From many angles, this is a tragic story: the families of two young people who made bad decisions have lost their children, a neighborhood institution is vandalized during a time of economic depression, the ready supply of guns has led to yet more fatalities, etc.

What do you think of this incident? Is it a rare event or does it represent some growing trend?