Saturday, April 9, 2011

Assessing Violent Situations

The Senior Swindler

Here is a recent story I saw on a website. Basically it explains the motive and execution of a bank robber. However, this isn’t your average bank robber story or even your inflated “Ocean’s 11” robber. Instead, this story is about a the most innocent looking 70-year old women robbing $3,000+ ! Yes, You read that correctly, a seventy year old women.

Obviously I felt as if this was easily a laughable situation because she looks like one of the sweetest people on the planet. But to me the main victim in the story is the bank teller and his or her take on the situation.

This brings me to my issue- how does profiling play into our perceptions of potentially dangerous situations. Human nature has built in all of us an innate ability to recognize “fight or flight” situations. This is based off the fact that humans are animals and the number one rule of animal life is to survive. We are able to break down potentially dangerous situations almost immediately and the next course of action is to look out for #1 and save our own skin. Obviously, it’s a sad reality that profiling is a key factor in our breakdown of dangerous situations. Amidst the issues regarding profiling in Arizona there is still a necessity as humans to profile and asses certain situations for existence alone. So the point I am reaching is that if the situation for the bank had been different, like the robber being a different age, look, race, or sex, would the same outcome (and subsequently the consequence) have occurred ?


  1. I think the District Attorney in the video said it best: "Regardless of age, the bank robber should still receive the maximum sentence." This woman certainly got off easy because of her appearance and her age, just another flaw in the United States judicial system. Stereotyping is way too prominent in our society, and this woman did not receive a lengthy sentence due to classic stereotypes that are prominent in America.

  2. I also think that she got off too easy and that things like race, sex, age, or gender as a general rule should not be a factors in the legal system. Put that on top of the fact of her alarming lack of remorse for the crime and I think that she got off too easily. I'm not sure that she should receive a full sentence of prison time for bank robbers (I'm sure it's probably something like 10-15 years) but just 30 something days in jail seems too tolerant.

    Just to play devil's advocate though, deterring or rehabilitating someone who has already reached such an advanced age is probably fruitless because she is likely to pass away soon and not be an actual violent threat to the populace even while she's living. I'm sure that her lawyer argued as much.

  3. When dealing with the an issue like this, I can understand why she was let off easy. Our prisons are already overcrowded, and we don't need to waste efforts on such an old woman who obviously is messed up psychologically. This case is different than others regarding stereotypes simply because of the fact that she would not "learn her lesson" by being incarcerated, and yes, she would die soon and take up a spot in the penitentiary that would be better suited for someone else. Would this fact maybe cause an spur in the number of robberies committed by seniors? who knows. But I can't imagine it would be that hard to thwart this type of crime


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