Saunders: Reveling in The Pit’s robbery is shameless behavior

bsaunders@newsobserver.comMay 28, 2014 

We knew we were in for a bad evening of entertainment at the Chicago nightclub when the funniest line occurred when the magician, upon reaching into his hat and discovering that his rabbit had hopped away, turned angrily to his perplexed assistant.

“Am I missing something here?” he snapped.

That is precisely what those of us with good sense are asking – “Am I missing something here?” – after The Pit restaurant in Durham was robbed by three gunmen and the only injuries, to two employees, were minor. None of the 20 or so customers was injured, except for the understandable emotional trauma. Employees ushered them out the front door while the bad guys were being bad in the kitchen.

That seems like the best outcome from a bad situation, no?

No, resoundingly “NO,” according to the cacophony arising from computer keyboard cowboys who’ve inundated the restaurant’s Facebook page with viciously imbecilic rants over its “no guns” policy.

Ridiculed and taunted

You see, restaurateur Greg Hatem hates the idea of guns in his restaurant – sorry, that’s the only time that’ll be said – and has a sign prohibiting them in The Pit.

Hatem is being reviled, ridiculed and taunted, as though the sign forbidding firearms was an invitation to malefactors to victimize his establishment.

How’s that ‘no guns’ policy working out for you guys?” Facebook fool wrote.

“Haha,” crowed another.

I swear, the shameless schadenfreuder actually wrote “haha” in response to an armed robbery. “i love people who cant obey a sign written in English i guess the robbers told you what that no gun sign meant in your gun free zone good job guys keep the good guys away and keep inviting the criminals to eat at your restaurant maybe invite harry Reid and Nancy pelosi and obama you guys can have a big party.”

Haha. I love people who can’t write a grammatical sentence, but who can invoke Obama’s name in any situation.

“Maybe you should put up a ‘no customer’ sign, since your last one worked so well,” one genius wrote.

“What a moron owner,” another wrote. “I’ll never eat at your restaurant because of your no gun zone sign. ... You got what you deserved because you’re foolish. I hope you go out of business as a result of your negligence.”

Please, read that again.

Pickin’ and packin’

Wow. Just wow. Do these hyperbolic Hopalong Cassidy wannabes really believe that a restaurant full of pig-pickin,’ gun-packin’ patrons would have deterred the robbers? Kammie Michael, a spokeswoman for the Durham cop shop, said police actually prefer that customers in such a situation do nothing heroic.

Despite that, one wrote of The Pit: “ Looks like a nice place but I don’t go and eat where the owner is an anti-gun nut and I can’t defend myself from being robbed.

Hooboy. What would Quick Draw McRib have done? Flipped a half-eaten brisket at the robbers and then – while the gunmen stood transfixed by the flying meat – pulled his own gun from his expanding waistband and shot the weapons from their hands? Or, better yet, sent them straight to Boot Hill?

Psst, don’t tell those clowns who think happiness – and security – is a warm gun, but banks and armored trucks get robbed every day: Have you ever seen one of those with a “no guns” policy?

I fear armed robbers as much as you fear them, but you know who else I fear? Anyone who revels in a restaurant being robbed, in people being traumatized. More than anything, I fear people who reflexively think a gun is the solution to any confrontation.

The Pit restaurant is about four blocks from where I lived when a burglar broke into my house around midnight on Labor Day several years ago. The kid was downstairs asleep, and I was upstairs, probably reading the Book of Proverbs, and thus didn’t hear a thing. I came downstairs to assault a box of Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries when I confronted the guy dressed in black packing my stereo and other stuff next to the door. So I assaulted him instead.

Fortunately for me, my stereo and other stuff was all he was packing. Fortunately for him, by the time I threw him out, ran back upstairs to get my gun and went looking for him, I saw a Durham cop who took his description and sent my ridiculous self home.

They caught the burglar. He did a dime in prison, and I don’t have to live with the memory of having killed somebody over a freakin’ stereo. He, one hopes, learned a lesson and gets to live the rest of his life without breaking into anyone else’s home.

All hope for society is not lost, though. Some people praised the restaurant’s policy and have expressed an aversion to bloodshed with their ’cue. If they’re anything like I, the only thing they want to duck when dining out is a flying hushpuppy and waitresses singing “Happy Birthday” to diners.

Those who prefer their dining experience to resemble the final scene of “Scarface” will have to make reservations elsewhere.

I doubt that Greg would hate that.

Saunders: 919-836-2811 or

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service