AutoZone Employee Fired For Using Gun To Stop Armed Robber

I used to work at Starbucks. We were told that if we ever had an encounter with an armed robber, don’t try to be a hero. Just comply with whatever the robber demands, and while you’re waiting for the safe to open, offer the bandit a free drink.

I suppose they had this “no tolerance” rule for legal or liability reasons. If an employee were to shoot the perpetrator and only injure him, Starbucks might be held liable for the robber’s injuries in case the robber decided to sue. Yes, as idiotic as that is, it does happen. And in that case, if Starbucks didn’t have the no tolerance policy, they could be sued for allowing one of their employees to have a gun in the store. So, stores would rather lose a chunk of money that can be retrieved later than lose someone’s life.

But these policies can also leave employees and customers dead. Remember the murderer in Seattle back in May who came in a coffee shop and started shooting people? He killed 4 and critically injured another. He was thwarted by a customer who threw barstools at him. But imagine if only someone had a gun with which to shoot the man back. Maybe he’d be the only dead person.

AutoZone apparently has this same no tolerance policy. An employee and manager were shutting down their Virginia store when an armed robber burst in and ordered the two to open the safe and give him all the money. One of the employees Devin McClean sneaked out the back, went to his car and retrieved his legally owned, permitted and registered firearm. He re-entered his store, confronted the robber and shouted, “Freeze!” and “Stop! Drop the weapon!” Obviously shocked, the criminal raised his hands, gun still in hand and bolted out the door. Devin wanted to make sure they were safe, so he watched the man run down the street, after which he returned to make sure his manager was ok.

Thanks to Devin, not only did he save his store from being robbed, he also saved his and his manager’s lives, which were both in danger. Thanks to AutoZone’s no tolerance policy, Devin McClean is out of job. He got fired 2 days after the robbery incident because he brought a gun inside the store.

This is what working for a corporate bureaucracy is like. The big whigs don’t have any common sense. They have rules that they made up while sitting around a big table in a conference room at their big corporate headquarters, and when someone breaks one of those rules, that person’s employment is terminated. Never mind the details of the incident. Don’t bother them with the facts. The only fact that they care about is that someone broke one of their rules.

I get that they’re trying to protect themselves from liability or whatever, but there needs to be some balance. Obviously what Devin did was courageous. Why can’t these empty suits at the corporate office say something like, “Ordinarily, we have a no-gun policy, but in this case, it was because of a responsible employee using a weapon that we didn’t lose money or lives. He is to be commended.”

I don’t really have a problem with a corporation having a no tolerance policy toward guns. Sure it’s bad policy and it puts people’s lives at risk, but it’s their business. There are still ample amounts of freedom in this country to be stupid if you really want to. If I had a corporation, I’d like to think I would never have such a policy. (In fact, maybe as a condition of becoming a manager or supervisor, one would have to go through a gun-training program and be willing to carry a gun at all times while in the store.) But now, because of this no tolerance policy and the fact that they fired Devin, thousands of people are vowing to boycott AutoZone. I hope AutoZone “gets in the zone” and feels the heat.