Two twenty-something women went to a trendy new wine bar/restaurant Saturday night. The popular night spot is the most recent upscale dining option in the commercial district of my Atlanta neighborhood Sipping wine and eating tapas is a satisfying way to spend an evening.
A little after midnight, the two women left the restaurant. As they walked north a few blocks a man came out of the shadows, sneaked up behind one of the women and stuck a gun between her shoulder blades. Her companion, who stated she wasn’t clear as to whether the gunman was looking to steal her friend’s purse or if he planned to abduct the woman, she spoke up – loudly.
Now the gun was pointed at both women’s fronts. He yelled at the mouthy friend to shut up – that she was next. He then fired the handgun toward her head. Luckily, both women had the presence of mind to first fall to the ground and then scramble into a stand of nearby bushes for cover. The frustrated dirt-bag grabbed the first victim’s purse and escaped into the night. Before the sun rose on Sunday, the robber had charged $5,000 worth of merchandise to the credit card he found in that purse.
That’s the background. Here’s the point of this post:
An acquaintance of one of the two victims has told a concerned neighbor that the restaurant asked them not to share their story with the media. Whether they did or not is unclear, but somebody did because the story was reported this morning on the local news.
Some people are vilifying that restaurant manager for wanting to keep the terrifying incident under wraps. Just another example of money-hungry business owners putting the best interest of their establishment over the safety and well-being of the people who keep them in business, some are saying. Others are incensed that there would be any effort to keep the surrounding residents in the dark about something so important for them to know.
It is really not very difficult to understand what motivates a restaurant manager to make such a request. If people believe they have a fairly good chance of being robbed at gunpoint or, worse yet, shot, they might choose to stay away from our area in droves. It is well-known how narrow a margin on which restaurants and wine bars operate. And once the police had been called and the women were seen safely home, it is only natural to be concerned about the effect such a news story would have on their bottom line.
What would you do? Should that restaurant manager have asked the young women to keep quiet?
The details of this crime are sketchy, at best. Even the actual location of the stick-up is currently being mis-reported, according to our neighborhood public safety committee chairman. But the situation is real enough for the sake of discussion.