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Armed robbery: why did this happen?

What goes through someone’s mind when they rob another person?

I just can’t get into that mind frame. I consider myself a pretty liberal, sympathetic person, but it just seems completely beyond my worldview.

I bring this up because a friend of mine was held up the other day. They caught the guy who did it, and he wasn’t anything like I expected. Well, I expected it to be a man, I knew that from my friend, but this guy was fairly okay financially. He lived in the same building as my friend. He went to the same college as us. He doesn’t have any financial problems that I’ve heard about. I’ve actually met his sister before. She dropped a class I was in, but we had a chat in the class the one time she attended. It’s weird. What makes someone do that?

Drugs? I haven’t heard anything about them, but that makes sense. Was he in debt? I don’t know. I’m looking for explanations because I don’t want to contemplate the awful possibility that he just did it because it was something to do. I just don’t know how someone could frighten someone, steal from someone, hurt someone like that if they aren’t in an absolutely desperate situation.

There’s the old line about a Republican being a Democrat who got mugged, which has been on my mind lately. I do feel anger towards that man, but I’m not sure I feel any different politically. As upset as I am for my friend, I am also upset for this person, who is apparently looking at up to 25 years in prison because of this choice. Whether he is really desperate or he’s just a fool, that’s a lot of life to throw away for something that didn’t have to happen.

Maybe I’d feel differently if it had happened to me, or if my friend had been hurt physically and not just scared. Maybe I’ll feel different when I see him in court. Will he laugh or cry or just stare off? Will he express regret?

I just have so many questions, but right now, all I know is I wish it hadn’t happened. I wish this guy had found other options and made other choices. I wish my friend weren’t so frightened. She’s staying with me for now, and she’s not sleeping. It’s awful.

And I’m upset for her, I am enraged for her, but in my free moments, I don’t think about her specifically, or the event, I think about him, and I just wonder: why did he do it? Was there no moment beforehand when he had a second thought? Did he hate himself for doing it? Was he laughing? Has he done it before?

I just can’t understand it. That’s what keeps me up at night. It’s not that it makes me feel unsafe, I just don’t get it, and that is the most upsetting thing of all, at least for me.

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