Marines Take Down Bad Guys At Mall

This event happened just before Christmas a few short weeks ago. Like all malls and shopping centers all over the country, the Del Amo Mall in Torrence, CA, was typically crowded with people shopping for Christmas gifts for the people in their lives. Some of those people who happened to be at that mall, doing last-minute Christmas shopping, found themselves all too close to a “smash-and-grab” heist at a jewelry shop in the mall, carried out by four young men dressed in black.

Well, it is an ironic truism that those who choose to commit such acts are generally not in possession of “the brightest bulbs” in that space behind their eyes and between their ears. This short-pack of idiots who smashed the glass display cases in an open area of the mall that day probably felt that they had planned their little fiasco really well, being that the jewelry cases were close to a main door to make a quick escape through and all. They probably conceived of themselves, in their own foggy imaginations, as “bold” and “nervy,” carrying out a “daring” robbery in broad daylight in the midst of a crowded and active shopping day.

Photo: YouTube/Fox 11 Los Angeles

But there was one little aspect of reality that they apparently had not taken into consideration; that jewelry store’s display cases were near The South Bay Marine Corps Recruiting Center Office. But Oh, how we love the irony of it all. There they were smashing and grabbing all the pieces of jewelry they could get their hands on as quickly as possible, thinking that everyone around them would be too intimidated, too frightened by their self-imagined, bold, and violent actions to be of any worry to them.

Of course, too, there is no honor among thieves…no brotherhood, or any deeply embedded values like, “Leave no man behind.” Two of the thieves scattered, like frightened rabbits, out the nearest door, leaving their fellow nimrods behind as they suddenly became aware of the fact that Marines from the South Bay Recruiting Center nearby were charging toward them.

Suffice it to say, the Marines, in typical fashion, bred as they are to respond to fight on behalf of others, took down the other two witless, petty felons and held them until police arrived to arrest them.

Photo: YouTube/Fox 11 Los Angeles

All of this provides a common, yet useful metaphor for us all. There are bad actors in the world, and sometimes we can get the feeling that the world is not a very safe place. The great value of this little, instructive story though, is that, while there are bad actors, there are many others who are not only good actors, but even heroes. This is what we need to see more of, precisely because they reveal to us the goodness and the strength that can come to us when we have the courage of real and noble convictions. It’s the Marine Corps Recruiters in this story that catch our fullest attention, and rightfully so.

In the chaos that is associated with such an event, with people running in all directions to get as far away from the danger as possible, which is a reasonable thing to do, by the way, these Marine Recruiters provided a real contrast as they ran toward the potential danger and ended up making a difference in its outcome. As one who is proud to have served with my Marine brothers both in combat in Vietnam and in peace at Camp Lejuene for three of my four years as a Navy Hospital Corpsman, this kind of character is familiar to me. It is who they are. It reflects how they are trained to think and act. It is a matter of identity and pride that runs deep in every Marine.

Photo: YouTube/Fox 11 Los Angeles

I get a kick out of the words heard from a bystander toward the end of this news report. The speaker may be the one who took the cell phone video that you see here. I don’t know for sure. But you can hear some guy in the background shouting: “Semper Fi! Salute!” in praise of the Marines involved.

I am reminded here of some of the phrasings in the first verse of the Marine Corps Hymn: “First to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean; we are proud to wear the title of United States Marines.”

What else is there to say at the end of this “Christmas Story” but: OoRah! Bravo Zulu, Marines!

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