This will be the first in a series of scenarios where you will be instructed to put yourself in the place of victim, witness, perpetrator, suspect, police, or other persons involved in a criminal event.
The purpose of this exercise is to test what ordinary people would do when faced with the decisions depicted in these scenarios.
Instructions: Read the scenario and put yourself in the mind of each of the characters portrayed. Then read the questions at the end of the scenario. These questions are intended to make you think more like the character.
When you are ready, re-post this on Linkedin with your answers, impressions, suggestions, or what-not.
You are in Kohl’s parking lot. It’s evening. When you arrived the parking lot was crowded and you were lucky to find a space. You spent more time in the store than you intended but you found exactly what you wanted. You have just bought things for a patio party you are hosting tonight. You are excited because you found everything at a low enough price that even your husband won’t blow a gasket. You still have to stop at your daughters because she has called and asked for help with a recipe. You know she doesn’t really want help with the recipe. Things are going bad between your daughter and her husband. She hasn’t wanted you to know, but you know because you are her mother. You hope she is wanting to talk.
You load your purchases in the back of your SUV. Your mind is full of what you have to do today, and worried for your daughter and her marriage and even that clod of a husband of hers.
You are so distracted you don’t notice the young man at first. Then he is so close you turn toward him. Everything happens so fast. A blur. Of fear, of confusion, of pain.
The young man shot you twice. Once in the stomach, once in the head. He probably thinks you are dead. You seem to be floating. You hear a commotion but can’t separate the sounds into meaningful bits. Your last thoughts are of your husband, your daughter.
You now are a customer in the parking lot of Kohl’s. You saw the man come up behind the woman loading her car. He walks right up to her and shoves her. She tries to shove him away. He pulls out a large gun, black, maybe a semi-automatic, he’s not sure. The man shoots the woman who is still trying to fend him off. She stops struggling and just looks at the man. She slumps against the door and slides to the ground, her upper body held in a sitting position by the door. The man steps over her and opens the front door of the SUV. He is going through her purse, taking some things, throwing other things across the parking lot. He gets in the drivers seat, starts the SUV, and drives away. The back drivers door bangs against the woman’s body and she is finally scraped off on the car parked next to her. The back wheels run over her chest and crush her head. The SUV drives away. You call the police.
You are a policeman. Dispatch tells you there is a robbery in progress at Kohl’s in the parking lot. Shots were fired. A woman has been hurt. An ambulance is on the way. Dispatch gives the description of the SUV and the direction it was last seen going. You are only three blocks away.
QUESTIONS: As the victim, you only want to know why this happened. There are those that will place part of the blame for this event on you. You should have been more observant. You should have carried mace. You should have used your cars mirrors to watch around you. You should have parked in a space closer to the building. You shouldn’t have been distracted. And, on and on.
As the witness: What did you see? What did you do? What could you have done? Did you record it on your cell phone? If so, will you put it on Youtube? Will you give it to the police? What are some considerations that may or may not affect your credibility as a witness? What are some personal considerations that may or may not affect your decision to stay and help? What if you knew the suspect? What if you knew the victim? What if you hate the police? Would race play a part in your interpretation of the incident?
As the suspect what questions do you have about the victim. About the robbery. What do you do now? Where do you go? What if you are captured? Was there a witness? Etc.
As the police officer: What do you know about this crime? Will you go to the scene and render aid? Will you try to stop the SUV? Where will you go first? Will you use force if the suspect resists arrest? What departmental policies dictate any of these things? How will that affect you personally?