There's nothing that fascinates people more than interracial conflict, unless it's the story of a crime victim who fights back -- successfully. Bernhard Goetz is still a household name twenty years later; Charles Augusto Jr. may be on his way to becoming one.
The NY Post, the Daily News, and even the Times had stories this morning about Augusto, the white shop owner who shot the four thugs who tried to rob his store in Harlem yesterday, killing two of them. The four men, two of whom had criminal records, entered his restaurant supply store brandishing a 9mm gun and demanded money. When Augusto told them he had none and asked them to just leave, they started pistol whipping his employee of 19 years, J.B. (who also happens to be black.) At that point Augusto pulled out his shotgun and fired three times.
Augusto later said, "I would have been happy if they'd all run out the door. I'm sick to my stomach over it....I'm sad I couldn't talk him out of it. I'm sad there's fathers and mothers with no sons today.....I don't feel like a hero. I would have felt like a hero if I could have talked that kid into going home."
(Spoken like a true hero.)
All of this has been covered at length in the newspapers.
Augusto will probably be somewhat surprised to find how he's treated in the near future.
He'll find that the media attention will wane, but not as quickly as he expects.
His business will pick up, as restaurant owners want to meet -- and reward -- the man who made a stand.
Police officers will stop by from time to time, just to check up on him, and when they do, they'll emit very positive vibes.
Local Harlem residents sick of crime will stop by to tell him he's a good man.
His two longtime employees, J.B. and his bookkeeper Dorothy Gates (who had the gun also pointed at her), will probably be extra solicitous of their 72 year old boss.
He'll find that old acquaintances will make an effort to get back in touch, and when they do they'll treat him like a hero.
All of which may cause Augusto to reevaluate his status.