Military and Police

Depraved Indifference

Sometimes people do things—terrible things—with a clear intent to cause others harm. But there are other times where people don’t have an initial intent to injure someone, but they wind up doing so. Some people cause or allow situations to deteriorate into tragedy because of their depraved indifference to another human being.

Late one afternoon, on September 8, in an Auburn, Washington Shell gas station, a man and two teens entered the store. One teen took a pepperoni stick and started eating it. He then took another pepperoni stick and gave it to the other teen. Both kids were eating the items without paying for them.

The adult who was with the teenagers went up to the counter to pay for his items. He argued with the clerk when the clerk wanted him to pay for the pepperoni sticks the kid took. One teen gave the clerk a dollar, not the price of the items taken. The clerk walked around the counter and confronted the teens.

Next, according to store manager Angela Sharapova, “He [the clerk] was saying ‘This is wrong and you have to pay for it.’ And at this point, he stepped back to behind the counter and that’s when he collapsed.” The clerk who appears to be in his 30s collapses face-first into a display stand before falling to the floor. The adult and teenaged boys dash out of the store.

The man and teens left the store without rendering or summoning aid. In the video, the teens return and you can see one of them reaching down and snatching the dollar back from the collapsed clerk. Astonishingly, the two teens return a few moments later, steal more items, cannot open the register, then leave. Shockingly, the suspects return a third time. This time they open the cash register and steal $178. They do all this while the clerk lay on the floor in medical distress.

Three minutes after the suspects leave for the final time, a customer enters the store and finds the clerk unresponsive on the floor. The man yells to other customers at the gas pumps to call 911. Then he performs CPR on the clerk.

The Good Samaritan has not been identified. But he is the only reason the clerk has a chance at recovery. Once again, these incidents show people at their best and worst. Reportedly, the clerk is on life-support at an area hospital.

This is where people often ask rhetorical questions: What kind of people would do something like this? What is the world coming to? Well, while it’s tempting to indict all of society when something like this happens, the responsibility lies with the three individuals who committed such a heinous act.

The lack of respect such an act shows not only for other people but also for oneself is staggering.

Though we cannot indict society, we have to wonder about the adult role models in these teens’ lives? What about their parents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, teachers, mentors, etc.? We can start with the adult, initially with the two kids, who displayed the same level of depraved indifference to a fellow human being, leaving him to die on that convenience store floor.

After initially watching the clerk collapse and during their subsequent returns to the crime scene, the teens appear utterly indifferent to the clerk’s condition. It seemed they couldn’t care less whether the man lived or died.

So, it’s true that acts like these are not indictments of society. But what an evil spectacle to watch. Three human beings so depraved, so indifferent to another person’s suffering, that not one, not even the adult, had called 911 or at least asked someone else to summon help.

If they are arrested—and I think they will be—they should suffer the harshest sentence the law can impose. While perhaps not irretrievable, considering their young ages, I sure don’t want them mixing with civil society. Not before adequate punishment and a great deal of rehabilitation can be accomplished. Those kids have sick souls that need mending. They are unable to empathize, and without that ability you cannot function properly in civil society.

As for the adult…throw the proverbial book at him. If the kids were old enough to know better, and I believe they were, that man certainly knew better. What a pathetic role model.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at

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