Saturday, July 31, 2010


This is a really remarkable piece of footage on the BBC website of an armed robber being persuaded not to take the proceeds of the register at a shop in America. The woman behind the counter initially captures the man's sympathy and reflection by invoking Jesus and eventually completely wins him over by pointing out that she just works in the shop and might be liable for the money he steals. He eventually leaves after giving a series of almost tearful apologies. As social psychologists have been showing for a long-time it is hard for most people to inflict damage on someone else when it has to be done up close and in person. The majority of the coverage links his refusal to take the money down to the woman's invocation of religion but it looks to me like he really cracks when he thinks that she might have to pay the money back herself.

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