Opinion: Shop owners aren't fighting for property, but their lives

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Don't retaliate. Don't be a hero. Leave it to the police.

That's the message to shop owners from the police and the Prime Minster. That it will all be okay as long as you don't fight back. It's just property. It's easier to organise insurance than a funeral.

Just do nothing.

What sort of robbery are they imagining? This isn't an old movie where the rogue swaggers in, tips his hat and politely informs the shopkeeper he's being robbed. Asks them to hand over all their cash and no one gets hurt.

Maybe it was like that in the past, but not today.

We've all seen the footage of these robberies. Regularly they rush in, weapons swinging, some roughing up whomever they find while others grab as much as possible. If they are lucky they will left beaten, bruised and a bit poorer but alive. But luck doesn't always hold.

They are told to do nothing.

These attacks aren't rare, there are reports every week. Imagine for a second what it would be like if masked strangers rushed into your workplace out for blood. That's the real fear these New Zealanders face every day.

They are told to do nothing.

If this were happening as frequently on farms, in banks, in hospitals, Parliament or anywhere else there would be outrage and immediate action.

What are these people told? Do the same thing that you have been told to do for decades. The police will do what they do. Trust the system, it works.

But it clearly doesn't.

Criminals have learnt that shop owners have been asked to roll over and take it. That the odds are they won't get caught. Surely now's the time to take action, analyse what's going on, at the very least, talk about the issue.

And still they are told... DO NOTHING.

These people aren't fighting for property. They are fighting for their lives. The right to work without fear. The right to simply live.

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