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An American Hero

December 10, 2012 by  

An American Hero
SCREENSHOT

On Thursday, I shared with you the story of Devin McLean and the decision by his former employer, AutoZone, to terminate him due to his violation of its policy forbidding firearms on company property. I shared with you the tale of McLean racing to his car to retrieve a gun and then racing back into his store in order to confront a miscreant known colloquially as the “fake beard bandit.” And I related the tale of McLean’s heroic actions, preventing not only a robbery by a known offender, but the possible murder of his store manager.

That McLean, an Air Force veteran and father-to-be, is a hero is hardly a debatable point. However, McLean himself called the offices of Personal Liberty Digest™ Thursday afternoon to correct some details that have raced across the Internet. McLean asked — and we happily agreed — to inform you all that he is 22, not 23. He did serve in the Air Force, but he was not deployed to Afghanistan. And while the assailant did threaten his store manager, there were no customers in the Yorktown, Va., AutoZone at the time of the attempted robbery. McLean also expressed concern that I described him as “sending the would-be assailant scrambling for cover.” He felt that verbiage indicated that he opened fire, which he did not do.

I am happy to pass along McLean’s concerns and correct details as he requested. But I’d be remiss were I not to draw attention to the fact that McLean worried that he was being depicted as more heroic than he felt was warranted.

Mr. McLean, if there were any doubt about the sort of man you are before, there certainly isn’t now. You’re a 22-year-old Air Force veteran, proud papa-to-be, former AutoZone employee. You’re sharp and humble beyond your years. You, sir, are a hero.

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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  • independant thinker

    Devin McLean if I were in the position to do so I would not only hire you I would pay for you and your family to move half way across the US to work for me. I also would have no objection to you bringing your weapon to the workplace and leaving it in your vehicle. Unfortunately I am not in the position to do that.

    • eddie47d

      Not a one of you challenged the authors information last week. You accepted it all as the gospel like every other article that gets printed. If it wasn’t for Devin McLean”s truthfulness in coming forward from the original hyped up story you never would have known the difference. It prove beyond a doubt that those on the right believe everything they hear if it reflects their personal views. In other words the Conservative “media” doesn’t always get it right the first time around.

      • Bev

        The errors were very minor and made no difference in the story. What difference is it that Devin was 22 rather than 23, or whether or not there were customers in the store. He STILL saved the life of his store manager and is a great person and someone his child will be proud to look up to.

      • eddie47d

        That wasn’t my point considering how those on the right attack those on the left when their stories aren’t 100% accurate. You know: The double standard thing.

      • Butch

        LMAO!!!! NOW libtard eddie is interested in “the facts” but he conveniently ignores them when they rightfully portray his communist socialist accomplices in a negative light!! Too bad you’re not so critical of the hypocritical moronic Libtards when they spin lie after lie and make excuse after excuse, then you’d be onto something.

      • JUSTCROSSTHEBORDER

        The difference with the right versus the left is that conservatives clear and make it right when an error is point out. The left looks for excuses and propagate more lies. Does fast & furious, Benghazi, transparency and many more brings memory for you. How about the reports on Bush’s National Guard documents by dan rather. Maybe he RATHER not talk about it.

      • Ted Crawford

        One would think, given the outcome of November 6, that you could spare us your myopic pettiness. You should, instead be rejoicing your Glorious Victory! You still have a few months before even you realize that it was, at best, a pyrrhic victory. At worst, I fear, the final, fatal pyrrhic victory!

      • Chester

        Butch, believe it is time for you to stop with the name calling until you go out and learn exactly WHAT a communist is. Are you thinking of the Chinese version, the Russian version, or any of a dozen other versions of “Communism” that come nearer being dictatorships than anything resembling communism as the word originally meant. I expect there will be a lot of flak about this statement, but true communism and true Christianity have more in common that the communism and christianity practiced throughout much of the world today.

      • Wil

        But at least they do eventually get it right,rather than,like the liberal media,basing their “news” on spin,blatant misinformation,and repeating lies until they are accepted by the PC as truth.

      • Mike in MI

        Marvelous powers of memory, observation and accusation, eddie. The “conservative media” doesn’t always get it right the first time. However, Ben (and Mr. Livingston) has the personal integrity, character, honesty, concern for the facts and Mr. McLean’s feelings and concerns that they make retraction(s), correction(s) and expansion of the good elements of the story.
        When was the last time you heard Ed Shultz, Rachel, Andrea, Rev. Al Dullton or any of the syllabic sociopaths of the President’s propagandists and news ignorers. That is ignorers of news worthy events that MIGHT reflect poorly on the Messiah or that he has told you not to comment on.
        But then, that helps to save face by the expedient that if one says nothing about a matter one need never make retractions or corrections about it.
        You can’t tell me that you never noticed this failing of theirs, eddie (you or any of the other lefties that show up here.) Yet , you all profess to be paragons of purity and rectitude … but you all come up with nearly identical positions.
        Now, how DOES that happen?

      • wheels

        eddie47d’
        You or anybody could say the same for any article written by or for the left. You have to admit there is very little written or shown in any form of written or televised media that doesn’t project a view slanted one way or the other.This also goes for the news that goes unreported. For some time it has appeared that Obama owns all the major news forums and that is an undeniable fact.

      • eddie47d

        Thanks for the opening BUTCH! From now on whenever someone fibs around here I’ll have to kindly remind you all that you will correct yourself. That is if you want to keep your credibility. Remember I didn’t say that the left doesn’t fib only that there is plenty on the right and seldom is it corrected either.

      • http://www.facebook.com/roy.koch.33 Roy Koch

        Hey Edie Big ‘UNs 47-Ds !! Cram It

      • eddie47d

        Amazing Mike in Mi! Apparently you don’t listen to the Saturday show here. Honesty and Integrity must have new meaning with Conservatives if you think that.

      • eddie47d

        I can’t Roy Koch your head is in the way! Besides those on the Right had been too busy at the UN producing phony evidence to get us involved in the Iraq War. I think Iraq is going to ask for their money back in our helping them. The country became a bigger mess with few liberties enacted so thanks but no thanks they say.

      • eddie47d

        Are you legal or illegal JUST ACCROSS THE BORDER. Actually Rather had the information right but was improper in how he retrieved it. He’ll have to live with those consequences just like the Republicans will have to live with the consequences of Watergate or the Iran-Contra Affair. Sometimes it takes both sides awhile to admit failures.

      • Alan

        And I suppose that is to imply that those on the left don’t subscribe to what they are told by the left wing media Eddie? Don’t be a hypocrite. Never once did I personally think that Devin opened fire on the wouldbe robber. I always assess the articles as best as I can with the information provided as I’m sure most on this site do.

      • DaveH

        Since when have you ever reported facts, Eddie? When have you ever admitted an error in your comments? Ben had the courage and honesty to correct his facts when he knew they were in error, Eddie, which makes him a whole lot better person than you are.

      • eddie47d

        I have Dave H now lets see if your man enough to admit your errors. Oh that’s right you let your downloads do the talking so you don’t have to take personal responsibliity. That way you can blame the “other guy”.

      • eddie47d

        Not sure what you are talking about Alan. I never mentioned Devin’s name so why are you a hypocrite. Hmmm! Nothing better to do?

      • surrelam

        Like when the reports that a killing was done by a Teabagger.

    • eddie47d

      Murdoch owns quite a few news outlets and he is not an Obama supporter WHEELS. Spin away on your WHEEL.

      • DaveH

        Shouldn’t you be under a bridge terrorizing people, Eddie?

      • eddie47d

        Shouldn’t you be out somewhere bombing a building Dave H…. Mr insane!

      • wheels

        eddie my pal, is that the best you got, Murdoch blah, blah, blah…………..and then your mind
        gets smaller and smaller!

    • Mike

      Fully agree. We need millions more young men like him.

  • hipshotpercusion

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, Ben. Devin come on down to Florida where you can keep your gun in your car in your employers lot. Some employers even allow the people with permits to carry concealed in businesses . We even carry in banks down here.

  • Paul Wells

    I did go to the autozone website, and used the “contact us” link to advise them I thought their actions in firing Devin stunk, and that i would never shop there again. If you haven’t done that, I’d strongly encourage it, or better still, call their corporate offices and tell them that.

    • Bev

      Great idea, Paul. AutoZone needs to hear from us.

    • Steve E

      I also did the same thing.

  • Scott

    It is crazy that Auto Zone – of all companies – would have such a policy given that one of their locations in Colorado Springs was robbed and two people were shot and killed during the robbery. One was a customer who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and the other was essentially a bystander who tried to render aid to the first person that was shot. I ate at a fast food restaurant maybe 20 yards away from where this happened less than 30 minutes before this all happened. I thought what if I would have been there when it was happening? I would have been powerless to do anything without a gun. This event prompted me to go and get a concealed carry permit and today I carry a loaded .357 with me – just in case. I hope I never need it… but better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

    • huapakechi

      Hand guns and fire extinguishers have NO substitutes.
      Now get your @$$ out and practice until your arms feel like they’ll fall off. Practice with both hands and from all positions you can imagine, including flat on your back. The only thing worse than not having a weapon is having someone with a weapon that can’t shoot straight.

    • Charlie

      Scott,,, Your big bore are most likely to damage some one or something beyond the target,, A 22 cal. semiauto pistol is all one needs for close in control and minimum back ground damage… Non professional pistol shooters can learn to shoot and hit the target much easier and more often with small bore… Also learn to shoot with one hand ,,,LH or RH or both… Not to mention 22 cal is much less costly ,,,.so more fun for less money…….

  • Tom Ping

    Devin I want you to know that as a fellow Virginian I support and applaud your actions, you Sir, are indeed a Hero. I have also written to Auto Zone and expressed my displeasure in firing you. As a fellow CCP holder I told them that I woud no longer come in their stores or spend my money there. I am futher touched by your follow up comments with Ben, you are not just a Hero, you are a Humble Hero! I am retired and no longer work, however ANY employer should be proud to hire you.

  • ToughGuy1

    Honorably Discharged Veterans shouldn’t be fired or let go from their jobs. Unless they have done something really bad!

  • boyscout

    Good luck Devin. AutoZone, go screw yourself.

  • Jr

    I personally think that this goes much deeper then the firing of Devin McLean. As an AutoZone bigwig, they should not be concerned about the legal issue of having a gun in the hands of an employee. But, They should be very concerned that their employees are so unprotected and such knowledge is so widely know. And as of now, they had better be more concerned with the fact that no employee is “allowed” to protect him/herself in such an encounter. They better pray an employee doesn’t “ever” get hurt by a weapon packing crook. Thanks to an ever growing Godless society, the Democrat’s ( for a bad economy), and Highly Qualified but nasty lawyers, the legal issue will soon be on the other foot. I look forward to the day when AutoZone is owned by the “employee” they put in harms way. Come on Carma! Bite’m in A$$.

    • Mike in MI

      WOW, Jr. – Excellent thinking, indeed. And, so accurate!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jdsusumu JD Sparks

    I would hire this guy in a heartbeat.

  • http://verizon Randy Burke

    As a ccp holder also I will forgo Auto Zone and drive the extra 3 miles to NAPA,hoping that you get a decent job ASAP.

    • Mike in MI

      Right, Devin. Get that new job quickly. And, if you need a letter of recommendation we’ll all write one for you.

  • Trinity

    To eddie47d. If you are so concerned about truth and details, have you challenged the accuracy in the administration’s recounting and recounting of the Bengahzi debacle or Fast and Furious? Of course not because you are incapable of critical thinking.

    • Butch

      No, hes not because the truth would absolutely bury the Fraud-in-Chief and he’d have to run back to Kenya and not the $30 MILLION mansion he had built in Hawaii w/ his ill gotten gains at the expense of the stupid and unwitting taxpayer.

    • Steve E

      So true, Trinity

    • momo

      He’s too busy signing petitions to do that.

    • Paul Wells

      Now give edda a break….his hands are tired from signing so many petitions!

  • jopa

    Butch:The election is over.The mansion story was just another one of hundreds of lies by the GOP to get your vote.They really had you fooled on this one didn’t they?I guess that makes you unwitting and stupid for not checking the facts.

  • Tom Cook

    Ben, anyone who acts heroically but does not believe they are heroes actually is a hero; thank you for clarifying this. Always great to hear of a real hero. Liberals, because of the fact that they are a perversion of nature who think directly backwards, always disdain true heroes for liberals are cowards and heroes scare them; so , they choose ordinary people who do ordinary nonheroic things as their heroes. Kevin did the right thing.

  • jeanniesgenius

    I too e-mailed Autozone that we would not be shopping in their store again. Hit them where it hurts, in the pocket book, only way to change things. They should have made an exception, given him a reprimand for breaking the rule and have done with it. Was he even aware of that particular company policy? Give him the benefit of the doubt and say ‘not’.

  • Liberterian

    You have it right Ben, ones heart to survive and be proud is what counts. He did what had to be done and asked nothing for it.

  • JORGE RIVERA

    REALY HE IS A HERO?! SO WHERE AM I ?! SEE YOU PEOPLE ARE RACIST, YOU MAKE THIS COUNTRY BLACK AND WHITE RACIST!!!!!! JORGE RIVERA

  • Sandra Lee Smith

    Not only a hero, but another rarity these days: a YOUNG man of CHARACTER! Bravo, Mr McLean, Well done!

  • ranger09

    DEVIN, tHE BEST OF LUCK TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SOME OF US DO WHAT WE DO AND ITS NOT ALWAYS FOR MONEY AT LEST YOU TRIED TO DO WHAT WAS RIGHT, MORE THAN I CAN SAY FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE. FROM A VET

  • ranger09

    iM SORRY FOLKS, I DO NOT USE THE WORD HERO LIGHTLY, IN MY TIME I HAVE SEEN MANY REAL HEROS AND THE DEEDS THEY ARE CREDITED WITH. IN A PLATOON OF SOLDIERS THEY ALL FIGHT TO SERVIVE, OF COURSE WE CONSIDER THEM ALL HEROS, BUT YOU HAVE THE FEW THAT GIVE MUCH MORE, ITS CALLED ABOVE AND BEYOND, THESE ARE YOUR TRUE HEROS. WE HAVE DIFFERENT KINDS OF HEROS. IN POLITICS, IN THE MOVIES, ETC. SOME JUSTLY DESERVE TO BE CALLED HEROS OTHERS DO NOT ALSO SOME PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CALLED HEROS AND DO NOT DESERVE TO BE PUT IN THE SAME CLASS AS REAL AMERICAN HEROS, THESE WE REFER TO AS BEING PHONEYS.

  • Gordon in Texas

    I am amazed that some of the people who respond to Ben’s column will turn any topic into a political argument. Shame on you! What the hell do communists, socialists, conservatives or liberals have to do with this story??? The story is about a young man who put someone elses’s safety ahead of his own. He could have run out of the store and kept going. His manager could have been shot and killed. And he would still have a job. Instead, he chose to confront the criminal and take charge. And he seems uncomfortable with the attention he’s gotten. There aren’t many like this young man anymore.

    Instead of dragging politics into this why not deal with the story for what it is; a story about a brave young man who risked his life for the life of another.

    • Tom Ping

      Amen!!

  • Rebecca Prewett

    I applaud Mr. McLean for his quick thinking and action. True heroes are usually, if not always, humble and self-effacing. Thank you, Mr. McLean, for your service to our country. I am sorry that AutoZone is so narrow minded that they would terminate such a high caliber employee. I think they need to reevaluate that policy. In the meantime, I plan to take my business to another auto parts store.

  • t.e.smith

    he is no hero he is a dumb ass, risking his life and his family s welfare for someone elses money!
    damn fool is what i see.

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