An American Hero

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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.

Personal Liberty

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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