Pharmacist 1 Armed Robber 0

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In a tranquil village in Arkansas, the friendly neighborhood druggist was opening his shop on a Friday morning. Then a man, masked and armed, came out of nowhere and changed his life.

Dumas Arkansas RFD

If you have ever been to Eastern Arkansas, opposite of the Mississippi river, you know how calm and quiet the area is once you get away from the big cities. The town of Dumas, in Desha county, whose population is but 4700, is one of the calmest. If you saw the 2011 film Mud, in which Matthew McConaughey stars in a retelling of the Huck Finn tale, then you have been to Dumas. You see, the film was shot on location there and many of the local buildings and residents made cameos.

In this hamlet is a pharmacy, Meadors, located on Waterman Street downtown. It's the kind of place that small towns live around. Where gruff old timers gather to talk and relive war stories over a cup of coffee. Where everyone passes through at least once a month. Stand still and you will see the whole town from Meador's counter, one person at a time. The pharmacist's name is Bill Canada and on Friday October 18, 2013, the harsh reality of the world reached out and shook him.

Man with a gun

At 5:37 in the morning, Bill the druggist was opening up shop with sunrise still a good ways off. It was then that a man rushed from around the side of the building at Canada, masked, armed, and wanting money. Canada tried to run, tried to break contact and get away. Remember, as the great warrior said, there is no dishonor in running from an armed man.

It was then allegedly that the assailant pursued the druggist and refused to leave him be. With no other choice and his life at risk, Canada, who was a legal concealed carry permit holder, drew his personal handgun, and fired, ending the threat.


The would-be robber turned out to be Tavell Lawson, 31. As it turns out, Lawson had in 1999 been sentanced to do a dime in the state pen after an aggravated robbery elsewhere in Desha County. This incident can be chalked up to the....

Nationwide rise in pharmacy robberies

For years, police from coast to coast have been fighting the scourge of armed robbers who target drugstores. After all, they are sources of quick cash, narcotics, and often have little or no physical security. In rural Vancleave Mississippi recently, a drugstore right in the middle of the small community was robbed so many times that they hired an armed security guard-- who was promptly robbed along with the store his first week on the job. With the local sheriff department unable to leave a deputy there full time, the store was forced to close.

In another case, police in Arizona are keeping their eyes peeled for a pair of what they call "OCD Bandits." These drugstore cowboys have hit no less than 21 pill stands in the past several months around Phoenix. They wear an alternating series of disguises that include motorcycle helmets, fishing caps, and landscaping hats, then pull a gun and rob the store of oxycodone-based drugs.

They would be well advised to stay away from Dumas, Arkansas, less their name becomes mud.

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