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Local comics store owner shot in robbery

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

This has nothing to do with the law per se. It happens to be a criminal legal case, but that’s not the point. I’m reporting this more as a personal interest item.

Apparitions, one of the handful of comics shops here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was robbed at gun-point this weekend. Which would be bad enough, except that David Pirkola, the co-owner of the store, was also shot in the process. He’s in stable but critical condition, according to the local news media. The perp came into the store with a gun, demanded money, and for some reason shot David. Then he ran. I don’t know if he got any money, or why he fired. Doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is that David doesn’t have insurance. Go figure: he owns a comic book shop, and that “job” doesn’t usually come with benefits. Even though David pretty much runs the store normally, it’s going to stay open, with the store’s other owners (apparently there are three partners who own the shop, along with a sister store in Lansing) and an employee running the place in Dave’s absence.

Apparitions has never been my regular comics shop (inconvenient part of town for me), and I haven’t actually been there in a few years. But it’s a pretty good shop: carrying a pretty broad a selection of superhero and alternative series, plenty of back issues, lots of graphic novels (even before they were hot), RPG resources, “real” books, etc. Dave’s a nice guy, and runs it out of love, because like most comics shops, it isn’t making anyone rich. Which obviously puts him in a bad financial situation, regardless of the injury itself.

The folks at iFanboy are collecting donations to help pay for his medical expenses, which will undoubtedly be huge. I’m squeaking by on income from a part-time job and a really quiet consulting business, and I chipped in fifty bucks… do you have a better excuse than that?

I’ll interject a bit of “law” commentary at this point, to suggest that the United States should have some program in place in our health care system so that an incident of this kind doesn’t bankrupt an individual. Something to ask your legislators in Washington about, and to evaluate the presidential candidates based on whatever “health care plan” they might have.

More info about the incident can be found here, here, and here.