The Tomato

Student provoked thief with expensive clothing

Photo by Tina Wallace

LATE ON THE night of Sept. 10, Jason Higgins, a fourth-year U of O student, was walking home from a work function when a former football teammate, Mitch Atker, approached and robbed him.

Both students had reportedly been drinking for most of the night when Atker began to get aggressive. Higgins refused to lend Atker some money, provoking Atker to yell and throw punches at him, hitting him in the face and knocking him to the ground. Higgins’ wallet and phone were stolen from him before his attacker left the scene.

Higgins—currently recuperating from a concussion and a fractured jaw—has come forward to press charges against his assailant.

However, the charges against Atker have been dropped, and Higgins has become a lightning rod for criticism. Almost everybody involved in the situation believes he got what he deserved.

It has become clear that, since Higgins was wearing an expensive suit and displaying silver jewellery, he was asking to be mugged. After all, it was 1 a.m.—he should have known the importance of dressing modestly to avoid that kind of attention.

Higgins also decided to walk the streets of Sandy Hill without a chaperone. The dangers of walking alone at night should have been instilled in him from an early age. Higgins’ bad upbringing shouldn’t be Atker’s problem.

Since the two students involved in the altercation were acquaintances, how can we even be sure that Higgins didn’t make up the whole story? Perhaps he pressed charges because he held a grudge against Atker. Higgins and Atker knew each other—why would Atker become so aggressive without provocation? Higgins most likely started the fight and is simply a sore loser.

If Higgins really was overpowered then why didn’t he scream for help or defend himself? He stood there and let shock take over him rather than defend himself. That was no way for a victim to behave— Higgins should have known better.

Robbers are nothing new. People living in Ottawa should know by now that robbers need an outlet to relieve themselves. It’s only natural that when a person dresses in expensive clothing in front of a robber, there will be temptation. The blame should therefore not be on Atker—who just needed his fix—but on Higgins who was just looking for attention.

Authorities have concluded that Higgins should never have gone out drinking if he was so concerned about getting robbed. He willingly put himself into a situation where he became an easy victim.

Atker has demanded an apology, since Higgins’s accusations have slandered his name. This apology would at least restore some peace and normalcy to Atker’s life—something that Higgins’s cry for help has selfishly taken away.