“Jason Lenox was cooling off in the front room of his home on Marydale Drive after noon last month when he saw a white Suburban pull up in front of his neighbors’ house across the street,” dallasnews.com reports. “He watched with interest as a teenager jumped out and went to the front door. He saw him ring the doorbell, knock on the door and motion to the driver of the van to move on. ‘That’s when I knew something weird was going on,’ Lenox said. ‘Then I watched this kid go around to the back of the house.’ Lenox said he called 9-1-1.” And that’s roughly where this story should have ended. Cops catch burglars. Burglars get away. Something along those lines. But OH NO . . .

Lenox said he called 9-1-1, handed the phone to his partner and took further action.

“I’m a gun guy and keep them around here and there,” he said.

As he walked into his north Oak Cliff neighbors’ backyard, Lenox said, “this kid is kicking in the back door.

“I said, ‘Don’t you f-ing move.’ He said, ‘Please don’t shoot me.’ Then he laid down on his stomach.”

Police officers arrived minutes later “in quantity,” Lenox said. “It was like the calvary.”

This brings to mind another calvary: Mount Calvary, where a certain Jew shuffled off this mortal coil. Lenox’s pre-police firearms-related actions could have easily been his ticket to the afterlife. But before I argue that a gun owner has a responsibility not to play policeman—I’d like to take a moment to discuss foul language and armed self-defense.

Did you know that the talk show hosts on Sirius XM’s “Left” channel drop more f-bombs and excremental epithets than an entire posse of eighth graders? TTAG’s resident terrorist zombie gopher specialist says it’s a liberal thing: they’re reflecting the left’s traditional love of freedom of expression. Fuck yeah!

But I reckon swearing does their cause no favors. Bad language alienates the American mainstream—in whose hands the country’s political power lies. The same middle America beloved of prosecutors and defense attorneys when it comes time for jury selection. These are the kind of folks that may end up deciding whether or not you should go to jail after a self-defense (or in this case offensive) shooting.

Believe it or not, there are still plenty of adults who never swear, recoil from swear words and think less of anyone who swears. They view swearing as a lack of self-control. See how that could hurt you? If you swear at an attacker/robber, chances are that a jury will think nothing of it. It was a heat of the moment remark. You were scared excrement-less. But it’s not going to help your lawyer portray you as an upstanding not-to-say squeaky-clean citizen.

Swearing at your attacker isn’t a good idea tactically. It lowers you to the attacker’s level. Saying “don’t fucking move” to most perps is like saying “hiwhowareya?” in Rhode Island. Criminals’ ears are so attuned to swearing they will instantly and instinctively measure your fear level from the way you pronounce your swear word or words. Dogs can smell fear. Hardened criminals can hear it.

Remember: police don’t swear. Cops are the criminal’s natural enemy. If you shout a simple, forceful, cop-like command—DON’T MOVE!—you have a better chance of compliance than if you go all Hollywood on the perp or perps. [NB: cops refrain from swearing to avoid legal blowback too.]

Yes, or perps. Lest we forget, in Mr. Lenox’s case, there were two burglars. Where was thief number two during this alleged act of heroism? Detaining, avoiding or shooting two bad guys is a lot more difficult than engaging one. Significantly harder.

In fact, it’s probably best not to even try. The odds are stacked against you. Why take the chance? If you think about it, as Mr. Lenox clearly did not, all sorts of things could go wrong.

Thief number one could shoot/stab/hit you before you shoot him. Thief number one could shoot/stab/hit you after you shoot him. Thief number two could shoot/stab/hit you before or after you disable his partner. Maybe there’s a thief number three playing catch up . . .

Another homeowner could show up and shoot you. Or you could shoot them by mistake. Speaking of mistakes, what if the kid was an estranged child coming to reclaim his stuff with a pal—and you shot him? As Shakespeare said, things are not always what they seem. Milk can masquerade as cream. Excuse my language, but you’re not the fucking milkman.

You’re a responsible gun owner who understands that guns can do great harm, and that every example of misuse dings all responsible gun owners’ ability to defend their right to bear arms. That guns “here and there” in the home are for safe, secure storage ahead of sporting activity or self-defense. As in defending oneself. Not property. Not other people’s property.

We’ve discussed the dangers of attempting to save a stranger’s life. The same applies to a stranger’s sofa. In general, don’t do it. Let the pros handle it. Using a gun for self-defense is a matter of life or death. Nothing more and especially nothing less.

25 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Jason Lenox

  1. What stupid writer wrote this rambling dissertation of numb-skull-ary? Was there supposed to be a point somewhere in all of this "gun totin' good neighbor", "police scare bad people", "Isn't foul language is shocking?" blithering idiocy?

      • Hello, and ",Yes," that is fair enough. And if you had used only that many words, and stayed on subject I would have enjoyed an interesting article. What, did you not have your dose of Ritalin that day? Every other paragraph that you took the time to write should have been a "separate article". You covered a neighbor willing to help, typical police conduct, how to, and how not to, approach a stressful situation, and responsible gun ownership. But it was not as cohesive an article as it could have been. I enjoy your website immensely because it is informative and very well laid out, so that is why I was surprised by such writing.
        Kindest Regards,
        Kent

  2. Well, I thought long and hard about what to respond with. And, I think, there's only one thing to say: We will agree to disagree. I am Jason Lenox, the one who stopped the burglary mentioned above. There are a few things you don't realize about what happened, so I'll shed some light…
    1. There were no other perps… The getaway driver drove away as soon as she saw me coming.
    2. He wasn't a child home to pick up some of his things. I know my neighbors, and this kid was there to do them harm.

  3. 3. Yes, I used foul language, with the desired effect. He complied immediately and waited on his stomach for the police to arrive, just as I asked him to do.
    4. Yes, I could have gotten hurt. But, that's a chance I'm willing to take to protect myself and my neighbors.

  4. 5. I had my partner with me…. He was on the phone with 911 the entire time teling them what was happening and keeping an eye on the entire situation.

    The picture changes when you have all the facts, doesn't it.

  5. You see, another thing that you're unawar of, as was I at the time of this apprehension, is that this kid had just kicked in the door of another neighbor only 15 minutes earlier. This isn't a point of debate, the kid has admitted to it. He's also admitted to "hunting" in the neighborhood for easy targets to fuel his crack habit. Unstopped, who knows how many other houses he would have targeted.

    As for responsible gun ownership, I'll put my habits up for scrutiny any day. I don't have kids, and on the few occasions that kids do visit our house, I make sure they're put away.

    I do believe an armed citizenry is one way to battle the epidemic of residential property crime. I also agree with you: police are well trained and if they're around, I'd much rather them take care of things like this. However, I'm not the type of guy who can stand by and watch bad things happen to people.

    That's about it….

  6. Thanks for all the new info, and taking the time to respond to the post. The question remains: why didn't you just wait for the police to arrive? Why did you intervene, putting yourself at risk? Why take that chance? If you'd been killed or maimed, would it have been worth it?

    • Robert,

      The question should be — why do you feel that he should have waited?

      Why shouldn't we look out for not just our neighbors but also their physical property?
      Not acting increased the possibility the criminal could get away with money, firearms or even life saving medicince.

      When we say "Oh, I better not do anything. I might get hurt". Doesn't that empower criminals ?

      • I believe Mr. Lenox should have waited because property is just not worth the risk. It's only property. Think of it this way: would you want your neighbor to die defending your property? What if the cops had shot Mr. Lenox by mistake?

        And it's not like our stuff is completely unprotected. We employ the police to enforce the law. Train 'em how and when and where to do it. Give 'em guns. Handcuffs. Tasers. God knows what. Pay 'em to do it. Why not let them do their job?

        And again, you may not know the whole story; no matter how much you think you do. In this case, Mr. Lenox got it right. But what if he hadn't?

        As for empowering criminals, I'm not so sure about that. This team seemed pretty damned brazen. What do you think?

        • Robert, calling them a "team" is a bit of a stretch. They were a husband and wife crackhead-duo…. Quite unsophisticated, and not to bright. I don't think what I did would be the correct response in all circumstances.. It was the right thing to do in THIS circumstance. I think all of these situations unfold differently, and this one unfolded in a direction that I could handle. We all make choices, and I stand by mine. I LOVE the fact that we can have a polite discourse in this country.

        • Robert,

          Our stuff is unprotected — I don't see any cops standing watch over it. The cops do a good job of recovering the property or catching the criminals, but they don't stop the crime.

          As far as my "property" not being worth dying over?
          Are you talking about my asthma medicine, including my rescue inhalers?
          Are you talking about my wife's chemo related drugs?

          Or are you talking about the hours, days and weeks of my life represented by physical items in my home?

          And please tell me how a home owner or neighbor is to know the "team" only wants to steal property, eh? Are you holding out on psychic powers the rest of us don't have?

          When did it become the right of the criminal to invade the sovereignty of a home without risking their lives?

          As for empowering criminals, I'm not so sure about that. This team seemed pretty damned brazen

          What I think is they were empowered by thousands of people saying "Don't confront criminals, let them do what they want…..stand back and be a good witness".

        • Bob,

          I tend to agree with you. The things in my home are certainly worth defending, and I would hazard a guess that you feel the same way about your things.

          There are things in this life called occupational hazards:
          If you're a fireman, you could get burned.
          If you're a hiway worker, you could get hit by a car.
          If you're a burglar, you could get shot.
          It's that simple. Burglars should expect to be confronted by an angry homeowner or neighbor. And if they get shot robbing a home, it shouldn't be a surprise, to anybody.

          I realize, Mr. Farago, that defending personal property comes with hazards as well. I WILL NOT LET MY NEIGHBORS HOME GET BURGLARIZED. And, I'm willing to accept the hazards that come with that position. I understand that you are not willing to accept that risk, that's what makes a horserace. You and I have different opinions on this matter.

  7. Robert,
    I'm not a "sit and wait" type of guy. I don't know why I did what I did. The anger of watching a burglary is something that's hard to describe, and unless you've witness it, under similar circumstances, I doubt you will understand. Please know this, it was an anger that drove me to action. I also felt, base on the situation and what I had witnessed, that I would be able to handle things until the police arrived. And, I was right. I'm no fool, sir. If there had been 2 or three or more people going to the back of the house, I would have stayed put. But it wasn't. It was one little scraggly crackhead. That's it.

    I would also like to say this: What an outstanding country we live in… I can own guns and use them in a variety of fashions. You can have a blog and share your thoughts about why my action was a bad idea. And, I can comment on that very blog with my thoughts. We can do it in a friendly manner, with polite discourse. We are VERY lucky to be living where we are…

  8. I would rather have this guy as a neighbor than anybody.. Except Pam Anderson. I would really like to have her as a neighbor! But, other than her, I want a guy like this living somewhere close to me. People who see the right thing to do, and do it, are fewer and farther between these days. His neighbors are lucky to have him.

  9. It's clear to me that the writer of this and other similar editorials on this site, Robert Farago, is a cop-worshipping statist. He belittles individuals for "playing cop" when they simply take action to defend their neighbors or property from criminals. Newsflash for Robert: Cops don't prevent crimes. To the contrary, most crimes against individual liberty in this country are perpetrated BY cops.

    I'll tell you this much, between Mr. Lenox and Mr. Farago, I know who I'd rather have as a neighbor!

    • I am not a cop worshipping statist. How could I be? I live in Rhode Island. This post simply points out that one should choose one's battles—especially when they involve potentially deadly consequences. Would I risk my life to save my neighbor's stuff? No. Would you?

      • Again, we go to the point of CALCULATED risk. All risk is not the same. The risk I took was well worth the the payoff. I can assure you that in the same circumstance, you might have done the same thing. It wasn't really all that risky. You just had to be there to see what I'm trying to describe. Since I was there, and you were not, I think you should defer to my judgement on this situation.

  10. While I respect your right to make your own calculations with your own life, whenever you use deadly force you are creating risk for others. And yourself. It is my firmly held belief that you should only use deadly force to save lives, not property—unless there's no other choice. Which there was here: the police.

    As for the exact circumstances, are you telling me that you can aim a shotgun at someone without creating risk? Discretion is the better part of valor.

    • Point of correction.. I didn't use deadly force, I used the threat of deadly force. And it worked like a champ. Had he threatened my life, he would have gotten shot. Simple as that. And waiting for the police would have created only one situation: another burglariuzed house and a burglar who is long gone when police arrive.

      And, who said anything about a shotgun…… I had a 38 revolver and from a distance of about 7 feet I feel quite confident of the outcome.

      • You knew the cops were on their way. So how long was it between your citizen's arrest and the police's arrival?

        And do you really think shooting someone is simple? Did it occur to you that you could shoot him and he could kill you afterwards? I mean, nothing pisses some people off like being shot. Or he could have scurried off, invaded another home and taken someone hostage.

        Yes, you were the guy on the spot. I wasn't. But I don't think you're considering the full range of potential negative consequences. The bottom line for me (again): why take the risk? You stopped a burglar, not a spree killer. Congrats, but this could have turned out VERY differently.

  11. In my experience, cops do swear. Actually, the less they respect you, the more they swear.

    And yeah, I would prefer a neighbor willing to put his ass on the line for my property. And I would prefer a neighbor who swears over one who doesn’t. There is a reason they call it “colorful” language. It makes life more “colorful”.

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