“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.