Of all the self-defense possibilities, the Bump In The Night (BITN) scenario is the scariest. You’re woken from a sound sleep by a noise downstairs. Holy shit! Home invaders! Or the cat. Or your imagination. Or home invaders! I’m astounded by the number of people who grab their home defense gun, creep out of bed and . . . . shhhh! We’re hunting wabbits! Alternatively, we’re walking straight into an ambush . . .
Unless you’re Chingachgook, the home invader or invaders will know exactly where you are. You’ll have no clue where he, or they, are. Or aren’t. The better play: A) Get an alarm system. Use it. B) Get dogs. Feed them. C) Gather the family, assume a defensive position, call the cops. Embarrassing but you pay their salaries.
Again, the one thing you don’t want to do is clear your house. You don’t have the combat skills nor the manpower to do what is an extremely dangerous job. (There’s a reason that cops clear houses in teams.) The same rule applies if you come back home to a break-in, only more so . . .
The 33-year-old man told police he had just arrived home with his fiancée, a 28-year-old woman [at around 7pm]. When he discovered that his front door had been forced open, in an apparent burglary, he went inside his house to see if anybody was inside. Finding nobody inside, he retrieved his handgun and went outside.
The herald-review.com story starts with the ending, in the great pyramid journalist tradition. I’ve rearranged it here chronologically to make a simple point: don’t go in the attic! You know what I mean; all those horror movies where the heroine hears an unholy scampering sound in the attic and creeps up the stairs. A bat! Nothing. And then she turns around and . . .
What, exactly, would our 33-year-old Georgia man do if he found burglars in his house? Tell them to leave? Wrestle them to the ground? Anger or scare them enough so that they’d kill him, come outside and kill his fiancée? Maybe, and that’s one possibility that’s easily avoided. Don’t go in the attic!
He heard some rustling of leaves at the back of house and investigated. He noticed that one of his rear windows was broken.
He heard someone laughing and saw a young man, 12 to 15 years old, climbing over the back fence.
The moment you expose a firearm in a potentially violent situation, you’ve turned the confrontation into a gunfight. News flash! You can lose a gunfight. As in die. Or become paralyzed. Or shoot the wrong person. Or shoot the right person and get the shit sued out of you. What could these kids have stolen, what lesson could the homeowner have taught them, that was worth that risk?
We don’t know if the homeowner was hiding his piece. But the robbery was over. The homeowner was not in imminent danger—at least not until he placed himself in harm’s way. And probably even then, as the perp vaulting the fence was 12 to 15-years-old. Unless it was a big-ass kid and small ass homeowner, the disparity of size and age would not have worked in the homeowner’s favor in a court of law. Should anything happen.
The victim said he then saw two other young people in the vicinity.
Uh-oh! A gang of pubescent perps. Not good. Time to quietly withdraw methinks. Did he hell. But before that . . .
Did the homeowner call the cops when he first discovered the burglary? If I was looking at a gang of burglars—even if they didn’t see me—I’d want to know that the po-po were inbound and down. It would be extremely reassuring and allow for different tactics. Like, I dunno, avoidance. Oops!
Police officers responding to 911 calls that shots had been fired at 7:20 p.m. Wednesday in the 1300 block of East Division Street, found a man walking from a backyard to the front of his house, Decatur Police Sgt. Steve Chabak said.
And that’s because . . .
The victim told police he then pointed his gun toward the ground and shot five times to scare the young men and cause them to leave the premises. They all took off running.
Which means that the homeowner was now walking towards armed police responding to a shooting. What’s the bet the homeowner had a gun in his hand? And that the police were ready for action? Friendly fire is another risk you run with a gunfight, regardless of whether or not you call the police before or after hostilities. Not to mention other homeowners protecting their life and property from bad guys discharging firearms.
One warning shot was bad enough (although I’d probably call this a retribution shot, as the homeowner wasn’t warning the teens not to attack). Five times is madness. Even assuming the homeowner was carrying 19 rounds in a Springfield XD 9mm, it is NOT a good idea to waste ammo.
What if the three kids had heard the gunshot, pulled out their own guns and engaged in a firefight? The homeowner had just wasted five bullets creating a gunfight. If he was carrying revolver, he’d be down to his last cartridge. Facing the fun of trying to reload in the middle of leadstorm.
Of course, that assumes he’d be carrying spare ammo. I doubt it. Anyone irresponsible enough to put himself and his fiance in mortal danger to protect his territory/stuff would probably think that spare ammo is for bad shots and wimps.
We’ve been down this road before. Some of you will accuse me of mollycoddling the bad guys and, thus, encouraging them and people like them to do bad, bad things. You’ll see my condemnation of the homeowner’s armed aggression (yes, aggression) as a failure to defend the bedrock of civilized society (property rights). But I’m sticking to my guns.
The victim, who possessed a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, was cited for reckless discharge of a firearm. He was issued a notice to appear in Macon County Circuit Court. His gun was taken by police, to be used as evidence in the case.
[Police Chief] Chabak said it is illegal to shoot a gun in the city, except in exceptional circumstances involving defense of a human life or to prevent great bodily harm.
So even if you think I’m wrong, lookee here. The Georgia homeowner is now facing gun crime charges, the cops have his weapon and there are at least three teens out there who may be out for revenge. It’s not fair. But it was an entirely predictable outcome.
As the rabbi says, if you survive a gunfight, you win. The best way to survive a gunfight is not to have it. And the best way not to have it is to not go looking for trouble. And keeping as low a profile as possible when trouble finds you. After that, all bets are off. Do you really want to go there?