Rep. Leonard Boswell, a Democrat from Iowa, was the victim of a home invasion last night. Not just any home invader either, this one was armed. According to reports, “An intruder entered the home Saturday night through the front door, physically assaulted Boswell’s daughter and demanded money at gunpoint.” Hearing his daughter’s scream, Boswell jumped into action.
Hearing his daughter’s screams, the 77-year-old Boswell — who served two terms in Vietnam — tussled with the intruder to try and yank the weapon from him, the office said.
The incident ended when Boswell’s grandson grabbed a gun from another room and pointed it at the intruder — sending him running into the woods, the statement said.
Other than a few scrapes and bruises, the eight-term congressman and his family were unharmed, said Jane Slusark, the office said.
Yep, you read that right. A 77 year old Vietnam vet, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, grappled with an armed home intruder who was threatening his family. I have no doubts someone that bad-ass would have eventually won, but his quick thinking grandson ended the confrontation before it had a chance to escalate too far.
This story raised a couple of questions for me.
First, if they had a shotgun in the house, why wasn’t it more readily accessible from the bedroom? I understand that children complicate the situation a little bit, but even if it’s locked in a safe one would think that having the safe in the bedroom closet would be the obvious way to go. Having a shotgun handy, especially in a “time is life” situation, is critical, and definitely makes me sleep a little better at night.
Second, was grappling with the intruder really the best way to handle the situation? I wasn’t there but I definitely would have thought twice before wrestling over a gun with an armed intruder, where the muzzle gets pointed all over the place and fingers have a tendency to meet triggers by accident. Fighting over a gun sounds like a really good way to get someone shot by accident.
Lastly, I find it very interesting that the incident ended without a single shot being fired. I’ve read a good number of personal accounts from people who had to draw their weapon in self defense, and it seems like the mere threat of force posed by a firearm in the defender’s hand is often enough to send the attacker scurrying from the scene. Not every bad guy needs killing, and the grandson’s restraint in this situation is something that should definitely be applauded. The threat didn’t necessarily meet the criteria for the use of lethal force (well, in Virginia anyway):
- Attacker had the ability to kill: Check
- Attacker had the opportunity to kill: Check
- Attacker was performing an overt act in preparation of killing: Negative
While there was a scuffle going on (which could arguably be the “overt act” required to justify use of deadly force), the threat wasn’t immediate. His grandfather had the situation in hand (literally), and the grandson recognized it. Firing a round at an intruder involved in a scuffle would have probably ended with either accidentally hitting his grandfather or the handgun’s trigger being accidentally pulled by a now flinching intruder, both of which are very bad outcomes. Merely by brandishing a shotgun, the grandson diffused the entire situation and everybody lived happily ever after.
Except the intruder, who will now be hunted to the ends of the earth for messing with a Congressman.