“At 12:52 p.m., Texas City police received a call from the girl saying there was somebody trying to get into her house in the 7300 block of Meadowlark,” galvestondailynews.com reports. “’She was home by herself in the bathroom and when she called — she was hysterical,’ police Capt. Brian Goetschius said. The teen said she heard the front door jiggle and when she looked out, she saw two men standing there, Goetschius said. The girl called her father, her aunt and the police.” Ideally in the reverse order. Anyway, the 15-year-old Texan proceeded to do something very stupid . . .

Then she got her father’s handgun and went outside, Goetschius said.

One of the men had gone into the garage and was attempting to steal a pickup. The girl did not know where the other one was.

She confronted the man in the garage and he ran away, heading east on Meadowlark. He was followed by his accomplice, who had been inside, searching the house, Goetschius said . . .

Ain’t nothin’ wrong with a young gal gittin’ a gun to defend herself. Leastways not in Texas. But the teen was wrong to confront the car thief—especially as she didn’t know the location of the perp’s accomplice. (Hint: HE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU.)

Not that you can blame her—or anyone else who tools-up to protect property. Life is a fight for resources. Protecting our stuff is hard-wired into our lizard brain. But like many other “natural” instincts triggered by criminal intent, it’s an urge that should be stifled like Edith Bunker. Only more so.

What do you own that’s worth defending with your life? Nothin’. Not a damn thing. Which leaves you three options when faced with a home invasion: run, hide or attack.

Do NOT discount the value of running away from your house. While many gun owners talk about the strategic advantage of knowing their home’s nooks and crannies, I’d rather not be around when bad guys are in my house; remembering the old adage that the only gunfight you’ll never lose is the one you never have.

In these days of cellphones, you can call the police from anywhere (no really). So why not drop the dime as you GTFO (Get the F Out)? Gather the friendlies (if applicable) and leave at light speed. Yes, burglary teams often position one perp at the front door and one at the back. But keep that option open.

Hiding is a viable alternative—especially if you’re armed. Call the po-po as you gather the troops (if needs be) and assume a defensive position. STFU (no long conversations with 911) and wait for the cavalry. If your life is imminent danger, “do what you have to do to protect your baby.”

Attacking is dangerous but doable. If that’s the way you feel you have to roll to save your life or the lives of your loved ones, go all in. Speed, surprise and violence of action. Take no prisoners. Give no quarter.

If you go for hiding or attacking, signaling your intent before you let loose the dogs of war may or may not be strategically sound.

“All I could hear was a loud noise and she was telling them, ‘I’ve got a gun. I’ve got a gun.’ And she was telling me, ‘Auntie, help me! Help me!’ I told her I was on my way and the phone went dead,” she said as tears trailed down her cheeks.”

Very tricky business this—even if you aren’t a terrified 15-year-old. In the same way that racking a shotgun is not in an of itself a reliable deterrent, telling the bad guy you’re armed and dangerous is a bit of a crap shoot.

The upside: they leave. The downside: they don’t. Worse, your voice betrays your resolve (or lack thereof) and your position.

Something along the lines of “I’ve got a gun and the police are on their way” would be better. If you can remember. And if you can’t, remember this: don’t clear your house.

When [aunt Shemequa Walker] got to the house, the burglars had left, but she didn’t know that.

“The door was wide open, and I ran in,” she said. “I made sure my niece was OK, and I grabbed the gun.

“My brother’s bathroom door was closed, so I said, ‘If anybody is in there, you better get out because I’m about to shoot.’ I didn’t get a response, so I kicked the door in, pointed the gun and didn’t see anybody there. I went through the house. I opened the closets making sure nobody was in there.”

Ask any combat vet: clearing a house is a job best performed by a trained team. It’s most decided not a task that an armed civilian should contemplate. You pay for the police. Let them work for their money.

[NB: As commentator HSR47 points out below, inviting the police into your home to conduct a search carries its own dangers. If there’s a bong on the coffee table, the perceived need for law enforcement assistance could very well diminish.]

And there’s the a Bump In The Night (BITN) scenario. You don’t want to be calling the cops “for nothing.” Judgement call. If it’s the sound of glass breaking, call the cops. If you don’t know what woke you up, you might want to grab a phone and a firearm and listen.

Better yet, get an alarm system. If it goes off, it’s not nothing. Even if it is, you can call the cops with a clear[er] conscience. In any case, the bottom line remains the same: don’t go looking for trouble. Because you just might find it. And then what?

80 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Go Looking for Trouble

  1. Movement through a structure, even your own home, is a very dangerous proposition. It should be avoided whenever possible, and only undertaken if you need to get to a friend or family member who needs your help or protection.

    • I can find my way around my own home blindfolded; the BG can’t. If I move, I preserve freedom of action and surprise.

  2. Props to the kiddo, grew up in a neighboring town and it’s no paradise around there. Mostly welfare babies and section 8 houses

  3. This is not what I would do. I WILL defend my home. I WILL NOT run away. NO ONE will be allowed to enter my home with criminal intent. Your advice is the kind of advice the PD gives to sheep. I am embarrassed you wrote this.

    • I concur. The following gem is also especially bad advice:

      “clearing a house is a job best performed by a trained team. It’s most decided not a task that an armed civilian should contemplate. You pay for the police. Let them work for their money.”

      You DO realize that by doing this you effectively waive your fourth and fifth amendment rights (for starters)? You’re effectively authorizing a search of your castle, which is generally something you should NEVER do. Like you say in the above quote, I prefer to make them WORK for my money–by getting a warrant before any search.

      • clearing a house is a job best performed by a trained team

        The reason why clearing a house is a job for a team is that none of the team has been in the house or has the necessary G2. A team is mandatory for clearing a “strange” house because the people inside have the advantage. Clearing my own house is a whole different matter. Nobody knowns my own home as well as I do. The BGs are at a disadvantage, not me.

        • Except that even knowing the layout of your house might not be that much of an advantage. If there are multiple bad guys and it’s possible that they can take positions so that one of them can get you before you can cover him. Most houses have multiple points like that, where you have to leave yourself open to some angle to enter a room if you’re going it alone.

  4. Farrago, you really have a dim view of people. Why shouldn’t this girl be proactive in defending her property? She has no legal obligation to retreat, and Texas law is clear in allowing the use of deadly force to protect property if it is reasonable to believe that the police will not be able to retrieve it, and especially if the thief has entered your property.

    I think this girl was brave to protect her property and she is vindicated by her success. Even had it not gone so well, I commend her for doing the right thing and protecting her property. It’s only a pity the burglar didn’t get shot, to send a clearer message to others to beware.

    Kudos to her! And shame on you, Farrago, for speaking up for the burglar. Like back and think of England is not the policy of a free people.

    • My family is armed to the teeth and our strategy for as long as I can remember has been to jump out the closest window in a home invasion scenario. The guns are there for when that plan doesn’t go as planned. They are just a tool in the toolbox.

      • That would work if the living quarters were on the first floor; In the case of my home, all living quarters are on the second floor, and every window is around 15 feet above ground.

        Thus, GFTO isn’t really an option in my house, as I’m more likely to sustain a debilitating injury by attempting it.

        • Point taken. But you really should have some method of escape from the second floor in case of fire (if nothing else). Also, a defensive plan and a safe room (the safe-ist and most easily accessible space for all family members) are vital.

        • Honestly, I don’t see it as that much of an issue; Worst case *I* can still bail out the window if I ABSOLUTELY must, but it’s not something I’m going to do unless my choice is either broken legs or death by fire.

          The reason I wouldn’t do it when someone has invaded my castle is that, I’m not going to risk making myself non-mobile when there is someone in such close proximity who has already legally announced his desire to kill me. In such cases, I’ll take my chances with a firefight.

          A house fire is generally different; for all I know the clothes drier started a fire (or the furnace blew up), and, worst case, even if I break my legs getting out of the house I’ll be able to drag myself away from the building.

        • I actually agree with Mikeb on this.

          All the blustery macho iron-scrotum BS talk does is mislead everyone, including the macho man himself. Many a gun owner with an “iron set” has done hard time after a DGU on account of his bravado and big mouth. Being forced to draw down is no trivial matter-ive been there, and hope to NEVER have to again..

          Back to topic, in any case the young lady didn’t need an “iron set ” to take care of business.

        • Many a gun owner with an “iron set” has done hard time after a DGU on account of his bravado and big mouth.

          Name one.

        • Metcalf represented himself, pro se, in court. This is almost never a wise thing. There’s a reason an old saying has lasted so long: “The man who represents himself in court has a fool for an attorney.” (Of course, a friend of mine who happens to be an attorney adds, “Yes, but he also has a friend for a lawyer.”) From my point of view, I don’t need a friend in court…I need a lawyer, and a damn good one, especially if I’m the one who stands accused.

          Example: A denial of some of Metcalf’s pro se motions by Chief Judge Richard Enslen ended with the statement, “Defendants are warned that motions of the kind that they have been filing are likely to jeopardize their legal interests and that they should consult with counsel before filing additional motions.” This is what folks where I come from call “
          a clue.”

          From http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob105.html

    • Not everyone plans to ‘lie back, relax and try to enjoy it’ as you advised your family. If you enjoy being tortured and die a slow death, you’re the macho one. I want to live as long and healthy as possible. If I am to die I would like it to be fast and unexpected. Perhaps that makes me a coward. Ten years later no one will remember what happened, only who lived. Memento mori. Nemo me impune lacessit.

    • Go ahead and call me names or belittle my opinion but I assure you what I said is not bluster. It’s a fact. I am not going to spend my life running away from places I have a right to be. Like my home.

  5. To be honest, I’m ashamed of much of what you wrote above; but to be honest you did give ONE bit of useful advice:

    “Attacking is dangerous but doable. If that’s the way you feel you have to roll to save your life or the lives of your loved ones, go all in. Speed, surprise and violence of action. Take no prisoners. Give no quarter.”

    Once we take into account that you live in a socialist paradise (MA), one can extrapolate that the above quote probably doesn’t legally apply. I’m guessing that MA is one of those “retreat to the wall, pray to God, retreat further, don’t shoot and don’t defend yourself in any circumstance” states.

    For the rest of us living in FREE states, the above quote applies; we have no obligation to give warnings, and by entering our property they have legally announced their intent to cause us harm. In short, this means that we can take the initive by attacking suddenly and without warning.

    Also, take into account that hiding often isn’t an option; I can’t think of very many places in my home where I could hide that would not place me at a severe tactical disadvantage. Also, given the layout, bugging out isn’t really an option, especially give that the crooks are likely to do the same once they realize I’m armed.

  6. RF isn’t telling you what you legally MUST do regarding your property etc. He’s just pointing out a few ways to maximize your chances of survival, at the possible expense of your property or macho door-kicking cred.

    Great post! I might share this on my Facebook wall to remind my gun-unfriendly friends that we’re not trying to play cowboy; we’re just trying to be responsible about our safety.

    • And for decades we were told to just let hijackers take over airplanes. We had lots of hijackings. I haven’t noticed any hijackings at all since we the people stopped taking that advice.

      Likewise, I’m guessing this girl’s actions will help prevent a few more burglaries.

      • Why not? Gun-grabbers are notorious for their understanding, generosity, and willingness to engage in mutually-respectful conversations. I’m sure your kind are classy and would love to engage as such.

        /sarcasm

  7. As always, it depends on the/your situation. I live in the country, with a number of detached buildings on my property. I have a lot of expensive equipment and animals. If I’m alerted (by dogs or proximity alarms) that someone is on my land and “looking around,” I will quietly slip out of the house and see who is there and what they are doing. My shotgun, sidearm, cellphone, and flashlight will go with me. After I assess the situation, I will likely call the Sheriff and wait for them (giving them my description and the fact that I am armed and waiting–it’s even likely that the deputy that responds to the call will know me–again, this is my situation). But, if the intruders try to leave before the law arrives, I will do all that I can, short of shooting them without cause, or pursuing them on foot away from my land, to prevent their escape. Not only are they a threat to my property, but my true motivation for going outside to confront the threat is to prevent them from getting any closer to my house and my family.

  8. The legal aftermath must be considered as well.

    Clearing your house and confronting the home invaders not only may lead to a firefight where you and your family can be severely injured or killed, but it exposes you to legal risk after the fact. In states with a “duty to retreat” law playing Splinter Cell in your hallways can buy you a manslaughter rap quick fast and in a hurry; Even if the state has no laws against confronting felons your day in court may be painful;his slimy attorney could state that if you were scared for your life why didn’t you hole up in a room and wait for the cavalry?

    The keyboard commandos would be wise to review the case history on this topic;as there are multiple outcomes where a law abiding citizen survived the assault on his home or business only to end up selling the same home or business he risked his life defending to pay off a legal bill or civil damage award to the felon.

    • There is no duty to retreat in Texas. I daresay she had little risk in the legal department. Note that she didn’t get into a firefight or needlessly shoot the burglar. Maybe she had more situational awareness than you give her credit for. The law gives her the power to decide if she is reasonably threatened and gives her the choice in how to act. Too many of you backseat driving second guessers don’t seem to credit this brave and proven sensible girl with achieving a positive result.

      Though even more positive would be if the criminal were ventilated, and it would have served him right.

      • I was not on the scene, so I will refrain from commenting on the nature of her situational awareness.Yes, she achieved the result of avoiding being assaulted. But it must be said that had she been in a firefight the aftermath could be very different. Remember a ‘jury of your peers’ will not be 12 guys who are gun club members and commenters on TTAG, and to a group of gun ignorant people-some of whom will be of the leftist persuasion- her actions would be seen as provoking a fight.

        In civil court the standards of evidence are lower. If the crook died in the attack his family would certainly sue for wrongful death out of spite if nothing else. Unless your state specifically bars that possibility-and mine doesn’t-you could end up writing a big check to the scumbag’s survivors.

        If you play the ‘coward’ and the crook kicks the door in on a room you’re hiding in -as when that 18 year old mother was attacked-there’s not a person on the planet who can legitimately say you didn’t have a right to drop the scumbag. Bad guy is fertilizer, you move on with your life, and your home and business stay yours.

        • You are mistaken about the law in Texas. You may use deadly force on your property if you reasonably fear for your or someone else’s safety. You need not retreat. You need not be inside your dwelling spaces. If that guy gave her a reasonable fear she, by all that is moral and legal, would have been perfectly justified in killing him.

        • I’ve had people go after me in a 3 person wrongful death suit (unintentional suicide/gross negligence on the ‘victims’ part) in CA, from my experiences, even if your cant afford an attorney, as long as you put up a fight and are not loaded, they’ll drop the suit. But that is only one case.

          I’m assuming Ralph could give a better explanation of what the plantiff’s attorney’s process would be to determine when to give up a suit.

    • Clearing your house and confronting the home invaders not only may lead to a firefight where you and your family can be severely injured or killed, but it exposes you to legal risk after the fact.

      You’d rather take your chances with the home invaders than the legal system? I’ll pass on that, thank you.

  9. Hmm, well I know others will disagree with Farago on this one, but I have to say that I am with him on it. This young lady’s best course of action would have been to.
    – Get gun
    – get phone
    – go to lockable room and Lock the door
    – call the cops and wait it out.

    Putting your life in danger to prevent someone from stealing a car, tv, or other “Replaceable” thing is not sensible. There are no Things that are worth dying for, only people.

    If someone breaks into my house I am going to grab the kids and wife, go to the bedroom and wait there with my gun on the door until the cops show up. I will let my dog check the house if he feels up to it.

    Getting back to the young lady in the story, she did lots of things right. She armed herself and called for help. Most importantly she made it thru a tough situation unharmed. In the end, despite all of our Monday-morning-quarterbacking, she did enough right. We can nitpick the details but at this point its academic.

  10. What do you own that’s worth defending with your life? Nothin’.

    Ah, the reductio ad absurdum argument raises it’s head. Sorry, but there are other options besides curling up in a ball and dying.

    On the street, my sole objective is to get the f^ck out of Dodge if the sh!t goes down. Period. But in my own home, I can’t get out of Dodge because I’m not in Dodge.

    Anyone who puts his paws on my stuff in my home is going to be resisted with as much non-lethal force as is required to do the job. If the bad guy escalates the force from non-lethal to lethal, I will repond appropriately. With me so far?

    Okay, then, let’s go to the next level. If I think there’s someone lurking around my property at night with criminal intentions, am I supposed to brown my underwear while I wait six hours for the police to show up (if they show up at all) or the BG decides that it’s time to attack? Hell, no. I’m armed for a reason. I carry at home for a reason. Guess what the reason is.

    If the preferred option is to hide under the bed, then all you need is a bed, not a gun.

    • “am I supposed to brown my underwear”

      I read that while sipping my first cup of coffee. I take black coffee and add white cream that turns the liquid into brown coffee. I’m not going to look into this mug while I’m sipping from it.

      • Remember, anyone stating a respect for self-reliance, responsibility, and the desire to resist criminal incursion into one’s property is “tough talk” in the minds of the mentally-deficient gun-grabber.

    • “Anyone who puts his paws on my stuff in my home is going to be resisted with as much non-lethal force as is required to do the job. If the bad guy escalates the force from non-lethal to lethal, I will repond appropriately.”

      Good luck with that hand to hand combat old man. Internet tough guy much?

      • Hey, Sparky, I said non-lethal, not hand to hand. If I shoot him with my shotgun, that’s lethal. If I point it at him, that’s non-lethal. Words have meaning. You should try to expand your limited vocabulary.

        Where did you learn to read, young man? Or am I assuming something? Or maybe two things?

        • “You should try to expand your limited vocabulary.”

          Matt needs to expand his limited thinking.

  11. Great piece. More gun owners need to invest in an alarm system and a secure home that is a hassle to break into. The more layers we have of protection the more the odds favor us not being victimized.

    For example: I have a motorcycle. It is garage kept with a grey cover on it so it is hard to tell what is underneath when the door is open. A top quality very heavy lock and chain secures it to a floor bolt. A piercing high alarm device is attached to the front wheel. I keep the handlebars locked. No guarantee yet it is better than leaving the cycle out front with no security.

  12. While you do know your house better than an invader you only gain a meaningful tactical advantage in defense. To repeat what others have said if you can get out, get out. If you can’t get out then find an unassailble defensive position [you should know where this is in advance] and wait for the attacker to come to you. Remember time is on your side and the longer you drag out the engagement the more likely it is that the bad guy(s) bug out.

    Let’s also get our terms correct. Not all hostile entries are home invasions. A home invasion is a violent take down of the occupants. Most events are hot burgluries where the perp wants to get in and out quickly. He is more likely to run at the sound of an 870 than someone coming after you.

    • if you can get out, get out.

      Not even in Massachusetts do I have to retreat from my own home. If it’s burning, I’ll leave. Otherwise, I’ll stay, and I’ll fight if that’s what it takes.

      Not all hostile entries are home invasions.

      It depends what you mean by hostile. If by hostile you mean violent, then you are certainly incorrect. If you mean that an entry can be hostile yet nonviolent, then you are correct. Burglars sneak in, for the most part, and usually run if there are people home. EXCEPT at night.

      A nighttime burglary of an occupied dwelling is one of the most dangerous crimes. The law treats it more harshly than a simple burglary and punishes it more severely because it often involves violence, and sometimes lethal violence, against the occupants.

      If someone breaks into your home at night, expect big trouble. If it turns out that it’s just your drunken neighbor who thinks it’s his house and that his key doesn’t work, you can make him a pot of coffee and then drive him home. But if it turns out to be a bad guy intent on doing harm to you and yours, and you are prepared to fight, then at least you’ll have a choice.

      • “A nighttime burglary of an occupied dwelling is one of the most dangerous crimes. The law treats it more harshly than a simple burglary and punishes it more severely because it often involves violence, and sometimes lethal violence, against the occupants.”So what you’re saying here is; sometimes the law makes sense? ;~) Least if you don’t shoot em and can’t tase em, they’ll get a good scoldin and spankin if they get caught.Ain’t an unassailable position in my house. I’d hate to give someone a heart attack if I tazed them with non-lethal intent. If my house is on fire and I run out naked in the dark my neighbors will take pity on me. If I run out naked crying burglar who won’t be found they’ll think I’m nuts and soon I’ll lose the right to defend myself and home fer gittin on some mental list. So I figure if an invader hasn’t already eliminated me as a threat he will make his choice of leave, drop, or get dropped. I can’t see anything about a break and enter scenario that calls for questions or conversation.

  13. Alas, I’d love to comment more specifically, but my day job
    precludes it. If you have a gun, know how to use it, know your
    local laws, and actively develop a self-defense mindset and plan.

    If not, a taser isn’t a half-bad option. I’m guessing most of us aren’t
    Oprah fans, and would rather survive with our honor intact than have
    a candle lit in our memory.

    • A taser might be an option. Illegal in MA, of course.

      It’s really dumb that I can shoot a person in the head in legitimate self defense of my life, but I can’t taser him.

  14. I think we’re also in the YMMV territory here.

    Given the circumstances the young lady was in (and Texas City is not Mayberry, I know) perhaps taking cover and waiting would be her best option. We don’t know the circumstances – are the things likely to be stolen from her house things that her family needs for their livelihood? Have there been a number of sexual assaults in her neighborhood? Thefts with the property never recovered? Are they, like so many in the blue-collar areas, struggling financially so that the perceived ability to replace their property is diminished?

    (FWIW, in Texas – that is a consideration in whether or not one may use deadly force.)

    On the other hand – depending on cell phones is not always possible. I live far enough out in the sticks that cell-phone coverage is spotty at best. I usually have no service when in my house. That also increases the ETA of the sheriff’s deputies.

    Given the legal atmosphere of Texas toward DGU, and my situation – I would be inclined to go after the invaders. I prefer the strategy, subject to modification due to circumstances, to give the bad guy the chance to avoid bleeding on my floor. But I know how to mop the floor and will shoot if the circumstances warrant it.

    As for the thread that Mikeb scorns on the braggadocio involved in some responses – I don’t like braggadocio personally, but recognize that in those younger and with fewer “life experiences” as they say such is a part of the mental preparedness for a DGU. If you’ve never been through Basic Training in the Army (and I suspect the Marines) – when you are training to go out and kill our countries enemies – then you won’t recognize the tactic. In some states they may view that as a negative in a courtroom review of your actions. But it’s reality nonetheless. Nothing particularly despicable about it.

  15. My mother in law heard a noise in her down stairs a while back and called the police because she was home alone. They arrived really fast and did the whole sweep and clear thing. I was not there but she said they were “loaded for bear”, and ..they didn’t find anything. She felt silly, but the cops said better safe than sorry. They recently had a very similar call but that time they found a dirt bag hiding the the dryer. Also, they said it was good practice for them and they like that. Pretty cool of them but I doubt they would have had the same attitude if my mother in law was a man.

  16. I took a class from a guy who’s on the King County SWAT team and he said that unless he can’t account for a family member, he won’t go clearing his own house. His priority is the safety of his family, so his plan is to get everyone into a room, barricade the door, call the cops, and loudly announce that he’s armed, and the police are on the way. If the guys leave, great. If the guys come after them in the room, he’ll deal with them, but as for property, he has homeowner’s insurance to replace anything that’s lost.

  17. Robert — thoughtful, and as usual, thought-provoking.

    An alarm’s no option for renters and poor people. (Two separate sets with an intersection). A dog ditto. If you’re better off, your options multiply. Night vision is great but you need to practice with it and know its limitations.

    One man can clear a building, for some buildings and some circumstances. Doctrinally it’s only clear while you have it under friendly observation, so large elements are used so you can peel-off pairs to hold what you have cleared. It’s easier to clear an airline hangar than a little cottage with small rooms.

    Your response might be tailored to your threat set. I say “might be” because you have two things to think about: the most likely case, and the worst case. Most most bought the gun not because of the sketchy burglar with no teeth and crank-bugs, or the ex who comes a-peeping in the windows, but because of high-profile home invasions like the Channon/Newsome murders in Kentucky.

    One excellent thing is to plan in advance what you’re going to do and drill it with your family. I think I’ll elaborate on this response at my blog if I can get *$^#@&$ WordPress working.

  18. I understand some peoples need to “RUN” such as the writer of this article.
    think about somthing though before you generalize that everyone’s belongings are expendable. I have 2 daughters under the age of 3 and a pregnant wife. they arent running anywhere. am I going to go outside to face 2 men? no, BUT im not going to run away either, I look outside i see two men standing there, 12ga comes up BOOM BOOM.
    this 15 year old made mistakes. however with some training the next time she has a similar situation she will not make the same mistakes.

  19. People write comments with only the barest fragments of fact. Then they respond from a point of view heavily influenced by the jurisdiction in which they, themselves, live. The law? Juries? Those are such local matters that there is no useful advice to give on a national web site. It reminds me of the popularity of “In the Gravest Extreme” by Ayoob. That was just full of comments that misrepresent the law and the legal risk in more than half the country. House type? It matters. On a farm or in a ghetto? That matters. Have a “stand your ground civil liability suit waiver” in your state (PA, for example)? That matters. I can rope out of my second floor or attic windows. My wife can’t. Ever really try to “round up” your wife and teenage son when someone has entered your house at 3 a.m. and your alarm has gone off? Police departments vary enormously. My town provides under-2-minutes two-car response. If a gun is reported to 911, six cars will show up. Three miles away in the city, the response is often 45 minutes IF they respond…and that’s when a women called in reporting a violent rapist chasing her. The cops never showed up. Faulting the girl’s judgment seems a bit over-the-top, a reach. She’s 15. As for the “iron set” bit AND the response to it….what blather. Defense has nothing to do with gender. Women perps are climbing up the ladder of criminal assault numbers lately, too. The gun gave the girl enough confidence to move out of the house and look back. Who wants to wander off into a poor neighborhood at night with a gun? What’s the point of tit-for-tat with Mikeb? Who is he? What state? What type of neighborhood? What age? What experience? It’s a waste of time, and certainly one learns nothing from Mikeb. I have yet to read any useful advice from him. Real defense against criminals on one’s property or in the house involves too many variables to give pat critiques or endorsements. Therefore the comments should really be a bit less absolute and sanctimonious. Mikeb: It might help if you told us a bit about your jurisdiction, your home type, your approximate age, and whether you’ve actually experienced violent crime. Personal perspective matters.

    • Mikeb: It might help if you told us a bit about your jurisdiction

      Mikeb lives in Rome. Not Rome, Georgia. The original Rome. The one with the really good pasta.

      • Thanks, Ralph. OK, that Mike, the one that roams the net looking for some conversation in the only way he knows how. He’s been so lonely for so long. In the suburbs of Rome there are exactly three detached homes whose owners do not have guns. In Naples I would guess the number is zero. Mike’s just practicing his English?

    • Excellent!
      One thing, the girl did show poor judgement, but why was she not advised by her father, aunt or the police to stay inside or escape to a neighbors? It’s hard to believe no one advised this girl about what to do. Or did she ignore such advice? Maybe dad said ” Get my gun and make sure they don’t take the pickup.” Not a joke, I’ll bet it’s happened before. Why didn’t the police dispatcher stay on the line with her?

  20. A 15 year old girl is not likely to have planned ahead, if she was the only one in the house, getting the hell out was her best bet, of course taking the weapon with her. I doubt anyone told her this beforehand, most likely no group planning for this scenario. I can tell you this, I will remove myself and any body with me from the area if at all possible. If not, I have a defensive plan already. The pistol is a stand off tool, if get caught in retreat, it is a means to buy time. Basically, I agree, get the hell out. I was born in Texas and live here, but being confined in a dwelling, with family to consider, I would rather have a plan of retreat in place for them, with me armed and covering. I can not cover every situation, no advice for each and everyone. Plan ahead. Having your door kicked in at 3 am? You are already behind. The harder it is for anyone to gain entry, the more time you will have to implement your defence/offence. Outside the house, and I am inside, they are no threat, unless they are armed and firing. And, yes, call the police as soon as you can. (This is just a brief, fill in the blanks on your own).

  21. A lot of it has to do with the way an individual is wired. Not long ago something fell in one of our back rooms in the middle of the night, my dogs lit out after the sound and I called them back and got out in front of them with my 45 and started clearing the house. Approximately a half a minute if that later there I stood armed and naked ready to mortally wound or kill an intruder in order to keep my dogs safe from harm. Go figure. Was I right in doing it? Probably not. Would I do it again? It’s likely I’ll be standing there armed and naked once again before any real rational thinking occurs. But that’s the way I’m wired. For the record I do have training and instincts of some sort take charge albeit crazy dangerous.

    • dls56, that pretty well sums it up, civilians might not quite get it tho. Military training is to run towards the threat. I have a Scot Terrier, he does not hang back. Darn dog clears the house like he was trained to do it.

  22. What do you own that’s worth defending with your life? Nothin’. Not a damn thing.

    I disagree. Everything I own is worth defending with my life.

    It’s most decided not a task that an armed civilian should contemplate. You pay for the police. Let them work for their money.

    The cops are incompetent and corrupt. I’m more worried about them than the gangbangers, thugs, hoods, and (unofficial) crooks.

    Better yet, get an alarm system.

    I was thinking about instead investing in a MAC-10 chambered in .460 Rowland and maybe a couple of XDs converted to the same.

    • I disagree. Everything I own is worth defending with my life.

      Really? You’d die for your $80 Blu-ray player? You’d give up all your future days with your family so someone wouldn’t take your stereo? That’s really the tradeoff you’d honestly make? Because that’s what “defending with your life” means.

      • I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that what he meant was that if we stand aside and let crooks rob us, where does it stop? We have to stand our ground at some point. If everything we own is free fodder for any scumbag to steal, then we’re slaves to them, the same way gun-grabbers are slaves to them due to their mental deficiencies.

        I could be wrong, but that’s what I saw, and what I agree with.

        • Unfortunately, in most places-which Texas isn’t one of them-that is exactly what the law demands you do. Someone who kicks in your door and runs away with your Playstation3 is not a threat to your life. Someone who kicks in the door with a gun and tries to attack you IS a threat to your life. Most states define lethal force as a situation where you, the citizen, faced an imminent threat to your life and had to act to preserve it. So, how can you explain to a jury of 12 people whose idea of “self defense” is a CSI episode where a crook had the gun shot out of his hand,that a scumbag running away with your laptop posed a physical threat to your life?

          Believe me, I understand the premise behind the idea of someone literally invading your home. But the law is the law. What this 15 year old did in Texas was legal, so bravo to her. Do what she did in Illinois and YOU could be in the pokey for a very long time. Doing 15 years for manslaughter is a long time to think about that TV you lost.

          Am I saying lay down your arms and grab your ankles when a robbery crew comes into your home? Nope.Absolutely not. But “clearing the house” to us commentators easily looks like “looking for a fight” to a gun-ignorant jury.

          Can our community understand the legal aspects of self defense without resorting to all-or-nothing posts and “going down with the ship” line of thinking?

        • Oh, I pretty much agree, just guessing at what he might’ve meant, and agreeing with the sentiment if nothing else.. Many “all or nothing” posts are people subconsciously just venting about perhaps how things should be, rather than how they are.

        • Some states have Castle Doctrine/Stand-Your-Ground legislation, which allows you to assume that anyone breaking and entering your home means you harm. They might only be after your stuff, but legally it’s assumed that they’re a threat to the occupants. What all this covers can vary, but in PA I believe it includes porches and attached garages as well.

        • My point is one of priorities. I carry at home and if confronted inside my home, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot, and the laws of my state would back me up.

          But my stuff is definitely down on the list below my life and those of my family members. If my house is broken into by an unknown number of persons in the middle of the night, then the last thing I want to do is expose myself unnecessarily just to save my TV. A family member, on the other hand, that’s a different story.

        • Silver, saying “we have to stand our ground at some point,” is just as bad as saying “Everything I own is worth defending with my life.”

          It’s all macho crap.

          Robert made some really good points in the post about using your head and getting your ego out of the way. Sometimes it’s best to hide or run away, but you cannot admit to or agree with that if you’re one of the insecure, frightener types who need guns to feel like a man.

          Actually, I’m surprised how many of the commenters agreed with him. That’s encouraging.

        • I don’t have a single thing from Wal-Mart. My stereo was my grandfathers. I wouldn’t shoot an unarmed man who already was in possession of my property and was running away, but I would attempt to apprehend him.

      • Really? You’d die for your $80 Blu-ray player? You’d give up all your future days with your family so someone wouldn’t take your stereo? That’s really the tradeoff you’d honestly make? Because that’s what “defending with your life” means.

        If they are taking a piece of electronics, they likely are also going to go for the guns (the ones not on my person), the gold, the women, etc.

        Thieves are bullies. Fight back and they almost always run away.

        • If they’re going after people, then that’s a different story. Proactively putting myself at risk to defend stuff is a low priority for me. I would regret losing something with sentimental value, but if there are multiple invaders in your home and you move out to engage them you could end up losing your stuff and your life. Seems like a bad deal all around.

        • Proactively putting myself at risk to defend stuff is a low priority for me. I would regret losing something with sentimental value, but if there are multiple invaders in your home and you move out to engage them you could end up losing your stuff and your life. Seems like a bad deal all around.

          If they are in my house, they are a threat. Threats get a gun pointed at them, and if they don’t immediately stop being a threat, they get shot. I understand the wisdom in running away/hiding to fight or live for another day, but I have no tolerance for criminals. And while I *could* lose everything, a well armed well trained extraordinarily determined man usually will triumph over low life scumbags.

      • Why not die for that $80 BlueRay player? I’ve seen people willing to kill and die for a $40 BlueRay player at WalMart on Black Friday.

  23. I think the overall point is sound. Don’t go looking for trouble, don’t take unnecessary risks. Be smart and use common sense (not gun-grabber common sense. The real kind).

    If you’re alone, get your gun, get a phone, and get somewhere where you can lock the door and have a clear shot from a decent distance. Call the police and wait it out. If the guy breaks into your room, don’t hesitate to shoot.

    If you have your family in the house, get your gun, gather up your family and your phone, and get to a locked room and call the police.

    This isn’t a blanket solution; each situation is different. But if you have an unknown number of intruders packing an unknown number of weapons with unknown intent, why engage them openly, especially with a family to think about? Use common sense.

    We all would love to “clear” our houses and put the bad guys down (well, except mikeb, who’d love to see the evil gun-owners dead), but not only do we begin at a disadvantage, but we have to remember that the police and court systems are generally against us and will try their best to make us the bad guys.

    Or, hell, try scaring them off. Rack the shotgun and put a shell into a thick nearby wall. If they stick around after that, then you KNOW you better damn well barricade.

  24. My own real plan would be to hole up in a semi restricted access area of the house and try to get a military crest with a field of fire going. Try to pick a place to channel and savage the possible attack. Get situated for maximum cover and before hand learn to shoot left or right handed. Call cops. Stay ensconced. You be the anvil, let the cops be the hammer. I would not go out a window as your retreat will become a rout. Crooks may be outside waiting for you.

  25. If possible, you should stay in a dark area and have lights away from your position. Try to illuminate the Crook as much as possible while creating as little illumination of your position as possible.

  26. Heres my two cents. I live in a fairly isolated area. I know for a fact that response time for the police to my place is going to be at LEAST 10 minutes, and that’s if i’m lucky enough to have a Sheriffs officer right outside the rural road that leads to my isolated subdivision.

    Realistically, I’m looking at twenty to thirty minutes for police, fifteen minutes for the fire department, and god knows how long for an ambulance…The nearest hospital is almost a half hour away, and I don’t think there are any paramedics at the local fire station.

    If I think some one is on my property, i’m going to find out. Because I am not going to hide from an intruder in my own home. The police will not get there in time to stop something bad from happening, even if I call them ten minutes before the bad guys get to my house.

    The odds of winning a gunfight outside my home are better than winning one on the inside. I would much rather face an intruder with my rifle, out doors, where there are motion triggered flood lights and plenty of cover for me to use. Your average criminal is going to be a lot better at shooting from close range that from the fifty yards or so it is to my drive way.

    If you can stop them before they get into your house, I think that’s much better.

    About a week ago, in the town next to me, there was a big local news story. Five guys armed with long guns (The news said ‘shotguns’ and another story said ‘machine-guns’ so I assume shotguns and probably an AR or AK) and wearing ski masks broke into some ones home late at night. They demanded drugs and money. They quickly realized that it was the wrong house, and left. But what if they didn’t?

    Your only realistic chance to stop an opposing force like that is to hit them, and hit them hard, when they’re getting out of their vehicle. You cant do that if you stay in your home and hide.

    Even if you’re armed and holding the high ground, the defensive strategy does not always work. Especially if you don’t know what the situation is, and what you’re defending yourself from.

    If you hid in your bedroom, and the above noted five guys with long guns and ski masks came in, and you told them you were armed, and that you had called the cops or what ever, what would you do if they didn’t go away? What if they came after you? You’d probably die. Unless you are incredibly skilled and very lucky, you’re not going to shoot it out with a crew like that and live.

    Sure, that’s the worst case scenario. But its always a safe bet to plan for the best case scenario, right?

    So if you are ready to fight and defend yourself and your home, you should pick the ground you’re gona fight on. And it may or may not be your bedroom.

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