On Friday September 18, something happened that changed my life forever. It was payday, so I decided to run to the ATM and get some cash. I work from home, so normally I don’t go out during the day unless I need something. I live about two minutes from the shopping center where the ATM is located, so I was expecting it to be a short trip . . .
I was on a conference call for my job that started at 10 AM, so I was very conscious of the time.
10:33 AM – I switched over to my cell phone, so I could stay on the call while I went to the ATM. It took me a few minutes even after I switched over to actually walk out the door, so I’m guessing it was around 10:37 when I left home. I talked to my neighbor for a minute who was outside taking a smoke, and then left to go to the ATM.
I got to the ATM, and made my withdrawal with no problem. I drove my wife’s van which needed gas. I decided to drive to a station that was a little further away than the closest one because it has much cheaper gas, and that’s when everything started to happen.
10:48 AM – My wife called me on my cell phone. She told me that someone is ringing the doorbell and knocking on the door. She was home alone with our 9-month old daughter. My other three kids were at school.
She called me because she didn’t recognize the car, and asked if I am expecting anyone. I tell her no. She was upstairs in our bedroom and able to look out the window and see the car, but couldn’t see the person ringing the doorbell. She described the car, and told me the car had backed into the driveway.
She then told me she thought they were leaving and she walked out of the bedroom and into the loft. Then I heard a crash through the phone and my wife yelling “GET OUT, GET OUT!”
10:49 AM – I hang up, dial 911 and turn around immediately. I got a message asking me to please hold. I’m thinking, “hold?, this can’t be happening.” The operator came on the line after what seemed like 20 seconds (I’m guessing it was half that), and I gave her my address and told her what I just heard. I was trying to stay calm and speak clearly, but it wasn’t easy.
The van was pushing 110 and the governor keeps kicking in and throttling the engine back down, so I tried to hold it at 100 until I got to the turn just before my neighborhood. Two minutes later I’m home and I pull up just as the first police car does. I identify myself to the officer as the homeowner, and he tells me to stay back as he starts to walk around the back of the house. My wife saw me pull up, and opened the door.
She was on the phone with 911, and I was still on the phone with the 911 operator I’d called. We both told the operators that the police were there, that we’re OK, and we hang up.
The police thought it was someone trying to rob us who thought no one was home. I live in a nice middle class neighborhood and I realize that criminals will go where they think people have something of value. Unfortunately, that time they chose my home.
10:55 AM – My next door neighbor called to make sure everything is OK because he saw the police cars outside. I’d been home for a few minutes by that time.
Now I’m a gun owner and here are the reasons I bought it:
1) Everything you just read
2) If it had not been my house, it would have been (and has been) one of my neighbors’. This was not the 1st time a house in our neighborhood has been broken into in broad daylight. I was looking at the times on my cell phone, and I realized just how fast everything happened, and it seems that this person was probably watching the street, waiting for someone to leave.
3) The next time, the burglar may not stop just because someone yells at him.
4) I can’t always be at home and I want my wife to have the ability to fend for herself if necessary.
5) Even if I had been at home, I would not have had more than a baseball bat. These days that’s not enough.
1) I’m pissed off that someone would even try to come in my home whether I’m there or not. The fact that a person was able to kick the front door in so easily has made me reassess the security of my home. We’ve come to realize that there are certain things that we can’t do anything about, but we have made changes to how we secure our home.
2) The police said the burglar wasn’t looking for a confrontation. While I understand that was probably the case, there are too many instances of home invasions where the intruder doesn’t stop when someone yells at them. It seems that in the Charlotte area, this is becoming more and more of a daily occurrence. There’s at least one, and sometimes more, news story describing an attempted home invasion in the area every day.
3) I’ve never had a problem with guns, and it wasn’t something I was planning to do. I have since attended a safety class, and I had a chance to shoot some. I enjoyed it, and I will probably be going to the range quite a bit. The plan is for my wife and me to attend some additional classes.
4) Could I shoot actually someone? If it was between my family and them, YES!
5) My car was parked in the garage and my wife’s car was parked outside, so I guess it looked as if no one was at home (again, I took her car to the ATM). I have mixed feelings about this, and how I will operate going forward. Now my wife asks that I leave a car in the driveway whenever I leave without her.
Yes, she’s still upset from the incident, and I’m sure it will take some time for her to become comfortable again in her own home. So until she says otherwise, that’s what I’ll do. When she leaves, she wants me to make sure my car is in the driveway. I don’t care if it looks like I’m home or not. The next person that comes through the front door (or the back) uninvited will have one chance to do the right thing, or they get to say hello to my little friend.
6) I found out the reason the police arrived so quickly is because they were at a traffic stop at the same shopping center where I went to the ATM. I was very surprised to see them there so fast.