By James S.
There’s nothing like being woken in the early morning to the frantic door knock of a neighbor. I answered the door in my boxers and with my handgun in a holster. I saw that it was my next door neighbor, and her first words sent a shiver through me. “I need you, quick. Darren is killing Mandy!” Darren being a neighbor across the street, and Mandy his On again-off again and the mother of his child. Without hesitation, I started across the street. My wife screamed after me ‘You don’t have any pants!” . . .
No time for pants. As a child from an abusive household and someone who can’t stand domestic violence, I was on a mission. The lady is maybe 125 lbs. and Darren is over 300 lbs. and not a fat man.
As I entered the home the two shared, I walked in the open door, and saw him standing over her with his hands on her throat. “Darren!” I screamed. He looked at me, and turned back to what he was doing. I grabbed him with my off hand, and hauled him off of her and toward the kitchen. He looked up and saw he was now in his living room, but started to get up and go back to her again.
I pulled my gun from the holster and told him he needed to stop, that he needs to step outside and away from her. The sight of a barrel seems to snap him out of it for a minute. He walked outside and tried to explain to me that he’s going to kill her because she was driving drunk with their toddler in the car all evening. I tell him that there is no excuse for what he was doing, and he gets a second wind.
He tried to break past me and I made it inside the door before he did. I stumbled over the threshold, and he came down on top of me. As I tried to push him off of me, I unholstered again and as I did, he raised his fist as though he were going to hit me. Then he looked at my gun again and stopped. My wife had come at this point to bring me some shorts and a shirt, and advised us that the police were on the way.
Luckily, Darren finally gave in to the fact that he wasn’t going to do any further harm that night and walked out to his car. I had my wife remove my gun from the scene and the police showed up. Guns drawn, they figured out who was who, and cuffed him. They asked who had the gun and I told them it was mine, but it had been put away. The officer who responded said that he was very surprised the man was alive with things happening as they did.
A realization hit me. Several times during the altercation, I was legally within rights to pull the trigger. I was defending someone else who was in desperate fear for her life, and I was in fear for mine. All of this is to explain something commonly overlooked.
It should never be a matter of can I shoot, but do I have to shoot. We as armed members of society carry a heavy burden. We are sheepdogs for those who cannot or will not defend themselves. This burden we have placed on ourselves because we value life. Never forget that.
We value life. By keeping the mindset that you only shoot when you have to, you maintain that tenet to the fullest. Carry on.