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“You know, this is why I just don’t answer the door (unless I know who’s arriving). I don’t want to fend off pint-sized salesfolk or tie-with-short-sleeved-shirt-wearing adults. But if you are going to answer the door in your own house, what’s wrong with being armed? … What makes people feel entitled to a kid-friendly greeting when they disturb random strangers in their homes?” – Ann Althouse commenting on The Wisconsin man who had a sword held over his head when he answered the door to the popcorn-selling Boy Scouts [at althouse.blogspot.com]

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66 Responses to Quote of the Day: Be Prepared Edition

  1. I home carry, discretely. A j frame snubbie in a pocket holster. I do not wave or brandish it when answering the door.

    Waving a sword, unless you’re a jihadist wannabe, seems to get into the batshit crazy grey zone. The jihadist wannabe is full blown eat shit, bark at the moon crazy.

    Don’t ignore knocks at the door. It appears to be the mo of daytime burglers. If you answer they leave. If not, they attempt a break in.

    • Don’t ignore knocks at the door. It appears to be the mo of daytime burglers. If you answer they leave. If not, they attempt a break in.

      Agreed.

      And if its a cop and he sees you armed – then apparently it is an arrestable offence.

      • Depending on how the weapon is displayed, I don;t understand. Please explain.

        Unless the Cop is looking for target practice with your dog. /sarc

  2. “What makes people feel entitled to a kid-friendly greeting when they disturb random strangers in their homes?”

    What the hell is wrong with being neighborly? I do not understand why Sword Guy needed to be hauled off in cuffs, but as a social matter he’s a douche.

    I have a firearm on my person pretty much at all times. I answer the door to strangers unless they look particularly sketchy (hasn’t happened in a long time). One can also not answer the door. You can be prepared without being an ass.

    • What if the kids had been escorted by an armed, permitted adult? Your child is suddenly confronted by a man with a sword. Boom.

      • Right, wrong, or indifferent, I would’ve made Mr. Samurai guy more aerodynamic.

        You pull a sword on my spawn and you’re gonna ventilated.

        • Intent, ability, opputnity.

          “He drew a sword on my child.”

          What he gonna tell the cops…”They rang my door bell and tried to a sell me cookies? “

        • Then keep your spawn off said porches. Personally I can’t stand solicitors and feel no need to be nice to them, kids or not. Especially if they can’t read the sign that says “GO AWAY”.

        • Some of y’all should work on your social skills…

          We are taking about Boy Scouts knocking on doors here, not drug addicts kicking in doors.

        • Boy Scouts? What Boy Scouts? A kid on the porch, albeit wearing what resembles a Boy Scout uniform, isn’t proof of anything. The crime news of my own city, let alone nationwide, is riddled with stories of adults employing children as a hook, decoy or some other kind of ruse in their criminal schemes.

          Now, if you’re so concerned about it, that you deem it best that you confront the visitor with a sword, then perhaps you shouldn’t open the door in the first place. Whether you instead engage them verbally from behind the door or ignore it silently is another matter.

          To regard some visitors, however, for whatever reason, as impossible of being part of a threat, is to declare that not one of the millions of full time, life long career criminals out there, with all day every day to conceive of criminal schemes, could ever trick you. Pretty bold declaration, I’d say, and good luck with that.

        • I can see where you are coming from. It is one thing to answer the door armed – it is another to threaten and present the intent to do harm.

      • You could clearly articulate shooting him into his carpeted floor. Menacing, threatening with a sword held over his head ready to strike. At the front door, you are within 5 feet of him. Ability Opportunity Jeopardy.

        You do not need for him to begin the downward stroke to articulate you are in immediate threat of grave bodily harm, crippling injury or death to you or your little kids.

    • Holding a sword above your head to a non-threat is aggravated assault, no matter if its on your property or not.

      The bad guy goes first, the good guy goes second in self defense you can legally articulate. Otherwise, youre the bad guy.

      Sword guy has some level of paranoid personality disorder that is clinical.

      Going to the door armed is fine and smart. Holding a sword strike ready is a felony.

      The law 1; clinically paranoid nerd 0

      • During the last census the .gov hired a boatload of census workers to go door-to-door validating the census using GPS. Two workers were out late after the prescribed hours and a homeowner (don’t remember if it was the husband or wife) told them to GTFO and had a shotgun. The census workers called the cops. When the cops came the homeowner still had the shotgun and the cops shot the homeowner dead. 🙁

  3. Well any good 3 or 4 cub scouts could easily overpower a man. Haven’t you ever seen Children of the Corn?

        • Thin Mints or GTFO.

          This, so much this…

          The Girl Scouts with their palatable snacks wait patiently and politely at grocery stores and other retail establishments. The grubby little bastards selling me sticky popcorn come to my door then make faces because I have to hold my dog back.

          Seriously, caramel popcorn? GTFO…

        • I’ve never understood why the Boy Scouts insist on peddling stuff that’s so bad for teeth. As a scout, I myself sold Peanut Brittle back in the sixties. Every time I see an old person with missing teeth I feel a twinge of guilt.

  4. I agree with the sentiment, within reason. If I looked through the peephole and saw uniformed boy scouts (I think they are still required to wear uniforms when doing popcorn sales; its only been a little over a decade since I did this) I wouldnt answer with gun in hand behind the door frame. Now if its dark thirty and a stranger is knocking on my door the situation has changed dramatically. Ive said all that to say, the linked article which references a man holding a sword over his head when answering the door for some boy scouts, presents a terrible case for defending being armed when you answer the door…

    • A few years back there was a few guys going around with kids in Boy Scout uniforms selling popcorn. Except they weren’t actually selling popcorn and instead doing quick home invasions. So “looking through the peephole” isn’t great advice.

      • If you want to live a life in so much fear of the world around you that even boy scouts selling popcorn are considered a threat, then by all means never leave your house or open the door to anyone. On the off chance that the boy scouts are actually a clever ruse for the adults to get you to open the door, home carry, home carry, home carry.

  5. There’s a vast and obvious diffrence between a non-kid-friendly greeting, and an open threat.

    If you don’t want to be bothered THAT MUCH, don’t open the door. Sheesh.

  6. The sword over his head is a bit much, but since he was in his own house nobody was hurt not sure why he was arrested except for political optics.

    Does no one check out their window first? Even if I do not want to be bothered, I usually open the door and say no thank you politely. If it is late at night, they get several flood lights, a barking dog and I have storm screen between me the person as I only partially open the main door and gun in pocket.

    Most of the time kids trying to raise some funds get me while I am working on my car or yard. The only adults around right now are campaign workers and they do not show up after dark. My particular town has a ordinance that requires anyone who will be going door-to-door after sunset to register with the police.

    It also helps that my town is one of the top ten towns with permits which keeps the bad guys away – funny how that works.

  7. Boy Scouts in my neighborhood do not wear uniforms when selling popcorn.

    I don’t answer the door if I’m not expecting someone.

  8. Answering the door with a long gun slung across your body, g2g.

    Answering the door with a pistol holstered, not a problem.

    Answering the door with a weapon, of any kind, in hand, sure.

    Answering the door and immediately putting a weapon in someone’s face, you’re coo-coo for coca-puffs and you get what you get.

    Work on your communication skills, because you’re going to need to talk to more people than you’re going to need to shoot. Or at least that’s how I think it’s supposed to work.

    • ^ This.

      If you open your door with a holstered pistol, some folks may get all atwitter but it’s no biggie.

      If you open your door pointing your pistol at little Timmy’s face (or with a drawn sword which is no joke if it’s real), well, that’s a different story.

      Of the two, the sword would scare me a lot more if the person holding it had any idea how to use it.

      Most people survive a gunshot wound or two. How many people survive a sword strike in skilled hands? Not many.

  9. My issue is that he was home. If he had acted like this in front of city hall, fine, slap on the cuffs. But I thought we were allowed to be weird in our own home. It does not sound like he actually threatened the scouts, based on the charge.

    • Being in one’s home does not absolve one of responsibility for criminal acts (brandishing a weapon at children goes beyond weird). There is no legal doctrine that applies when answering the door that you can do so however you want. If he was masturbating while he opened the door to boy scouts he would also be going to jail. I’m not equating the two but just giving another example unrelated to gun… er… swords that a home is not a magical law-free zone.

      • Yes, but the location provides context as to whether someone is a threat. Waving a sword around might alarm people in public – at home you can do that. And he was not charged with threatening or brandishing, but “reckless endangerment.” That charge strikes me as very questionable, and sounds like one of those “he must have broken some law, find one that sort of fits” situations.

  10. Presumably the front door didn’t open directly onto the sidewalk, so the kids were indeed already trespassing… however, i’m sure most writings of trespass law require the trespasser to at least be told they are not welcome and be given reasonable opportunity to remove themselves before the landowner/occupier can exercise the right to themselves start being ‘offensive’.

  11. What? Does the guy have a 10 foot tall door? How exactly does he expect to effectively use a sword held over his head in the average 7ft door frame?

    • Good point. Also, if the doorway is normal width, he is not going to be able to swing it at all. He should have considered a point weapon like a rapier or used a dagger. Something tells me he thought it would be funny to scare off the kids with a sword.

  12. Since I am generally armed, I always answer the door armed. Usually at the ready if the knock is unexpected. Nobody has ever been able to tell from outside the door though. As such, I expect others to be equally as cautions. This is why I stand back away from the door with my hands in plain sight after I knock unexpectedly on anybody’s door. It’s just good manners.

  13. Ridiculous. He may be a douche, but I see no reason to arrest him for answering the door with a sword – particularly if he never left the confines of his home. If his offence was arrestable, then anyone answering the door armed could be arrestable. Unacceptable actions on behalf of the arresting officer.

    Focus of the issue:
    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-wisconsin-man-who-had-sword-held.html?showComment=1412432706733#c5591723488476871259

    • If you are merely armed and answer the door, that’s one thing. If you threaten someone with a weapon (brandishing), then you are subject to the ‘reasonable’ test. Keep in mind that an arrest only requires probable cause before you go raising a sword to ward off boy scouts.

  14. I find it sad that she would refer to Boy Scouts as “pint-sized salesfolk.” Anyone familiar with that organization should want to support it. It’s one of the very few youth organizations that still teaches kids gun safety (not to mention good character and a whole bunch of life skills).

    Answering the door to neighborhood children is also the best way to meet them. We used to consider it a good thing when neighbors actually knew each other.

    If this level of basic human friendliness is more than you can muster, then just hang up a big, ugly “NO SOLICITING” sign and be done with it.

    • I know all the neighborhood kids, problem is 95% of the people that ring our doorbell aren’t from my neighborhood and apparently are illiterate as they can’t read the sign that says “no solicitors”. No offense to all the people who have kids, but if you want them in band, scouts, little league, etc. maybe, just maybe you should think about how you are going to pay for it instead of bugging strangers and neighbors for money. You probably wouldn’t like it if I was knocking on your doors asking for money for a new rifle and ammo.

      • … so are you suggesting that those organizations and activities should be entirely funded by the parents? If so, that eliminates the opportunity for the low income kids (who are often the kids who could benefit most from an organization that exposes them to positive role models).

        I believe there is value in requiring youth to earn some of the money required to operate these programs. They gain a greater appreciation for it, and every sales call is an opportunity to educate adults about what their organization is doing.

        And yes, I hated selling that crap, too. I also hated doing my homework and running the quarter mile in gym class. God bless the adults who made me do things I didn’t like.

  15. I have a camera system and one is at the front door. It has a smartphone app too. This way I can stay well away from the door and assess quickly who is there. These systems are cheap now.

  16. Boy, reading the comments here and on the original/linked article, there are more than a few “git off my lawn” sourpusses. I just had the “pleasure” of having to take my two “pint-sized salespeople” door to door to hawk the expensive popcorn this year. I carried every time I did and I, too, would have called the police if someone had answered the door brandishing a sword, followed shortly by a call to an attorney, no doubt.

  17. Always answer the door,don’t always open it though .

    My kids are grown now,a RN and CPA, I believe in paying my own way as well,however the whole thing is about teaching them to pay their own way as well .Earn it by working,sometimes that means knocking on doors taking orders,placing them then hauling a red wagon full of cookies around to deliver them.

    We buy from everyone that knocks I think 70 bucks worth last year,can’t hunt with out GSC.

  18. I trust that the alert scouts at the door, having experienced some firearms training, smugly told the man “your sword’s no good and you’re holding it wrong.”

  19. Answering the door armed and answering the door armed and threatening harm are not the same thing.
    I answer my door armed with a pistol but I don’t aim it out the door while answering.

  20. Had a similar situation just last night – 5 x 15ish year old boys ringing on my doorbell at 8:30pm. I took 10 seconds to retrieve my 226 and got another insistent ring. I saw a group of kids wearing paper name tags and decided to open the inner door just a crack. (I also have a glass security door with a “No soliciting” sign on it). One boy stepped forward & said “we are playing a game” and reached to open my security door. I instinctively grabbed the handle from the inside (even though it was locked). He apologized, suddenly realizing the situation & that I was in condition orange. Turned out to be a local Church youth group on a scavenger hunt… I helped them with a used pencil, an elastic band & sent then on their way….. Still more support for home carry.

    • Those kids are pretty damn ignorant. I always answer my door-I don’t always open it. The JW’s usually get a “go away” and that’s it. I have a gun,a knife. a baseball bat, a machete and an ax at the ready but noit in sight. And yeah there have been home invasions, people using kids in crimes and murders in my changing neighborhood south of Chicago. Heck we barely have trick or treaters anymore. We are neighborly but the world sucks.

  21. When answering a knock at your door, it’s better to have a gun on your hip than a sword in your hand. Don’t have a gun? Then sell your sword and buy a gun.

  22. Have my ccw permit , but carry in my home , even though I live rurally , out here the response time for a deputy is about a half an hour , unless they are patrolling close by , so who is gonna protect me and mine , well that is a no brainer to me , I used to be a deputy so I have no qualms about using a firearm for defense , take God I live in a state that has a castle doctrine , and protects me against a frivolous lawsuit , oh even though there hasn’t been any trouble around here since Katrina , In my part of Mississippi , you cannot get complacent ,EVER ! Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  23. Opening the door armed in this day and age is understandable IMO, just be careful so that if it’s a cop, they don’t freak out, as maybe they are asking around about a criminal in the area or something. IMO, have a one-way peephole in the door, so that you can peer through and if it is a cop, don’t even answer the door.

    Sebastian Maniscalco did a hilarious skit on this (speed forward to 3:25):

  24. I like Althouse.com especially for her take on whats going on in Madison, but find her judgement flawed, as in her vote for Obama both times. I realize she is tee’ing this up for discussion, and not taking sides- but I am with the cops on this one- reckless endangerment, and if I were the Dad chaperoning my Scouts door to door selling popcorn or cookies, like Girl Scouts, you can bet I’d have been concerned too.

    The original article said he “held the sword over his head”, “advanced to within 5 feet of the kids”, and “yelled aggressively” at them. He’s well within the ‘Tueller Drill 21 foot distance’…and the pic looks like a samurai long sword. He’s lucky he didn’t get shot, IMHO, by the cops.

    Here’s more info on Wisconsin law: http://www.examiner.com/article/wisconsin-s-newest-self-defense-law

  25. Yeah if he had the sword up and ready to strike that’s the equivalent of pointing a gun. Overreaction much. I’ve brought a sword to answer to the door before under suspicious circumstances but I kept it out of sight. It’s there in case I get attacked not to intimidate.

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