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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.

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  1. “Attacker was performing an overt act in preparation of killing: Negative”

    Really? He demanded money from them at gun point in their own home. If the 77 year old doesn’t win the fight what happens next? The intruder says “sorry to have disturbed you” and leaves?

    It definitely would have been a good shoot, but I am glad the guy ran off and the boy didn’t have to make that call.

  2. Nothing kicks you harder in the ass than the Iron Clad Boot of Reality. Seeing that shotgun, realizing what it could do-in a most nasty way, is what sent the thug on his merry way. I am certainly glad the old boy is okay, but that was a real risk to engage him physically. At least I will bring a knife to a gunfight.

  3. To clarify Iowa does not yet have a provision written into the law to clarify the use of deadly force, however the “Stand Your Ground” bill (HF 7) would have allowed the use of deadly force in this incident. Several states have similar bills collectivley called the “castle doctrine” which allows for the use of deadly force inside of your own home with a provsion for “no retreat” which means you meet force with equal or greater force in order to protect your family or property. In TX this bill even extends to your neighbors property as was tested and vetted by Joe Horn a man who shot and killed two thieves he caught stealing property from his neighbor on his front lawn. They posed no threat to his person but the shooting was justified by the courts.

    • “In TX this bill even extends to your neighbors property as was tested…”

      In Florida the “Castle Doctrine” now applies to anyplace you have a legal right to be, on the street, in a parking lot, at the corner store… Occasionally politicians do get something right (even a broken clock is correct twice a day).

      As always, the passage of this law was accompanied by large volumes of FUD from the lame-stream media, “Streets flowing red with blood..” etc… The same crap they spew any time a law allowing one to protect themselves is enacted…

      Obviously, whenever retreat is possible and prudent, it would be the preferred action of a sane person, but it is no longer a legal obligation.

    • No, home invasion is possible. More possible: shooting yourself in the foot with your own firearm.

      • I’ve been shooting for 40 years, no shot in the foot yet. My entire family is one of shooters. Not even a suicide or even the smallest incident of a child getting hold of a firearm without supervision, nothing close to firearm related injuries or death. Are the children and/or people dumber where you live?

  4. Remember in Magoo’s World it was that guns fault that the home invasion happened. The bad guy was “just” passing by.

    • No, that’s most definitely not my world. If you lovable jackasses would spend less time arguing and more time actually reading, we would have far fewer disagreements.

      If you choose to defend your home with a firearm, go ahead. It’s your right. Just be sure you are absolutely clear about this going in: the firearm is far more likely to injure you or a family member than it is to protect you. Now, statistics are simply statistics, and which ones apply to depend on your individual judgement. So use your judgement, for Pete’s sake.

      • Statistically, you are partially correct. Having a gun in the house makes it more likely someone will be injured in a gun related accident. In much the same manner as saying that owning a car makes it more likely that you’ll be in an car accident. Owning a boat makes it more likely that you’ll be in a boating accident. Owning a gun makes it more likely that you’ll have a gun “accident”.

        That said, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the chances of a gun accident are higher than the chances of successful self-defence. Too many variables there to state that for certain. You could be in a high crime area. You could be a high crime target. You could have business travel in less than secure areas. The bottom line is that statistics measure groups, but we live as individuals.

      • “Just be sure you are absolutely clear about this going in: the firearm is far more likely to injure you or a family member than it is to protect you.”

        That’s simply not true, or at the very least it’s deeply misleading. Your assertion is flawed for two reasons:
        1) It includes suicides in the category of “injuring self or family member”.
        2) It only compares instances “death for death”, when in fact most defensive gun uses don’t result in death.

        While I agree statistics are useful in making decisions, it’s also important to know how those statistics were arrived at. This enables someone to tell the difference between actual data and simple BS used to push a political agenda.

        By the way, keep on making those ad hominem attacks. If logic and reason aren’t on your side then surely calling someone names will win them over to your point of view.

  5. Why can’t we just get a “Common Fu**ing Sense Law” that covers concealed and open carry in all states, and defines self defense of yourself and others, and your/their property? It would be Federal and even cover US Territories. This law would be an introductory piece to my “If You Don’t Like It, Suck It” doctrine that Ralph and I would start, following our successful campaign to become the leaders of the FTW party. Joe will bring along his .500’s and be the Sergeant At Arms. Oh, I have a plan…I have many plans…

  6. Good thing Magoo is around to save toes from the brutal oppression of gun owners.

    Seriously though, why is it anybody else’s problem is Cujo wants to shoot himself in the foot? How is that any justification for taking away gun rights.

  7. Statistically, home DGUs are the zebras, while accidental shootings are the plowhorses — any way you slice it.

    • Many have tried, yet whenever a valid argument is raised someone seems to get bored of reading.

      I also seem to recall a comment calling us all “whiny bitches” as well which is certainly more vitriolic than anyone has been allowed to act towards you

      • I thought you got it from Sam Axe.

        By the way, Mikeb is a better human being than you are. He is cool enough to enjoy a joke at his expense while you are just a self-righteous little prig.

    • “Statistically, home DGUs are the zebras, while accidental shootings are the plowhorses — any way you slice it. ”

      As I pointed out above what you are saying is simply not true. I pointed out to you why it’s not true. Your answer? You just repeat the claim. That’s not how logical argumentation works. If you think my explanation is wrong then point out where it’s wrong. Show me some data that supports your assertion, or show me where my data is incorrect. Until you do that all you’re doing is making noise.

      “You will get from me what you give. If you would like to elevate the discussion, any time you’re ready.”

      I’ve never abused you. What I’ve done, repeatedly over the course of several weeks and multiple topics, is ask you to provide any kind of factual basis for your opinions. Your answer has always been to respond with a new bout of name calling, completely bereft of any logically constructed argument. So, once again, your statement is provably false.

      • My claim is absolutely true. Accidental shootings outnumber DGUs by a mile. If you disagree, I invite you to introduce statistics to support your assertion. Your first problem: DGUs are so rare that stats aren’t compiled by any independent authority. You will be forced to trot out the old Kleck numbers, which are taken seriously by no one outside the gun lobby. Don’t bother. It’s a waste of time for both of us.

        • I think what he’s looking for is data supporting the idea that gun owners are more likely to be hurt by their own guns in a DGU situation. We’re not arguing total risk of ownership right now, just during a DGU.

          Your initial comment indicated that you believed a gun would do more harm than good in the situation, not in general.

        • Ok, first let me point out that saying “my claim is absolutely true” is simply a third restatement of your point. But I’m feeling generous so I’ll go ahead and give you the data.

          I see you’re familiar with Kleck’s research. I’d like to point out that “his numbers aren’t taken seriously” is not a cogent rebuttal. Unless you can show me where/how/why his data shouldn’t be taken seriously you can’t simply dismiss it. After all, if that’s your standard of proof I can simply save time and say I don’t take you seriously and then gainsay any point you make.

          (As an aside, I’m curious why you think DGUs are so rare. With 300 million some-odd guns floating around America doesn’t it stand to reason that criminals are going to come across armed civilians from time to time?)

          In any event, Kleck is not alone in his findings. As you can see here ( the figures range from roughly 100,000 DGUs annually to as high as 2 million. For sake of argument I’ll use the lowest possible number, 100k… then (for no reason as all) I’ll cut that number in half and call it 50k.

          So, that’s 50k DGUs annually as an absolute lowball figure unless you have some actual data to dispute that. And FYI, waving your hand dismissively doesn’t count as data.

          Now, I’ve seen in many places (like that guns are involved in roughly 33,000 wrongful deaths and 66,000 injuries each year. We’ll round that up to 100k casualties. Now, only about 20% of those are accidental, but (again for no reason at all) I’ll round up and call it 25%.

          So using the lowest possible figure for DGUs and the highest possible figure for accidental casualties I still come up with twice as many DGUs as accidents. Which I’d say is a pretty freaking far cry from accidents being 43 times more common than DGUs.

          I know you won’t have a meaningful answer to this, and I know that your opinion is impervious to facts and logic, but I still don’t consider this to have been a waste of time. It’s my hope that someone genuinely on the fence about this issue will read what you have to say, see how utterly lacking in facts the gun control lobby is, and come to see things my way. That, you see, is supposed to be the object of persuasion.

          • Sorry, but I have to reject your firearms injury figures since they are not found in your source. Fatality numbers are present, but no non-fatal injury data is provided. Note the U Penn report is 32 pages according to the ToC, but your link is only 9 pages long. Maybe that’s where your info went.

            Naturally, this discrepancy leads me to wonder if you read the link you provided here.

        • Magoo,

          So you are rescinding the invitation to offer statistics in the same statement that you offered it…interesting

          What exactly do they call it when someone sets up a system inside which their answer can never be wrong? You’ve basically said that even if we can prove it that we are still wrong (because we’ve used statistics that could never measure up to your superior statistic).

          • Seriously folks – I think that Magoo gains physical sustenance from the responses he goes fishing for. He knows he’s baiting you. If we stop responding to him maybe he will either start contributing positively or find another fishing hole.

    • Short answer is “Never”. He as been asked more than once to show his work. Yet he only responds with name calling and “I am right” statements. I do not address him directly anymore. I would be willing to debate with long answers, discourse, numbers and graphs but I will not hold my breath. And as his reply above shows if he does not like the data or statistics source they are it not a “good source”(one that support his view) he discredits the data. I always remember the old say when dealing with statistics “There are lies, dam lies and statistics”. From taking statistics I know that how you ask the question is half the battle. Just my 2 and half cents

  8. The comments on the news story I read were mostly folks castigating the grandson for not shooting. I personally think he showed clear thinking under pressure not to fire while his grandfather was wrestling with the intruder. Maybe a buttstroke to the head would have been called for. Any way, well done to the Congressman for taking it to the intruder and to his grandson for clear thinking.

  9. ” 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.”

    I agree to a point. The details sound scarce, so I can only imagine the setup. It sounds like Gramps heard a scream and ran in not knowing what to expect, only to find his daughter at gunpoint. If so, preservation instincts probably kicked in and priority one was getting his daughter out of harm’s way.

    We always lament how police are minutes away, but in this situation it seems possible that even the shotgun may have been too far away. By the time he got back from grabbing it it may have been too late. The guy could have shot her, taken her hostage, any number of things really.

    Was it the ideal course of action? Probably not. Under the circumstances, however (as I read it), it may have been the best. When the pressure’s on, every second counts. At any rate, glad the story ended well.

  10. Oh great. Magoo at work again. Do we need to start another debate about racking the slide vs already chambered a shell??? At least as a sort of diversion?

  11. Oh wow ! He’s a democrat? I heard this story 3 different times today and they never mentioned that . Odd ?

    • Yea, the Democrat part makes me wonder if this story was fabricated by The Onion =p

  12. “Naturally, this discrepancy leads me to wonder if you read the link you provided here.”

    Actually, Magoo, and I quote…
    “Firearm injury in the United States has averaged 32,300 deaths annually between 1980 and 2006 (See Figure 1).2,3 It is the second leading cause of death from injury after motor vehicle crashes.4 An estimated two nonfatal injuries occur for every firearm death.” (emphasis added)

    Here’s something we poor knuckledraggers out here call “arithmetic”. I took 32,300 and rounded it up to 33,000. Then I multiplied 33,000 times two which gave me 66,000. I added the two numbers together to arrive at 99,000 casualties, which I then generously rounded up to 100,000.

    When are you going to learn that when you make snarky comments about me not knowing / not reading something it never goes well for you?

    And Magoo, even if your snarky and disrespectful comment was accurate it does nothing to address my point, which is that your claim about accidents being 43 times more common than DGUs is complete, uttter, unadulterated and unsourced BS. You have no rebuttal.

    I gave you data from multiple, non-NRA sources and you’re dismissing it based on nothing (btw, those were just two of hundreds of available sources. Try Google). You have proven beyond doubt that you are unserious and uninterested in honest debate. You bring nothing to the table beyond the parroting of Brady Campaign talking points interspersed with childish name calling.

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