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“Alicia Cappola said a man tried to break into her home around 1:45 am,” reports. “Desperate for help, she dialed 911, only to find out that her calls were not going through. Unbeknownst to Cappola, Washington state’s 911 system was suffering from intermittent outages. ‘After I tried 911 a couple times and it rang busy, they were still at the door,’ said Cappola.” In the end, Cappola ended up calling 911 . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . 37 times. So she had to take matters in her own hands . . .

Eventually, the man crawled in through a window, and Alicia, realizing that her young twins were asleep inside the house, armed herself with a knife, prepared to protect her family.

“You call 911 and they come and they save you. And they weren’t going to come and save me,” she said.

Luckily, the man soon ran out of her house, and she was able to get through on an alternate number for the Everett police that she had to look up on the Internet.

An hour after her first call, she finally got someone on the phone and police arrived. By that time, the intruder was gone.

While we applaud Ms. Cappola’s bravery, it’s a bit disconcerting that she continues to cling to the idea that calling 911 is a guarantee that the police will save your toches. To quote the old adage, when seconds count, the police are only an hour away. Oh, and kitchen knives are a useful tool for self-defense, but a gun is better. Just sayin’ . . .

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    • Sprinklers are a GREAT deterrent! AND it makes it easy to identify the attempted intruder(s) as they run from your home! {assuming there is not also a blood trail..!! }
      I had a friend who installed a small spray nozzle over their front door and windows. With a push of a button, it sprayed AMMONIA !! Got a pesky salesperson at the door? Got a drunk neighbor who showed up at YOUR door instead? (-;

    • Back when I was a home-owner I recall seeing an ad for automatic garden sprinklers. They would come on once per day and water the garden, but in the interim they had motion detector that would home in on dogs or birds or whatever entered the garden space and hit them with a high-pressure shot of water. It kept this up in bursts until they cleared the AO!

  1. When last I lived in WV, near 30 years now, the county sheriff had a press conference after a lady successfully and fatally dgu’d a bad guy. He stated that he had a limited amount of deputies and could not promise the safety of any individual. He recommended all citizens have a gun and keep it handy.

    Other than being a democrat that sheriff was all right.

  2. Well here in Washington, when seconds count police are only hours away. That why I am always armed. I do live in Thurston county.

  3. I really do wish that all of the pro-control people that say “just call the police” could have an opportunity to listen to a police scanner for a while. It really is instructive, and frightening, how long the response times are even to a serious situation. You can tell, the police are doing everything they can to get units to a particular location, but they have finite resources and they are stretched quite thinly.

    • Or better yet, go on a ride-a-long and see first hand:

      (a) how often they get on scene after the fact vs actually stopping a crime in progress, and

      (b) see the people first hand who were not “saved” due to real world response times. Saved here does not have to be life vs death…bloody or scared, etc can speak volumes, too.

      It can be an eye opening experience for people that don’t know what being a cop is REALLY like … folks that live in their happy little fantasy world, especially when some of those calls are near their home.

  4. Actually, Ms. Cappola, you call 911 and they come and draw a chalk line around your body, or maybe pull it out of the closet it’s been stuffed in…

  5. Buy a shotgun or a good pistol. Got a knife? Good, use it for cutting veggies, or get trained on how to use it correctly to defend yourself. Otherwise YOU are probably going to be the one that gets cut.

    • I failed with my daughter. She can shoot pistols, shotguns and rifles– yet for self-defense she prefers a 30″ aluminum softball bat. Why? She says, “So I can feel that satisfying thud of it impacting his flesh, the distinctive crack of his skull and bones fracturing.”

  6. Heads should roll in the aftermath of a SIX HOUR 911 outage. I say should. They probably won’t.

    911 systems are inherently expensive because they’re supposed to have redundancies and backups. When system A goes down, you switch to system B. Communities are supposed to have backup 911 centers. Tornado hits center A, you switch to center B.

    Someone seriously f*cked up here, but I doubt anyone’s job is in jeopardy. It is the government, after all.

    • I’d say the problem isn’t so much the dependability of the system, but those that depend upon it to the exclusion of other options.

    • Great, so instead of restoring a functioning 911 system, the powers that be fund a Regional Fusion Center. Priorities…

    • More likely the regional ‘phone carrier; that call first has to get to an action center.

      Good ol’ Private Industry, for which Profit is the only serious motive and which according to contards can do no wrong.

      • Russ,

        Profit motive is fine motivation for a business. Thus the local government has two options:
        (1) Build and manage a 911 call system themselves and profit motive is no longer a criteria. (I do NOT recommend this.)
        (2) Use a private 911 call system and build in HUGE costs to the private company whenever the system is down. (I DO recommend this.)

        No matter what, the failure here is government … regardless of whether the local government is liberal, conservative, libertarian, peppermint, or any other flavor.

    • Some guys were talking about it at the trap shoot yesterday (in King County, WA 80% of the people at any gun event are tech workers). They were saying that somebody was trying to test a dev version, but deployed it wrong and it went to the production 911 system.

    • One moron with an old JD backhoe meets a fiber line and big problem. BillyBob and his soldering iron doesn’t fix it in 30min. Too many aren’t looped (redundant) and even where is still can have local outage. A good reason to have landline AND cell (to supplement your “arsenal”).

      • *ding!* And the light goes on.

        Heard that term many a time, spelled it phonetically in my head, had no idea “tookis” was actually toches (though the Yiddish connection is obvious in retrospect). The things a guy can learn on TTAG…

        • I’ve heard that word obviously. Had no idea it was spelled that way though, or that it was yiddish. I get the feeling yiddish is popular around here

  7. She (or someone that says they are her) posted in the comments at the story. ” I am aware that I have the right to bear arms and I chose not to. I believe that having to explain a dead man in the living room would have been a lot more traumatic for my children than what actually ended up happening”

    There are levels of ignorant that are hard to overcome.

    • Epic levels of stupidity there!

      My kids wouldn’t need an explanation. Heck, they’d probably be glad after all the times they’ve been drug along to the range that they finally had something to show for it. 😛

    • That is indeed the victim saying that. And while she is perhaps correct that killing someone, however justified, is more traumatic than chasing him away, that is a false dichotomy. The next intruder may not be so squirrely, and me thinks her kids would find burying their mom a LOT more traumatic than seeing a stranger’s dead body in their living room.

      Not to mention the dude is still out there. But Ms. Cappola seems fixated on the 911 problem to the exclusion of all else.

    • She needs to get a shotgun and learn the basics of using it. And the next time [there will undoubtedly be a next time based on the perp’s reception THIS time] she needs to call, in order:

      It’s for the children. And THEIR health. Because lately “Dead kids don’t tell tales.”

  8. While I cannot divulge where, I am a 911 Dispatcher. Every day I deal with some of the worst things society can throw at you and no one ever calls because something good has happened. I know exactly how the police function and the time from start to finish that it takes to get a response. And I can tell you, I am not the only one in my center with a CCW…

      • Or politicians who vote against school vouchers, but send their own kids to private schools. Hypocrites all.

        However, I don’t see the application to Bryan here, because he’s not chastising others for not relying on 911, while secretly maintaining self defense firearms for himself. I think it’s just his job, but he’s actually suggesting that people not rely exclusively on the police. I’m cool with his post.

  9. What? I thought the very act of dialing the numbers: 9-1-1 was enough to make bad people go away. Heavens. Was I wrong?

  10. If this woman REALLY posted that comment she is an unfit mother. So assault, rape or murder is BETTER on your tykes psyche? Yikes. An hour for 911? Double yikes. Where I live the cops will be here in 5minutes or less. Even quicker if you DON’T want them around.

    • …..Memorize your local PD’s number. It’s always faster.
      Nope! My local number is only answered 9-5. SOL in my part of Washington.

    • A fire weapon? Like a flamethrower? Great for clearing caves on Iwo Jima, but a bit too much collateral damage for home defense…

  11. I’ve got a JA Henckels Professional S hollow edge 8″ chef knife that would make an excellent backup self defense weapon.

    I’ve also called 911 on numerous occasions to call in crashes, car fires, and other miscellaneous emergencies. I’ve recieved busy signals and have had disconnected calls. The direct line to dispatch is much faster, but some of those numbers are confidential. Their are phone apps such as CHP traffic that follow real time updates of the time of call, status, etc. of freeway incidents. I know other states and cities have apps as well. A person could take a screen shot of the delay between the time of a call and an actual police / fire / ambulance response and have a pretty solid argument.

    Also bear in mind that some emergencies such as fire and weather related events create massive traffic jams. It isn’t easy to penetrate a sea of cars in a Ford Crown Vic, Ford Explorer, or other typical police car. Motorcycles can split traffic, but virtually all motor cops work daytime or afternoon shifts, so they aren’t a available for calls in the middle of the night.

  12. This excerpt from our neighboorhood website from Our ‘hood is 20 minutes from this lady’s location. We had 3 reports of the same instance in a 2 week period.
    I can confirm that someone is attempting to enter homes as I encountered someone standing at our front door at 10:45 last night trying the door handle. It was a large individual wearing all black who took off after I flipped up the blinds, I could not tell which direction they ran as it took me a couple of seconds to get the locks undone and through the screen door. It is apparent that they have no fear of entering an occupied home with two cars in the driveway, lights on in rooms facing the street, tv blaring, which apparently makes them much more dangerous. T*** will advise the police when he is work today.
    No phone call to 911 at the time from all 3 homeowners until the next day. All 3 homeowners never mentioned they had a gun, video system, house alarm….nothing. I have all 3. We walked the neighborhood at night from 11pm to 3am for the next week and didn’t see anything or we spooked him. The neighborhood is on edge and feels helpless – who the hell breaks into a house when you are home at night, with all cars in the driveway and people awake at home? Serious demented and violent people do this, and no call to 911 here in my area will help. We have a security meeting tonight – it needs to be a security and defense meeting.

  13. In today’s world the police officers do tend to be seen in a negative light, unfortunate for all. However, my reaction would be to call 911, then take matters into my own hands. If I were to “talk” to an operator I would make sure they understand to send a Hearst!


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