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“At night, Petit sleeps only because the pills make him sleep. Sometimes even with the pills he lies awake, thinking about the same questions. Working slowly and without rest, he has built ramparts around his mind to keep out the what-ifs, because the what-ifs can drive you insane. What if that bulkhead lock had been working properly? Sometimes the haunting questions break through and he has to shake them away.” And that’s it for “what-ifs” from the Esquire feature on the Petit family massacre. Yes, well, what if the magazine had addressed the central question for millions of Americans. Which is . . .

What if Dr. Petit had immediate access to a gun on that fateful afternoon when two hardened criminals broke into his suburban home, beat him up, raped one of his daughters and then murdered her, her sister and his wife in an arson attack?

TTAG reported in this story in some detail (type “petit” in the search box). Suffice it to say, Dr. Petit was blindsided. He was asleep on the couch when one of the criminals struck him on the head with a baseball bat. They dragged into the basement and tied him up.

So, in theory, this is not a story about guns—save the one wielded by Steven J. Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky during the commission of their heinous crimes. Because Dr. Petit did not have time to access a firearm.

On the other hand, home carry. If Dr. Petit had been carrying a gun on his person, he might have been able to make a stand. Might. If the two home invaders had seen a weapon on Dr. Petit, they might have beaten him to death instead of the “love tap” that rendered him defenseless.

Then again, Dr. Petit could have carried a small revolver in his pants pocket. Or gone for his gun when he escaped the basement. Given that the local police screwed the pooch (setting up a perimeter as his daughter was being raped and the fire set), a direct assault on the perps would have been preferable to calling the cavalry.

More hindsight? Dr. Petit’s girls or his wife could have had access to a gun. I don’t know about you, but if my loved ones are going down, if they’re facing monsters ready to defile and butcher them, I want them going down fighting.

Those words are hard to type. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see them realized. But like so many gun owners, I face these questions now so I can increase the chances that I won’t have to later. (From my lips to God’s ears.)

From the lack of any discussion of firearms [in relation to the Petit family massacre] in the Esquire article and elsewhere (e.g. Oprah’s reprehensibly ghoulish post-mortem interview), we can surmise that Dr. Petit wasn’t a gun guy. Not then. And, apparently, not now. The question should be asked: why not? And what would he say on the subject of armed self-defense to gun-averse suburbanites in the aftermath of his loss?

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  1. I feel awful for Dr. Petit. It was very difficult for me to finish the article, I can’t imagine the pain of being the subject of it. What happened to him is pretty much my worst nightmare.

    It doesn’t seem like Dr. Petit was ever a gun guy, but I can only go on the articles I’ve read. I can only imagine that having a gun and being aware are among the what-ifs that keep him awake.

    While I carry, my wife doesn’t. I’m trying to find the spare scratch to pick up a P232 she approves of and to pay for her CCW classes. Bad things sometimes happen to good people, I just try to make sure that my family won’t be caught completely unprepared.

    As a side note, I’ve been reading a book about crime and the media’s response to it. It’s called “Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence” by Bill James. It makes for interesting, but morbid, reading.

    • We’ve had the talk. Better to go out fighting.

      How are these douche nozzles still breathing?

  2. Ever since I was a kid and first read the book “Helter Skelter”, I realized what a nightmare a sudden violent home invasion could be. I feel no matter where you live, trouble can always come. Locks, dogs, guns and alarms-each are invaluable in crisis.

  3. This case is local for the YankeeGunNuts team.

    The two dirtbags are still alive, and will probably remain so for many many years, despite Hayes being sentenced to death (the other dirtbag is awaiting trial). While CT has the death penalty on the books, we have only executed one inmate since 1976.

    There are 10 men on death row in CT, but since the company that makes the chemical used for lethal injections is discontinuing it, who knows when or how the next inmate will get put down.

    As to whether the sentence of death will be carried out, the only encouraging aspects of their death sentences (I am anticipating that the other defendant, Komisarjevsky, will be convicted and receive a death sentence) are:

    1) they committed horrible crimes that could not be explained away as accidents
    2) the victims were very sympathetic and could not have any blame shifted to them
    3) the perps were both white

    There is no wiggle-room for squeamish liberals to argue that there might be a miscarriage of justice at work here, or societal factors that might mitigate responsibility.

  4. If someone can walk up to you when you are asleep in your home you are just screwed. Essentially they can do whatever they want. Good locks and a decent alarm system are as or more important than a gun. Noisy dogs are good too. All the basics of how to make your house less appealing for criminals.

    This is actually one case that a monitored alarm system might have worked to save lives. When the alarm company calls and you don’t answer, the cops will probably show up in an hour or three. If someone answers and doesn’t give the right answer typically the cops will show up quite a bit faster. Once you have cops knocking on the doors, ringing the bells and walking around the house and looking in the windows it’s likely things would have ended better.

    In terms of having a gun when he got free, the description I remember in the trial reporting was that he was deep into the process of bleeding to death. He couldn’t have confronted them. He was barely able to drag himself out. A knife in his pocket might have been more useful. But yeah, leaving the house unsecure was the disastrous mistake that made those oxygen thieves choose his house.

    Having to depend on a completely incompetent police department run by dictatorial morons was what forfeited his families last chance.

    • Exactly right Kevin. The lack of a gun didn’t kill the Petit’s, the complete lack of any perimeter defense or warning system is what killed them. These two predators simply walked in and clocked the good doctor before anyone knew what was happening. Imagine being in condition white right up until the baseball bat hits your skull; no chance what so ever.

      And then they were left to be tortured and killed while the the “professionals” decided what to do; pathetic. Just goes to show “anywhere, anytime”. Have a plan, get a gun and dog; get an alarm system, something, anything.


  5. Just sickening. The rape of the 11 year old-with the freak taking pictures, the just-because rape of the mother, to make it “even”-and the fact that’ll probably be decades,if, they are executed humanely. They deserve the sudden, violent,humiliating and terrifying end to their miserable existence as they treated their poor victims. We are, more and more, growing a criminal society. Too bad the electric chair is no longer-better yet, electric bleachers. You just know that the Dr. will never be the same man. This is why self defense is a right, to stave off the evil in the world.

    • I’m with you, Cujo. Maybe we should have some fires ‘break out’ in prisons. Happens in other countries all the time. I can’t understand human rights personally. These are not humans.

  6. Another illustration of why the purpose of government is to provide goods and services that serve the population as a whole (defense, public infrastructure, law-enforcement, penal system, etc.). Government cannot provide goods or services to the individual citizen, effectively (e.g., insurance, health care, etc.).

    Law-enforcement, the criminal justice system and the penal system can only provide a certain level of safety and security to the general population. At best, they can only reduce the overall level of criminal activity among the population. At the personal level, they are reactionary. They are not intended, nor can they be expected to prevent individual criminal-on-citizen crimes. For that, the individual, family or firm must take measures that are unique to their situation. Locks, alarms, private security, etc.; and when those measures are circumvented, arms.

  7. Today people look to the government for every thing. Safety, emergency response, environmental health,……. etc. That is the problem, the individual HAS TO fend for themselves. What if ?….. What if my uncle wore a dress? He’ld be my aunt. For Dr. Petit there are NO what ifs anymore. Unfortunately for most victims the what ifs always come after something horrific happens. Relying on others (government) to protect US only lets the bad situations become worse. The government only works in a reactionary way ,not in a preventative manner. Katrina? Money? Unemployment? Infrastructure? ………… In short A +1 to Blammo’s post above.

    • Very true. I just love seeing the generations of those who are able bodied and live off the government, decade after decade. I’ve literally stood next to a small family with an overflowing cart of junk food, lobster and champagne, and then toss down the food stamps. I’m paying $200 for groceries and they’re paying zip. I think in cases like that, maybe there should be a mandatory draft. I saw a teenager filing for SSI once, just prior to his release from prison, because he had a couple of seizures. This isn’t racially based, I’ve seen all races. Most recently it was a non English speaking hispanic and family, stamps and WIC. He seemed perfectly healthy. Am I missing something here?

      • Yes, you are missing something, Cujo. You are missing the fact that these people are entitiled to all these things because your ass paid and is still paying for it (mine too!). The same thing is happening in Canada in regards to welfare. Twenty-three year old men going out and applying for welfare saying they are depressed. I would be depressed too if all I did was play X-box, smoke dope, drink, knock my bitch up and not be able to pay for it and then turn to the government to pay for my ass. My ex had a friend we would visit. Friend owned a nice (built themselves) three bedroom home in a decent area of town with a standard vehicle. Meanwhile my ass is working to scrape by school to get something going and she is making a fortune off lying about her boyfriend not living there (imagine having to jump a fence to come home every night so the government doesn’t lock you up and take your ‘hard earned’ life). All the while acting like she has issues and living the party life.

        A draft sounds great. It would ween so many clowns off of our collective tits.

        I can’t wait to move out West. [(**Working**)] society in a small town for the win.

  8. I carry 24/7 at home, and everywhere else but work (can’t afford to take a chance on getting fired after 20+ years) . It wouldn’t do us much good to have the police draw a chalk outline around the corpses of my family and me. I can’t even imagine the anguish Dr. Petit lives with.

  9. Your post made my skin crawl with your conjecture and hypothetical what-if questions of Dr. Petit.

    Please refrain from guessing what this man is thinking, is feeling or agonizing over. you have no idea, nor does anyone.

    The poor guy was taking a nap on his couch in the middle of the day and you ask why he wasn’t carrying? That deserves an embarrassing and stinging thump on your fivehead by my recoiled index finger.

    I give your post an F- which brings your GPA to just under the graduation threshold.

    • With all due sympathy to Dr. Petit, he lived a sheltered life and paid the price that is sometimes imposed on people who don’t take precautions to make themselves safe.

      And, if some words on the internet make your skin crawl, maybe you should restrict yourself to child-oriented websites.

      I give your comment a numerical grade of zero. Not only is it wrong, you didn’t show the work.

      • I agree with Shutthefup. You guys are indeed ghouls and you are shamelessly exploiting Petit’s tragedy to advance your own agenda — said agenda being essentially your juvenile obsession with firearms. This entire thread is despicable and you should all be ashamed.

        But I don’t expect you to understand that. You’re too far gone in your gun-loonery. Try to think think about what you are saying for a moment: All citizens should wear a firearm at all times, even when sleeping on their own sofas. Otherwise they live a “sheltered life” and pretty much deserve whatever happens to them. Can you hear yourself?

        • I don’t “home carry”. I don’t live in some self imposed fortress and I do feel an incredible amount of sympathy for this man but I think a lesson can be learned from this situation. While I just recently got a home alarm, the door to my house are ALWAYS LOCKED. For years m wife made fun of me but she is finally coming around. She grew up in a neighborhood where you didn’t lock your front doors because only friends walked in. Well growing up in/around Baltimore you learn to practice a fair amount of caution. Idont think this thread is ghoulish. Just cautionary.

          • It took three ‘break ins’ for my parents to finally realize locking the doors was smart. Freakin Canadians.

          • Got robbed once while I was home. They were out back and robbed my shop. Felt totally horrible and helpless. When the cops came, they dusted for prints which ruined more stuff. I now carry AT ALL TIMES. There’s an S&W M&P .40 sitting on the arm of the sofa right now. I will never be that guy again. I have run several people off of my land, (who had climbed my 6 foot fence), and believe that they were definitely up to no good. I’m in the country, with no-one around for a mile. Petit was a fool, who was WAY too complacent and insulated, and he paid. It sucks but that’s the way it is. There are bad people everywhere. That’s the way it is. Look up sex offenders in your neighborhood, then talk to me. And that’s just the ones that have been caught. The liberal revolving door “justice” system is a joke. All you anti-gun agenda dorks are fools. I have a 6 foot fence, 3 rottweilers, an ADT alarm and a pistol under the pillow. I sleep like a baby, just not an ignorant one…

  10. Dr. Petit himself may not have been saved by having a gun on his person, or even in the garage or basement, wherever they put him.

    How about his wife, though? What if she had a gun, or could have gotten to one?

    What if the daughter had had a cute little pink Crickett under her bed? What if she’d been taught to go for the eyes, the throat, the knees?

    What if the two thugs had known that Every. Single. House. in the neighborhood was armed?


    And for those of you accusing us pro-self-defense folk of dancing in the blood of victims: That’s a tactic we learned from you and the organizations you support: Brady Campaign, Committee to Stop Gun Violence, Violence Policy Center, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, numerous police chiefs, and more politicians than there is tar and feathers in the world for.

    Pacificism, the notion that we should not, must not, meet violent assault with deadly force, is morally irresponsible. You are on the side of these rapists and murderers. Pacifism rewards violence.

    Shame on you. Shame.

  11. Magoo – I am indeed armed ALL the time at home (see above). If this makes me a “gun loon” in your eyes, well OK. I really don’t care what you, Josh Horwitz, or the Bradys think about that or anything else. Even if one does not carry all the time, why not have a couple of guns stashed for access by other family members? And BTW, I don’t think that failure to employ the same security measures I do means anyone deserves to be victimized.
    Given that it’s CT the scumbags will never get the needle. They will die of old age while shysters argue over irrelevant legal minutiae. If Dahmer had been sentenced to Death, he would still be alive. The perps wouldn’t last long in the general population.

    • If you don’t care what I think, why are you answering me?

      I think it’s totally sensible to wear a gun inside your own home. Say, if you live in Afghanistan or you have paranoid delusions. If not, you are most likely just engaging in some role-paying with yourself.

      I’m not totally unsympathetic to gun loons. Let’s face it: from some angles, it really sucks being a fat, bored, tired, out-of-shape, middle-aged, suburban white guy. You have to do something to simulate human struggle. So strap on a gun. Just try not to shoot yourself in the foot, ok?

      • The nickname is ironic. I am a much better shot than you. Don’t take it personally. I’m a better shot than most everyone.

        Besides the Petits’, there are around 114 million households in the USA. Have you gun loons ever stopped to wonder why you are so obsessed about this one? That’s easy: because the Petits’ tragedy, as incredibly rare and unlikely as it is, comes closest to validating your gun paranoia.

        But for a far more common and realistic scenario, look here. Any idea why you don’t obsess about this?

        • “I am a much better shot than you. Don’t take it personally. I’m a better shot than most everyone.”

          LOL. Right. Must be that Navy Seal training.

          What next? Are you going to tell us that you’re a billionaire with 2 PhD’s? Will you claim that your dad can beat up my dad? That Enzyte doesn’t work BUT you wouldn’t need it even if it did?

        • I see, a man playing with his pistol had a negligent discharge and shot his wife. Did you scroll down to see where a man cutting his lawn was assaulted and robbed in his own front yard. I bet if he were armed the turnout would have been different. I’m a real good marksman by the way.

          • There actually is a lot more criminal gun violence on there if you keep looking, Cujo. Right there below Magoo’s link… thanks again for the unwitting support, Magoo.

      • Personally I don’t think you have a hope in hell of convincing anyone of anything, Magoo. I have posted where I live over and over and the crime states for my area and you NEVER EVER respond after that. What is your answer for me? Am I paranoid too? There is a break-in in my neighborhood EVERY night. There are gunshots in my neighborhood once or twice a week. I don’t live in the Middle East. What do you purpose?

        As for the fat, old, white guy foolishness you spew: that doesn’t help your topic/view either. Especially because you would not dare say it to the majority of the folks here face to face. Not because you are afraid mind you, but because they are not as numerous as you think.

        Methinks you are the old, fat, white guy. Thou protest too much…

  12. “They deserve the sudden, violent,humiliating and terrifying end to their miserable existence as they treated their poor victims. ”


    Look up Ursula Sunshine.

    Interesting story. There was a guy named James McDougall, who met a guy named Arva Barr one day on the rec yard. Turned out almost as well for McDougall as it did for little Ursula.

    We could use a few more like Arva Barr.

    • I had never heard of this little girl before. Thanks for putting her out there to be remembered. Her killer and her “mother” should never have lived to go to prison… and for MANSLAUGHTER???!!!??? Oh, please. At least the killer got what he deserved.

  13. “I’m not totally unsympathetic to gun loons. Let’s face it: from some angles, it really sucks being a fat, bored, tired, out-of-shape, middle-aged, suburban white guy. You have to do something to simulate human struggle. So strap on a gun. Just try not to shoot yourself in the foot, ok?”

    No no, you spelled that wrong. Here, let me correct it for you:

    I’m not totally unsympathetic to gun grabbers. Let’s face it: from some angles, it really sucks being a fat, bored, tired, out-of-shape, middle-aged, suburban white person who wets their pants at the mention of guns. You have to do something to keep from feeling totally impotent and useless. So donate some cash to an anti-gun cult, and write crank letters to lawmakers to encourage them to hassle people who dare to exercise their rights. Just try not to shoot unarmed kids using your swimming pool (like anti-gun columnist Carl Rowan did –, or conduct an illegal straw-purchase of a sniper/hunting rifle that can shoot through bulletproof vests) like Sarah Brady did for her son –, ok?

    There. All fixed!

    • I hadn’t heard about those 2 incidents. That’s as bad as when Ted Kennedy’s bodyguard was busted carrying an unlicensed submachinegun into the Senate.

  14. Those who refuse to acknowledge the rules of nature and of human existence, are often consigned that category known as “lunch.” So be it, just don’t insist that I join them on the dinner plate.

  15. There is a lesson here for some, but certainly not all. Dr. Petit is not likely to profit from anything here. It is hard to imagine him ever being right again. The anti-human rights types (anti-gun in this case) are not likely to change their minds, especially the trolls. The people who are likely to profit are those who take another look at their own preparations, and maybe those that have no real stance or direction (pinballs) and accidently read this.

    Life constantly teaches lessons. Are you paying attention?

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