“One of the residents, a 51-year-old woman, said she heard five gunshots outside her residence just before a man walked through the unlocked front door. The woman ran into the bedroom to wake her fiance, a 56-year-old man, the report said. At that point, the intruder started walking into the bedroom. Both victims shouted, ‘You have the wrong house, get out of here.’ The intruder backed away, saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ as he ran out of the house.” This tale [via postandcourier.com] illustrates at least two important points . . .
First, it only takes seconds to be caught unawares deep inside your supposed safe zone. Semper paratus baby. Always prepared.
Second, regretting a negligent discharge counts for very little in the grand scheme of things. You can’t unshoot a bullet any more than you can unring a bell. That’s why you should never shoot your gun in a human-on-human interaction unless you absolutely have to. Anything less is irresponsible.
OK, so, the media couldn’t give a flying f about any of that. They’ve picked up on the “which one of these things is not like the other” aspect of the story.
Charles Francis, public information officer for the Charleston Police Department, said investigators later determined the intruder was on a mission to save his cousin. She had called him and said her boyfriend was threatening her, Francis said. He programmed her address into his GPS and when he arrived, he fired some shots into the air to scare off the boyfriend before walking into the house to break up the fight, but he was at the wrong house.
You want GPS funny? You’re going to have to work a lot harder to beat the story about the German driver who drove into a river because his sat nav told him to. Meanwhile, once again, we’re contemplating a situation in which a legal gun owner decides to Charles Bronson a dangerous situation, making it worse.
The responsible thing to do: call the cops. I know cops can be a pain in the ass. They can be slow to respond, ’cause they do NOT like responding to domestic disturbances. For good reason. As our Chris Dumm will tell you, both victim and abuser can unite against the authority figure. Sometime murderously so. Oh, and cops have been known to shoot the wrong person from time to time.
But if it’s dangerous for cops and the people involved in the domestic violence, it’s a LOT more dangerous for you. For one thing, you have a skin in the game. And that means A) your emotions will cloud your judgment B) the perp is so not your friend and C) If you attack/shoot someone, you will have a much harder time of it in court. You will be seen as the instigator.
For another, you are not equipped to deal with violent situations. No matter how much training you’ve had, you do not have enough. The cops don’t have enough either, but they have experience dealing with domestic violence. And armed BFFs by their side. Unless you’re part of a team, and even if you are, you’re under-equipped to deal.
As for firing a gun in the air, that’s the very definition of a negligent discharge. You have NO IDEA where those bullets are going to go. It’s a little known fact that the “celebratory discharges” seen in Arab and African nations’ news footage are notorious for killing people. Not often, but occasionally.
Tactically, it’s as dumb as toast. Firing a gun in the air gives away your position, deafens you (making you insensible to important auditory cues) and increases your target’s willingness to kill you. I suppose it shows your willingness to kill them, but why advertise the fact? [Warning shot post to follow.]
In any case, a responsible gun owner does not play Rambo, Dirty Harry or any of the other firearms-equipped embodiments of the Old Testament God. In this case, the cops are sure to confiscate Mr. Gaut’s weapons and prevent him from owning guns in future. As well they should.
Gun control advocates like to paint gun owners as hot heads. if nothing else, don’t give them the satisfaction.