“At 12:52 p.m., Texas City police received a call from the girl saying there was somebody trying to get into her house in the 7300 block of Meadowlark,” galvestondailynews.com reports. “’She was home by herself in the bathroom and when she called — she was hysterical,’ police Capt. Brian Goetschius said. The teen said she heard the front door jiggle and when she looked out, she saw two men standing there, Goetschius said. The girl called her father, her aunt and the police.” Ideally in the reverse order. Anyway, the 15-year-old Texan proceeded to do something very stupid . . .
Then she got her father’s handgun and went outside, Goetschius said.
One of the men had gone into the garage and was attempting to steal a pickup. The girl did not know where the other one was.
She confronted the man in the garage and he ran away, heading east on Meadowlark. He was followed by his accomplice, who had been inside, searching the house, Goetschius said . . .
Ain’t nothin’ wrong with a young gal gittin’ a gun to defend herself. Leastways not in Texas. But the teen was wrong to confront the car thief—especially as she didn’t know the location of the perp’s accomplice. (Hint: HE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU.)
Not that you can blame her—or anyone else who tools-up to protect property. Life is a fight for resources. Protecting our stuff is hard-wired into our lizard brain. But like many other “natural” instincts triggered by criminal intent, it’s an urge that should be stifled like Edith Bunker. Only more so.
What do you own that’s worth defending with your life? Nothin’. Not a damn thing. Which leaves you three options when faced with a home invasion: run, hide or attack.
Do NOT discount the value of running away from your house. While many gun owners talk about the strategic advantage of knowing their home’s nooks and crannies, I’d rather not be around when bad guys are in my house; remembering the old adage that the only gunfight you’ll never lose is the one you never have.
In these days of cellphones, you can call the police from anywhere (no really). So why not drop the dime as you GTFO (Get the F Out)? Gather the friendlies (if applicable) and leave at light speed. Yes, burglary teams often position one perp at the front door and one at the back. But keep that option open.
Hiding is a viable alternative—especially if you’re armed. Call the po-po as you gather the troops (if needs be) and assume a defensive position. STFU (no long conversations with 911) and wait for the cavalry. If your life is imminent danger, “do what you have to do to protect your baby.”
Attacking is dangerous but doable. If that’s the way you feel you have to roll to save your life or the lives of your loved ones, go all in. Speed, surprise and violence of action. Take no prisoners. Give no quarter.
If you go for hiding or attacking, signaling your intent before you let loose the dogs of war may or may not be strategically sound.
“All I could hear was a loud noise and she was telling them, ‘I’ve got a gun. I’ve got a gun.’ And she was telling me, ‘Auntie, help me! Help me!’ I told her I was on my way and the phone went dead,” she said as tears trailed down her cheeks.”
Very tricky business this—even if you aren’t a terrified 15-year-old. In the same way that racking a shotgun is not in an of itself a reliable deterrent, telling the bad guy you’re armed and dangerous is a bit of a crap shoot.
The upside: they leave. The downside: they don’t. Worse, your voice betrays your resolve (or lack thereof) and your position.
Something along the lines of “I’ve got a gun and the police are on their way” would be better. If you can remember. And if you can’t, remember this: don’t clear your house.
When [aunt Shemequa Walker] got to the house, the burglars had left, but she didn’t know that.
“The door was wide open, and I ran in,” she said. “I made sure my niece was OK, and I grabbed the gun.
“My brother’s bathroom door was closed, so I said, ‘If anybody is in there, you better get out because I’m about to shoot.’ I didn’t get a response, so I kicked the door in, pointed the gun and didn’t see anybody there. I went through the house. I opened the closets making sure nobody was in there.”
Ask any combat vet: clearing a house is a job best performed by a trained team. It’s most decided not a task that an armed civilian should contemplate. You pay for the police. Let them work for their money.
[NB: As commentator HSR47 points out below, inviting the police into your home to conduct a search carries its own dangers. If there’s a bong on the coffee table, the perceived need for law enforcement assistance could very well diminish.]
And there’s the a Bump In The Night (BITN) scenario. You don’t want to be calling the cops “for nothing.” Judgement call. If it’s the sound of glass breaking, call the cops. If you don’t know what woke you up, you might want to grab a phone and a firearm and listen.
Better yet, get an alarm system. If it goes off, it’s not nothing. Even if it is, you can call the cops with a clear[er] conscience. In any case, the bottom line remains the same: don’t go looking for trouble. Because you just might find it. And then what?