At the time I moved in, it was not that bad, and I was stationed in Norfolk, at the NOB base 10 miles away. As a married E-5 with 2 kids, it was difficult to afford better. The neighborhood has gotten MUCH worse in the 17 years that have passed since I left.
Offering to forget him for the cops if he left was my attempt (unsuccessful) to defuse the situation without using a weapon.
As far as the above posters who suggested that I call the police, I did. Three times. Ten minute plus response times each time.
Try an experiment. If you have friends who own paintball guns, airsoft, water guns, something similar, get 6 of them to try and attack you and two dolls, simulating your kids in your home (you can simulate them kicking in doors, etc) See what they can do to you and your simulated family in 10 minutes. I can tell you that I learned from this experience that 10 minutes is forever.
Something else that I discovered:
Sitting at home in front of the computer, it is easy to make the decision to pull the trigger. I learned by experience that a host of thoughts goes through your head.
- Adrenaline and fear
- the thought that you are the only one between them and your family
- The worry about pulling the trigger and what it will do to your life. Not only the hesitation at taking a life, but the hesitation at whether or not it is going to be a "good shoot" and going to jail.
- I reran the situation in my mind and in my nightmares for months afterwards. You will too, if you are unlucky enough to be in the same place.
- One of my neighbors told me that I should have "shot the gun out of his hand." Think that is stupid? Remember, people like that are going to be your jury. The prosecution will see to it that no gunnies are on the jury, thanks to voir dire.
In the end, here is what I decided:
I didn't go to jail. I didn't get sued. Judgments in Virginia can be good for as long as 20 years. I could still be paying them. I was not hurt, my neighbors were not hurt, and my family wasn't hurt. Sure, the "bad guy" got away, but so what? My mission is to protect me and mine, not save the world.
All in all, I don't see how the situation could have turned out much better.