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Old March 2, 2005, 01:46 AM   #1
hawken50
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Stay put or go investigate?

ok, let me start off by saying i don't want to know what you'd do. i want to know what you think i should do. i'm 25, and in ok shape. i'm a veteran but never saw combat. (Go Navy!) i am not an leo. not a black belt. not a sniper. although i would like to think i'm a pretty good shot with a rifle, i'm probably just an average shot with a pistol. i have had training with a pistol but the navy dosen't put a big emphsis on sidearms with it's hole snipes (engineers). i have a flashlight, a 40 s&w pistol and a couple spare mags in a small safe next to my nightstand. also keep in mind i live in ny.

so considering all that, if i was awoken one night to the sounds of someone breaking into my house, what should i do? obviously grab the gun. obviously call the cops. obviously get the wife and daughter barracaded in one room. but then what? sit and wait? sneek downstairs and investigate? yell out "i'm armed so youd better clear out!"? what if i couldn't reach the police? wait untill all sounds ok?

just looking for opinions.
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Old March 2, 2005, 02:32 AM   #2
tlm225
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Per your scenario (known break-in in progress) sit tight, prepare to defend your position from intruder. Even if (or especially if) police cannot be summoned your primary duty/responsibility is to protect your loved ones from harm. By venturing out you risk ambush by intruders. Clearing a residence is difficult enough for two trained officers, let alone doing it solo. As for shouting a warning I see it as a toss up, on the one hand they may flee. On the other hand you just gave away your position.
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Old March 2, 2005, 03:04 AM   #3
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It's a situational-call. I'm in bed by myself and someone is knocking stuff over in my living room or I hear a window break/door open? I'm going out cocked and locked and ready. If I'm in bed with wife, etc. and no one else to protect - I stay put with her and wait for someone to open the door. If there are others to protect, I do my duty.

Basically, no point in bringing others into harm in the situation. If you go out and get shot stopping a robber, you are the only one that suffers if no one else is involved. But if a robber shoots you because you're armed, he'll probably go hot on anyone else he sees in the house. Determine who's at risk here and make an educated call.
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Old March 2, 2005, 03:24 AM   #4
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Howdy,
Just out of curiosity do you own a dog(s)? The reason I ask is because my child sleeps in a different room than my wife and I. What I would do is grab my weapon, let the dogs out of our bedroom,cautiously make my way to my daughter's bedroom' and put her in the master bathroom with my wife who by that time has hopefully been able to contact 911. I feel that owning a dog would be a valuble assest/deterent/safeguard in regards to a break-in and or home invasion.
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Old March 2, 2005, 03:49 AM   #5
chris in va
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You're gonna want to hear from someone in NY on this. Each state has various laws concerning what you can/can't do in this situation.

For example, TX let's you shoot someone stealing your property. Other states make you run and hide in your own house first before defending your life.

Yet other states won't let you do anything legally until the BG actually comes at you with a threatening manner. Basically all you can do is stand there dialing 911 while he cleans your house out. Then again, there's always the Southpark "it's coming right for us!" thing.
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Old March 2, 2005, 04:07 AM   #6
jdberger
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Stay put. Call cops. Defend the family. Keep a cell phone by the bed. You may recall that the BTK guy that they just caught in Kansas liked to cut the phone lines before he went in.

Just remember to stay put. If you can, lock the door of the room that you are in. NO JURY, not even the idiots that make it onto juries in my neck-o-the-woods, is going to convict a man if 1) he can't retreat further, 2) he is defending his family, 3) he is in a locked room that someone had to break into to get to him, 4) he made every effort to contact the police. You might get charged, but won't get convicted.

Then again, you might get convicted for not having a safety device on the gun you were holding...
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Old March 2, 2005, 05:41 AM   #7
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Indeed, someone from NY is going to have to address the legal matters - some states I believe require you to leave your house if possible before you use deadly force.

I know it sounds awfully mercenary to those who are very attached to their pets; but a good, protectively-inclined watch dog in the house will, in the worse case scenario wake everyone one up in the house to the fact that someone is trying to get in, and ultimately even if an intruder(s) kills the dog, buy enough time to gather everyone into one defensive point.

Most of the time a barking medium to large dog will discourage all but the most intent in gaining access to the inside of your home. If someone breaks in with your dog barking mad and attacking them, either overcomes or kills your dog, you know that you have a real problem and what can be assumed to be an imminent deadly threat.

I would refrain from shouting warnings to an unknown house guest. There may be more than one, and as soon as you open your mouth they have a good idea where you are.

As far as clearing your own home, I do not think it is beyond the sensible capabilities of the average person as long as they are prepared - have a plan - and have taken steps to make sure their castle is fortified and laid out to their advantage.

Making the dwelling as difficult to break into as possible, the goal should be that no one can gain entry without making sufficient noise to wake everyone up, and that even with substantial tools this noisemaking process will give you a minute or two to react.

A search on keyword "clearing" on this forum should give you plenty of food for thought.
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Old March 2, 2005, 06:51 AM   #8
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locking the door and calling 911

I like the idea of locking the door with the family baracaded inside with me... I make sure and have a cell phone handy all the time now, even at home. No lines for any BG to cut that way. I treat it like my gas tank, never let it get below half charge.

If you had 911 on the line (recording the call as they always do) and were to shout "I fear for my life and will shoot you if you come through that door" (make sure you sound convincing) that just might be a good piece of evidence to bring to your defence. It is possible the dispatcher will want to stay on the line with you till LEO arrives as soon as they know you have a firearm. This way they can tell you the good guys are in the house.

The room in my house I have choose for this would put the line of fire basically into a hill near my house if I did have to fire... That entire, responsible for anything the bullet hits thing made me make a choice like that...
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Old March 2, 2005, 08:42 AM   #9
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Bunker up, and get the cops on the cell phone.

Quote:
I would refrain from shouting warnings to an unknown house guest. There may be more than one, and as soon as you open your mouth they have a good idea where you are.
Me whispering on cellphone: "Sshhh! There's a man with a gun in my house."
911 Operator: "What's that, ma'am? Speak up! There's a band on the run with your spouse?"

I don't know about you, LAK, but I'm not going to be exactly whispering to the 911 operator, so, unless the intruder(s) are deaf as posts, they're going to hear me telling the person on the other end of the line to "Hurry up and get somebody here, because I'd really rather not have to shoot anybody..."
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Old March 2, 2005, 08:54 AM   #10
sean85746
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Were I you...I would gather the wife and kids into your primary defensive location. We have already chosen my daughter's bedroom, so we only have to transit the hallway one time.

My wife will be armed with her Remington 870 12 guage backed up with her 3" .38. I will have my Glock 17L with tactical light and 33 round mag sticking out of it (wife bought it, why not use it?), and OUR CELL PHONE in case the phone lines have been cut. All my other guns are locked in a Browning Gun Safe, so...the BG arming himself with a gun from the master bedroom is not a consideration.

By this time, I will be wondering why our rottweiler hasn't eaten whomever has invaded our little castle. If anyone without a badge comes into the hallway (shooting gallery)...they will need a coroner.

Amen Tamara...also the slide racking on the 12 guage should also be a dead giveaway that someone's butt is about to leap out of the frying pan into the fire.
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Old March 2, 2005, 09:14 AM   #11
jtkwon
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Don't go looking for them. All advantages go to the person who remains fairly well covered and concealed, and it's a real disadvantage to go through any doorway or walk down any hallway. They call them fatal funnels for a reason.

Personally, I don't plan on a loud phone call, racking a slide, or making any noise to let them know I'm there - you then hand them the opportunity to improvise a tactic that may well work on attacking you (like setting your house on fire with you in it).

My pistol is always loaded, always with a round chambered. So no noise until it goes boom.
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Old March 2, 2005, 09:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Personally, I don't plan on a loud phone call, racking a slide, or making any noise to let them know I'm there - you then hand them the opportunity to improvise a tactic that may well work on attacking you (like setting your house on fire with you in it).
Where do you live?!?!?

Around here, burglars and armed robbers are after stuff. If they just wanted to burn the house down, they wouldn't bother going in first.


Hey, folks, this shouldn't be a news flash, but 99.9999999999999999% of the time, when the nighttime intruder realizes that there is an awake, armed, homeowner on the horn with the heat, he's gonna split. Be prepared for contingencies, okay, fine; but basing your home defense scenarios around an invasion by SWAPO guerrillas when you live in Dubuque is kinda drawing to an inside straight, don'tcha think?
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Old March 2, 2005, 09:58 AM   #13
dolanp
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Sheesh people. Get an alarm system! Dogs are a good deterrent but having a house alarm that will go wailing when someone breaks in is a better one. Put the sign in your yard and the stickers on your windows. Robbers are typically going to take the path of least possible resistance. If it's some deranged psycho rapist/killer, he'll still probably run away at the sound of an alarm but if not then you'll be prepared to react.
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Old March 2, 2005, 10:25 AM   #14
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Speaking of alarm systems, what about those of us (like me) that have them? Can I assume that anyone who ignores the alarm is that much more of a threat? If they ignore the signs and the window stickers and the alarm itself and are still coming in, I'd say so. The setup I have makes it unnecessary to call 911 -- the alarm system does it for us. Actually, the police call us, not the other way around. And I don't have to worry about the phone lines being cut, as we have underground utilities here -- including phone, and the alarm system happens to have it's own backup power just in case. All in all, it is a pretty good setup.
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Old March 2, 2005, 11:25 AM   #15
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Our big black mutt usually sleeps downstairs. What she would do if someone broke in is up to question, but at the minimum she would knock them down and lick them

We all sleep upstairs. Until the twins leave home, there are three more dogs in their room including a Belgian Mal . A 15 watt florescent light burns all the time near the foot of the stairs.

My plan - should we ever actually have an invasion - is to take a stand at the top of the stairs with a rifle, while hollering out for my daughter to release her Mal.

Depending on the sound of things, I may or may not go downstairs to rescue an invader from the dogs.

We have no cell phone service at our place, and a deputy response is at least 30-45 minutes (or more) away. If lucky, might get HP before then depending on where he/she is cruising at the time, but still we are 10 miles from the hiway.
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Old March 2, 2005, 11:44 AM   #16
Bic
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Tamara

Thankyou!! I was starting to question what part of the planet I was on
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Old March 2, 2005, 01:35 PM   #17
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Gather your weapon and family all go to 1 room you have pre selected, and call the cops. They should arrive quite quickly as long as you mention to 911 that your in danger and their is someone in your home, sometimes it helps to mention you have children believe it or not. If for some reason you decided to go investigate check your local laws. Here in Arizona if you shoot someone for stealing items from your home you can get in quite a bit of trouble with the law, and will probably face jail time. You may only shoot them if you feel your life is in danger, not if their walking out the door with your TV set. New York might be different however. In Arizona you can threaten deadly force if someone is stealing your stuff, but you could not act on it. No matter where you are that is what insurance is for, so let them steal stuff. Protect your family!

An alarm system is an excellent idea, it will give you a few extra seconds to gather your weapon and family, and will also call the police for you, given the lines are not cut. A dog is even better; I have a German Shepherd who will let me know when a car or person is coming up the driveway. He will bark and let out quite a vicious growl. If it did not scare off anyone then the burglar is quite stupid!
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Old March 2, 2005, 01:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
they're going to hear me telling the person on the other end of the line to "Hurry up and get somebody here, because I'd really rather not have to shoot anybody..."
Yuppers, the same here .

I don't have any dogs (used to) and only a cat but she is protective (she has attacked people that she didn't know).

I have a safe room, which is my bedroom. It's an old house so it has thick, heavy oak doors, not the hollowed out ones that you will find in homes now days. I installed a dead bolt on it right in the middle (it has no handle or knob on either side to turn). Of course you have to remember to put the key side to the outside of the bedroom (Yes, I put it in backward the first time).

My cell and my .45 is on the night stand. My shotgun is under the bed and my AR is in the corner.

Wayne
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Old March 2, 2005, 03:46 PM   #19
jtkwon
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Tamara, I have a stalker. He's my wife's ex-husband. And stalking warrants and protective orders are nearly useless.

He's already burned me out of one home. He's not a burglar.
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Old March 2, 2005, 06:14 PM   #20
Guy B. Meredith
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I am glad this question came up as it has made me think that I might want to alter my plans for such incidents.

For those of you in California, you need to be aware that using a cell phone actually causes delay. All cell phone calls are handled by CHP who, in turn, contact the local LE.

Might want to check with the local officers, but my reading of the CA laws says that use of deadly force against persons "unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred..." makes it a good shoot.
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Old March 2, 2005, 06:34 PM   #21
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There are too many variables. Because of my house's layout and where my children sleep, going to the source and having the conflict there is the only "good" option. For you the circumstances may be different

Just for starters:.

1. how confident are you that once you get there you are equipped (in all ways) to handle the task at hand

2. how far away is help ( if you stay put and call for help will the police likely take 2 minutes or 15??)

3. can you get the rest of the family together safely and bring them to your holdup spot without getting caught by surprise by the BG

4. if you stay where you are, is it a good place to defend

5. what's the backstop where you hear the sound like (if he's breaking in a window or door, where will his and your misses go if you engage there? Is that better than possibly shooting it out where you are?)

6. does it sound like it could be more than one BG?

I think in the end your going to nmost likely do what your personality dictates. If your the cautious, lie in wait type of guy you'll more likely go for that option. If your the aggressive, "the best defense is a good offense" type you'll go for that. No real wrong or right answer until the siruation arises and you can ascertain all the variables. Maybe you should have a plan for both options. JMHO

DON'T FORGET TELL THE POLICE WHAT YOU ARE WEARING AND THAT YOU ARE ARMED IF IT GOES BAD YOU DON'T WANT THE REPONDING OFFICERS TO BARGE INTO YOUR GUN BATTLE AND SHOOT YOU. YOUR DESCRIPTION WILL HELP TO AVOID THIS
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Old March 2, 2005, 07:00 PM   #22
hawken50
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yes i do have a dog, and i have no doubt that he would kill or die to protect me and my family. however the more i think about it the less i like the idea of using him for home defense. my dog, although very large and very intimidating to strangers, is not a trained attack dog. he is the family pet. he is under my care and deserves my protection. (the priority would still definatly be my wife and child). so i think the best place for him would be in the bedroom w/ wife and daughter while i take post at the top of the stairs. that said, where he is when thing's go bump in the night is pretty much up for grabs, so an intruder will have more to fear from him than me.

thanks for all the input.
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Old March 2, 2005, 07:06 PM   #23
Dwight55
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Hawken, . . .

Motion activated lights are fairly inexpensive, and can be wired back to your bedroom so when you go to bed at night, you activate the circuits to them. Bg comes in, . . . moves, . . . lights come on, . . .

Maybe bg leaves, . . .

If you have view of downstairs, . . . you have bg located

BUT MOST IMPORTANT, . . . forget about your "stuff" down there. Your family is first, their safety (and yours) is paramount. Program your sheriff's number, . . . the local PD's number, . . . the State Police or Highway Patrol, . . . like another poster mentioned, . . . don't call 911. Call the ones you need, . . . but call them and wait for them to do their job.

I like Tamara's idea of telling the operator in a loud voice that you are armed, there is an intrusion, and you wish the boys in blue would hurry so you don't have to shoot anyone. Then prepare to shoot, . . . but from the position of defending your bedroom from a bg invader.

May God bless,
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Old March 2, 2005, 07:39 PM   #24
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Howdy,
We have a friend that installs alarm systems for a living. He said often times the best defense is a dog. The problem with a lot of alarm systems is often times people don't use them on a consistant basis. Depending on the sensetivity of the alarm they can go off rather easily. Just 2 weeks ago one of my co-workers recieved a call while at work from the monitoring company for his alarm system. He was told that one of his motion sensors had registered movement and caused an alarm to be activated. He was told the police were contacted as well.....Long story made short the actual culprit turned out to be a boquet of Valentine day balloons which faltered just enough to register motion in an otherwise empty room.
From personal expirence I had a run in with an overly sensitive alarm a few years back. I was able to come home one day early on leave and thought I would surprise my mom. I took a cab to her house and knocked on the door. Next thing I know an alarm system that I was totally unaware of goes off. so there I am on the porch alarm going off and waiting. The cops showed up and I explained the situation...Thank God I was in uniform. Not faulting the cops at all, but they throughly made sure of who I was and got in contact with my mom prior to her arriving home to make sure I was legit. They also stayed on the scene until my mom got there.
Becuase of the afore mentioned I know a lot of people use their alarm systems selectively.
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Old March 2, 2005, 08:21 PM   #25
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Funny you ask this question because I just asked my father-in-law this question and he is a police chief. Make sure you know the laws of your state. Know when it is okay to use lethal force and when its not. According to statistics, most intruders are unarmed, looking for something to steal, and will leave pronto if they know someone is in the home. If you can see the intruder before he sees you and you see that he has a gun, its best to shoot first and ask questions later. I would stay put and let them know to get out or you'll shoot.
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