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Old December 17, 2001, 09:50 AM   #1
CMichael
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Careful Whom You Shoot

I live in a townhouse. Connected to mine I had these three noisy young people who had parties all the time. Luckily they got evicted.

In the back of my townouse there is a porch with a sliding glass door.

One of the young guys who was either drunk, high, or both, jimmied the balcony door of another townhouse (not mine).

He was met with a gun. It turns out he made a mistake. He got into the wrong townhouse.

The person whose townhouse it was could have easily killed him. He didn't.

My point is that there are a bunch of posters who stated that they would shoot an intruder immediately without saying anything first. If that was true in this case this young guy would have been dead because of a mistake. Yes he put himself in that danger. Still would you want to be responsible for his death and his grieving family?

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Old December 17, 2001, 10:03 AM   #2
bastiat
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Yes, since you live in a townhouse and may have to deal with mistaken entry. I and many others live in houses. My house is in a unique enough area and of unique enough construction that I know if someone is trying to jimmy the lock, they're not up to any good.
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Old December 17, 2001, 10:05 AM   #3
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Friend of mine lost a family member in a similar situation. His cousin was visiting for a few days in one of these big apartment complexes with a bunch of identical buildings. One night he got drunk and tried to come back to the wrong building. When he couldn't unlock the door he started banging on it and hollering. Whoever was inside panicked, fired a shotgun through the door, and killed him. I think there were legal repercussions, but it didn't help the family much.

Self defense is, ultimately, what twelve people who may not be gun owners think was a reasonable way to act in hindsight. It pays to give the other guy every reasonable opportunity to back out of the situation unharmed before shooting, even if you might be justified in shooting right away. Also, as Massad Ayoob once observed, if you can kill another person and not have it bother you, you fit the textbook definition of a psychopath. Lots of good reasons to be slow on the trigger.
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Old December 17, 2001, 10:40 AM   #4
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"One of the young guys who was either drunk, high, or both, jimmied the balcony door of another townhouse (not mine). "

Kid made at least two mistakes. Was nice of the owner to not shoot the intruder. Hopefully the intruder learned a couple of things. He do it again and he maby not find such a nice guy and end up righfully dead.

Living requires paying attention to at least some of the details.

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Old December 17, 2001, 10:48 AM   #5
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How is the person inside the house supposed to know this was an honest "mistake". If you do drugs, drink to excess, then you as the person doing so must still take responsibility for your actions. I'm tired of hearing BS like "he didn't know what he was doing he was drunk/high"

I've heard of incidents where the drunk/high person was sure that this was their house/apartment and attacked the person inside.

I disagree that the shooter would be responsible for the death of the intruder, as it was his own fault that he got shot for entering someone elses house in the middle of the night, breaking the lock.

I'm glad that the situation didn't turn deadly, and I am all for giving the intruder every opportunity to leave, but sometimes that isn't an option.

We are responsible for our own actions. The guy in your incident was lucky that someone decided to take responsibility for him. An act of good faith I'm sure.
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Old December 17, 2001, 12:11 PM   #6
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Don't worry, CMichael. The distance of the Errornet allows the GSCs to say what they desire without consequence. All for it; allows people to vent. Just as long as you remember that if you do something foolish like use your pistol shotgun or AR15 (Yikes) on a fellow human being in your home (or wherever) there will be a problem #2.

Remember Sun Tzu: it is the wise general who is victorious without fighting. Verbalize--tells the potential threat what to do and trains your witnesses (there are always witnesses). "Stop!" "Leave me alone!" etc., et al.
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Old December 17, 2001, 12:13 PM   #7
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I agree wholeheartedly with gryphon. Don't want to get shot? Don't be an a$$h*le. I'm pretty sure that every jail in America is stacked to the rafters (the terrible overcrowding booo hoo hoo) with dirtballs who accidentally robbed, raped or killed their neighbor. Just think, if their victims had shot them, they would have to live with that, instead of being emotionally scarred or physically maimed for life. In the extreme cases were the punk(s) broke in to commit murder (by accident, of course) the victims won't have to face the grieving family members of the perp(s). They were accidentally given the eternal dirt-nap option.

Stupid should hurt, phenomonally stupid should be fatal.
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Old December 17, 2001, 12:19 PM   #8
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gryphon said, "I disagree that the shooter would be responsible for the death of the intruder"

If you shoot and kill someone, you are responsible for their death (i.e. you caused it), even if the other person caused the confrontation and even if the shooting was legally justified. I think that's what CMichael meant.

Certainly, be ready to use deadly force, but don't be too quick on the trigger, and especially don't fire a shotgun through your front door. We all seem to agree, just wanted to clarify.
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Old December 17, 2001, 12:52 PM   #9
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CMichael,

Quote:
My point is that there are a bunch of posters who stated that they would shoot an intruder immediately without saying anything first.
I wish that this part had been closer to the begining of your post. As I started to read your thread I got to what looked like the usual littany of excuses for not shooting an intruder, had a kneejerk reaction, and failed to note the part about a verbal challenge. Mea culpa. Certainly, if there is time, and no immediate threat is present i.e. a gun, knife, etc. in plain sight, it is imperative that a verbal warning be given with ones own firearm at the ready (finger off the trigger of course).

My bad,sorry.
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Old December 17, 2001, 01:58 PM   #10
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CMichael
I couldn't agree more. Obviously there is a fine line between exposing your self to unnessessary danger and being sure what you think is happening is happening. This particular example doesn't pertain to me since I live in a rural area and there is no way someone could mistake my house for theirs, but never the less, if I caught someone breaking into my house, and got the drop on them, I would tell them if given the chance that if they got the hell out of there I would do nothing about it. I have no desire to harm anyone and would give them every opportunity to end the situation as is. This same thing could happen in a motel room. I once walked into the wrong hotel room as a kid on vacation. They all looked the same to me and I thought I was in the right place. Being drunk or high is an excuse for doing something stupid in my book. I am not going to shoot someone for being stupid, only for trying to kill me.
I hope the person in the townhouse used this as a lesson. Their locks were obviously crap. This could have been avoided if he couldn't get in (NO, I am not saying this is their fault because of the locks). This is where my dog would come into play. The minute he got near my house the dog would know it and would give warning that attack is imminent (growl, bark). This would give anyone making a mistake the opportunity to rethink the situation. If they continued, the minute the door opened, blood would be spilled. But he would probably live.
Remember the incident a few years ago where the Japenese exchange student was going to a holloween costume party and went to the wrong house ? He was dressed in a costume and tried to scare the people ? The guy shot him with a .44 Mag.

Last edited by 444; December 17, 2001 at 03:02 PM.
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Old December 17, 2001, 02:54 PM   #11
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One more thing I intended to mention that happened to me last summer. I wake up for work at 0415. I let the dog out, start a pot of coffee brush my teeth etc. I usually leave the door open in the summer so the dog can get back in and to get some fresh air in the house. I usually then sit around for 45 minutes or so and drink my two cups of coffee. One morning the dog starts that low growl meaning that someone is outside. Again, I live in a rural area on 2 1/2 acres and it is pitch dark outside. Sometimes someone will cut through my property on their horse but not at 4:30 AM. I grabbed a maglite and shined it out the door right onto a sherriff's deputy. They said they got a report of a woman screaming and they were checking out the area. I invited them in for coffee etc. After they left I thought about what would have happened if I walked outside with a gun. Two cops are investigating a woman screaming and a guy appears out of the night with a gun. Things could have gotten ugly real fast. I was also thankful that my dog had some training and didn't go after them without my consent.
Think first !!!!!!!!!!!
Now that I am thinking about it..........
As I have mentioned many times I work as a firefighter/paramedic. We often get "wellfare check" calls. This is where someone who lives alone hasn't been heard from for a couple days or maybe they have a medical alert alarm which they pressed (often accidentally) or maybe they have a service where they are supposed to check in daily and forgot. We respond on these calls and ensure that either no one is home or that the person is OK. Sometimes no one answers the door. We can't just forget it at that point. I don't know if they are lying on the bathroom floor with a broken hip or they are dead or they can't get to the phone because they are sick or injured. So sometimes after knocking, trying to call them etc. I break in trying to do the least damage. This usually invovles jimmying the sliding glass door or a window. Man, I would hate to get shot while trying my best to help someone. For all I know, these people are deaf and didnt' hear me knock and can't hear the phone. And more important, I never really know for sure if the address I was dispatched to is the correct address, I can only go by what they give me. I once responded to a call like this where a woman who worked in our own office couldn't contact her mother. They led me to believe this was a grave situation, one of the supervisors responded with us at break neck speed. We got there and no one answered the door. This was a second story apartment so we didn't have any other way to see in. The supervisor told me to kick the door. I busted down the door and no one was there, and you guessed it, they gave us the wrong address. I was on another call where we responded to back up the police on a welfare check call. The police responded for a welfare check for a guy with cancer who's family had been unable to contact him for several days. No one answered the door. The door had security bars and they asked us to respond to use our hydralic spreaders/cutters to gain access. Someone thought better of it before we did anything and called a locksmith. After about a half hour of banging on the door, calling on the phone, trying to pick the lock etc. The guy opened the door and wanted to know what the hell we were doing and if we damaged any of his stuff. He said he didn't feel like answering the phone or the door and didn't have to if he didn't want to.
THINK FIRST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old December 17, 2001, 03:30 PM   #12
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Thank you for your very thoughtful post 444.

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Old December 17, 2001, 04:11 PM   #13
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for sure I would'nt just blow the idiot away, say something like,
"do you feel lucky punk!" but for real why would anyone just murder someone without trying to talk first,some guy in Texas killed his daughter when she slipped into the house after sneaking out, I think how it went, but anyone entering my home
in the AMs would be met with a 870 or SP-101 cocked, and any
thing could happen in the next second or 2,if the idiot is armed
I'd have the first shot.
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Old December 17, 2001, 04:25 PM   #14
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444 the only thing is that I would try and capture him rather than letting him go.

The next person he breaks into may not have a gun.

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Old December 17, 2001, 06:18 PM   #15
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444, your post about the "welfare check" calls definitely raises questions about reacting to intruders. As I think about what I would do -- and how quick I would be to shoot -- were someone to break into my house, I wonder how I would know if it really is good guys? Do you guys announce yourselves repeatedly as you bang on the door and as you break it in, and as you enter the house?

What if someone is, say, in the shower or wherever and not hearing you -- they get out of the shower, hear the door being broken down and grab their gun, ready to fire. An instant later, two big burly guys burst into the bathroom. The resident doesn't have but a split second to react. In case the intruders are bad guys, there's no time to stand there and chit-chat to find out if they are paramedics responding to a call.

Geez . . . I hope no one ever calls the paramedics to check on me. I don't like thinking about this scenario.

Oh, and how often do you end up going to the wrong address on these calls? Is this common throughout the country, or peculiar to your district? Considering that you guys are literally breaking into peoples' houses, it seems to me that getting the address correct ought to be a very high priority. (Not blaming you here, but the system.)
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Old December 17, 2001, 08:36 PM   #16
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You know, it is a two edged sword in regard to risks in dealing with intruders and whether or not you wish to provide them with warning.

The guy would not have been shot over a mistake. He would have been shot for breaking and entering, thereby putting the occupant in fear for his life against a late night intrusion. Sure, the occupant shooter would have felt bad, but feeling bad is better than the alternative if the intruder was bent on harming the occupant.

You know, maybe the intruder did make a mistake and broke into what he thought was his home, but he did so because he was on PCP and being chased by gremlins that he now finds one of in "his" home.

Okay, so your neighbor breaks into your apartment because he really was there to kill you.

There are just some aspects of self defense where a momentary lapse in judgement, either way, may be detrimental. It is definitely an on scene call. And, it really is a tough call and whatever choice an occupant makes is the choice they will have to live by, even if it is just for a few seconds longer.

For any given situation, there are anecdotal stories that can be exceptions to whatever is proposed.
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Old December 17, 2001, 09:23 PM   #17
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Bogbabe, I don't want to dominate this thread with war stories but to answer your questions;
Keep in mind that usually the person has not been heard from for days. For example someone may be a no call, no show at work for a couple days in a row and they don't answer the phone and someone checked on them and couldn't find them or maybe an adult child calls their parents every day to check on them and get no response for a couple days. This narrows the chances down that something is up. Or we get called by an alarm service.
Yes, I bang on the door, ring the bell, use my personal cell phone to call if I have the number. I listen for the phone in the house ringing to make sure I am calling the right number. I try to look in all the windows for signs of life. If there is a pet in the house I try to see if there is food and water in the bowl indicating that it was recently fed. I look for newpapers and mail that have been there for days. Then, if there is no way I can confirm or deny the safety of the person I will break in, again, doing as little damage as possible. Usually if they have a sliding glass door or a regular window I can get in without doing any damage at all. I also carry a set of lockpicks and if they don't have real good locks I can open the door with no damage. You can be sure that throughout the whole time, I am yelling, FIRE DEPARTMENT !!!!! IS ANYONE HERE ?. If I do break in I stand to the side of the door and yell some more or squat on the window ledge before jumping in. I watch for dogs, especially if there are food bowls outside or dog crap around the yard. I pay attention to the size of the crap also. The situation where I kicked in the door was highly unusual. I did this because the person in question was the mother of someone I personally knew. As I tried to get across, we were led to belive this was a dire circumstance etc. Very seldom would I kick a door. Obviously if this was all a mistake I have caused expensive damage to the house and we now have no way to secure the house so we can leave. If we get a call like this to an apartment we get the apartment manager to open the door with a pass key if we feel time is not of the essence. If we can, we call back the person who called us and ask them if they have a key and can come and open the door. Breaking in is a last resort but it does happen, probably every day at least once somewhere in the city. And yes, I have found people seriously ill, injured or dead when I got inside on a number of occasions. If I can see in the windows and nothing seems amiss I leave. If there is no car in the driveway I leave.
Wrong addresses. Mistakes happen. Maybe the dispatcher misunderstood them. Maybe the person in their panic got confused. A common senario would be a call that was dispatched as 500 North Main Street and it was supposed to be 500 South Main Street. Maybe the person calling didn't even know the right location such as someone staying in a hotel but what room ? Maybe someone called about someone in the Holiday Inn room 110 but there are two or three Holiday Inns in town. Another problem is when you have streets with the same name in two different but adjacent towns. Dispatch gets a call on Main St. so they send the Smalltown FD but actually the call was on Main St. in Bigtown. Most 911 systems have a way to cross check the number with a known address, but sometimes people use their neighbors phone or maybe the neighbor called for the other person. Maybe someones kid was making prank phone calls. Maybe someones kid called 911 and hung up. Maybe they called with a cell phone. There are infinite possibilites.
How often does this happen ? Not often, but when you are running a thousand calls a day, mistakes occur.
Don't forget that all this same stuff can occur with a burgler alarm or a fire alarm. Alarms malfunction frequently. Someone will come to check it out if an alarm is recieved. You may have just burned food on the stove and set off the alarm. Or again, you may have hit the alarm panic button by accident. You may have a silent alarm that you tripped when you came home and forgot about it. As double naught spy said (very nice post by the way), the possiblilies are endless and you will have to make a split second decision. One note, if they are wearing uniforms hesitate for at least a few seconds.
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Old December 17, 2001, 09:45 PM   #18
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I awoke early one morning (3:30 AM) to VERY loud pounding on the door. So loud it sounded as if someone was pounding with a sledge hammer. We have had several home invasion type robberies in our city and I guess that was on my mind as i lept out of bed. I popped open my bedside quick safe and pulled out my P229 and flashlight. I went to the front door and peered out of the peephole. Wouldn't you know it, the bulb on the front porch was either burned out or had been disabled. The pounding continued. At this point I was unwilling to just open the door so I called out loudly.
"Who is it?"
"We are county deputies investigating a 911 call!"
"Prove it!!"

At that the deputy shined a flashlight on his partner's badge in front of the peep hole. Holding the pistol behind my back I opened the door and addressed them thru the screen. It seemed that a woman had called 911 and told the operator a man was beating her and had a gun. Then she hung up. The address the computer gave was close to mine but not exactly. I pointed out the address on my door was XXXX not XXXY. The deputies asked if a woman was at this address. I called my wife to the door and she reassured them we did not call.

Here is my point. If i had opened the door with my pistol in hand/in view a trigger happy deputy could have punched my ticket. They were primed looking for a male perp with a gun at 3:00 AM on a dark night. Defend your home yes, but use some common sense and I.D. your targets. Also check the peep hole/window before opening the door in the middle of the night.
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Old December 18, 2001, 08:57 AM   #19
CMichael
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Riddle another thing that the officer suggested is that if you have a doubt to call the police station and ask if they sent someone. The officer would normally understand if he had to wait for that.

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Old December 18, 2001, 09:19 AM   #20
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If the swine was comin' right at me and I hadn't the time to issue him a warning, I would open fire without hesitation. Shoot first, ask questions later. Better judged by twelve than carried by six.

If he was just hovering there in a pathetic state of alcohol and/or metamphetamine induced stupor, however, I would do what is right and warn him that he is on the receiving side of a full-house magnum loaded with Cor-Bon hollowpoints. If he didn't speak my language, he would surely understand the tone of my voice. Wrath has no distinction in any tongue.
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Old December 18, 2001, 11:50 AM   #21
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Sorry, but there have been too many cases of fast-talking perps being able to bluff their way into a house, disable their victim, armed or unarmed, and commit the mayhem of their choice.

While it would be tragic if a drunk person accidentally got plugged because he broke into the wrong house, that is hardly the fault of the home owner. The home owner's number one priority is to defend himself and his/her family, if he/she has one. If I assume that someone who breaks into my house has anything but violent intentions, AND is not packing a gun, I could easily wind up laying on the floor in a pool of my own blood, listening to the sounds of my wife and daughter being raped and murdered.

It's amazing to me that people who post here will back up the fact that guns don't kill people; people kill people. But when it comes to being drunk, the same rule of personal responsibility doesn't apply. If you CHOOSE to get drunk, you MUST BE READY TO BEAR THE CONSEQUENCES, whether it be driving with impaired reactions, perceptions, and judgement, or breaking into the wrong house.

Also, under no circumstances do I remember anyone here advocating the use of deadly force on anyone roaming around outside of one's home. That's when I call 911 and get the family into the safe room. If it's someone banging at the door they have to identify themselves or I call the police. I don't start blasting from a window or through the front door.
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Old December 18, 2001, 04:47 PM   #22
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Riddle-Of-Steel was wise to ask for proof the people at the door were real deputy sheriffs. The deputy put the flashlight on his partner's badge, so R.O.S. let them in.

Here's a suggestion. If something such as this happened to people here, if it were I, I'd ask to see the officer's IDEE. Reason being is that badges are very easy to come by out there, but very, very few bad guys are able to come up with a Dept's identification card.

So, if I had any question, I'd ask to see his idee card. If he says he doesn't have one, DON'T LET HIM IN! Call 911 right now and tell them a man impersonating a police officer is trying to get into your home!

FWIW. J.B.
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Old December 18, 2001, 05:10 PM   #23
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Fine story RiddleofSteel, but the deputies were not trying to break into your house. CMichael's scenario was about a drunk that actually go IN another person's home, not met on the patio or porch.

You used some common sense, but move the scenario further along with the two guys not being deputies, your door is crashed open, and you encounter them in your entry hall. Is your first question, "Who is it?" No, of course not.

A similar thread along these lines came up sometime back and one of the things that surprised me most where the number of people who had homes with an open door policy to friends and relatives such that on hearing a noise in the den or living room, there was a really good chance that somebody had come over in the middle of the night to grab a couple of beers because they ran out and the stores were closed - but they didn't want to wake anyone up either.

Everyone has to make their own decision based on the specific circumstance. My home doesn't look like anyone else's on the street. I don't leave my doors unlocked and I don't pass out house keys. If I can count heads and determine members of my immediate family aren't making the noise (still tucked in bed), I have no reason to assume any other than there is an intruder and that the intruder either has hostile intent or no fear of discovery since he was breaking into an occupied home. And, it isn't the police or fire department either as they would be yelling accordingly if they were there to save our lives because of some emergency.

If the person is my home, I don't have time about second guessing whether or not he is a good guy or bad guy. He certainly does not belong and has not done anything to indicate he is a good guy. I will be careful who I shoot in my own home because missing is not a good thing.
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Old December 18, 2001, 06:08 PM   #24
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The point of the story was be sure to ID your target and be sure of the situation before applying deadly force.

Ok let's set the clock back to 1978.
I was living in an old rental house across the street from an apartment complex. I had an old 1950 GMC truck, a custom Harley, a good looking redhead with several tattos and real attitude. I lived on a busy street and we had folks walking thru our yard at odd times of the night and I have lost count of the times I woke up to hear people talking loudly as they walked beside the house to get to the next street. Not an ideal situation by any means but the rent was only $125.00 per month.
At that time we stayed in a couple of rooms in the center of the house. We heated with a wood stove and our only air conditioning was a single 4,500 BTU window unit. I was in the habit of staying up quite late even on week nights but to the street it probably looked like no one was home or that we were asleep. One Saturday about 2:30 AM I was sitting up watching an old movie on TV, enjoying some popcorn and cuddling with my honey. I heard voices outside, but as I have said that was not unusual in itself. Then a few minutes latter I heard the sound of a window. It was an old house and not all the windows really opened all that well. The two windows that faced the front porch were stuck with old paint and you had to really strain to open them.
When I heard the window again I reached over and picked up an old 12 gauge Winchester pump shotgun. At the time it was the only weapon I owned except for my hunting guns I stored at my dad's house for safety. When i opened the door to the front room one of two intended house breakers was in the room and the other, who's belly was a little bigger was kinda stuck in the window. I cycled the action on the shotgun, aimed and said "FREEZE!"
The little guy that was in the room had no where to go. His buddy was blocking the window and I was standing in the only other door. He spun around and threw up his hands.
"Hold on mister don't shoot!!" he screamed. His buddy was wiggling like pig in a sack trying to get back out of the stuck window.
"FREEZE!!" I said "Or I will blow your M***er F***ing heads of!!

I had no training. The shotgun was purchased for "home protection' and I had only fired it a couple of times. Now I had a skinny black guy in my front room in low light about to sh*t his pants, one stuck in my front window and an adrenaline rush that was making my knees knock. By this time my live in biker girl had come in behind me and was hollaring "Kill that sorry A**hole!" Then the guy in my front room started to try to talk me out of killing him and whinning about that he was not even armed. The fat boy in the window was starting to wimper and cry and squirm again. Suddenly the guy in the window freed himself and fell out on the front porch. As he ran off the one in my house saw the opportunity to escape and dove for the window. In the next instant I fired a round and the large potted ficus tree by the window would never be the same or the wall behind it.
When the cops arrived I had a would be robber on my front room floor, a shredded house plant and a big hole in my front room wall. I was sitting in a kitchen chair that my girl friend had brought into the room for me and she was out on the curb talking to the neighbors and waiting to flag down the cops.
You know the cops gave me a hard time about firing that round. One of them said that if i had killed or injured him while he was trying to get out I would have been charged. I moved out of that neighborhood a few months later. I do not miss the African-American colony across the road or the break-ins or the old rental house. I sure do miss that rough ass biker chick and that shotgun.
__________________
For him there was always the discipline of steel.

Pulpa est valeo
riddleofsteel is offline  
Old December 19, 2001, 09:17 AM   #25
CMichael
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Join Date: November 12, 2001
Location: MI
Posts: 1,516
I enjoyed your story Riddle.

Sorry about your plant.

Michael
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