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Old April 26, 2009, 01:33 AM   #1
Rich Miranda
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Consider this situation...

I had traveled 600 miles by car to another state (NM), to a town I'd never been to (Deming). Because I like to be prepared I took along my Ruger P90 and my Tristar 12 gauge shotgun (Ruger in the center console and shottie in the trunk).

I had planned to drive part of they way back the same day to avoid staying in an unfamiliar place, but it worked out so that I had to stay there overnight. I got a room and brought my guns with me. Since I didn't know the town I jammed a chair in front of the door (under the knob) and put the coffee table between the bed and the door with both guns on it (facing the door), both with rounds chambered, safeties on. Then I went to sleep. It was about 9:30 PM.

At about 11:30 I hear a noise. It was fairly quiet, so I was sure I heard something. Since it had woken me up, I immediately wondered whether there had been other noises that I didn't hear because I had been sleeping. While I was considering this, I heard a noise that is very recognizable: the sound of someone trying the doorknob, but trying to do it quietly.

I immediately sat up, put on my glasses, grabbed the shotgun and leveled it at the door, but made no sound. I was waiting for whatever was next. I knew the chair would slow down an intruder, but I didn't know by how much. At this time I realized the safety was still on and I released it. The next few seconds felt like many minutes. Then, whomever was outside began to really try to get in, pushing the door as well as vigorously shaking the lock mechanism.

I mentally debated yelling out something like, "Go away! I have a gun!" or "Leave or I'm calling the cops." I decided on something to the effect of, "There's already someone in here" and called that out as calmly as I could. The racket stopped immediately.

After a few minutes during which I stood up and walked around the room trying to decide which location afforded me the best defensive location, I peeked out the curtain. It was all quiet and not a soul around. I didn't bother to call the police.

I couldn't go right back to sleep but I finally did after about an hour. When I woke in the morning, I again looked out the window, but all was quiet. I quickly walked to my car and took off without letting it warm up. The rest of the trip was without incident.

Your thoughts, comments, or questions?
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Old April 26, 2009, 01:41 AM   #2
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I probably would have at least called the front desk to let them know about the incident--although I probably would have left out the part about the firearms.

My guess is that someone made an innocent mistake and was trying to get into the wrong room. That seems to happen in a reasonably frequent basis.

Sounds like you did everything right.
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Old April 26, 2009, 04:02 AM   #3
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A few thoughts:
  1. Familiar Place or not, you always have to be prepared.
  2. I would have left the safety on until the door actually went open and I could identify the thread (if there was one)
  3. I would have called the front desk while aiming at the door
  4. I would not have made any other noise. If somebody was after me, there are only a few better situations than waiting inside a dark room with a 12ga loaded and ready for somebody who expects me to be sleeping.
  5. Good you got out well!
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Old April 26, 2009, 04:09 AM   #4
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You did great, my man.... dun well.... you kept your head under pressure... made sound decisions too, IMO

I think you should maybe have let the front desk know though, might save the next person (maybe not as cool, calm & collected as you) from the same drama's.... but you are safe and well, that is the main thing

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Old April 26, 2009, 04:34 AM   #5
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I would not have made any other noise. If somebody was after me, there are only a few better situations than waiting inside a dark room with a 12ga loaded and ready for somebody who expects me to be sleeping
lol, but there are also few things more nerve racking than walking into what you thought was an empty room and finding yourself looking down the barrel of a 12 gauge, in a hotel, I would have done the exact same thing as the OP. In my house, car, cabin, or tent, I would have done what you suggested, it is the way to go, but odds are in a hotel that someone just got the wrong room
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Old April 26, 2009, 04:35 AM   #6
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I would have taken the safety off just like you did.

I think you made the smart move. If it was a mistake being made by whomever was trying to enter you didn't alarm them by yelling about a gun.
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Old April 26, 2009, 07:20 AM   #7
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All's well that ends well:

Glad you didn't have to use your shotgun. Probably was someone trying to get in the wrong room. I have even had people actually open my room door (which I didn't close all the way, my fault) and then they apologized, etc.

However, it could just have easily been a bad guy, you just never know nowadays. Best to always be prepared (armed) in your room, just in case.
As you are NOT in your home, you will need to exersise a bit more caution defending yourself, (being in a public place as in a motel, etc.).
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Old April 26, 2009, 08:15 AM   #8
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There are few things more alarming than having someone try to get into your motel room in the wee hours of the morning. Usually it's wrong room situation. One time I had someone insistently jimmying the knob of the door from the adjoining room, trying to find a place to be alone with his equally intoxicated lady of the night. One it was someone who couldn't sleep--I snore loudly.

Never have had a gun when that happened but I sure would have felt safer.

Can't fault you for your actions.
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Old April 26, 2009, 09:11 AM   #9
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You did fine I think but as my own experience being on both side of that door to the room I think it is best to speak up and not be silent. My reasoning is this.

I travel 4 to 5 days a week lots of experience in hotels. I have actually been given a room that already had someone in it and walked in on them because the key card worked. More than once.

I have been in my room, never already asleep. When someone has entered the room with a key card ,the desk clerk gave them the same room.

I have had a drunk try to get into my room his was next door all worked out well.

I always have my gun with me and I have really worked on situational awarness and it can be a tuff call, To me you handled it perfect because you never know in a hotel if the desk clerk is paying atention or because of unfamiliar surroundings someone has made a simple mistake you must be extra cautious there are a lot of variables staying in a hotel that are very different than your home.
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Old April 26, 2009, 10:33 AM   #10
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You Did the Right Thing.

As noted, one should notify the front desk and establish an event occurred. More than likely, a reasonably innocent mistake, all in all. (But one never knows.)

By the way, I appreciate your situation does not include blue helmets, governmental agents on an anti-Constitutional crusade or zombies.
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Old April 26, 2009, 11:26 AM   #11
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Nothing wrong with being ready.

But rattling door knobs at motels is quiet common. I've done a lot of traveling over the years, stayed in motels all over the country. Wouldn't begain to count the times I was awaken in the middle of the night with someone rattling my doors. People coming in late to their room, drunk or sober, stopping at the wrong door. Some places worse then others. One that comes to mind is the Motel "6" near the SeaTac Airport, Washington. I couldnt tell you how many times I stayed there. Close and easy access to the airport. Rattling the wrong door was nightly occurance there. Close to military bases and not so richy area of the I-5 Corador. Seems like there was always some drunk party in one of the rooms. People banging on the door all hours of the night. I always had my pistol but in every occasion the subject left after I yelled out WRONG ROOM.

The one time I was in danger I incountered I was the the one at the wrong room. This was just a couple days ago in Iowa. I was given the room and key card. The card was program correctly for the room but when I openned the door I immedetly saw someone was already in the room and they had a rather large geman shephard that was (without a sound) charging toward the door. I got the door slammed just as he reached it. Needless to say the clerk and I had words. I got a new EMPTY room.

The last couple years I've taken to traveling with my Horse/Camper Combo and dont stay in motels much. They dont like my bassetts and I dont like the anit smoking rules popping up.

Still there are incidents: I went to Lander for a Rifle Match. It was before I joined their club so I didnt have a key to the range. (Now I park inside). I was in the middle of no where when I was awaken in the middle of the night by someone/thing banging on my door. Someone/thing else was on the other side of the camper rocking it. I got my pistol to check it out, I looked out the door, pointing my 642 out the window and turned on the outside light to see my laser dot on the nose of a horse. Upon checking I found six of those suckers checking out my trailer. (Guess they figured I had other horses inside.

In short, nothing wrong with being ready. But one needs to be careful because the threat may not be a threat. The only time I was frightened in such situations was with animals not people (dog & horses).

Training and confidence (gained through training and experence) allows one to remain calm preventing serious incidents from occuring where there is none. I'd certainly hate to shoot a drunk at the wrong room, some some dog doing what good dogs do, protecting their masters.
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Old April 26, 2009, 12:08 PM   #12
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I think you did a great job. You can never know exactly what you will do in these situations until you get there. You can only prepare yourself as best as possible and hope for the best.
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Old April 26, 2009, 12:41 PM   #13
David Armstrong
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All of this is a really good reminder to not just close your door, but also to use the extra locks provided, especially the "inside only" type. Lots of mistakes happen out there, and an innocent mistake might be able to unlock the door but won't be able to open it. AND keep the gun handy!
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Old April 26, 2009, 01:14 PM   #14
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I agree with others, most likely some one trying to get into the wrong room for whatever reason. Hotels do have a way to screw up & assign rooms twice.

I also think a call to the front desk would,ve been in order. All the way around great job.
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Old April 26, 2009, 01:33 PM   #15
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Pretty much all hotels I have stayed at have doors with double locking mechanisms and "safety" latches. If the dead bolt is bolted from the inside, the door will not open even if the key card works. The safety latch is an extra layer of protection when the front desk screws up. Besides, I don't want the house keeping staff to walk in unannounced. As most people have said, it was most likely a case of "got the wrong room". If the people outside continued to try to get in after the warning, then I would have been on high alert. Maybe I'm just counting on the locks too much.

Regardless, I'm glad everything worked out okay. It often pays to pony up for a better hotel than to sleep with one eye open in a roach coach motel. Besides... Boogie men are the least of your worries! Idbe more concerned about picking up some nasty bugs!
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Old April 27, 2009, 08:14 PM   #16
Bob F.
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Back to Kraig's post: Knoc before you try your key! Could be occupied. No point in getting sot or bit because the front desk screwed up!!

Stay safe.
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Old April 27, 2009, 11:59 PM   #17
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Glad it worked out for you. Ditto on using the locks that work from the inside only. That is the first thing I do when I step in, even if I have to walk out after setting my bags down. Been harpin on the girlfriend to for not locking it from the inside when I have to go out to get the rest of the bags. Never thought about knocking first when I get to my room. Have to pick that habbit up. If that hotel you were in had the top lock it probably would have been a good idea to leave the safety on till someone tried defeating the second lock
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