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Old January 15, 2019, 04:21 AM   #1
briandg
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visitor at my door.

Several nights ago, I answered the door to a person who I didn't recognize, who turned out to be a friend of a neighbor who I had met a number of times. he had a haircut and wasn't wearing a hat; this is why I didn't recognize him at first sight. He has always been well mannered, intelligent, friendly, and he had done a bit of yard work for me once. I invited him in and offered him a drink. a few minutes later, he called my neighbor and we invited him over. We had all discussed guns several times, and after a bit I showed them a new pistol that I had purchased, and set the unloaded gun up on my mantel afterwards.

About ten minutes in, it started to feel strange. some things that he said didn't seem quite right. My neighbor had looked at his phone, and ran out the door with an excuse, and I was left with this friend, or better said, acquaintance.

He had always been a bit strange, I suspected mild aspergers. Just a little poor in his communication. Now in the time since he had arrived, he had made a few strange comments. once alone, I started noticing other things. I don't know how long it took before I realized that he was in a fully developed psychotic episode, including hallucinations, delusions, complete severance from reality. He got so wired up and angry that I was getting concerned.

Now, I answered the door with a gun in my pocket, in my hand, and it was still hidden on my couch as we sat there. he had the unloaded blackhawk within reasonable reaching distance on the occasions that he got up and paced. I never felt threatened, but it was a seriously worrisome event.

I addressed it after a while, offered him a ride, offered him a call, tried to figure out what he might need or what to do, and eventually he decided that he would go back and see the neighbor. I don't know what happened after that.

Should I have suspected that a casual acquaintance who showed up at my door a bit after the holiday season to say hello might be in the middle of a possibly dangerous psychotic break? I guess that maybe I should have caught on earlier.

In retrospect, I did things right throughout the event. The thing that I did wrong was thinking good riddance and leaving my neighbor to deal with him after he left. I should have called the police. I did, however, watch events through my window.

so, as far as I can see, my neighbor had him visiting, and sent him over to see me. Then, when he was called, he came over and then ran. He never gave me a heads up. I spent a lot of time thinking about having a discussion with him.

What really went wrong was my wife. I had surreptitiously texted her during the conversation, 'DON'T COME HOME WITHOUT CALLING ME FIRST!!!' when she called, I told her that it wouldn't be a good idea to come home, several times, that she shouldn't come home. Of course, she did, bringing her sister and a niece into the house. Now she wants to have a safe word. I personally thought that DON'T!!!! was a pretty good one, don't you?

I have dealt with a number of people with severe mental health issues. They rarely showed obvious symptoms. When they break, sometimes they break badly. In all seriousness, it's not a great idea to let your guard down, even for an acquaintance. someone who you have known for a few years.

You should absolutely not trust your neighbor who happens to be a real jerk. This is the same neighbor whose daughter was assaulted in her front yard a year ago; I broke the fight up after calling the police.
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Old January 15, 2019, 06:52 AM   #2
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I don't answer the door to people I don't recognize at night. I call the police and report that there's a person or persons unknown at my front door and that I am armed.

I agree on your wife. What part of "DON'T" did she not understand?
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Old January 15, 2019, 01:24 PM   #3
briandg
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We have had two deaths in the family in less than two months, don't answer the door and call the police has been suspended for a while.
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Old January 15, 2019, 01:28 PM   #4
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I can see answering the door, but would stop short of inviting a stranger inside.

A short conversation at the door, ready to defend your family...ok. Inviting this guy in and bringing out guns...not super smart. IMO
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Old January 15, 2019, 01:46 PM   #5
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A short conversation at the door, ready to defend your family...ok. Inviting this guy in and bringing out guns...not super smart. IMO
Sorry Brian, but it was poor judgement on your part. Learn from it and move on. We all learn things as we experience them....at least most of us do. You aren't the first.
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Old January 15, 2019, 02:17 PM   #6
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Wow. Scary experience. Not to pile.on, but I think inviting a stranger or acquaintance into your home was a bad idea. Showing them a firearm was even worse.

A conversation is due with your neighbor.
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Old January 15, 2019, 02:39 PM   #7
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I don't invite strangers in the house and NO ONE should be knocking at my door at night. Had a black bear put his paw print on my glass once.
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Old January 15, 2019, 02:47 PM   #8
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I have the fortune/misfortune of living in a place where people knocking on my door late at night and expecting entry is basically nonexistent. Frankly we're nowhere near that friendly. As such I wouldn't have let him in, regardless of his haircut, lack of hat, and good manner. As for showing others firearms, I can count on one hand the people I show my firearms, and that includes my family. Someone I didn't know much? It wouldn't cross my mind tbh. That said if you have firearms on display (you mentioned putting it on the mantle so I wasn't sure) I guess it's hard to avoid the question. That's one reason I don't display firearms.

At the end of the day though, that is merely what I do. I'm not you. If this incident upset/concerned you then you might want to reconsider some of your standard operating procedures. It does seem odd to me to post this and then say you did everything right in retrospect. I feel like part of this thread is inviting input on what happened. If not, well this isn't Live Journal (if that's still a thing).

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Old January 15, 2019, 04:03 PM   #9
briandg
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I can see answering the door, but would stop short of inviting a stranger inside.
Not a stranger, read the post, we had spent a number of hours in conversation before, not even the first time in my home. I didn't recognize him because he wasn't in work clothes.

This isn't the point. He was someone I knew. someone who I had conversed with for years on occasional basis. When he identified himself I let him in.

There wasn't really any way to know that he was off of his meds, or even know that he was on meds in the first place.



The point is that even a well known and invited guest may become a threat.
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Old January 15, 2019, 04:18 PM   #10
briandg
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If this incident upset/concerned you then you might want to reconsider some of your standard operating procedures. It does seem odd to me to post this and then say you did everything right in retrospect. I feel like part of this thread is inviting input on what happened.
No, it didn't upset me. Raised a few moments of concern.

I'm not really looking for any input, the only thing that I could have done differently was turn the guy away at the door because it was dark outside. I had plenty of experience with him to feel safe letting him in. Nothing unusual about that.

Did anyone else take anything away from this other than I shouldn't have opened my door? That's entirely not the point, as I said.

The rules don't always work. there are occasionally unexpected changes in the rules. We always assume that even our friends and family are safe, and a few minutes on the news will turn up plenty of incidents of friends and family hurting each other.
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Old January 15, 2019, 04:30 PM   #11
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“A coward thinks he will ever live,
If warfare he avoids;
But old age will give him no peace,
Though spears may spare him.” - Havamal - Thorpe translation

We cannot live this life in a manner that leaves us forever safe. Around here someone knocking on the door is cause for alarm (my closest neighbor is over a 1/4 mile away). It is also cause for concern. The person knocking on your door is far more likely to be seeking help than he or she is seeking to do you harm especially in the case of an acquaintance. You cannot simply lock your door to the outside world and hide safely in your fortress. You must accept not doing so has risk. You train and prepare yourself to meet the risks that may arise and you accept that it is possible you will do everything you can and still find yourself short.

"You should have stayed behind locked doors" does not make the world a better place.
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Old January 15, 2019, 05:10 PM   #12
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No, it didn't upset me. Raised a few moments of concern.
Okay...

Quote:
If this incident upset/concerned you

If your point was simply, "Even people you trust could potentially be threatening", frankly you didn't even need the story (but hey this is a forum and conversation isn't a bad thing). As you said, the news is full of incidents involving family and friends. In terms of who is most likely to hurt you it's often someone close, as you recently stated. If your point is constant vigilance is important, I think most people agree with you.

However, it does seem that for some people that constant vigilance involves not inviting people in late at night or not showing them their firearms, etc. How we apply this constant vigilance varies based on the person. You could certainly make the point that a threat may well slip closer than you would assume, which I think is valid and in that case carrying on your person, as you were, is certainly useful.

However, I also wouldn't dismiss the comments made by others completely out of hand. The best defense is a layered defense. Carrying on your person and being selective about who you let in your house at certain times aren't mutually exclusive.

I've had instructors in the past that annoyed the hell out of me by answering my questions with questions of their own. It's not that they didn't want to consider all the alternatives, it's that they wanted me to consider them as well. As you say not letting him in was not an option for you. For others that might not be the case, hence the responses.

Quote:
You cannot simply lock your door to the outside world and hide safely in your fortress.
I think this is a bit of a strawman. I don't see people advocating for that per se. There are times when frankly you can tell someone, "I'm sorry it's late and I am just about to go to bed." This wasn't a case of a passing motorist asking for help. This was a person who showed up seemingly because he wanted to talk.

Quote:
"You should have stayed behind locked doors" does not make the world a better place.
I have to be honest with you. I'm not necessarily looking to personally make the world a better place all the time. Some may call me apathetic. At the same time I've never not helped a neighbor in need or called someone help when they needed it and I've driven far, late at night to help friends. What I don't do is put myself in situations that I don't necessarily need to be in. The people with the mentality that they need to make the world a better place can at times, though not always, turn into the George Zimmermans of the world. They see a wrong and by golly it is up to them to correct it. I'm honestly more concerned about that person carrying a gun than I am of the person that keeps to himself or herself.

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Old January 15, 2019, 05:25 PM   #13
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Show no one your guns.
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Old January 15, 2019, 05:25 PM   #14
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TUNNELRAT your point stands and I overstated the world. Your doorstep is not the world and I should have limited my scope
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Old January 15, 2019, 06:23 PM   #15
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After reading the first post before leaving for work this morning and thinking about it off and on all day . The days of answering the door at night are over in the past I answered the door and my wife watched the back doors . the last time some one knocked at night it was before 9 oclock in the evening the guy was trying to get me to read a address on his cell phone . I told him to call them back and shut the door ( some thing just not right )Home invasion is a real threat in the world we live in .
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Old January 15, 2019, 06:32 PM   #16
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There is whole lot of social commentary built into this post, and none of it is good. So, if the answer is, don't let anyone in, day or night, then so be it.
Don't open the door anymore.
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Old January 15, 2019, 06:34 PM   #17
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Should I have suspected that a casual acquaintance who showed up at my door a bit after the holiday season to say hello might be in the middle of a possibly dangerous psychotic break? I guess that maybe I should have caught on earlier.
Perhaps not but who in the heck invites people into their home who they barely know and then proceed to start showing them guns. Dude.. I think you already realize that you messed up in a big way. You need to get a handle on your seemingly laxed sense of security and forethought.

I tell people all the time that answering the door with a gun is not a pass to make a poor decision. A gun is not a talisman and just because you have a gun does not mean that a crafty criminal cant get the better of you.

If I am not close friends with someone, they do not enter my home and if I am not expecting you.. I am not likely to answer the door at all. Not answering the door is the same as not answering a phone call, its no big deal. I simply do not understand why people seem to have a sense of urgency about finding out why someone is knocking at the door. I have stood in full view of some yahoo knocking at my door. I finished making my sandwich in the kitchen and walked back to the den. I never gave it a second thought and I don't care that the knows I was ignoring him. I never saw him again

Personal safety and politeness are not good bedfellows
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Old January 15, 2019, 06:56 PM   #18
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My gun is on my body, or it’s in the safe. I only ever show my closest friends what’s in my safe, and only my wife sees my body
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Old January 15, 2019, 06:59 PM   #19
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If someone is intent on doing you harm do you think the door is really going to stop them? Even reinforced doorways with extended throw bolts are only going to slow someone competent with intent to come through. Yes I get that some home invasions the victim has opened the door but it’s not a prerequisite. Taking refuge in your fortress does not spare you the evil intent. It may end with the needy calling down curses upon you and others adjusting their opinion of you. You cannot have perfect personal safety. Are you willing to give up politeness and goodness to those in need seeking what you will not find anyways
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Old January 15, 2019, 07:15 PM   #20
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There wasn't really any way to know that he was off of his meds, or even know that he was on meds in the first place.
Or tweaking on "meds" he shouldn't be taking!

Quote:
The point is that even a well known and invited guest may become a threat.
Obviously not that well known if you didn't know he had problems.
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Old January 15, 2019, 07:33 PM   #21
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Depends on where you live. A night visitor in my town is someone needing help. I always answer but always have my back side covered for sure. Highly slim in my neck of the woods for an assault but I take precautions
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Old January 15, 2019, 07:44 PM   #22
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If someone is intent on doing you harm do you think the door is really going to stop them? Even reinforced doorways with extended throw bolts are only going to slow someone competent with intent to come through. Yes I get that some home invasions the victim has opened the door but it’s not a prerequisite. Taking refuge in your fortress does not spare you the evil intent. It may end with the needy calling down curses upon you and others adjusting their opinion of you. You cannot have perfect personal safety. Are you willing to give up politeness and goodness to those in need seeking what you will not find anyways

Based on what you just said, I suspect that you may have very little experience regarding the nature of the majority of home invaderss or how they most often go about selecting target home.

I don't think anyone said anything about Perfect personal safety, I think the suggestion was "better" personal security which is common sense driven.

Am I willing to give up politeness and goodness toward strangers at my front door?? Yes I am... and I will replace politeness and goodness with cautious indifference. If I didn't invite them to my home, I don't owe them a darn thing.

Not answering my door is not "hiding in my fortress". Answering the door to strangers is simply not important to me and in this day and age, people going door to door are rather suspicious to me in general. It aint 1955 anymore
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Old January 15, 2019, 07:49 PM   #23
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We are willing to sacrifice different things. As I live in the middle of nowhere anyone on my door step who intends harm has travelled some distance already. He or she is not just seeing if I will open the door. It is more likely a traveler in need outside of normal cell coverage. Comrades are cheaply gained with minor hospitality around here.

A mile or so away, on the lakeshore, are million dollar homes. My comparative hut, which I am grateful for, would be a curious target for a random invasion
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Old January 15, 2019, 08:09 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Lohman446 View Post
If someone is intent on doing you harm do you think the door is really going to stop them? Even reinforced doorways with extended throw bolts are only going to slow someone competent with intent to come through. Yes I get that some home invasions the victim has opened the door but it’s not a prerequisite. Taking refuge in your fortress does not spare you the evil intent. It may end with the needy calling down curses upon you and others adjusting their opinion of you. You cannot have perfect personal safety. Are you willing to give up politeness and goodness to those in need seeking what you will not find anyways
If we want to entertain the hypothetical of someone could always get in, sure. We can go as crazy as to imagine someone battering down my door, blowing it open with a breaching charge, or rappelling through my windows. A door provides more security than no door, and it also further reinforces the notion that trespassers aren't allowed. I don't consider my home a "fortress".

As for people calling down curses and adjusting their opinions of me, I guess I don't consider telling a late night visitor that you don't feel like talking or, as mentioned above, ignoring an uninvited guest "giving up politeness and goodness".

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Old January 15, 2019, 09:08 PM   #25
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Outside of my neighbor coming to collect one of his children from my home or the neighboring children that come to play with my children, I dont let unexpected, uninvited visitors into my home. I am a compassionate human being and I will help someone in need, but they generally don't need that help from within the confines of my home. That's outside of my comfort zone. Having said that, I realize everyone's home environment is different.
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