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Old November 12, 2014, 11:50 AM   #51
cc-hangfire
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Since you (OP) know your neighborhood best, you did not over-react.

Every answer above can be correct. I live in a neighborhood surrounded by a rural area with good neighbors and kids from pre-school thru college. And I'm in one of the most gun friendly states. Any "bad guy" knows that there are firearms in practically home - at least hunting long guns.

I'm not fooling myself into thinking that my household is immune from crime or violence, and there have been sporadic burglaries in the neighborhood. But how I answer the door depends on time of day or night, weather conditions (a door knock in bad weather is 99% likely someone needing help and 1% chance of big trouble), the car in the driveway, who I see through the window, etc. The most frequent knocks recently are from the 2 little girls living next door looking for their kitten or just wanting to visit.

What's in my pocket or on my belt or behind the door depends on those risk factors above. I remain aware and cautious, but I trust in God more than anything else on this earth and I'm not gonna be "that crazy old guy who always answers the door with a gun in his hand". Know your situation, and behave accordingly.
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Old November 12, 2014, 03:25 PM   #52
briandg
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I feel that way to, to a certain extent. Don't live your life as a paranoid, crazed always on guard adrenaline choked and unhappy man. Most people are capable of assessing a threat and engaging that threat rationally. (I don't know, it's possible that only a few percent can...)

The problem is that at any second, even in the best circumstances, your life can turn around. Think about the knockout game.

In september, I was taking a bag of litter out to the alley, where our trash is kept. We live in a century old neighborhood that unfortunately, among the century old mansions, has a few century old dumps. There have been a lot of property crimes recently. There have been some physical crimes, including a murder less than a year ago a few blocks away.

I had carried my handgun upstairs earlier and left it on my desk, and wondered whether I needed to go get it just to go out and dump a bag of cat excrement. I reminded myself that life is all about random events. There honestly could be trouble, walking out with the trash at 11:30 pm.

THERE WAS TROUBLE.

I found a punk wandering through my neighbor's unfenced back yard, eyeing his cars, and I (non-aggressively) questioned him as to why he was there (he was looking for a place to take a leak) and then pointed out that the convenience store a few blocks away had a restroom.

He was apparently staying less than 1/2 block away. I had gotten on my phone to 911 to report a prowler. Before I was even through identifying myself to the dispatcher, he came back with another. The situation got really bad. The entire story wound up with four of them there, ended in less than 5 minutes, and ended with him threatening to come back with a gun. The police got there just as they had turned down the street and disappeared.

You can never let your guard down.

And by the way, don't even start that I shouldn't have told the little goon to leave. I was not going to tolerate a person smashing my friend and neighbor's vehicle to look for loot. I was armed, and the risk looked acceptable. As a nation, as a people, we have to take a stand against crime, and if that means telling a punk to get away from a neighbor's window, that is what we have to do. The fact that sometimes it ends badly is just a damned shame, and that is something that we as an individual have to face, as a consequence of doing the right thing.
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Old November 12, 2014, 05:48 PM   #53
Mainah
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OP here, didn't expect this thread to rise from the dead like a.... never mind. Anyway, I'm grateful for all the feedback. I initially posted because I was worried that I overreacted. The responses here helped me accept my initial feelings that I had not.

But I also learned that I reacted the wrong way in this situation. A couple of years ago a storm created some problems with our landline phone. I called 911 and told the responder that I was just testing the phone line. Nonetheless a uniformed deputy showed up at the front door awhile later. After he rang the bell I looked out the window and saw his cruiser in the driveway and him in full uniform at the front door. Then I opened the door and he was able to confirm the nature of my call.

So I'm not reacting like this to every unexpected visitor. What I realized here in this thread was that if I have doubts about who is at the door I can just not answer the door. And that if I have doubts about the guy at the front door my first priority should be making sure I know what's going on at every other potential entry point.
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Old November 12, 2014, 07:29 PM   #54
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I do not think it at all inappropriate to be wary. But I understand well that a gun in hand provides absolutely no ballistic protection whatsoever, and my foot against the door is unlikely to prevent entry by a determined intruder.. Should I ever have to resort to deadly force, God forbid, it will be from the safest position I can find.

I carry indoors, and when I go outside I am armed.

But I most certainly would never, ever, even consider "telling a punk to get away from a neighbor's window". I have absolutely no legal authority to do that. The landowner or lessee can ask a trespasser to depart, but in most jurisdictions, his only lawful recourse is to call the police.

I would certainly not hesitate to call 911, but I would do so from a position of safety and concealment. One might call that a "Zimmerman lesson learned."

Back to the stranger at the door issue. I am actively considering electronic means for determining who is there.
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Old November 12, 2014, 07:43 PM   #55
Glenn E. Meyer
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Quote:
And by the way, don't even start that I shouldn't have told the little goon to leave. I was not going to tolerate a person smashing my friend and neighbor's vehicle to look for loot. I was armed, and the risk looked acceptable.
The risk:

In TX, your gun is useless in this situation. You could not use it to stop the vandalism as it is not your property. You might try to physically intervene but check the law and that. So you would have to lose the physical interaction in a manner such that you have faced grievous bodily harm.

That's a great plan.

If the interaction goes awry, you will be faced with significant legal bills. Is that a risk to you? Over the neighbors car?

We had a shooting in a similar situation where the shooter was charged. It was luck on his part that he could make the case that he was at risk of grievous physical harm and there was a witness. The shooter had been told by dispatch that he shouldn't go out but he proclaimed his warrior blood lust.
Without the witness - he would have been sunk.

Now it is very nice to posture how you would win the fight or scare away the BG. While you were jawing, you could have simply been shot. You lucked out by not interacting with a real threat.

Any competent firearms training course would discourage posturing, and we will tell those who say that they will do this or that as they won't tolerate this or that when the proposed action has risk and legal problems. There are other forums to posture.
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Old November 12, 2014, 11:49 PM   #56
briandg
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This isn't posturing.

I don't give half a damn about the legal or other ramifications. I don't know of any other way to say it. I did what I felt was necessary. I will always do whatever seems necessary. When it comes again, as it will, I will also do what I think is necessary, take whatever risks seem reasonable. I didn't go out to pick a fight. I did nothing to provoke him to attack me. In the following five minutes, I could have done all sorts of stupid things, like chasing them down the street, trading insults, picking fights, or as you say, "Jawing" at him, but no. In fact, as they came back to "get me" I stayed behind a bush and waited for the police. They came to me, threatened me, and eventually (MAYBE) threatened to kill me.

So far as I am aware of, asking a person why he is prowling in a neighbor's yard is not a provocation. reminding him that there is a store down the road is not provocation. If he had attacked me it would have been unprovoked. Our state has laws concerning that. There we have it. I may have died, gone to jail, or whatever. When his partner tried to attack me, it was unprovoked.

You have no idea what happened. Not the smallest clue. You don't know me, the situation, nothing. You compared my situation to a completely unrelated case in texas. (I know about that case.) Why do you feel a need to criticize my actions? You're not trying to teach me, or you wouldn't be using that condescending and almost insulting language.
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Old November 13, 2014, 05:36 AM   #57
dayman
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Quote:
the 20+ year old goon who stood at least 3 feet taller than me
So, are you under 4 feet tall, or do you think he was over 7 feet tall?

Quote:
People want to look smart. They will impart "wisdom" all day long. Sometimes, that wisdom is absolute horse leavings.
So very true.

How did we move from discussing answering the door with a concealed gun to waving a gun around at people in the neighbors lawn?
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Old November 13, 2014, 06:42 AM   #58
OldMarksman
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Quote:
Posted by briandg: I don't give half a damn about the legal or other ramifications. I don't know of any other way to say it.
Really? About potential investigations? About charges? Lawsuits? Legal defense costs? About the risk of losing in courts?

About being hospitalized at your own expense? About being crippled? Killed?

Quote:
About I did what I felt was necessary.
Necessary to accomplish what?

Quote:
I didn't go out to pick a fight. I did nothing to provoke him to attack me.
To a reasonable man, that might appear true. But they did come back to "get" you. What brought that about?

Quote:
In fact, as they came back to "get me" I stayed behind a bush and waited for the police.
Kinda like Zimmerman?

Best to lay low first and call the police without being seen.

Quote:
They came to me, threatened me, and eventually (MAYBE) threatened to kill me.
That could have ben avoided by not having confronted the man in the first place.

Quote:
So far as I am aware of, asking a person why he is prowling in a neighbor's yard is not a provocation. reminding him that there is a store down the road is not provocation.
I tend to agree. Had a complete audio recording been available, and had the recording supported your belief that you had not provoked the reaction in any way that would have been helpful.

BUT: you spoke of "telling a punk to get away from a neighbor's window". You do not have a right to do that,period, and the "reasonable people" who would judge your actions and comments may well consider them to have been provocative.

And with that, and without a recording that would prove otherwise, and with their word against yours, you were in a situation that could have gotten much worse.

Quote:
I may have died, gone to jail, or whatever.
Good that you understand that.

Quote:
When his partner tried to attack me, it was unprovoked.
Of course that's how you see it. But had you ended up defending yourself, your actions leading up to that confrontation, as indicated by testimony and piecemeal evidence available after the fact, could well have harmed a defense of justification irreparably,

Quote:
You have no idea what happened. Not the smallest clue.
We have the story as you have related it here.

Quote:
You don't know me, the situation, nothing.
We can discern some things from your statements:
Quote:
And by the way, don't even start that I shouldn't have told the little goon to leave. I was not going to tolerate a person smashing my friend and neighbor's vehicle to look for loot. I was armed, and the risk looked acceptable. As a nation, as a people, we have to take a stand against crime, and if that means telling a punk to get away from a neighbor's window, that is what we have to do.
From that, we can reasonably conclude that you may be lacking in knowledge about use of force law.

And from your statement about having stood behind a bush while talking on your cell phone, it appears that you might need to reconsider your tactics.
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Old November 13, 2014, 09:47 AM   #59
Glenn E. Meyer
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At TFL, we do give a damn about legal ramifications.

Thus, we do not promote those who feel that they don't have to.

Thus, closed as the reasonable commentary should be a strong counterweight to those who fail to understand the complexities of using lethal force.
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