U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- We start with this news report from KOMO news out of Seattle, Washington.
It is a little after lunchtime on a weekday. You hear banging at your front door. You recognize a voice outside so you keep your door locked. You present your firearm and retreat toward the back of your house. You call 911 and say you have an attacker beating on your front door. Police arrive and your attacker runs to the back of the house before the police arrest him.
Your attacker was beating against your front door with a two inch square metal pipe. You have a restraining order against your attacker, so the police could take him to jail. The police did not list your name in their public report, but they did mention your restraint in not shooting your attacker.
This homeowner knew she had a problem and took steps to make herself safer. She filed for, and received, a restraining order against her intruder. (The news report isn’t clear if the intruder was an ex-boyfriend or an ex-husband.) She kept her doors and windows closed and locked even during the day. She had a firearm and had thought about her defense.
For example, she stayed away from the front door. If the intruder had kicked his way through the door or window then the defender could have been overrun if she was standing directly behind the door. The door could have hit her or her attacker could have hit her before she could defend herself and stop the attack.
The locked door bought her time to grab her gun, call 911, and get the police on their way. The strong door bought her time for the police to arrive. Standing away from the door also bought her time to defend herself. Fortunately, her other defenses prevented the attacker from becoming an immediate threat.
You could ask if this was an example of using a gun for defense at all. All that our defenses can do is buy us time. A locked door will not stop someone forever. Hurricane film on a window will only buy us a few minutes. Those minutes are crucial during an attempted break-in. That extra time made the difference between having a policeman arrest our intruder outside our home, and us having to use lethal force to stop an intruder inside our home. The time we create for our defense, and the urgency of the police response, is the difference between life and death; ours and our attackers.
Alarm systems, motion lights and strong doors bought us time. We want to spend it wisely. We probably won’t have time to run upstairs, get a gun out of the safe, load a magazine, load the gun, and then start calling the police. I carry at home.
Victims of domestic violence have been murdered in their own driveway. If it is available in your state, please get your concealed carry license so you can be armed most of the time. Some sheriffs in restrictive states can expedite your carry permit if you have an active restraining order.
Turning our house into a fortress seems too intimidating for most of us. Fortunately, we get most of the reward with the first small investments of time and money. The defense-in-the-home courses talk about where to start. Build from there a step at a time. Longer screws in our door-lock striker plates only cost a few cents. Motion-sensor lights are cheap.
Knowing what you and your family should do is invaluable. It is hard to get your young children to close and lock the doors. It is hard to teach them to keep the door locked when strangers call. Children are naturally curious to open the door and see who is there. I don’t have an easy solution to curb their impulsive curiosity. We do the best we can. Include your family in your defense plan.
This problem of home invasion by a known person is a fairly common problem. We saw domestic restraining orders issued from one to three million times a year, but the exact number is uncertain.
We know that stronger doors are cheap, but we need more. We have some mental homework to do before we hear a knock at our door. As defenders, we can make mistakes by acting too early or too late, acting too much or too little. It may be time to call the police at the mere suspicion that an attacker is headed our way. We may feel threatened when an attacker is outside our home, but the threat is not immediate and unavoidable. The situation changes dramatically if the intruder has forced his way into our home. Then, the threat may justify the use of lethal force. We want to think about it now because it is hard to think clearly when there is someone with a battering ram banging away against our front door. It is seldom justified to shoot through a door.
Most home invasion burglars will run away when they see the home is occupied. Almost all burglars will run away when they discover the homeowner is armed. That rule doesn’t hold true with domestic abusers because we are their intended target.
I’m sorry if you find yourself in a domestic abuse situation. I hope you have an experienced self-defense lawyer to call. Better yet, have a pre-paid legal plan so you’re sure to have representation before you go to court. You want your attacker in jail and you safely back at home as soon as possible.
About Rob Morse
Rob writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.
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