Who’s There!? Hi Daddy!

In the last post I gave my thoughts on ensuring your personal narrative was based in reality when it came to a strange noise outside. Now I want to discuss how being “certain” you are encountering an assailant could lead to tragedy inside your home.

wrong house

Before I go any further I want to briefly discuss staying put versus clearing your house by yourself. If at all possible, AVOID CLEARING YOUR OWN HOUSE! Call the police, stay in a safe place and let the people that do it for a living come assist you. I will openly admit that staying put isn’t always possible. As an example, I’ll use my situation: the master bedroom is on an opposite side of the house from my kids bedrooms. The simple fact is I will not leave my kids alone and scared. I know my plan is not the best. I feel it is better to take my chances NOW than wait for the police; that is a choice driven by my home’s floor plan and not by my willingness to get shot.

The topic of this post is not whether you should or should not clear your house. It has more to do with mitigating deadly events. To start we need to acknowledge that humans have a tendency to “shut down” and become quiet when faced with danger. Millennia of evolution have taught us that being quiet can save our lives. This should be no shock as it is a case of survival instinct. If a wild animal was outside of your cave, you kept quiet.  However this is 2015 AD, not 4500 BC. At what cost do you investigate the strange sound in the middle of the night in total silence?

There are actual cases, albeit rare, of people shooting loved ones in a case of mistaken identity.  Was it fear, a preconceived notion of an intruder, or was it both? Hard to say without being in the moment, but this is something we (as responsible gun owners) should all agree is unacceptable.

To the point, is it really that critical that you “clear” your house in silence?

What might the response be if you ask “WHO’S THERE”?

Let’s ponder this:

  • Maybe there is no one in your house,
  • Maybe the lack of response means someone with ill intent is there,
  • But just maybe, you will hear – “Hi Daddy (or Mommy)”!

It may not be a 100% guarantee you will recognize a family member’s voice immediately under duress, but it beats the alternative. “Who’s there” are two simple words that have the potential to save yourself a lifetime of guilt and grief.  Some may ask is it worth giving up your “tactical advantage.” I feel the better question is, “How many accidental shootings could have been avoided by simply asking “who’s there”?

I still believe, if it must happen, a person is better off clearing their home with a firearm than without; but be smart about it.  In certain self-defense scenarios, a gun is the best tool available. However it is also deadly and should be respected especially when the person holding it is half awake.  Be honest with your abilities. Don’t let the gun in your hand turn you into a fool or worse; a murderer of an innocent person.

So yes, asking who is there in the dark might put you at risk; but what are you risking by remaining silent?  That is a question only you can answer.

At The Door

Let’s talk about home defense for a bit. Yes, I am shifting gears from competition for my next few posts. After delving deeper into my own situation and thinking about potential outcomes from what I experienced the other night, I have some thoughts that I felt were worth sharing. I offer them for what they are worth.

The Personal Defense Narrative

When a person buys a gun, they seldom plan on not using it. No matter the reason you purchased a firearm, you probably planned on shooting it, unless you are a high-end cork sniffing collector – but even some collectors like to shoot their guns! So many times people “know what they will do” when someone breaks in to their house.  They have created their own personal defense narrative and it normally involves shooting the intruder.

Unfortunately I feel this might lead to problems. When planning your own household defense  should you really imagine someone breaking into your house?  Might you better served imagining ALL probable “bump in the night” scenarios with a solid basis in reality.

Let me offer a scenario; a noise At The Door:

You awake to a noise outside your house. Might someone be there? Maybe, but the fact you heard someone or something doesn’t necessarily mean you are facing harm? Nevertheless, in your head you have played out this scenario countless times and at 3am, it can only be a bad guy, there is no other option. You’re sure of it!

You grab your gun and go investigate only to realize that someone (or something) is trying to beat down your door. Fearing for your life, (or that of your family,) you aim at the door with your firearm and yell STOP! You are greeted with a torrent of obscenities. Assured in the fact your personal narrative is correct you aim, you take a deep breath and pull the trigger.  You open the door to horror.

Congratulations! You fired your weapon at an unknown target and have either wounded someone or worse. Your narrative convinced you it was the only choice you had.

But let’s back up. What if it wasn’t a thug, but instead it was your neighbor? Perhaps he was drunk, disoriented and making a racket at your door because “their” key wasn’t working in “their” door. But, but, what about the swearing? Maybe it was directed at the lock, or maybe they thought you were pulling a bad joke on him. After all, he thought it was “his” house.

Before you comment that my scenario couldn’t happen, make sure you first tell that to the family of Carter Albrecht. This excerpt from the article linked in his name explains it all:

“He was shot to death as he tried to kick in a neighbor’s door in an apparent drunken rage after beating his girlfriend, police say. The neighbor reportedly thought Mr. Albrecht was a burglar and fired a pistol up high through the back door as a warning. The shot hit the 6-foot-4-inch Mr. Albrecht in the head instead.”

Was the late Mr. Albrecht a nice guy? I am not sure, I never met him. The article alleges he beat his girlfriend. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, I don’t know those facts. Did he deserve to die? I would say the odds are in favor of, NO. The take away is you should NEVER assume.

In both the scenario I offered, and in the actual event I linked, Jeff Cooper’s Rule #2 and #4 were disregarded with disastrous results. The end result was a needless death, and a shooter that will live with a horrible guilt the remainder of his life. Why?  Because the person holding the gun never took the time, on a peaceful day when there was time, to explore the possibilities and their options.

The takeaway is simple, you must know what is there; but you must gather information without exposing yourself. There are many different ways to accomplish that and I hope to review them in a later post; but before I do I have some thoughts on the noise inside of your house that I will review in my next post.

Before I sign off, let’s review Jeff Cooper’s 2nd Rule

NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY – You may not wish to destroy it, but you must be clear in your mind that you are quite ready to if you let that muzzle cover the target.

And Jeff Cooper’s 4th Rule

BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET – You never shoot at anything until you have positively identified it. You never fire at a shadow, or a sound, or a suspected presence. You shoot only when you know absolutely what you are shooting at and what is beyond it.

Revised January 4, 2016 for typo – ed.

The Noise that Wasn’t There

As I write this it is the morning after the event. It made me think about my own personal preparedness, complacency and norms.

Last night I was in bed reading. It was about 11, my wife was asleep and my kids had been asleep since 8:30. The house was quiet, and then I heard a sound I had heard before – a door opening and closing. I had heard this before as I have two kids and it normally results in one of them barging into our room and declaring, “I’m sick”, “I’m scared,” “The dog is bothering me,” etc. I braced myself for one of my kids walking into the room, only they didn’t. After about 20 seconds I got up and went looking for the kid thinking they might be vomiting or getting water from the kitchen.

Gunsite Day 1 Night Shoot 020

 

What I found was both kids sound asleep, as were the dogs that sleep with them each night.

At that point a terror shot through me, there might be someone in my house and I was ill-equipped with only boxer shorts and fist at my disposal.

With trepidation I started turning on lights and checking the house. Ultimately I found nothing. Not. A. Single. Thing. In the past my wife has heard doors open and close and believes our house to be haunted (tongue in check). I on the other hand, am pretty sure it is something less sinister than a poltergeist. Nevertheless it was an eye opener. I was so sure it was my one of my kids I had never stopped to consider the worst. I am grateful it was nothing, but what if I wasn’t lucky? What if my family and I were now just a statistic? A simple headline in a newspaper. A prime example of what not to do.

With this fresh in my mind I am reviewing my own procedures. I have long entertained creating something similar to the Intruder Defense Bag as shown by Sootch00 on YouTube. I even have the bag, but I got side tracked and never finished. My goal now is to finish the bag and have something usable. As I work through this I will update and track it here. It may be a one simple post or more, I honestly don’t know yet.

Ray Wylie Hubbard has a song called Conversation with the Devil. In it has says

Some get spiritual, ’cause they see the light
And some, ’cause they feel the heat

A little extrapolation and that applies to my situation completely!

What or how have you prepared for the Bump in the night. Have you ever entertained the possibility you might mistake an intruder for a sick kid?

Edited: December 11, 2015 to correct typos.