I wasn't going to post this. It happens a lot I thought, no big deal, but then the thought, that it happens more and more now, hit me, and I changed my mind.
I have a small pistol with me whenever I'm home. Either next to me by the computer, or in my holster if I'm in the shop or the yard where someone could approach me, there under my t shirt or denim jacket. Out and about I carry heavier caliber, but at home, just puttering around, I always felt comfortable with just a "pocket pistol" or something slightly bigger in a .380.
Then a few days ago someone kicked in my back door. In broad daylight. I had only minutes before gone out the front door to walk down and get the mail before driving off to the office. Barkley was napping in one of the front bedrooms where he can watch me as I get the mail and then leave (oh, did someone send us milk bones??) So I was already out the drive and on my way when it happened. Apparently Barkley scared them off, he likely rushing barking towards the back of the house when he heard the noise. The phone was ripped out of the wall and a coffee table was tipped over. (Probably as they crapped their drawers trying to get away from upset 100 pound black haired dog with big teeth.)
None of the neighbors came to check on things. The police were summoned by the call from the alarm company, the sound of which was still blaring. You do not want to know how long it took them to get there. It was expected given the relative sense of how long those things usually take today. But whoever did it was LONG gone by then and had they caught me alone and unarmed, they would have had plenty of time to hurt me before an officer arrived.
Barkley was frantic, and after it was all clear I got him calmed down and got the broken door bits replaced. Other than a coworker and my best friend I didn't tell anyone. It had only been a couple of days prior that a girlfriend of mine and I were talking over Pomme Frites and Hangar Steak about how there were more and more houses out where I live (and more crime with it). The police said several houses in the area were hit and based on the methods and what was taken they figured it was "kids" not professionals. Still doesn't make you worry any less.
For all of you who think that home invasions don't happen because you live (1) in a nice neighborhood or (2) outside of the city or (3) have an alarm. Think again.
Think and consider these common misconceptions.
The police are going to be there to protect you, especially if that expensive little alarm DOES go off. I have the greatest admiration for our police officers, including our locals who have to cover an ever increasing crime rate. I can't say enough about Bloggers who are or were LEO's, people like Cowtown Cop, Expert Witness, Lawdog and Sean from I Aim to Misbehave, and others. People that exemplify all that is right with the men and women in that profession. My Mom was a Sheriff, my Dad was Military Police. But with budgets everywhere dropping, police departments are understaffed. They do what they can, but the law, and the budget, only allows so much.
Don't sit back, unarmed and wait for the police to protect you. The courts have consistently ruled that the police do not have an obligation to protect individuals, only the public in general. For example, in Warren v. D.C. the court stated "courts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community." (1)
Former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith told Florida legislators that police responded to only about 200,000 of 700,000 calls for help to Dade County authorities. Smith was asked why so many citizens in Dade County were buying guns and he said, "They damn well better, they've got to protect themselves."(2)
The Department of Justice found that in 1989, there were 168,881 crimes of violence which were not responded to by police within 1 hour.(3)
It's not a matter of commitment folks, the numbers clearly show that the police can not protect each and every individual. Ten years ago there were about 150,00- officers on duty at any given time to protect a population of 260 million Americans. (4) You don't want to know what it is now.
Do the math and keep your skills up. You may not have any warning, no ringing of the doorbell to see if someone is home. Or they just think, "woman, alone, even better".
2. That little pocket pistol or granddad's old dusty shotgun is enough, I don't need anything bigger in my own home, for Pete's sake.
.22? A carefully placed and/or lucky shot might put someone down. I've also seen MANY a bad guy in the emergency room full of assorted rounds of .22 and still pissed as hell.
The .380 that's in my little Bersa I carried? (The second one from the left above.) As the folks over at Buffalo Bore recently stated, when it comes to the standard .380 ammo as a reliable means of self defense, especially against a drugged up/pain free, and/or mentally unstable attacker you're asking for trouble.
The current 380 auto frangible ammo delivers a large amount of surface trauma, but lacks serious penetration. Shoot the average sane person in the face with the .380 ammo I have in my drawer and it might take off a portion of their cheek and send a few teeth down their throat, putting him to the ground in shock and pain. But that frangible bullet, though doing some serious hurt, would not likely make it to his brain. Try that same shot with someone insane or on drugs, and he may slow but he won't stop, because only a CNS (central nervous system) hit with a 380 is going to stop him. Likewise, a torso hit to the sternum needs to penetrate deep enough to the spine to bring him down fast. If you fail to shut him down instantly, you better hope you can keep his hands off you or your family while you wait for him to bleed out and pass out.
Myself, after this, .40 or .45 (that's the third bullet from the left in the picture). Whether I'm playing sitting here typing away or out for a walk in the woods.And finally.
3. If someone comes through my door, desperate or high, I can handle it,
Someone said "would you have shot them if I'd been in the house when it happened?" Yes. Without hesitation. I'm trained for that, with that mindset. But not everyone who has a gun in their home is either capable or ready for that. You think you are, you think your partner or spouse is, but you're not. It's got to be more than buy the gun, plink with it a few times, then when the cost of ammo goes up, put it away in a drawer. You have to practice, whether it's warm and nice out or the icicles are forming on your nose.
I think Don Gwinn said it best "Because it's not about the fun and excitement of killing people. It's about the willingness to go through the ordeal of shooting someone if that's what it takes to keep yourself and other innocents safe". Yes.
My female coworker (admin type) said "well, if they'd come in while you were still inside you could have just shot them in the arm to stop them, without killing them".
Look. Shooting someone in the arm is still using lethal force in the eyes of the law, and under which you MUST be in immediate danger of grave bodily injury or death. If you are not, then you are not authorized to shoot them all. That's pointed out in CCW classes I've participated in, but some states do not require any training for CCW and the legal aspects may NOT be known to some folks. If you pull your gun, as Caleb had to do recently, and they drop their weapon and run, let them. If they run off of your property with your finest flat screen let them run. The law is specific. But if someone is approaching me and is of the size or threat where I am in danger, I'm going for center mass, not the arm. Why? I'll give you several reasons.
(1) During an event when the life is, or is perceived as being mortally threatened, the body enters fight or flight mode. The brain dumps hormones including adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol into the body to prepare our itself to survive. The downside, these same hormones that, increase our alertness and strength and endurance also decrease our reaction time. Why? Blood is diverted from our extremities and from the surface of the skin to decrease bleeding if we were to be injured, functions not necessary for survival including digestion are slowed or completely shutdown. ( I personally believe my metabolism entered the fight or flight mode at age 40 but that's another post)
That in turn, greatly diminishes our fine motor skills, tunnel vision may occur, and many people begin shaking, not out of fear but as a response to the hormones being released into the body.
In this state some people have lost the ability to unlock doors, operate phones, or other actions that require fine motor skills. Being accurate with a handgun is exceedingly difficult, that ability is greatly reduced. In this state, even the best of shooters may not be able to get that one shot to the shoulder, arm or elsewhere. Or you miss. And they are upon you.
#2 The bad guy probably is probably mobile. Shooting at a moving target is far different than a stationery one. Just shooting at a target that's offset, when you are used to practice shooting straight ahead is hard. The head, arms and legs all naturally move when the body moves, sometimes a lot, making them much harder to hit.
Even highly trained shooters see a considerable drop in success in hitting the target when it is moving.
#3 The bad guy is intent on harming you or killing you. Shooting at that paper target is far different than shooting him. There is less time, he's not standing still like Mr. Paper Bad Guy, and he may be armed and moving, as intent on hurting you as you, him.
#4 The human body is extremely sturdy. Trust me on this one; when someone is shot, it's not like TV where they get flung across the room, crumple up in a little dead heap on there floor. There are exceptions, a head shot will drop them pronto, but the vast majority of shots are center mass. My friends at the FBI did a study some years ago on Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness in which they state that even after the heart is hit hard a person MAY have 10-15 seconds of willful control. That's 10-15 seconds in which they will do all they can to kill you. I've shot a deer multiple times, through the heart and watched it leap yards and yards and yards before it drops.
And if you miss the heart, remember the body is capable of pretty much continuing to operate until about 20% of the blood supply is drained and far longer with a likely lethal wound to them that hasn't caused immediate blood loss. Shots to the stomach? Serious on the OUCH factor, but recently a criminal in Idaho was been shot over 20 times in that area and survived. Face it, shots to the arms or legs or shoulder aren't going to result in a blood loss that's going to stop someone, with some small ammos, they don't even REALIZE they've been shot until it's all over, what with the adrenalin going.
Shooting to kill is just that, hitting a vital organs such as the heart/lungs, in areas that will bring rapid and uncontrollable bleeding, or to the head.
Once they are dead you stop, and if they run away, you stop. Whether your life was in immediate and grave danger, if there's a bullet in the back or buttocks of the criminal YOU are now the criminal in the eyes of the court.
Just some things to think about.
Not poetry, food or humor for a Sunday, I'm afraid, but just some things I felt I had to say. Not to make a big issue of it, but to get others who think they're safe where they are, to think a little more about their surroundings, what they have by way of defense, and who might be watching them. .
I'm fine. I was more worried about the dog then myself. I got a big hug from my friend RB and a new back door. I slept OK, but had the Winchester Silvertips handy. Being in the line of work I'm in, I know all about the world not being a safe place and I've grown accustomed to the idea. We are living in increasingly desperate times. But I used to think I could putter around my own property, off duty, out away from the big city, without bother. No more. The gun is nearby, it's bigger, and by God, I may never have to use it, but if I do, I will. I will be shooting to stop.
1. Warren v. District of Columbia, D.C. App., 444 A. 2d 1 (1981). See also Richard W. Stevens, Dial 911 and Die (1999) which gives the laws and cases in all 50 states to support the statement that government (police) owes no duty to protect individual citizens from criminal attack.
2. Statement of Representative Ron Johnson in U.S. Senate, "Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1987," Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary (16 June 1987):33.
3. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics—1990 (1991):257.
4. Interview with Brian A. Reaves, Ph.D., statistician for the Bureau of Justice Statistics in Washington, D.C. (January 11, 2001). In 1996, the total number (estimated) of all law enforcement combined (federal, state and local) that were on duty and assigned to respond to calls at any one time—on the average—was approximately 146,395 officers. There were 265,463,000 people living in the United States in 1996 for an actual ratio of 1,813 citizens for every officer. .