Saturday, November 14, 2009

When it Gets Close to Home

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. .


  1. I am VERY glad that you and Barkley are both okay.

  2. Damn.

    GLAD YOU ARE SAFE! Glad you are moving. Cosmolined

  3. Glad you're ok B. And good choice moving up in caliber. I recommend you carry all the time whether in the house, the yard etc... And by carry I mean on your person in a holster, (not off body).

    As I sit here writing this, all safe and sound in my suburban home I have a full size 19ll in an IWB and 2 extra magazines on my belt. I have a Keltec P3AT loaded with hornady critical defense in a front pocket and I'm only seconds away from reaching an AK, an AR or a Shotgun.

    I have a surefire flashlight in another pocket and a folder clipped to it. Still might die but you better believe I'll go down swingin. It's all about havin and not needin vs. needin and not havin.

  4. Barkley earned his Milk Bones that day.

  5. Just glad to know you are ok. Not that I would be worried about you...they on the other hand would have had a bad had you been there. Stay safe.

  6. First, THANK GOD you & Barkley are ok.....

    Second, Thanks for posting... I think my wife & 2 girls now understand why we have shotguns & handguns....

    Third, God bless Texas & the castle law.....

  7. I know you are moving but please consider "hardening" your doors and windows. Install perimeter fencing if possible. You are worth it.

  8. Thanks. I wrote this right after and hesitated to post it, but figured it might get someone off the fence out there about why to own a firearm, how to own it responsibly and getting the right caliber of one for your size and use.

    So after reflecting on it for a while, here it is.

    Barkley was upset, but he felt better after a $13 ribeye. Even after I went to bed, I could hear him pacing all over the house then coming in to check on me, then patrolling again.

  9. Yea, Barkley. A knight with a tail indeed. Glad you're both safe, and glad you're going with the holy number 4.

    Glad too that you didn't have to clean the perp's DNA off your floors and walls. Still, I assume you have a pooper scooper if you needed it.

  10. Wow I'm glad you're okay. Lucky for the intruder you weren't home.

  11. Good job Barkley! Good Dog!

    Glad the both of you are physically unharmed. It's unfortunate this incident further pulls back the thin veneer of perceived safety that home provides. I'm glad your stalwart companion scared "momma's little angel" off and that you didn't have to follow through and defend yourself.

    May God be between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk.

  12. I'm glad you're OK. And cudos to Barkley! I can testify that the sight and sound of him challenging a stranger is very intimidating. Also, it occurs to me that the perp either thought someone was home, or didn't care whether the home was vacant or occupied. But the perp wasn't expecting a big dog.

  13. Old Pablo - I have a perimeter fence in part of the yard, but they just jumped over it. Police figures it was kids. Pro's would have scoped out the place before and known about the dog.

    Turk - I'm sure Barkley got your attention that first night you bunked here for the blog meet and rolled in late. He does have a ferocious bark.

    James - I have the scooper, the bucket, AND the "bodily fluid clean up kit" (new and improved!).
    But I'd just had the carpets cleaned to sell the place. damn.

    Between Barkley and the two friends who take turns housesitting when I have to be gone overnight, I think any burglar would have moved to the next county by now.

  14. Brigid,
    Glad that you and Barkley are OK. This may not do anything to make you feel safer, but consider that the intruders were most likely watching your house at the moment you left, and probably had been for some time in order to determine your movement patterns.
    You're right to keep a gun with you even at home. A few years ago my house was burglarized along with several others in my neighborhood, and the [insert favorite expletive here] had been watching houses and using phone calls to determine patterns.

    I carry at home also, and at times it seems unnecessary, until I read things like this.

    Stay safe,
    Mike S.

  15. Wow, Brigid. Just, wow. Amazing stuff. I'm so glad that both you and Barkley are safe and ok, and that it didn't have to come down to a life-or-death situation.

    On the other hand, any criminal desperate enough to kick the door in and do a home invasion probably needs to have his plug pulled pronto.

  16. Barkley is a stud! I'm glad you are OK. That part about hesitating to post...................Awhile back you had a post up about protecting our "castles" so to speak. I posted a comment about training constantly, prepositioning weapons, practicing from fighting positions, etc. I hesitated to post that comment. I was afraid of being perceived as a "wannabe, a poser," you get the idea, in light of me having no military or LE experience. This post validates for me the fact that it's ok to listen to those who do have the experience I lack, and take seriously their advice and admonitions. It's ok to be prepared. It's ok to take responsibility for your family's safety. It's especially ok to overcome self doubt. I'm glad I posted that comment. Brigid, I'm glad that you are here along with many like you to provide inspiration and knowledge to so many of us. Thank you, steve

  17. Brigid, that's terrible that someone smashed in. I am glad you are ok. Here where I live if someone pulled in my driveway while I was out someone would stop to see what they were about. Its hard to make a living here but we still have that we are all in this together attitude. I don't worry about much with my dogs and I am glad that they are here when I am on the road. Keep safe,and as RC said carry always even in the home. I am glad I left the "mainland"

  18. Santa Maria!

    Thank the Lord you guys are safe!!!

    Scratch Barkley behind the ears for me and tell him I owe him a steak. He truly is a warrior.

    I am glad that this incident only cost you a back door and aggravation. You are right, it could have been much, much worse.

    Keep safe and strong, hear?

  19. First time I've EVER commented on someone's blog. Glad things worked out the way they did. I bought a Ruger LCP yesterday, for exactly the same reason you stated early on. It's in my pocket now, loaded with Buffalo Bore's 100 grain hard cast lead FP's.

  20. Makes me glad Missouri has a Castle Doctrine. It only applies to your own property but is lessens the danger of being charged is some bullets in the intruder aren't all from the front.

    My local LEOs have told me if someone breaks inside, I free to do whatever is necessary to secure my self and property.

    Does Indiana have a Castle Doctrine?

  21. Good to hear everybody is OK. The ONE thing I've impressed on my girlfriend is that if you have to shoot, you shoot to STOP them. You don't shoot once, or twice, you KEEP shooting until they STOP. This is the same thing our instructors have taught us, and the "Shoot To Wound" BS is just that...BS!
    She has her 357, with full speed loaders she knows how to use on her side of the bed, and I have my P226 loaded and ready to go, with an additional two mags full of 40 S&W hollow points, on my side of the bed.
    My 870 Express, loaded with 00 buck, is in the closet, and our two Pit Bulls sleep in the living room.
    I have a 45ACP, loaded, cocked-and-locked, in my tool box in the garage.
    And give Barkley an extra Milk Bone tonight!

  22. Glad your both ok, great job Barkley!


  23. My parents came home from a Saturday shopping trip one day to a little surprise. They didn't know it at the time but they had interrupted a burglary in the middle of the afternoon. Apparently the intruders ran out the back as my parents entered the garage. It was one of the hardest things to see my parents go through as they sifted through room after room of ransacked home. My dad didn't understand the emotional devastation it caused my mom until I sat him down a few weeks later. She couldn't sleep in that home for over a week and stayed with us for that time. Within a month, my parents finally moved out of that crime infested neighborhood (something we had been suggesting for over two years). In your case, Brigid, I certainly hope that any fears or feelings of violation will soon subside.

    At work, I am mocked by my co-workers because I shared with them once that all my family members above the age of 15 carry concealed while at home (yes ... the training is there as well). When asked "Why?", I always respond with, "Because there's no such thing as a safe place." Lately, they don't laugh so hard at me. We seem to be responding to an increased number of violent crime, robberies and assaults .... crimes we would rarely see in the "upscale" community where I work. Little known to the public we serve, the level of police protection has dropped in the past year (the economy). Where they used to have a set number of patrol officers in the overnight hours, that number has been cut by more than half.

    We all have to take responsibility for our own safety because when it comes right down to it, WE are the first responders. It seems that you have your bases covered. I hope your readers also have their bases covered

  24. Brigid,

    I'm glad that you and Barkley are both ok. Give Barkley a hug and another steak. He's earned them.

  25. Excellent post and excellent advice.
    Glad you and Barkley are OK.

  26. Ditto on everyone elses well wishes, and relief that you and Barkley are ok. Stuff like that can shake up the steadiest of people, and rightly so. Its good that you posted about it - as you said it might help encourage someone else to take positive steps.

    I used to not carry around the home place. Earlier this month, a man near here was beaten to death by a group of teenagers in his own front yard - because he asked them to stop speeding recklessly through the neighborhood.

    I carry a gun all the time now whenever I'm outside. I have extremely secure locks on steel doors, and firearm(s) secure but easily accessible to me when inside the house. That used to make me feel like I was being paranoid.

    Any time I start feeling that way I think about the poor guy getting stomped to death in his own yard and it goes away.

  27. I'm glad that you're safe, but this is serious food for thought.

    Glad Barkley's safe, too, and that you have him there to look after you. And vice versa.

  28. Wow. Glad you're okay, and glad you weren't actually in the house at the time!

    Milkbones?! Forget that, Barkley deserves a good steak!

  29. Glad you two are OK. Thank God for the four-legged intruder repellent!
    Good thing you are prepared for being at home AND when gone!

  30. Brigid,

    Glad to hear you and Barkely are safe. a good dog is worth a small fortune. My neighborhood has been on a roller coaster of ups and downs when it comes to crime. I hardened the house as much as possible a few years ago as home invasion became more important. That meant security doors facing the steel entry doors, Large dogs inside, good lighting and guns at the ready if need be. The police have good response time, but even with a call of shots fired it is 2-3 minutes for them to respond.

  31. glad you are well, Good choice being armed at all times.

  32. Dang:

    Additional info to my personal note.

    Ed McGivern was an exhibition
    shooter. About 1928, he fired
    5 rounds with a Smith & Wesson
    revolver in 49 hundredths of a

    One of the folks who studied his
    book is Jerry Miculek, (sp?)
    who has the world record for
    revolver shooting.

    This stuff is not common knowledge
    but it works. Cos.

  33. Brigid,
    I'm glad you're OK, I'm delighted Barkley's OK. I'm pretty sure Barkley needs and deserves a pig ear and some chikin jerky. He want's some bacon too. Give it to him.
    If I'm awake and dressed I have a firearm to hand. If I'm awake there is a weapon within reach.
    I do not expect to be assaulted or robbed, but I am fully aware that even in the small community I live in that it is a distinct possibility. I also know that unless one of our few deputies is in my neighborhood that it's a fifteen minute wait at best before one can get here.

  34. Good and bad- Good that you are Barkely ar okay, bad that the response time is as bad as it is. I agree with up gunning, the smallest one I have available is a .38 with God Dots. Your post should be required reading for ALL women who live alone/are home along a lot... Thanks for sharing your experience and recommendations.

  35. I'm glad you & Barkley are okay, and just as glad you did decide to post this. Serious food for thought. Thanks.

  36. Less than a 1/4 mile from my house we have a section of town homes that are rental units. A few years ago, we started noticing very nice vehicles($50k+) parked in front of them. While there is nothing wrong with that, it just looked out of place for our neighborhood. About that same time, we started having helicopters spot lighting the town homes, front and back several nights of the week, as well as other police activity in that area. That was enough for me to start keeping a pistol with me all the time. Whoever was drawing that kind of attention on themselves has since moved on and it is a lot quieter down there. But even now it still seems strange to mow my grass with a pistol in my pocket. Your post makes it seem a lot less strange. I do wish that I had opted for the .357 instead of the .38, but that is easily rectified.

    Thanks for posting your experience. I'm certainly glad to hear that you and Barkley made it through the ordeal unscathed. Obviously, doors can be replaced..

  37. Glad you're well. WIll have to make Barkley some bacon next week.

    We have strategically placed firearms in the house. You're right,when the rubber meets the road, it's less about training and caliber (though constant training helps, as does a nice caliber arm) but about the will to do the job when the time comes.

    Next week I'll talk to you about what it takes to make a door kickproof. I've installed doors that breaching rams can't touch. it's an easy DIY and since you're thinking about a new place, easy to design in.

  38. There is obviously not much I can say that everyone hasn't already but, I do want to say that I'm glad you and barkley are ok.

  39. I crapped my pnts just reading this - stay safe B...

  40. So Glad you are OK. I am visiting Mom this weekend and we spent the afternoon stuffing .45s. She got in some good trigger time at the range yesterday. Thanks for inspiring people to take care of themselves.

  41. Glad you are ok, definitely a bad thing to come home to. Excellent post for those who need to think about things.

  42. Thank God you and Barkley are safe.If that alarm had failed and Barkley was not there you may have come home to find him waiting for you. I still prefer the 45 over everything else. My Para-Aurdance with a gold cup slide and 15 rounds. Flashlight, and knife in pocket.Carry every where period.

    People need to know they have to protect themselves and family.

    Thanks for the post. I want a lot of my friends to read this.

    See Ya

  43. Good dog!

    And when Og is finished teaching you kickproof doors, post it out for the rest of us.

  44. I am glad you touched on the point of being ready to use deadly force. To have a gun you must accept the fact that you may have to take a human life. If the gun owner can not accept that fact, then the gun is no value or actually it is far more dangerous because you are providing the bad dude with the means to turn it on you. A lot of people over look that fact. I am glad you and your "girl's" Bestfriend are OK.

    Contact your local department to see if they will do a free cpted survey of your house to see where you can harden your target up at. Be safe and stay safe. TGR

  45. Glad you are okay! You've definitely motivated me to get my shotgun out of the closet and also practice my handgun shooting. It's about time for some pheasant or duck hunting about now anyway.

    Kudos to Barkley! Good dog.

  46. I am troubled to learn of this violation of your home, but I am glad they didn't make their troubles any worse by sticking around and getting shot.


  47. I have to chime in: Good boy, Barkley, GOOD DOG!

    We have had a couple of home invasions in our upscale master planned community; both perps were caught, but DH and I have had serious conversations over the past few days about home security.

    I had switched my personal carry from a Kahr 9mm to my BDA .380 (because of the 13 round magazines) but now I am rethinking this. It's still better than no pistol at all--but a James Bond Mandropper the .380 is not. Even with Cor-Bons.

    But here's a bacon doggy treat for Barkley and a nice tall glass of Guinness for you, B!

  48. Glad to hear you and your hound are alright. I agree with you- no place if out of bounds, no place is safe, no matter how upscale or remote the neighborhood. I SHOULD carry in the house more, at least the ASP or something. If going for a firearm wasn't essentially illegal (since they're supposed to be stored locked away and unloaded under federal law here, so if you DID go for one, you had time enough to do something OTHER than defend yourself), I'd prolly be trying to get a .357 for myself.

    The one thing I really do wish is that anti-gunners here could read this story, with all the back story. It's one thing for a condo-dwelling liberal to scoff and say "That couldn't happen here!" it's another for them to be faced with the facts.


  49. B, Glad things turned out ok, and I hope Barkley got a reward for a job well done.

    I have my Sig 226 on my desk next to me while I work (office in my home)
    The Remington 870 is leaning against the wall between my side of the bed and the dresser, in the family room....geee we have no weaponry in the family room...need to remedy that.

    Wednesday I pick up my Sig 220 Super Match. (maryland changed their 3 day wait to 8 days now) I guess a .45 on the end table should fix that little deficit I have. (Thanks for putting me onto the P220, I love them)

  50. Not gonna' say the same as everyone else here! although I am glad that you are O.K.!


    44 Colt Anaconda Magnum with 300 grain wad cutters!

    500 Smith & Wesson Mag ( 400 grain ) SJSP (500 A) flat nosed semi jacketed. And one good Bulldawg!

    These are the things that "Stopping" Power are made of, and less component's there to fail, I might add! ie: Auto/Semi Auto, which are unreliable and inaccurate!

    One well placed shot with a BIG projectile, thats (all you need!)

    Besides "love" that is! ;-)

    Nuff' said bout' that!!

  51. I'm glad Barkley and his partner are ok!

    I was in junior high and while at school someone broke in ( side kitchen window) and stole a bunch of small stuff - (dad's deputy sheriff badge from years past was one thing)- I was so ticked off the next night every one was gone - cars out of the driveway - I made sure all the lights stayed off and slipped out the side door when it was dark out and waited outside for a long time keeping some thick evergreen bushes and a bat company, just hoping they would come back for more - hey, I was young.

    After some time we heard a kid down the street was doing those types of crimes.

    I'm interested - did you have a couple of those small yard signs (front and back) showing the house has alarm service? I think sometimes those yard signs move peices of crap along when they are first checking out the street - sometimes - even if there is no alarm service.

    Again glad you are both ok - hope Barkley's ears stopped ringing and the peice of craps (POC) still are. Stay safe! - I can't have an interuption in food and gun info/pictures;)

    If you have any evergreens I can use as cover - let me know - I'll bring the bat.

  52. For conspicuous gallantry, Barkley is awarded Ribeye.

    You have an awesome dog.

    But the best part of this story is that you and Barkley are both (physically) undamaged. Amen for that.

  53. I think you just covered a large portion of the introduction, and the second half of my ammo presentation in my CCW classes.

    Glad you are ok, and the pup didn't get hurt, as you said it could have been worse.

  54. Whew! A harrowing tale, but all's well that ends safely for the Bs!

    I guess you'll be doing a little background checking on the punks you spotted afterward. Wouldn't hurt at some point soon to let them know you know who they are.

    Thanks for sharing.

  55. Brigid,

    You're quite right about adrenalin, fight or flight, freezing up, losing fine motor control, shooting to kill.

    On another subject entirely, it is off the shelf standard equipment to replace existing PIR motion detector(s) with video capture PIR, so you have the first 30-60 secs of an intruder event recorded, so you can see who it was. Alarm or panic button should start other cameras, so you have objective evidence of why you shot somebody.

    My two cents. Much love, and I promise not to visit unannounced. Reminds me of living in Costa Rica, going to see a friend: "Don't shoot, Joe! It's Marlowe!"

  56. Glad that you were not harmed. A similar event happened at our home. The would be intruder meet Whispers. Whispers is our lovable 80lb Rottie/Border Collie mix that just wants her ears scratched, most of the time. Previous to this event she seldom, if ever, barked. She would announce "guests" with a low rumble of a growl to get our attention. She has always pushed herself between the door and my wife when a stranger was at the door. We never expected that she would go full nuclear, well neither did the intruder when he came in the back door. He fled the property by vaulting a 6 foot privacy fence (guess it was also easy enought for him to vault into the yard in hind sight). Unknown to the intruder, Whispers in her attempt to eat him (she probably just wanted her ears scratched, NOT), saved his life. Thanks for the reminder that we are responsible for ourselves. And yeah, the Bersa .380 has been upgraded to a S&W .45 and a Mossberg 12ga. Thank you again for the post.

  57. Hi, Brigid;
    As many said, glad you're OK. I forwarded a link to your post to three of my family and friends, all of whom have Bursa .380's (including Texas Grandma!).

    Good information in this article.


  58. Hmmm... mebbee you should teach Barkley this trick (by Fergus):

    Whoever speaks in falsetto in the police line ups is the loser.

    Bad Dog. ;)

  59. Thanks for the post. You have changed my mind about keeping firearms prepostitioned about the house. And on my person while at home. Unfortunatetly I cannot carry at work (or to and from) since it's a .gov facility.

    My wife is partially disabled and we have a very protective Border Collie but I believe the time has come to make 'positive safety response' an active part of our lifestyle.

    Thanks again.


  60. Obviously the culprits have never read your blog! I'm glad you're safe and Barkley lived up to his name!

  61. Not sure I can add much to the conversation, but I am very glad that you and Barkley are safe.

    Your post has reminded me of a time when I was a kid and someone tried coming through our back door, dad had a shotgun and the bad guy ran away when he heard dad rack the shotgun. Maybe I will make a post about that time and link to you as you are the inspiration.

  62. Thank God for big black dogs. Glad you and Barkley are both safe.


  63. Good on ya mate.

    I always have a .357 magnum within arms reach when at home.

    12 gauge shotgun in the bedroom.

  64. I am sorry for the reason you had to write the post and am extremely happy that you and Barkley are fine. I'm relatively new to CCW ... got my permit here in Ohio a while back but have yet to purchase a suitable handgun. Now I'm thinking it is time to treat myself to an early Christmas present to go along with the couple of Remington 870s I have. And spend some more time at the shooting range. I live (by myself) in a great neighborhood, but you never know, do you? And I'm reasonably certain my two cats are not much of a deterrent ...
    I'd say that ribeye was well earned!

  65. Brigid,

    SO glad to hear that you are safe (and not embroiled in the legal system, nor looking for a good carpet cleaner...)

    Y'know, some might consider carrying inside the home paranoid.

    They can oscillate my gluteus. Sure, the odds might be a million to one against ever needing it, but I don't want to be that one.

    Like pdb says, "Carry your guns, people!"

  66. That's why I'm not a cat person, good doggie Barkley! Glad you are safe and thanks for the reminder - my wife is an accurate shot and knows that you can't, "just shoot them in the arm" - that's ridiculous and stupid.

  67. Good that things worked out. I got hit a few years ago, missed the crew by a few minutes. They hit several homes on my street during the day cuz they knew everybody was away.

    Please tell people to know the laws of the state they are in. Here in Texas, it is possible to shoot theives over "just" property. Not saying to do it, but you have "choice".

    Aren't you a ATF agent or some such?

  68. Posted link to this story today at The Liberty Sphere.

    So glad you and Barkley are fine.

  69. Wow. I'm glad you're ok.

    A friend of mine posted a link to your blog. After reading what happened to you (and your information on ammo and how size does matter), it makes me reconsider the effectiveness of the 9mm I keep in my desk drawer. I work from home, and up until now I thought it would be sufficient if someone came barging in on me during the day.

  70. As the other posts, glad this turned out well.. We have felt safe here in the Pacific NW for the 14 years since we left SoCal. I have never here had to answer the door with the .45 in my hand. I did several times in a "nice" part of CA. You are of course correct, in that we need to have a pistol at all times. My wife and I went to dinner last night to Portland OR, where I do not yet have a carry permit. I did carry another form of protection, which I actually did palm as a stranger approached. No problem, but you never know....I guess the Sig comes out tonight...

  71. You can insert the same objections 101 when it comes to dogs as those who own guns and don't train. Just like we invest in our safety by taking a course at say Gunsite, there are good trainers out there for dogs. Don't expect that ALL dogs know how to act towards BGs ALL the time. Lots of stories of big old monsters just rolling over for BGs who might have thought ahead to toss them a chunk of meat. Dogs can be part of the plan and as such should be put on the education schedule.

  72. Leadchucker, Buffalo Bore make some very good .38 defense ammo. I use their 158gr LSWCHP +P in my S&W snubbie and in my M13 and M19. Buffalo Bore has a special low-flash version designed specifically for short-barreled .38s. The ammo is a good option when a .357 may not be appropriate.

    I DO use .357 ammo in my trunk pistol in case of car-jacking or similar such.

    Brigid, I'm very glad you and Barkley were unharmed.

  73. Glad you and Barkley are okay -- sounds like he earned that ribeye!

    Here in darkest suburban Canuckistan a housegun isn't an option, but I make do (and train with) a kukri and a Spyderco until moving to a free country becomes an option.

  74. Barkley, you are a hero! A 4 legged .44 magnum!

    Brigid, thank goodness you are ok.

    Thanks for posting this; it is a true to life example of how to prepare for the worst, and how to handle it when it happens.

    Desperate times indeed.

  75. Despite a drought and already severe strains on the water supply in the Tampa area, the county commission waived the impact fees on developing a bunch of the nearby farmland, and, suddenly, we have "affordable housing" and the associated problems around us in what was, 10 years ago, a relatively peaceful, rural area. It sounds like something similar happened on The Range.

    The Dade county stats don't surprise me, but that place is another world. Mrs. Roscoe lived in Broward, just north of the county line, when she went to medical school, and, after visiting a few times, I found I could easily spot the county line driving south on any major thoroughfare. Its that grim.

    OTOH, some of the finest Cuban cuisine on the planet is in the heart of Dade so we have a love-hate relationship with that part of Florida.

  76. I always carry when in a hurry or even when working in the garden a HI standard 22 mag derringer with hollow points. A very nasty little bugger just in case. Good penetration, light and comfortable, and makes one hell of a blast

  77. Nice shootin' Barkely. Glad you only needed the furry firearm Brigid. Leadchucker, carrying mowing the grass. Here in the Land of 10000 Liberals we have the option to open carry. All during the summer, this writer could be seen in his front yard, (a very busy four-lane north/south) with a CZ-PO1, and tending the tomatoes and beans. I sometimes thought of it as 'showing the flag'.

  78. Thank God you are OK!
    Greg, KE5LDO

  79. Hi,

    Sorry to hear about the break in. I would suggest that you invest in two StrikeMaster II Pro's, one for the front and one for your backdoor. They take about 30 minutes to install and are worth the money in my opinion. I am not assoicated with Strikemaster, I just think they have a product that works. With the Strikemaster installed, it will be extremely hard, if not impossible, for someone to "kickin" your door. It will at the very least slow them down, giving you time (assuming your home at the time of the breakin attempt)to react and prepare for the on coming assualt. I'm a great believer in firearms as well, but I want to make sure that I have time to respond and having that happen at 3:00am in the morning, I will not be as quick as if it ocurred in the daytime.

    Stay safe.

  80. Hmm- glad that turned out ok, Barkley! Brigid wandered off and missed all the fun! Especially the pee! Don't you just LOVE it when they pee as they are running away?!

  81. I am so grateful that you were not harmed.

    I carry a S&W M&P 340 in 357 Mag around the house. I carry a Sig P239 in 357 SIG or a SIG P220 in 45 or a SIG 229 in 40 all other times.

    And you are 100% correct. There are two types of people in this world; Those who have been victims of violent crimes and those who will be. Location has very little to do with it and understanding this and being ready to defend yourself is going to make the difference between seeing the dawn of the next day or being an FBI violent crime statistic...

    I think I would prefer to former to the latter and thats why I have a CCW and never every not have something to defend myself with.

    Please feed Barkley a steak for me and continue to be ever vigilant. I would hate to not have your outstanding blog to read.. :)

    Best regards,

    The Angry Conservative.

  82. Brigid,

    A fantastic post! Very glad that you pushed through the hesitation on whether or not to write it.

    While of course I too am glad that you and Barkley are ok I am even more glad that you were ready to "go" had it come to that.

    Funny how the caliber debate suddenly dwindles away after the feces has hit the impeller. I know I preach a lot about shoot what you like and what you have but there is a reason that I've bet my life for a very long time and through some very...very bad situations on a .45 1911 and will continue to do so.

    p.s. 7Up does wonders post the adrenaline dump.

  83. Brigid, glad you & Barkley are unhurt, and the physical damages were relatively minor.

    Take care!


  84. Wow! I'm really glad you and Barkley are OK. It sounds like he did an excellent job (give that boy some extra treats!).

    Kudos for posting about your experience. Hopefully it will spur some people to be more prepared for something like this. When I'm at home, I always have a Glock on my hip. The way the world is today, it just makes sense.

  85. Echoing the previous 90+ comments, glad everyone's OK. Sounds like Barkley earned that ribeye.

    I've always said a big dog is better than an alarm system, and it seems your alarm system didn't scare off the intruder, though it did get uniforms there....eventually.

    I carry a .40 for work, but generally have a .380 or even .25 in my pocket when around the house. I'd be leery of the frangible bullets, for precisely the reasons you stated. I want CNS penetration, so I go with ball ammo on my .380 and .25. Of course, I have two 75+ pound mutts which I figure should give me time to grab a caliber upgrade if needed :)

    Hope you're doing well, and I think we're all glad you have a stalwart companion.


  86. I'm glad you're OK, too, and coming from you, "said it best" is high praise.

    Dogs are great, aren't they? I don't have much of an alarm system, but unless the Joker fills the house with gas before he tries to open a window or a door, I hope to hear the fight before it gets to my kids. Don't get me wrong, I go armed and I do think it's important, but having members of the family with super-senses who hate intruders is nice.

  87. One more note: only a few weeks ago, a friend had a guy trying to break in his front door in the middle of the night. The guy never got through the door. At first, that was lucky for my friend, because he had time to fetch his gun and have his wife call the police.
    But in the end, it was lucky for the would-be robber, because if he'd made it inside the house he would have been running into 9mm fire from a man behind cover less than ten yards away.

  88. Brigid:

    Please post all of these incidents.

    I live in an upper-middle class, white neighborhood. It appears completely safe, so much so that I am tempted to leave the gun home many times when I head outside. I need to be reminded that things only APPEAR safe here in middle class utopia.

    Glad both you and the dog emerged without a scratch.


    P.S. John Farnam mentioned in one of his email newsletters that when he travels, he carries a folding stock assault rifle in a viola case. I used to think that this was crazy, but I no longer think this way.

  89. BTW, during the last, major ice storm around here, I called the local PD to notify them that my horses were loose in the neighborhood. At 8:00 AM, there was no answer at my local PD station.

    Just think what's going to happen when something really hits the fan.

  90. Brigid,
    Glad you and Barkley are ok.
    Thanks for posting this, it helps me rethink my approach to home safety. It will also help my wife understand why I insist she practice with a pistol before I leave on a trip.

  91. Glad you are safe. Questions:

    How did they know when you left?

    Where were they watching from, and can that location be illuminated, surveilled or made inaccessible to prevent its use in the future?

    Is there any evidence to be found at that location? Can you get a camera & time-lapse recorder on that location in case whoever it was comes back?

    Any idea if it was random/amateur, professional or personal?

  92. Happy you are safe; happier you didn't have to shoot; happiest that you are moving.

  93. I see a much more sinister plot point in the phone being ripped off the wall. If it's the standard phone hanging on the wall inside the back door/kitchen wall, it is likely the perp's first action on scanning the room he'd just broken into was to rip the phone down in cae he encountered the homeowner.

    Which puts a different light on how he intended to deal with you. Depending on time of day and other factors, it may be he expected to find a woman at home alone, and the dog was the unexpected factor.

  94. Brigid,

    One more thought:

    Camera Tech has become cheap, acessible and installable for the ordinary shmoe. Also, computer Hard drives have become huge.

    One of my neighbors was having trouble with vandalism and installed cameras on the outside of his building.

    He caught the beggar in the act via his new video system and sent him for tutoring about property law in the Judicial System.

    There is a learning curve to having a video system work properly, but with friends like RobertaX, I am sure the curve will have a very gentle slope.



  95. Thanks for your post and I am glad you are both safe. My GF has recently upgraded from a Bersa .380 to a Ruger SP101 in .357.
    I introduced her to guns and she has really taken to them. She has been going through the loss of denial in terms of her personal safety. Posts like yours are very helpful i that journey. It is not as though she didn't know about how dangerous the world is. Like most people who have no viable means of defense, denial became her survival strategy.
    Without going into where and what, I always carry something and there are various somethings to hand through most of the house. We both have practiced quickly putting our hands on something when a random noise happens outside.
    The one time in the last 20+ years that I really needed a gun, it happened so fast that I was in a stance with my Sig P220 before I had time to think. The others involved remembered an urgent appointment somewhere far away and went there.
    Thanks for sharing Brigid

  96. I was directed here by Old NFO. I'm really glad you and your dog are safe, although after reading that post I think you'd have definately given the bad guy a run for the money.

    You've given me something to think about and chew on. I've been debating getting a permit and purchasing a gun and this was the post I needed to read.

    Once again, glad your both safe. ;)

  97. Hey Og:

    "Next week I'll talk to you about what it takes to make a door kickproof. I've installed doors that breaching rams can't touch. it's an easy DIY and since you're thinking about a new place, easy to design in."

    If you're not busy, please post ASAP. My doors are pretty flimsy, and I'd like to beef them up before the need arises.



  99. Yow! Glad to know you're OK, also glad Barkley stopped things before they got started; fixing the phone and the door beats sorting out a trashed house any day.

    Plenty of good thoughts above, only thing I'd add is be sure that your neighbors know what happened. If somebody's been casing the neighborhood, they could be next; alternatively they may have seen something suspicious that they didn't report. And if it's "neighbor kids" seeing targets of opportunity, they won't stop with you. (YOU probably don't need this reminder, but others might.)

    Anywho, you done good, and you're doin' RIGHT. Cheers!

  100. Glad you and Barkley are OK. Sorry someone decided to ruin your day.

  101. Good post, and I'm glad that nothing really bad happened.

  102. Wow - I was overwhelmed by all the comments. Thank you all. It's happening more and more out in the small bedroom communities and rural settings where houses and crime are popping up. Bobbie posted about being started by someone beating on her door very late at night. She shouted out and they went away, but makes one wonder if they were casing the place.

    I work incredibly odd hours, so I don't think they were tracking my movements. From the back of the house, based on the way the fence is built they probably didn't see me drive off. Likely not professionals. Pro's would have cased the place and seen the alarm license sticker on the front window, the alarm sign itself out front and heard the dog. I think it was some punks (they keep moving out to the low rent apartments that keep sprouting up) figured everyone was at work or there was a woman home alone.

    Since I'm selling, I'm not going to replace the back doors, but added some rose bushes, a motion sensor light, and some timers on lights and TV/Stereo stuff so sound will go on and off unexpectedly if I'm gone. That should help. I don't think these guys will be back. Barkley is scary looking when he's protective and if they saw the target on the fridge now they'd probably think twice about coming inside.

    I'm fine, it happens to more people than you know. I just wanted to pass on some info. At least one reader and one non commenter, but email pal, said this post got their wives to change their mind about ever going to the range. That, in and of itself, makes it all worth it.

  103. Good choice on caliber. Shortly after moving to Wyoming I gave up the 380 for a 45 colt. You're not the top of the food chain here.

  104. Dear anon. - well, you know which one you are. .

    (1) Don't you think I KNOW that and (2) There's a reason for that, and it's safety on the net, that's all. There are some scary people out there.

  105. There's really never a time when you can fully let your guard down, is there? It's a damned shame.

  106. Thank God you're OK. And I'm really glad you're moving. :(

  107. too many comments and I shouldn't add mine, I'm glad you are safe. I may post a me too on my blog, we were attacked at home Nov 2. Now we keep the guns handy, and on our persons. I am carrying my s&w 457 .45. And I'm not even a little ashamed to say that I'll use it if they ever come back. I also plan to take up Ignatius Piazza and Front Sight up on their offer soonest!

    My puppy will get some better training, and I thank God you had Barkley. If I make a blog meet ever, he gets a box of Milk Bones on my tab......

  108. I hate it that you had to deal with this, but I'm glad that you and your canine crusader weren't hurt!

  109. I am glad you were not home and did not have to deal with it. However it is good to know you could deal with it. Nothing wrong with what you said about the police. In my job I have direct contact, but they still have to respond and you need to do what you have to until they arrive. The one time I was attacked on the job they were great and arrived in 4 minutes. It is It was already over. Call the police and do what you have to util they arrive is my mind frame.

  110. Glad all is okay with you and your dogs.

    Yes it is very frightening to know that very near you is a criminal. And that if you had to engage that person with deadly force it is not as simple as shooting at a paper target that holds still.

    Like you mentioned, get trained, then get some more training, then train on your own.

    Be prepared,and be alart - for as Mark Walters from Armed American Radio says many times,"Criminals are always prepared when they attack somebody."

  111. We had a very similar incident back in June.

    Half dozen loaded handguns and rifles in the house and the quickest thing was the S&W on my hip.

    My wife no longer complains about my carrying in the house, or the loaded guns hanging about.

    Very glad all worked out well for you.

  112. So glad you are well and safe. Still, the thought which popped into mind when I realized what you were writing about was a replay of the scene in Tremors. "Broke into the wrong damn rec room didn't ya!!!" Easy for me to laugh from here. I am sure it wasn't and isn't a laughing matter for you. Good for Sir Barkley!, good dog.

  113. Perfect Brigid. I hope everyone reads this.


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