Sunday, January 3, 2016

Identify Your Target. Please.

First off, Happy New Year!  It's been a quiet weekend around here, but, as with any big city, we have already had a couple of shootings to welcome in the new year.  While most shootings in most cities are gang/drug related, and other shootings are law enforcement related, we have had a few incidents around here recently which emphasize a very important point if you are going to use a gun against another person--identify your target THEN pull the trigger.

As you can see from this incident, it's a stupid idea to shoot someone through the door.  Unless shots are coming into your home, firing at a random person who happens to be pounding on your door is really dumb (and should be really illegal).  If you can't identify your target, you should not be shooting at it.  If someone is pounding on your door in the middle of the night you have a few options.  First, look to see who it is.  If you don't know who it is or what they want, tell them to get off your property.  If they don't comply, call the police.  Obviously you will want to have your firearm at the ready because you don't know what the person's intentions are but while some drunk fool on your door step can be scary, it isn't a reason to kill someone.  Now when said fool breaches your door or window and is coming into your home and you can identify that the person is #1 unknown to you and #2 a decided threat, by all means open fire (from a position of cover, of course).

And then there was this incident where two local off duty police officers mistook their relative for an intruder and shot her.  My first thought was that #1 these people (should) have had enough tactical training to know that they need to identify their target before shooting, and that #2 they should have had enough common sense to know that if someone has access to your house that, duh, it might be someone you know coming in during the middle of the night, and that #3, again even as trained law enforcement officers it seems like they could barely hit the broad side of a barn since the person was only slightly injured.  That in itself was slightly concerning.   Anyway...

A similar incident happened to me some years back.  The spouse was out of town, the kids were at their friend's house for the weekend, and I was awoken in the middle of the night by the dog flipping out and someone creeping around the outside of my house shaking the door handles.  Now I was behind a locked bedroom door and had a couple of minutes to act so first I picked up my bedside firearm, next, I took a look out the window to see if I could tell what was happening (I couldn't see anything but could hear a couple of people trying to open the back door), then I called 911 to inform them that there was an intruder trying to get into my home.  I also informed the dispatcher that I was armed and was in my locked bedroom and for them to let me know when law enforcement arrives (I didn't want to unintentionally shoot a cop).  Then I took cover behind the bed and waited.  From what I could hear, no one had entered my home, there was no reason to leave my room as there was no one in the home to protect, and police response in the area was reasonably speedy.  If someone had breached my bedroom door, they would have ended up dead but there was no reason to go running outside to engage people in what could have been a firefight (odds of winning one of these are pretty iffy, BTW).

So I waited.  The police arrived almost immediately and they approached the people in the back yard with guns drawn.  Turns out one of my sons and his friend wanted to pick up some stuff from the house and he had forgot his key and hoped to be able to somehow get in the house without waking me up.  Needless to say it was a learning experience for all involved and the situation could have went sideways pretty quickly.  It was fortunate someone wasn't shot.

To this day, there are a number of people who have keys to my house and who routinely show up in Las Vegas and need a place to stay.  They know they are welcome to show up any time, and of course I emphasize the fact that they must call before they arrive even though they have a key and that they can call at any time.  They also know I am pretty much always armed and have the good sense not to just show up unannounced and come into my house.  Even if someone should do so, there would be no reason to break down my bedroom door so the idea of being armed and ready but not confrontational unless absolutely necessary is still one of the rules I live by.  YMMV.

1 comment:

  1. It was a real tragedy, but in my opinion, it was the victim's fault. She/He should've called the police just like you did. nice post.