You’re staying with your mom. It is the middle of the night when you hear a loud crashing sound. You keep listening and hear someone in your house. You get up and find a stranger in the middle of your home. The stranger hits you with something. You run back into your bedroom and grab your gun. Now you slowly move back toward the center of the house. Again the intruder moves toward you. This time you shoot him. He turns and runs from the house. You close the broken door door and call for your mom. She is unhurt and she calls 911. You put your gun away.
You give a brief statement to the police and then go with emergency medical services. EMS takes you to the hospital. Your attacker was dumped at the hospital by his driver, and your attacker died of his injuries.
You are not charged with a crime.
This defender saved himself and his mom from being more seriously injured. It may seem obvious, but there are things we can only do before the bad guy arrives. This man in the home recognized that the world wasn’t safe. He saw that firearms provide a way to defend himself and his mom. He bought a gun and he learned to use it. He kept his gun in a location so he could reach it quickly at night. He kept the firearm in a condition so he could use it immediately. He also locked the doors and windows of his home to make the house physically secure.
We give ourselves a huge advantage if we plan and prepare. Let’s agree that safety measures like these buy us time, and there is no time to put any of them into place when a stranger is already standing inside our home. I looked it up, and there are about 1.6 million home invasions each year. The odds are that about one-in-60 households will have a break-in. That means it will probably happen to us sometime in our lifetime. Not all of these break-ins happen when we’re at home.
The son got his gun and defended himself and his mom. The defender stopped shooting when the attacker stopped attacking. The defender stayed at his home and didn’t chase or shoot at the fleeing attackers. The defender or his mom called for help. They gave a brief statement to the police when they arrived. The defender then went to receive medical attention.
Unfortunately, the reporters who write these stories don’t give us a lot of the details we’d like to have. We don’t know if the defender’s mom was armed. We don’t even know if she was awake during the attack. It is nice if all the adults in the home are armed because that again offers us more time to respond. If each adult can defend themselves then we don’t have to rush to their defense. That extra time lets us make better choices. We can take another second to see what is happening before we move.. if we decide to move at all.
In the days after the attack, I bet the victims are looking at ways to buy more time. I’d look at installing stronger door locks and motion-sensitive lights that connect to a chime. They could even install a video doorbell or a stand-alone camera. Maybe they are looking at plastic safety films that make it harder to break through a window or a glass pane in the door. Hopefully, the outside lights, camera, and alarm convince an attacker to go away.
These victims are motivated after the attack because they found out they were vulnerable. We can learn from their experience and buy ourselves time before an intruder arrives at our door.
Building and practicing a safety plan lets us know what to do when there is no time to think. In this case it would be a huge advantage to know that the other adult occupants of the home can defend themselves. If there aren’t children to protect, then we can proceed slowly. We can turn on lights and shout that we’re armed. We can call 911 and have the police headed our way. If the bedrooms are at one end of the house then we are protecting our family if we can see their door and control the hallway leading to the bedrooms. I can only think of a few reasons why I would risk my life by going further into my home.
There is another thing we learn as we walk through our safety plan. There are directions we don’t want to shoot. Consider where our gun is pointing if we shoot at an attacker coming through our bedroom door. If the bedrooms are on opposite sides of a hallway then maybe we’re pointing our gun at the people we want to protect.
That says we might want to open the bedroom door and control the hallway instead of staying in our bedroom. Those sorts of details are particular to your situation. We learn so much as we slowly walk through our defense with our family in the daylight.
Simply walking around a corner can put us into a very vulnerable situation. The defender in this story found a single attacker armed with a club. We don’t know how many intruders are in our home or waiting outside. We don’t know how they are armed. Again, that is another good reason to let the bad guys run away and not follow them. Every action has physical and legal risks attached. We are trying to find better options and avoid the bad ones by planning ahead.
If the police suggest you seek medical attention then take their advice. It gives us time to calm down and to find out where we’re hurting. A medical evaluation also creates an official record of our injuries. That can be useful later during our legal defense. Yes, we need legal defense. Imagine a lawyer asking why us why we murdered the attacker when our injuries were so insignificant that we didn’t seek medical treatment.
I encourage all gun owners to buy self-defense legal insurance. Legal insurance is useful if you carry a concealed firearm in public and if you have a firearm to protect your family at home. In this story, it would be great if mom was covered by legal insurance too.
-Rob Morse highlights the latest self-defense and other shootings of the week. See what went wrong, what went right, and what we can learn from real-life self-defense with a gun. Even the most justified self-defense shooting can go wrong, especially after the shot. Get the education, the training, and the liability coverage you and your family deserve.
About Rob Morse
Rob writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, at Second Call Defense, 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.