U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Being robbed at night in our home usually comes as a surprise. This homeowner in Franklin, Ohio was woken up at about 3 in the morning by the sounds of a robber breaking down the back door of his home. In the light of day, in the comfort of our homes, we know what that sound meant. Forcing himself awake and out of bed, all the homeowner knew at the time was that something was wrong.
Fortunately, this homeowner grabbed his gun before he went to investigate. The homeowner walked toward the back of his home and surprised a robber. The robber said, “I didn’t know you were home.” Instead of turning around and leaving, the robber then walked toward the armed homeowner! The homeowner raised his handgun and fired. The homeowner is described as an older man who didn’t move very quickly.
An armed confrontation changes in a fraction of a second. The homeowner decided to shoot, raised his firearm, aimed and pressed the trigger. At the same time, the robber turned and was shot in the side of his buttocks. Now the robber turned around and fled out the back door of the house. Reports only talk about the homeowner firing one shot. The homeowner retreated and called 911 for help.
It is best practice to stay on the phone with the dispatcher so we know when the police are on our property. That tells us when we need to put our gun away and meet the officers with open hands. In this case, the homeowner was so emotionally shaken that he wanted the dispatcher to stay on the line to help the homeowner calm down.
We don’t know when the homeowner turned on the lights at the back of his house, but video from the police body cameras show that the lights were on when the police examined the back door. The officers found blood stains and concluded that the robber was wounded.
Officers called for a K-9 team and the dog tracked the robber to a garden shed at a nearby home. Officers confirmed that the intruder was wounded. The news report isn’t clear if Emergency Medical Services transported the suspect to a nearby hospital for treatment or if the police did that. Officers recognized the suspect on sight and knew that there were open warrants for his arrest.
After the robber was released from the hospital, he was taken to the city police department and booked on a burglary charge. The homeowner was not charged with a crime.
Let’s dig a little deeper into this story. Most of us hear sounds at night, and we’ve come to expect them. I hear the garbage truck emptying the dumpster down the street. Almost every morning, I hear my neighbor load his tools into his truck in the dark. I hear my neighbor take his motorcycle out of his garage, and I hear the sounds of traffic. In the story of this home invasion robbery, the sounds of breaking glass, of splintering wood, and the subtle tremor of the house are out of the ordinary.
There is an urge to interpret unusual events in terms of our ordinary patterns. We excuse the feel and the sounds of a break-in as our neighbor drops something in his garage. There is a tendency to ask ourselves if what we heard and felt really happened at all, or if we only imagined it. This homeowner believed what his senses told him and got out of bed.
The homeowner got up to investigate an unknown situation. He brought his loaded gun with him since he didn’t know what he would find. Millions of new gun owners bought a firearm for personal protection in their homes. I hope they took a firearms safety class and then bought a rapid-access bedside safe. That is important so that a loaded firearm is available in seconds.
You might know a new gun owner who is keeping his unloaded gun on a shelf in the bedroom closet. Ask him to measure how long it takes him to go from lying in bed to standing with a loaded gun in his hands. I was surprised at how long that took. Now imagine having to find your loaded magazine when you’re barely awake. That is why so many of us use a bedside safe to hold our loaded firearms.
We don’t wake up all at once. Pilots and commercial truck drivers are required to be awake for a while before they operate a vehicle. It is hard to think through what is going on when we experience a situation for the first time. It is harder still to sort things out when we’re only half awake. What should we do if we hear someone break into our home? We can spend hours thinking about the best response when we’re awake in the daytime. At night we have seconds to react.
That is precisely why instructors tell us to form a home safety plan ahead of time. We also want to physically rehearse that plan. It is much easier to repeat an action we’ve practiced before, and that familiarity lets us perform when we’re barely awake in the middle of the night.
We don’t have to do a perfect job of defense. The law has seen people react under stress before. The law recognizes that we have a lag in our actions. We need time to see that there is a stranger in our home. We need time to identify that the stranger is moving toward us. It takes another fraction of a second to recognize the situation as an immediate threat to our safety. We then decide on a plan of action, and hopefully an action we’ve rehearsed before. It then takes time for us to act and to perceive if something changed and we should change what we’re doing.
It takes time to shoot and more time to decide to stop shooting. In all that time, the bad guy can change what he is doing. We started to shoot the attacker in the chest, and we shot him in the side by the time we pulled the trigger. If that happens to you, then you won’t be the first.
I listened to the recording of the 911 conversation. The homeowner sounded quite upset and was not sure if he had wounded the intruder. The adrenaline surge probably hit the defender after the encounter was over and the robber had left the house. The homeowner isn’t safe yet. The fight-or-flight hormones make us lose control of our fine motor skills. We also lose some of our sensation of touch. We tend to grip the gun, again and again, to be sure it is in our hands. This is when some defenders press the trigger unconsciously.
We want to keep our trigger finger straight and resting on the frame. We want to keep the gun pointed in the safest direction. If we feel safe enough, we want to holster the firearm very slowly so we can confirm what we’re doing.
I’ve taken some scenario training that included what to say during a 911 call. That may seem trivially easy until we have to give our address in the middle of the night, and we’re operating in that distorted world of being both half asleep and high on adrenaline. Stress makes fools of us all. Practice helps us do a better job.
Original news source- Fox 19
About Rob Morse
Rob Morse 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.