Curt raised some good points in response to the last blog, points I do think worth further discussion. The first was the example of someone coming in to rob the 7/11. I do understand that “diplomacy and mediation” are probably not going lessen the likelihood that that someone will make off with the cash. But I would propose that diplomacy and mediation might lessen the likelihood that someone will be killed. Most of the quick-mart stores have a policy that the clerk behind the counter should simply hand over the cash to save lives and likely damage to the store from flying bullets. Get a good description, remember what you can of the assailant, give them the money and call 911.
That’s why we fund police departments. It’s no guarantee of recovering the cash, but the little cash they have in the register is of no consequence when it comes to a human life. And I would further propose that that includes the life of the assailant.
Think for a minute about that before you dismiss it out of hand.
This will be an opinion shared by few, but we in our great country have little regard for human life when it comes to property.
Curt brought up the “home invasion” scenario, and I have to agree with him, though it bothers me to do so. In general, I do think my reaction to a home invasion would be to do what I could to repel the invaders. That’s burned into my male psyche, burned into the myth of who we are as frontier Americans, burned into what I am to do as a man to protect my family. It is difficult to even conceive of any other response.
Yet few “home invasions” are perpetrated with the intent to do harm to the occupants. Most often they are the result of very nervous, scared young men (usually men, so call it what it is), looking to get in and out in a hurry, with cash, jewelry, TVs, whatever they can sell or pawn.
We use the term “home invasion” to justify our brute force reaction, to subtly pull in the nomenclature of war, to justify the possible killing as we do in war. It’s an invasion, and on top of that, an invasion of our home. My blood races and boils as I even think of that horrific insult to my privacy, my manhood, my rights.
It thought about that quite a lot when I apparently surprised an invader in my own home in Lincoln, NE, a few years back. I drove in my drive and noticed as I entered the back door that it was ajar, and I could see from the jamb that someone had pried it open with a crude tool.
I reacted as you might expect (not smart, mind you, but as you might expect) and ran into the house to find the front door open and the screen door still closed with a body-sized hole in the screen. It had a bit of an odd locking mechanism, and frequently stuck. The wooden cross bar in the center was still moving slightly. Someone had left in a hurry.
I called 911 and walked through the rest of the house, just to see if it was clear, and as Curt mentioned, I carried an oak walking stick. Not really smart. But no one else was there. Lucky for me.
The police showed up, took down some information, and as to be expected found little. I think I showed up before my guests could get their hands on anything to steal.
Someone had recently stolen some items from my truck in the driveway, and I think I finally reached my limit and bought an old shotgun at a pawnshop, 12 gauge Winchester pump, $100.
The next time, by God…
I had that shotgun for about 6 months and hadn’t bought any shells for it, and Curt, bless his heart, gave me one as a present.
And I got to thinking about it more.
Would I really pull the trigger on a 12-guage shotgun if someone came into my house to steal what little I had of value?
I know what a shotgun can do, and at close range it would blow a hole the size of my fist right through some kid. For what? For a TV?
I traded the gun for an old 6-string Yamaha guitar.
The guitar I took with me on my Peace Corps assignment to Belize.
Curt is absolutely correct where he wrote, “In the case of a home invasion with a literal life or death situation for your family or granddaughter, I believe a properly registered handgun, in the hands of a trained user, would prove a better defense than say, a walking stick.”
But I would posit that the actual probability of a home invasion, versus the perceived probability of a home invasion, is miniscule. And I haven’t vetted that opinion, so I could be proved wrong. I’m just sitting here in a coffee house writing, thinking back to all the places I’ve lived, all the people I know, and how few I know who have actually had someone break into there home. Maybe there are more than I’m aware of. I don’t know. But as far as I know, there aren’t many.
I don’t remember a home invasion all the years I lived in my hometown, though it’s possible there was one, or some. The only time my Dad ever considered having a gun close at hand was when Charlie Starkweather was at large and randomly killing folks in Nebraska.
When Starkweather was caught, Dad put the gun back in the basement office. It was a bolt action 22 cal. Remington single shot. Not exactly a man-killer, but effective if need be.
I never saw him actually shoot it, though I’m sure he could, as he had served in Korea.
I have to say that if someone broke into my home now, and I had the opportunity to avoid confrontation, I would tell them to take what they want and help them load their truck, as long as they left my family alone.
If they chose to harm my family, I would find a way to kill them. It’s not what Gandhi would do, and probably not what Jesus would do, but I was brought up in America.