Do I Go In?

Imagine coming home from an evening out… and finding your front door kicked in.  What would you do?  That sense of outrage is there, anger, mixed with some fear about what you will find.  Is the burglar still inside?  What was taken…?

The decision you make in the next few minutes will affect your life for days, months, even until the rest of your life.

There are two paths you can take.  You can go in or you can retreat, observe, and call 911.  Now many of us, gun owners or not, would focus on our rights that were just violated and be tempted to charge in.

1.  “Burglar” could be gone.

2.  “Burglar” could be someone else than a burglar.

3.  “Burglar” could be there… and a confrontation could escalate into a shooting of either or both persons.

One of my SWAT friends and I were discussing the difference between military mindset (close with and destroy the enemy) and the police mindset (save lives).  You see, even when police officers use force in an armed setting there role is to save lives… yes, even of the perpetrator so long as their life or other lives are placed in jeopardy.  I am a civilian now, an armed citizen.  What is MY duty, my “mindset”?

Seems to me that reaching for the cell phone is my first action if there is no immediate peril.  Why?  Because while I may have a moral duty to come to somebody’s aid I do not have a LEGAL duty to do so.  And that is what causes my actions to put me at risk of prosecution.

We can’t use deadly force to protect property, at least in this state.  While going into my own home after or during a break-in is certainly legal… is it smart?  The question seems to me to be is should I do it rather than can I do it.

Are there facts that make me the aggressor?  What if a concerned neighbor or police officer was in there, having seen the broken door?

What do you think?  What facts would change your answer?

4 Responses to Do I Go In?

  1. Several times in a couple of my advanced Gun Classes I ask my students if they have ever “cleared” a house. I’ve only received one affirmative response. I then go on to remind my students of a couple things. 1) What you see on TV/in the movies is NOT Real Life. 2) Most LEO’s and Military ONLY conduct such an operation with a lot of Backup. 3) As good as they are, they are probably just not quite up to the standards of “Seal Team Six,” so they shouldn’t expect similar results. In my ‘post military life’, I’ve only cleared a house once, and that was from within when I really suspected I had an intruder in the house (at night). And that scenario (an intruder in a house that I am occupying) is the only one that I will allow myself to engage in – and one that I practice routinely. But even then, a “Safe Room” and a call to 911 might be a better choice if you have one and if you can get everyone in (and you don’t mind repairing the door that might have to be breached for LE to enter the premisses).

    As you point out counselor, there are many things that one must consider in the scenario presented, both ‘legal’ and ‘practical’. Folks need to remember A) “A license to carry is NOT a license to use”, and B) most of the CCW training out there falls way short of qualifying someone for combat.

    StaySafe™ y’all.

    • Rich…

      Sorry for the late response – missed this one. Thanks for the additional information – I am sure this will be helpful to our gun owner followers. We are going to be turning up the volume on our blogging and stories so we hope you stop by again and leave some more comments…thank you!

  2. Do you have kids waiting at home? A babysitter perhaps? A dog?

    You certainly have a right to be in your home, and to defend yourself with reasonable force if necessary as long as you wear the mantle of innocence and do not escalate.

    Safest is obviously to remain outside, but there is opportunity inside for lowering this burglar’s recidivism rate.

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