Sunday, May 3, 2020

Looking at yesterday's confrontation from the standpoint of the home-owner

Having admitted that I was stupid, today we will look at the other guy's actions.

The image above is a to-scale drawing of where the flag was flying upside down.

The house is the blue square. The small white squares are the front and back porches. The white rectangle is my vehicle. The black arrows are my path. The blue half-circle is where I was when I realized that things were going sideways.

At this point I am walking north toward my truck and 140 feet from the road.

And there was the home owner. The red arrow is his presumed route.

Let's play with other potential endings to the story.

If you take a concealed weapons class, they will instruct you to stay in your house and call 9-1-1 if you think you are in danger. They repeatedly state that you should not "go out" and confront the "danger".

Why? What bad outcomes could happen? Let's look at some potential outcomes from the perspective of the armed home owner.

Outcome One:  You stumble upon the stranger (who was me) and you are too close before you realize his presence. When you stay in the house you might not know where he is, but you certainly know where he is not...he is not in the house.

You lose that advantage when you pursue the stranger.  In a high stress situation, a stranger less than 21 feet from you is a high pucker-factor encounter.

If everybody knows the rules and does the dance then we are both lucky and we end up with two people with elevated pulse rates.

Potential Outcome Two: The stranger does not see you and continues toward his vehicle closing the distance between the two of you. Maybe he is wearing earbuds. Maybe he is hard-of-hearing. Maybe he is obtuse. Even more likely he is a kid and panics when he sees you. He makes a break for his vehicle which has him run right over the top of you.

BAM! Dead stranger.

The best you can hope for is to shake the legal entanglements in a year and for $100k.

Potential Outcome Three: The stranger is still in your back yard. You come upon him unawares. Things go sideways. You show him the muzzle of your gun or maybe even shoot him. Technically, you stalked closed the distance from +70 feet to bad-breath hunted him down and threatened him with deadly force or actually shot him.

Trespassing is not a capital crime.

From your perspective, you were trying to figure out where he is by following the way he went. From the perspective of the prosecuting attorney, you trapped an innocent civilian by sealing off the one path they knew to safety, thereby guaranteeing a confrontation.

Dude, you just committed a felony. You can kiss your guns good-bye.

Potential Outcome Four: The stranger really IS a bad person and is armed. No matter how stealthy you think you are, there is still the chance the bad guy will have his gun up and pointed at you while you are carrying yours at low-ready. The best you can hope for is that he is a truly rotten shot. Most likely, you will both be wounded.

My motivation for writing this post
There are a lot of ramifications in these kinds of situations and there isn't time to run through them in your head.

Good training is important.

But don't take the advice of a random blogger. If you are going to keep a gun in the house for self-defense, take a concealed weapons class from a qualified instructor.


  1. Setting: rural Alaska, 300 foot drive wsy, state police at least an hour away if they are not 100+ miles in one of three other directions. I am now carrying open. Probably no strangers will drive in but there are a number of strangers currently hanging around in usually deserted cabins so who knows. In any case hopefully the stranger will see the not brandished weapon and leave when asked. If I go out the door my wife would be ready to up with the shotgun. Over the years I have had two or three instances of stranger with apparent bad motives backing out as fast as they could go just from realising someone was home. No confrontations.

    1. Your situation is a bit different. The only part of the story that might be useful in your situation is to avoid cutting off the trespasser's avenue of retreat.

      Flank him. Stay between him and your house (but out of your wife's line-of-fire.

      Random question: Did you file the front sight off your .44 Magnum? I heard a lot of folks in Alaska did that.

  2. Good points to consider, and glad you were able to walk away.


  3. Stay away from crowds. Stay away from strangers. Never volunteer to help. When asked for help consider it carefully. The best of intentions can get you in deep trouble legally and socially and physically . ---ken


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