We recently posted this story on our Facebook page about a homeowner protecting herself with deadly force. We wanted to take the time to weigh in with some observations.
At 1:00 AM a nearly naked man walks through the unlocked sliding door into the house of a 63 year old widow. He is only wearing a pair of boxer shorts. He follows her through the house without speaking. She repeatedly asks him to leave, he says nothing. She goes into the kitchen and takes a gun from a drawer. He makes an aggressive move (as if just walking into her house wasn’t aggressive enough.) She shoots him and he dies from the wounds.
The police say he was attending a nearby party.
Yes, the possibility exists that he was drunk or stoned and that he was simply “out of it.” But the facts of this case suggest something more sinister. If this were to happen in your home it is prudent for you to make some assumptions or at least ask some questions:
- The intruder wasn’t wearing a mask. If a perpetrator breaks into your house, and he isn’t wearing a mask, is it because he isn’t planning on leaving you alive?
- The intruder was wearing only underwear. If a perpetrator leaves his clothes outside, is it because things are going to get bloody? When he’s done he can clean off without taking your DNA with him. (Note, individuals high on angel dust often remove their clothes because they overheat.)
- The intruder didn’t talk. If a perpetrator doesn’t ask for anything such as money or valuables, is it because he is planning on simply taking what he wants – after you are dead?
Yes, the possibility exists that this man was a high, drunk or confused party guest, but Phyllis Maloney couldn’t take that chance and neither can you.
The Castle Doctrine establishes your place of residence as a place where you should be safe from illegal trespassing and violent attack. But what is most significant about the castle doctrine is, in Colorado, it relieves one of the duty to retreat. If you are out on the street and you are confronted by someone with the intent to do you harm it may be possible for you to run away. It may also be possible for you to defend yourself using a concealed weapon, but did you have a duty to run away. If you didn’t run away, there is a significant possibility that you will be defending your actions in a court of law – even if you felt, at the time, that retreat was not an option. Also, keep in mind that bystanders will hear the gunshot, see you standing over your assailant, and most likely will not have seen the events leading up to the shooting.
In your home, you have no such duty to retreat. You can defend yourself and your family. At Whistling Pines we offer a training class called Defending Your Home. This class introduces students to the legal, psychological, and practical defense aspects of facing a hostile intruder in their homes. How will you react? What about your kids? In what order should what actions be taken? The class combines lecture, classroom demonstrations, and question and answer periods to illustrate the points covered. Students experience some low light situational shooting on the range after the classroom session. To see our full Club Training Calendar click here.