NOVEMBER 16, 2023

Skillset: Don’t Go Out

From the news digest of a friend – who would prefer no more subscribers – a defense gun use that happened in Washington state. The summary from the news story is below:

A Parkland homeowner suffered multiple gunshots after he held a suspect at gunpoint as the suspect attempted to break into his family’s vehicle. KIRO 7 News spoke with Sgt. Darren Moss, public information officer with the Pierce County (WA) Sheriff’s Department Friday. Moss said the incident happened on 146th Street Court South in Parkland Thursday at about 10:34 p.m. A caller told deputies that someone was trying to break into their family’s vehicle. Her husband went outside and held the suspect at gunpoint, she told deputies. (Emphasis added) Around 25 seconds into the call, Moss said, the woman heard gunshots ... Deputies arrived at the scene and found her husband suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was treated for his non-life-threatening injuries. The victim told deputies that there were three suspects involved, and they ran away heading west. KIRO 7 News they also found two handguns underneath a neighbor’s wheelbarrow, along with a clown mask in the middle of the street, which one of the suspects wore, the victim told deputies...

Our correspondent notes “… if you leave the relative safety of your home to confront thieves and burglars, it keeps getting riskier to assume that you'll be the only one bringing a gun to the party. Then there's the issue of accomplices who may not initially be visible to you.”

Stephen makes a good point. If there’s a problem occurring outside your residence – place of business, a locale where you’re shopping or dining – make a call for the people who get paid to address it. Going out is – nearly always – a sucker’s bet.

How will you know what’s happening?

Well, if it’s during hours of darkness or diminished light and you peek out a window with interior lights turned on, you’ve provided them a target. Not a good plan. Only slightly better is turning off the lights then peeking.

Don’t you have one of those new, nifty wireless camera setups on your house? They’re not greatly expensive and they’re not just to cover the place while you’re away. I’ve used such a device to watch incoming bad weather from the comfort of a desk chair. If they’re good for weather, they’re good to help you determine something about a commotion outside.

If your car is parked outside, did you leave valuables in it? If so … why didn’t you just take them inside? The present case is about a car burglary, always a fairly common property crime made more prevalent by failures to aggressively prosecute and jail offenders. It’s made more dangerous by going out and confronting the thieves.

And please don’t tell me that you “staged a gun” in that unattended vehicle. That’s just ignorant.

All that is reason enough to let the badges handle it, even failing to mention the issue of abandonment of “the castle.” I’m not sure about every state and the status of the curtilage everywhere. (Look it up …) Potentially, leaving the building may neuter the Castle Doctrine defense in subsequent litigation over the incident. An argument could be made that going outside armed in defense of property strips you of the “unavoidability” aspect of justification and could make you appear the aggressor.

Of course, that’s all legal stuff to be sorted out in the aftermath – if you survive. I’m not qualified to speak on it in any event. Stephen’s point is better taken: it’s tactically unsound in the immediate sense. Getting into a fight is 100% - you win or lose. There’s no “draw.”

Don’t go out.

— Rich Grassi