Knocking on our door at midnight

Knocking on our door at midnight

This is a discussion on Knocking on our door at midnight within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Around midnight last night, my wife's cell phone rang, waking up both my wife and me. It was my daughter, calling from her room upstairs, ...

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Thread: Knocking on our door at midnight

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array BenGoodLuck's Avatar
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    Knocking on our door at midnight

    Around midnight last night, my wife's cell phone rang, waking up both my wife and me. It was my daughter, calling from her room upstairs, asking if we heard the knocking at the front door. Our bedroom is on the main floor with a window facing out to our front lawn. The bedroom is on the left as you enter the house, off the living room through a small hall.

    I immediately went to the window and see a guy with a backpack walking across our lawn. I pulled on my sweatpants and ran out the front door. Not seeing the guy, I ran to the side of the house and see someone standing there in the shadows. I shouted "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" and he replied "Nothing". I then yelled I was calling the police and ran back to the house but I hear him yell "Wait, it's [name of my son's friend]." I went inside, locked the door and called out to my son. I told him that his friend was outside and asked him if he knew why he had come by. My son told me that his friend was supposed to have come by several hours earlier since they had the next day off from school and they were going to just hang out.

    At this point, the friend had come back to the front door and I opened it. He was very apologetic and I told him firmly that: a) he should have called before coming over; b) midnight is not a time to be coming over; and c) knocking on a door at midnight and then going around the side of our house was a dumb thing to do and could end up badly. (The reason he was on the side of our house is that he was going to try and yell up to my son's room. We don't have a fence on that side of the house and people can walk through from the street in front of our house to the garage alley that runs behind the houses on our block.)

    Surprisingly, when it was all over, I didn't feel an adrenaline rush and once we knew who it was (he's a good kid, just made a bad judgement call), I was able to go back to sleep. But not before I realized the several mistakes I had made.

    1. I should have called 911 as soon as I saw someone crossing our lawn, especially after they had been knocking on our door.

    2. I went outside.

    3. I went outside without my gun. I also have a rail mounted light and usually I connect it to my gun before going to sleep. I hadn't done that last night.

    4. I closed the front door when I went inside, but didn't lock it. If there had been someone wanting to get inside, I basically invited them in.

    In thinking about the whole scenario, I have several conflicting thoughts. On the one hand, castle doctrine in Texas allows me to defend myself and my property. But if I had used my gun and shot my son's friend it would have been a horrible tragedy. I was so focused on defending my family that I actually left them defenseless and also entered an unknown situation unarmed. I don't want to cower in my home when threatened, but the consequences of any deadly action I might have taken would have been far-reaching.

    I'm interested in your thoughts and comments.
    Hopyard and Phaedrus like this.
    Ben

    Cogito, ergo armatum sum. I think, therefore I am armed. (Don Mann, The Modern Day Gunslinger; the ultimate handgun training manual)



  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    ...I'm not against our going out to check on someone/something...it's my property and I go out often to check on things and investigate...

    ...I never go to the door without a gun and a light...I can't shoot what I can't see...nor can I see/identify the threat...

    ...I don't use a light mounted on a weapon...I'm from the last century, where BG at night instinctually shot at the light, thinking we were behind it...I hold my light way out to the side...and I'm not aiming at what I'm looking at...unless I mean to...no chance of a stumble or a twitch causing me to shoot someone...
    ...what the visitor did was very dumb...he should have called your son and had him meet him at the door...

    ...you got a cheap lesson by experiencing this...cost you nothing and let you improve your plans...all's good...glad it worked out well...

  3. #3
    Member Array heritage1865's Avatar
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    I would've at least had my gun with me, and ideally had a light... But, all's well that ends well. Nothing happened. Lesson learned.
    Nations crumble from within when the citizenry asks of government those things which it might better provide for itself... Man is not free unless government is limited... As government expands, liberty contracts.
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    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    You pretty much summed up what I would have done differently. It is one of those situations that is hard if not impossible to mimic (at least the adrenaline part) and is something we need to be ready for. Glad it ended ok.
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    BigJon


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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    I think you have made a very important and profound lesson not on just what you did wrong, but also the use of restraint, the importance of target / threat identification, and the importance of being prepared. I agree completely that if you had shot your sons friend it would be a terrible, life altering tragedy. But you have identified what you could have done better and also what you did right. You asserted your dominance over your home, you put the safety and welfare of your family before your own, and you kept a level head. You should still be proud in how you handled the situation.
    BenGoodLuck likes this.
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    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    The biggest thing I can see here is that you have a very very smart daughter. I'm going to steal that action of using a cell to call family members when something seems wrong in the house.
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    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    Lessons learned, but I don't think one would shoot someone for just 'walking' across the lawn...even in TX.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Array Stirling XD's Avatar
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    Also keep in mind that if you did grab your gun with the rail mounted light and if you shined it on the, your pointing a gun at your son's friend. That might not go over well with the friends parents. Although, I have to wonder about parents that let their school aged kid roam around at midnight. Glad nothing bad happened.

  9. #9
    Member Array tele_pathic's Avatar
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    Everything turned out well in the end, so you be happy there. And others have mentioned, you learned a valuable lesson for very little cost. No, I would not venture out of the house at midnight without my gun and a flashlight. But I prolly would have gone out to investigate. I can't stay up all night wondering what's out there or listening for every little noise. If it's something like this, the matter is resolved quickly. If it's a vagrant or possible intruder, I can keep him there while my wife calls 911, again resolving the matter.

    I'm glad you didn't mistake your son's friend for an intruder, and I'm happy no one was harmed. I wonder, though, how the Castle Doctrine relates to outside your home. Let's speak hypothetically for a moment: If this was a bad guy at the side of your house, not really doing anything but still suspicious. If you shot him before he had a chance to either leave your premises or break into your house, again you come upon him before he has a chance to do either, but he acts in an aggressive manner and you're forced to kill, how would Castle Doctrine apply to that situation?

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Spirit51's Avatar
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    I am a firm believer in "Don't get out of the boat!"

    Whether it is the house...or even a room in the house, better off there because it is a smaller area...easier to defend.

    Same goes for my car. I don't get out until I know who the "rescuers" are. I just sit with my cell phone and my weapon in my lap. I am like a pearl....as long as I am in my "shell" I am safer than outside of it. And I am prepared to defend my shell.
    A woman must not depend on protection by men. A woman must learn to protect herself.
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  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array SCXDm9's Avatar
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    Other than going out without your gun I think you were spot on. As it turned out it was nothing, as in 90% of the things that go bump in the night, had you had your gun you would have been prepared for the 10%.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Snub44's Avatar
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    tele__pathic...


    "...bad guy at the side of your house, not really doing anything but still suspicious. If you shot him before he had a chance to either leave your premises or break into your house,..."

    ... that's a bad shoot...Castle Doctrine doesn't apply...



    "... again you come upon him before he has a chance to do either, but he acts in an aggressive manner and you're forced to kill, how would Castle Doctrine apply to that situation..."

    ... Castle Doctrine applies...IF you're justified in using deadly force by what he does, you're covered even if not on your own property(ANYWHERE that you have a right to be)...in Texas...the NRA-model Castle Doctrine is just a term...you have to go by the actual written law in the state you're in...wholelotta differences state to state...

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    scary senario. I would have had a gun since its on my beside I have a light on my gun an a streamlight next to it. I would use the streamlite unless when out side I felt threatened than switch to gun light. Iam glad nothing happened I have 4 sons all grown now an gone but lots of strange things happen when you have teenagers its very challenging. I would probably go thru a couple of senarios with your kids so everyones on the same page an they know what to do an not to do because dads coming out armed. Your daughter was awesome by the way good instincts
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array First Sgt's Avatar
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    Your daughter did the most intelligent thing in the whole scenario...Otherwise YOU mucked things up after that initial phone call from her...The good thing is, YOU realize you messed up and messed up big time in your actions...Also, you were lucky it wasn't a true BG situation and was only your son's friend. Use this as a true learning experience...

    With that being said, YOU need to concentrate on learning the laws of your state, first reading on how to defend yourself, your family, and your property, peruse some training videos on you-tube, read some more, and finally, get some good training in defensive handgun. We all learn from experience, but reviewing other scenarios and the comments on correct actions, can go a long way towards increasing your learning curve....Be safe Sir...JMO
    ep1953 likes this.
    Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground. It's a hard lesson to learn and even most adults don't get it, but in the end only I can be responsible for my life. If faced with any type of adversity, only I can overcome it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is a long fruitless wait.

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array BenGoodLuck's Avatar
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    Thank you to all who have replied and I really appreciate all the thoughtful comments. I found a copy of the Texas "castle law" here (http://www.rc123.com/texas_castle_doctrine.html) and my key takeaway is that one is justified in using force or deadly force only:

    "...if the actor [the one using force or deadly force]:

    (1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the force was used:

    (A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;

    (B) unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment..."

    So it seems that there is no justification to use force or deadly force on someone who is trespassing on one's property and is not with force attempting to enter, or has entered, one's home, vehicle, or place of employment.
    Ben

    Cogito, ergo armatum sum. I think, therefore I am armed. (Don Mann, The Modern Day Gunslinger; the ultimate handgun training manual)


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