A couple of years ago, about 2 a.m., I was peacefully sleeping at home here in Deerfield Beach when, suddenly, I heard a noise at the window close by. At first, I thought it was the wind blowing a tree branch up against the window. But as I became more conscious, I realized we did not have a tree branch that close and it was someone actually trying to get into our window. My heart started beating fast as I realized the situation.
Suddenly, the noise stopped, but I woke up my wife, whispered to her what I had heard, and we both lay there listening intensely.
A few moments later, we both heard the sound of the sliding glass door in the adjoining living room being pried open by someone. Whispering confirmations of the sound to each other, we both slid out of bed to get our guns.
We keep a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun and a 36-caliber short barrel pistol conveniently close by. I grabbed the shotgun and passed the pistol to my wife, who is an excellent shot (we go to the gun range occasionally).
We quietly opened our bedroom door and, leading with the shotgun, I flipped on the living room light. Suddenly, we heard our patio furniture being knocked over as the home invaders, who obviously had seen us, decided to run rather than confront the mad man who had a big gun and was ready to shoot them at 2 a.m. in the morning.
The loud “ca chunk, ca chunk” sound as I applied the pump action to my shotgun, which loaded the 12-gauge shells into my gun’s shooting chamber, definitely helped to get their attention. I was starting to aim in their direction when I realized they had turned and were running out the door knocking patio furniture in every direction.
If I had pulled the trigger at that point, I could have shot them both in the back, which I knew to be against the law, and they may have been able to sue me. According to my son-in-law lawyer, you can’t shoot someone who is not an immediate threat to you, i.e. running away.
However, if they had been running toward me, I definitely could have, and would have pulled the trigger to shoot them.
This brings up another important point — if you know you would not pull the trigger in such circumstances, you’re probably better off not having the gun because they could then take it and use it against you.
The above described incident is the third we’ve had in the 40 years we’ve lived in this house.
The first incident 40 years ago we slept through as thieves came right into our bedroom as we were sleeping and took the wallet from my pants and my wife’s purse.
We were young and had less than $20 between us in our wallets so maybe the thief world was told not to bother with us again. However, I put in an alarm system after that, and the second break-in, about 20 years later, scared the thieves away when the alarm went off.
The last incident, which was described at the beginning of this article, occurred after we had become lazy about turning on the alarm system at night. The moral of this story, therefore, is if you have an alarm system, use it.
Attention thieves: We now turn on our alarm system every night and both our guns are still loaded.
David Eller, Publisher