Posted on November 14 2018
NO MATTER HOW MANY GUNS YOU HAVE IN THE HOUSE, WITHOUT A GUN IN-YOUR-HAND WHEN A CRISIS ARISES, YOU’LL BE STRUGGLING TO GET AHEAD OF THE POWER CURVE.
Author Josh Tyler / Category Home Defense / Published: Oct 11th, 2017
Jason Ross , the co-author of the military thiller "Black Autumn", had a criminal walk right into his home, while he was there with his friends and family.
Knowing him as a life-long prepper, hunter, and firearms enthusiast, I would've guaranteed I could have predicted that outcome with almost one-hundred percent certainty.
However, as you are about to read, things did not go remotely the way he expected. Most of us have probably spent more than a few minutes running the scenario of what would happen should we ever encountered a home intruder. At least I know I have. Here is his first hand account of the event that had a very suprising ending:
7:45pm Saturday Night
Our family and two girlfriends of my wife sat around the dinner table eating vegetable soup and roast chicken. A complete stranger walked into our kitchen, dressed in gang-banger pants and a t-shirt, and said, “I’m not sure if I’m in the right place.” We had never seen him before in our lives.
Our home is outside of the city — a fifteen minute drive from downtown — and he had driven over boulders, mud and snow to circumvent our sixty-foot iron gate to get inside our home perimeter. I was seated at the far end of the table with three kids and three women between him and me. The closest firearm was several rooms away.
The women went into momentary panic, looking to me for cues. I immediately set about making the intruder feel as comfortable as possible , relaxing casually in my seat and inviting him to have a chair at the table. Reluctant to decline, he sat down. My heart was racing, but the last thing I wanted to do was escalate tension.
I began chatting with him as though nothing was amiss, asking him questions about his life, his family and his story. He told us that he was “following messages from God” and that he was “confused” and didn’t know if he was crazy. He admitted to a life-long history of violent crime, home invasion, and auto theft, ultimately revealing that he’d pulled up to our house in a stolen car. He had recently served prison time for another home invasion. All that aside, he was growing increasingly relaxed and, instead of dialing 911 on my cell phone, I text messaged my brother while keeping the man talking, the phone hidden beneath the table. My brother lives with us but I thought he might be out on the town.
“911. Come to the kitchen immediately with a gun. Be cool. Repeat be cool.”
I didn’t know it at the time, but my brother got my text and raced across town toward our home.
I continued to sip wine and act calm and friendly. The women trusted my relaxed attitude and began chatting with him too.
I asked him if he was hungry and one of the ladies served him a bowl of soup. Now totally comfortable, he asked if he could wash up. I showed him to the wash room and dashed to my room where I had a Barska biometric safe. I withdrew my Kimber .45 and my bear spray. I chambered a round and returned to the kitchen and rejoined everyone at the table, now with a loaded firearm in my waistband and my bear spray hidden in my back pocket. I moved the handgun to my lap beneath the table top, de-cocked the hammer and held the gun in his direction under the table.
The intruder, a five foot seven inch man, who claimed to be 28 years old, sat at the opposite end of the table, now totally relaxed and, seemingly, no direct threat. I kept him talking about himself, his life, his history and his thoughts. Still I refrained from calling the police.
The ladies moved the children calmly out of the kitchen and my sister, who also lives with us, sequestered them in the furthest area of the house, waiting to see how this played out. I kept the man, who called himself “Ronald” answering questions about himself, listening to him with rapt attention.
I wrote my (actual) phone number down on a piece of paper and passed it down the table.
“Most of the people in this neighborhood would shoot you if you walked into their kitchen.” I said. “Everyone owns guns here. I’m actually armed right now. If you’d walked into the other door in front of my house, my protection dogs might have killed you. I don’t want you to die, so will you please promise to call me if you ever get a message from God to walk into another home uninvited?”
He agreed and took my phone number. He’d definitely heard the part about the gun, but I said it with such a casual air, it didn’t escalate the tension much.
Meanwhile, my brother was pulling into the drive, talking on the phone with Chad Wade, our Navy SEAL friend, who was out-of-town. Chad told him to follow my cues, but to triangulate with me so that my brother would be sitting out of my line of fire but behind the intruder. My brother carried a small .22 Beretta automatic in his hoody pocket.
TO THE LEFT OF THE GATE POST, HE DROVE UP AND OVER
BOULDERS, SNOW AND MUD, DAMAGING THE STOLEN CAR HE WAS DRIVING.
My brother came into the kitchen. I gave him a reassuring nod and introduced him to the intruder. They shook hands and my brother sat behind him at an angle, just as Chad had instructed.
I continued talking, fairly certain that we’d put the intruder in a position where we had every tactical advantage.
Finally, he said, “I’m feeling like I might be in danger here.”
I replied, “No, but I would be very careful about ever walking into someone’s home uninvited. Promise me you’ll call me if you feel like doing something like that again.”
After an hour or so of talking, he gathered his plate as if to leave. The ladies jumped up and gave him a hug. I grabbed him and hugged him too, running my hand around his waistband, finding no weapon. I’d left my handgun in my chair and I motioned for my brother to upgrade his gun to mine.
I walked the intruder out to his stolen car and watched as he drove away, my brother triangulating him again.
Then, the intruder drove away down the drive. The next day I called the local police and filed a report about the incident.
WHAT ABSOLUTELY DID NOT GO AS PLANNED:
1. I thought my house, a large home, was at risk of being robbed by someone who wanted something — money, guns or a kidnap victim.
Reality: Our first, and hopefully only, home invasion was conducted by a man who appeared to be considering criminal intent, but who really was mentally ill and pathologically lonely. The result was a totally unexpected and erratic home invasion that required an entirely different approach than what I’d prepared. There were no other invaders. He was alone. And, he didn’t have a plan.
As I’d learned from years with the homeless,listening to someone is incredibly disarming. As I asked question after question, he opened up, even describing much of his thinking about the home invasion — and telling us all about his life of crime. We came away with an education in how a criminal looks at breaking into our home.
In this scenario, my experience talking to people with mental illness may have been my most-effective weapon.
2. I’d pictured, rehearsed and practiced a late night home invasion and all of my defenses were set to that scenario.
Reality: The intruder walked in while our doors were unlocked from a regular day-at-the-house, with guests coming and going. The dogs were on the opposite end of the house and I was a long way from my firearms. If the intruder had walked in with a plan and a weapon, it would have been very difficult to get on top of the power curve. It wouldn’t have mattered if I’d had a gun safe ten feet from my dining table, without a gun on my hip, I would have a rough time get ahead of an intruder, and maybe not even with a gun on my hip. One moment we were having a great dinner conversation. The next moment a dangerous stranger was in our kitchen.
IN THE INTRUDER’S MIND, THE GATE WAS A MAJOR OBSTACLE AND HE WOULDN’T CONSIDER WALKING UP TO THE HOUSE. QUICK ESCAPE WAS IMPORTANT TO HIM.
3. I had mentally prepared to kill an intruder, immediately, if he showed up with unknown intent among my family.
Reality: By the time I had a gun in-hand, I could see far better options than killing a man in front of my family in my kitchen. As I sat at my table, keeping him talking, I rehearsed, over and over, in my mind, raising my Kimber, cocking the hammer and shooting him in the chest. I felt relatively calm and ready to kill him. But every instinct told me that I didn’t need to kill him and that, with my gun in-hand, pointed in his direction, he would not beat me to the shot (if he had a gun at all which I doubted. I’d seen no gun print under his t-shirt when he went to the wash room.)
By that time, with the situation seemingly under control, I began thinking about how I would almost certainly be forced to sell our family dream home if I killed someone in my kitchen. I also knew that I didn’t have clear knowledge of the location of my children and the other people in my house. No-shoot zones were everywhere, especially considering the reality that I’d be force to shoot down the table, past my wife and her friends.
I confess that I wasn’t overly concerned about the future of my conscience, but I could see nothing but family horror and psychological wounding for everyone in the house if I killed this young man. Since I’d already succeeded in de-escalating the situation, and since I’d convinced the intruder that we cared about his well-being, I continued to hold out for better options than killing him.
Indeed, he ultimately left peacefully and I feel relieved that I didn’t let my gun do my thinking for me. If he returns in the dead of night some night, I will probably regret my decision not to kill him that Saturday evening in the kitchen. But, in all likelihood, that’s not going to happen (though it’s certainly possible.)
Here is a live video I did recounting the event with ReadyMan:
4. I thought that calling the police would be the first order of business in a home invasion.
Reality: Within five minutes I felt that I could de-escalate this situation and I sensed that keeping everyone calm was my best chance of leaving this crisis with everything I had when it started (my family, my life, my home…) I knew that the police would introduce a free radical to the equation and that they would come in with their guns out, despite the no-shoot zones and family members at every angle.
I trust my local PD and I’ve had nothing but excellent experiences with them, but my intuition kept telling me not to dial 911 on my cell phone.
I also knew this: the intruder would go to jail for the breaking and entering and the auto theft, but he might be out in six months to a year — without getting effective mental health treatment. Six months later, he’d be just as confused and dangerous as he was at that moment in my kitchen. Only, in six months to a year, my home and my family would be a dark stain on his memory — a likely place for retribution and violence in the future. I wanted nothing to do with this man being arrested and incarcerated and I didn’t trust the judicial system to keep me out of the prosecution even if Ionly reported the stolen car.
I realize that probably makes me a questionable citizen for not taking the risk anyway, but I know schizophrenics quite well and I know that, if I did anything short of killing the man, my family would be in heightened danger for years.
5. I’d always pictured pulling the gun and holding an intruder at gun point.
Reality: If my gun had cleared the table, I would’ve killed him instantly. I rehearsed that movement at least a dozen times in my head as we talked. If I had sensed a threat, I would have brought the gun up over the table and fired in one motion, reflexively. Without really knowing it, I’d already made a decision that would blot out any other decision-making. The mere act of practicing that move in my head, I believe, would’ve led to me killing him even if I was wrong about the threat. But what else was I supposed to do?
6. I thought I had an excellent home security plan that would be very difficult to breach.
Reality: a confused, mentally-ill criminal walked right through my front door and into my kitchen in the middle of dinner.
I got lucky. I know that.
But, I’ve been thanking God for the training I had. I didn’t train for the scenario I faced, but I’d trained enough so that I could THINK during the confrontation. With a gun in my hand and the tactics in my favor, I could then consider probabilities. I could balance long-term ramifications. With my blood pressure under control and my brain functioning reliably, I was able to reflect on my options and weigh the risks.
At the end of the day, I think all of those hundreds of hours of firearms and tactics training — they gave me what I needed to NOT use my gun.
I wouldn’t blame anyone for disagreeing with my decision-making process, but it’s hard to disagree with the outcome. Everyone went home with all the blood they had when they woke up that Saturday morning.
That’s probably as close to “winning” a gunfight as I’ll ever come.