Do I Go In? by Dennis Brislawn

Imagine coming home from an evening out… and finding your front door kicked in.  What would you do?  That sense of outrage is there, anger, mixed with some fear about what you will find.  Is the burglar still inside?  What was taken…?

The decision you make in the next few minutes will affect your life for days, months, even until the rest of your life.

There are two paths you can take.  You can go in or you can retreat, observe, and call 911.  Now many of us, gun owners or not, would focus on our rights that were just violated and be tempted to charge in.

1.  “Burglar” could be gone.

2.  “Burglar” could be someone else than a burglar.

3.  “Burglar” could be there… and a confrontation could escalate into a shooting of either or both persons.

One of my SWAT friends and I were discussing the difference between military mindset (close with and destroy the enemy) and the police mindset (save lives).  You see, even when police officers use force in an armed setting there role is to save lives… yes, even of the perpetrator so long as their life or other lives are placed in jeopardy.  I am a civilian now, an armed citizen.  What is MY duty, my “mindset”?

Seems to me that reaching for the cell phone is my first action if there is no immediate peril.  Why?  Because while I may have a moral duty to come to somebody’s aid I do not have a LEGAL duty to do so.  And that is what causes my actions to put me at risk of prosecution.

We can’t use deadly force to protect property, at least in this state.  While going into my own home after or during a break-in is certainly legal… is it smart?  The question seems to me to be is should I do it rather than can I do it.

Are there facts that make me the aggressor?  What if a concerned neighbor or police officer was in there, having seen the broken door?

What do you think?  What facts would change your answer?