The difference between an intruder inside your home versus just outside of it can be vast in the eyes of some jurors.
There seems to be danger outside the doors of your home. Being “the man of the house,” your natural mammalian instinct to “protect the nest” kicks in. To make sure your family won’t be threatened, you open the door to check things out. In a matter of seconds, things go downhill. You have to draw and fire your gun in self-defense. You prevail and survive…good for you!
But soon now—perhaps very soon—someone is going to ask, “Why didn’t you just stay inside where you’d be safe? Were you, like, looking for trouble?” What will your answer be?
Identifying the Syndrome
Case One: On October 17, 1972, one of the most controversial armed citizen shootings in the last 20 years occurred in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In an increasingly crime-ridden neighborhood, a young husband and father heard his wife scream in terror that men were trying to break in. She shouted for him to get a gun. He grabbed the only loaded handgun in the house, a .44 Mag hunting revolver he kept secured from the kids, and ran to her aid.
Flinging open the front door, he saw a man walking away from him in the dim light. Suddenly, the man spun toward him and advanced, moving in a strange and jerky fashion. The homeowner could see a metallic object in the oncoming stranger’s hand, and shouted, “Freeze,” but the man kept coming. At close range, the homeowner fired one shot from the doorway.
The difference between an intruder inside your home versus just outside of it can…
by Richard Nance / May 1, 2011