Ronald Dixon froze in fear when he saw an intruder enter his toddler son's bedroom, and his heart pounded wildly after he fired two shots in a confrontation with the stranger. Later, upset that he might have taken a life, Dixon shook as the wounded man lay in his driveway.
The encounter was only the beginning of an emotional upheaval for the soft-spoken Brooklyn computer engineer.
A month later, Dixon's feelings still swing from relief when he smiles at his son, to terror about what could have happened, to dread about possibly serving time because he used an unlicensed gun.
"The only thing I could think about was my family - there was no telling what he would do to my children or girlfriend," Dixon said in an interview last week.
"If I have to go to jail on the weekends, I couldn't work," he added, his voice cracking. "I couldn't pay my mortgage."
On Dec. 14, Dixon shot a career burglar who allegedly broke into his Canarsie house. Dixon used a 9-mm. pistol legally purchased in Florida that he says he was in the process of registering here.
Long criminal record
Ivan Thompson, 40, who has a 14-page rap sheet for burglary and larceny, was wounded in the chest and groin. He is being held on $75,000 bail in a mental observation unit on Rikers Island, charged with burglary and criminal trespass.
Dixon, who holds two computer jobs, was charged with misdemeanor gun possession, and the Brooklyn district attorney offered him a plea bargain that would require four weekends on Rikers.
But Dixon's lawyer said any amount of time behind bars is unacceptable.
"Mr. Dixon is clearly a victim, and his family continues to suffer from what happened," said the lawyer, Andrew Friedman. "If necessary, we'll let a jury of his peers decide."
Dixon could get up to a year in jail if convicted.
District Attorney Charles Hynes is in the difficult position of prosecuting a hardworking, law-abiding Navy veteran for defending his family and home.
But there were 486 shootings in Brooklyn last year, and the borough remains awash in illegal firearms. A spokesman said Hynes cannot condone the use of an unlicensed gun.
"That doesn't mean the prosecution should go full steam ahead," said Friedman. "There has to be some common sense involved."
Dixon, 27, clutched a balled-up tissue, and his eyes filled at nearly every mention of his son, Kyle, who will turn 2 years old next month, and daughter, Brittany, 8.
"I work seven days a week. I have been doing it for three years, because I wanted a safe haven for my family," he said.
"Sometimes the kids are asleep by the time I get home, and they go to the baby-sitter and school before I get up. The great part is Mondays and Wednesdays, I pick them up at the baby-sitter's - my girlfriend goes to school - and I spend time with them."
Dixon came to the U.S. from Jamaica after graduating high school and served in the Navy from 1994 to 1997, in weapons ordnance.
He works as a network engineer at Carnegie Hall, Monday to Friday, and on weekends at a Wall Street financial firm.
He and his girlfriend, Tricia Best, and their children moved into the brick house in Canarsie in June.
"It was a very quiet neighborhood - maybe too quiet," Dixon said.
At 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday five weeks ago, Dixon was home in bed because he had called in sick. It was almost time for Kyle to wake up and run down the hall to his parents' room to watch his "Barney" video.
"I was supposed to be at work the night before, and would have gotten home about noon," Dixon recalled. "I was not totally asleep, and I heard a squeak in the floorboard. I opened my eyes and see a person snooping around, peeping around outside my bedroom.
"The only thing I could think of was my family. I didn't want to move, until he went to my son's room, and he went in."
Dixon said Best called 911, and he got his weapon from a closet and slowly crept up to the room. He said he saw Thompson rifling through dresser drawers.
"I went in ... I looked in his face, I didn't know this guy, I was so shocked ... In a nervous voice I said, 'What are you doing in my house?' and he ran toward me, yelling, 'Come upstairs!' like there were other people with him. I shot him 'cause I thought more people were in the house."
Shots and screams
Dixon continued, "He ran to me, I shot him and he fell down the stairs. My daughter started screaming - she had thought I got shot. My son was not in his room, he had been sleeping in my daughter's bed."
After the police arrived, Dixon looked outside.
"I saw him lying there, I saw him looking at me, I was nervous, shaking. I've never been in any type of trouble. I only fired a gun in Navy training.
"I very much felt bad that he got hurt. I was worried if he died. I wasn't hoping for that."
Dixon was taken to the 69th Precinct, and then sped through Central Booking.
"Everyone I came across was sympathetic," he said. "The court officer said he would have done the same thing."
He found out that the intruder, Thompson, has a long record of break-ins and burglaries.
Fearful at home
He said the thought of someone invading his home still terrifies him and his children.
"My children are not comfortable being downstairs by themselves."
He shook his head and said that all he ever wanted was just a good life, and he thought buying the house was the first step.
"I thought that house would give me a safe haven. Now I'm thinking if I didn't buy this house this never would have happened."
Originally published on January 19, 2003
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January 22, 2003, 01:22 PM
What a freaking screwed up state that would prosecute a law-abiding citizen for protecting his family... :fire: :fire: :fire: :fire:
Double Naught Spy
January 22, 2003, 01:52 PM
Unfortunately, without a permit, the guy was NOT law abiding. He was simply an uncaught violator who looked law abiding. Even worse, after a series of such arrests in recent months, you would have thought the guy would have had a clue that he needed to get a permit for his gun, but he chose not to do so at any time. In essense, between getting a permit and the costs and hassles there when there is no likely chance of ever needing to shoot someone, weighed against keeping an unregistered gun and ending up shooting someone, the gambler loses out as the costs involved in not being registered and using the gun far outweigh the costs of getting registered. The father appeared to be law abiding UNTIL the time he had to use his gun and then it became apparent he wasn't.
In the grand scheme, he made the right decision to shoot the intruder from the sounds of things. He made the absolute wrong decision much earlier to not register his gun.
Don't get me wrong, gun registration is a bad idea in my book. I think a lot of laws are bad ideas. I think many are good ideas. In whatever state I am located, however, is where I am being subjected to that state's laws and I must abide by them. I choose not to live in New York and several other states in large part because of being gun unfriendly. If I had to live there, then I would get the proper permits. I would not like it, but I would abide by the law as best as possible.
There is no reason to feel sorry for the guy for getting arrested on the weapon charge. That is all his own doing. Instead, we should celebrate the fact that the guy had the where-with-all to act in an appropriate manner to protect his family in a crisis and did so quite well. There are two decisions there, a bad decision not to get a permit and a good decision to protect his family. His family is fortunate that if the guy was going to make one bad decision, it was in not getting the permit. He is still a hero.
January 22, 2003, 02:21 PM
Double Naught Spy,
But what happens when you don't have much of a choice but to register? Say if some California, New Jersey, or New York politician decides to adopt their gun laws for the entire nation?
I do not believe that this guy should be punished, but I do feel that they should rethink their laws. (Which is difficult for some since they don't have a brain, but they have a big heart :rolleyes: )
I'm sorry where exactly in the Constitution does it say he needs the permit?
What a load of crap.
The problem is that NY is trying (unsuccessfully) to enforce an un-constitutional law. That is the problem.
This means the legislators the AG and the LEOs should be prosecuted for violating the victims constitutional rights.
The victim should also have shot the burglar several more times and relieved the tax payers of further burden.
January 22, 2003, 03:09 PM
I heard this guy's attorney on Hannity's radio show yesterday afternoon. The attorney essentially offered to handle this case for free if that's what it takes. I doubt they'll find a jury that will convict, and the attorney surely smells publicity and case law.
This could make a sweet case to challenge NY's insane laws. Hardworking guy, ex Navy, defending his toddler using a gun he bought legally and was in the process of registering. Lots of sympathy from the public and jurors. I suspect most law abiding folks can easily see themselves in his shoes.
What's needed now is for a few of those folks to twist a politician's arm to start the ball rolling to change the law. Propose a "Family Defense Act" for "the good of the children."
January 22, 2003, 04:26 PM
Yep, the law is the law ...
Let's say there is an 18 year old girl standing on a bridge railing about to jump into the river/bay/whatever. Passing motorist pulls to stop, jumps out, and, as traffic backs up and the TV cameras are running, manages after about 30 minutes to talk her into not taking her life.
That guy definitely deserves a parking ticket. He should know damn well not to stop on a bridge like that.
January 22, 2003, 05:01 PM
the borough remains awash in illegal firearms
Jeez, enough with the hyperbole already! I am so sick of hearing about guns "flooding" cities and "seas" of guns. I don't know about you, but I've never stepped in a puddle of Mac-10s.
--CG, awash in a sea of hyperbole
January 22, 2003, 05:16 PM
As far as I'm concerned, the man exercized his god given human right to defend himself and his family. No law can usurp the power of this human right, especially an unconstitutional law of the state of New York. "Shall not be infringed" means just that. Gun registration is illegal everywhere in the United States. It's time the Supreme court says so.
January 22, 2003, 05:22 PM
The DA should just get the man a permit and let things die! Geeze, what is happening to common sense in our society? The man protected his family, was in the process of registering, and should be praised for his action in protection. Instead the DA is focusing on the permit issue. Because of the this, the perp with a 15 page rap sheet is done! Now this man is rewarded with this? Talk about a lack of intelligence, what a fool.
January 22, 2003, 05:24 PM
but average guy, every time i turn on the tv, i see all kinds of illegal weapons, on shows like 3rd watch, nypd blue, etc. and since we know that tv doesnt lie, its obvious that full auto weapons are readily available. heck, even on 'the shield' last night there was a guy selling full auto mp5pdw's .
maybe you just dont know enough badguys or watch enough tv? :D
January 22, 2003, 06:06 PM
I caught the last part of it on H&C last night. I thought this guy had just recently moved from FL, where he had a permit for the firearm and that he did in fact apply to register the gun in NY but was 'waiting'. ?
I understand the law, and if he didn't have it registered, then he broke the law BUT to convict the guy........I don't think they will find a jury that would. I think he did everything proper, the perp started running at him, he feared for his life and possibly his family lives too.
If I was in his shoes, and someone tried going into MY daughters room, then came at me, I'd do the same thing he did. As stated above, it's his God given right. I wish him the best of luck and hope they drop the charges.
January 22, 2003, 06:58 PM
and the burglar was arrested and released HOW many times before?it wouldnt even surprise me if the burglar tries sueing the homeowner.the burglar probably was watching the home and figured an easy target cause he thought the guy would be at work.gimme a beak, the homeowner is out busting his @33 supporting his family to make a better life for them and he gets arrested for shooting a burglar & possessing a gun to protect his family.i like the way dirty harry would do it-saving taxpayer money and keeping the bungling burglar off the streets permanently.
January 22, 2003, 07:22 PM
First he wouldn't have gotten the permit anyway. Second a gun in a home used for defense is not considered nearly as serious as one carried on the street. He might get away with it , depends on whether the DA (typical liberal) wants to do the gun control thing or let it slide.
Robby from Long Island
January 22, 2003, 08:06 PM
First of all, you have to understand there is no such thing as getting a handgun permit in New York City. This means the city, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. Anyone can apply for one, but you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning in a cave than being issued a permit. They really don't exist unless you're one of the privledged politicians and they don't need them as the NYPD guard them.
You have to remember, New York City is loaded with millions of tree hugging, grass eating, cockroach saving liberals who have done their best to prevent any law-abiding citizen from owning any type of firearm at all.
35 Years ago when I first got married, I lived in Queens and bought myself a Remington 700. I had to go to Manhattan to the firearms control board, interviewed as to why I wanted the rifle, filled out about a dozen forms and paid a fee to get my rifle registered with the city. They always did their best to discourage private ownership of a firearm and made you feel like a criminal because you wanted one.
Thank God now I live on Long Island where it only took me 7 months to get my pistol permit 13 years ago.
You folks who are lucky enough to live in great states like Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida and quite a few others that treat you like real Americans have no idea what it's like to live in a cesspool state like New York.
As I plan on retiring in the next year or two am looking forward to enjoying the benefits of one of your "Proud to be an American" states.
January 22, 2003, 08:17 PM
Unfortunately, without a permit, the guy was NOT law abiding. He was simply an uncaught violator who looked law abiding...There is no reason to feel sorry for the guy for getting arrested on the weapon charge. That is all his own doing.
Dixon used a 9-mm. pistol legally purchased in Florida that he says he was in the process of registering here.
From what I saw on Fox News, this guy had already filled out all the appropriate paperwork and sent it in a while back ... it is the state of New York who has drug their feet on his paperwork, so if thats the case, I don't see by what stretch of the imagination he is not 100% "law abiding".
Apple a Day
January 22, 2003, 09:05 PM
Come on down to Virginia! We'd be glad to have you.
As for New York: I wonder if Dixon could sue the state for repeatedly releasing a habitual offender and thereby endangering the lives of his family and himself. Wouldn't that be a fitting twist?
January 22, 2003, 09:15 PM
I would like to know why a guy with a 15 PAGE RAP SHEET !!!!!!
is still walking the streets,I don't care what he did 15
times,thats crazy!.instead of getting harder on gun control
lets get harder on the criminals :banghead: :fire: :confused:
January 22, 2003, 09:30 PM
Yeah, the law is the law.
Six or seven decades ago in Germany, the law said that a lot of Jews and other minorities had to wear symbols to identify themselves as what they were. In the same place, the law said that these same people had to be taken to work-camps where they were kept on starvation-level rations and generally mistreated. The law of the land then started marching these INNOCENT people into gas chambers and killing them.
I guess those Jews should have just got out of the country, even though they "never thought it would happen there" and even though they had lives and histories there...it was their country, too.
The law is the law, though.
We should all obey the law.
January 22, 2003, 09:33 PM
We need to keep the light on this thing.
The more media attention this is given, the better his chances are at getting acquitted.
Maybe some CONSTRUCTIVE emails to the AG and other city officials will help.
January 22, 2003, 10:38 PM
The guy's workin' two full-time jobs to get a piece of the American dream. That piece would be significantly cheaper in the United States. He obviously is the kind of man and family the US used to value.
I wish him luck. Publicity may well shame the DA. I hope he comes to his senses and immigrate to the US and get out of that statist paradise call New York.
January 22, 2003, 10:47 PM
For all of the "the law is the law" people...
...an unConstitutional law is an invalid law, as far as I am concerned.
So you are the people who would turn in your guns if the Government passed a law banning all guns in the country, heh? After all, "the law is the law" At what point in time would you recognize that the laws of the land, which were no longer in harmony with the Constitution of this great Nation, were a fallacy and that it was time to look the other way?
IIRC, there is a clause in that document that says something like...
...life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
...and then another pesky phrase in there that says...
...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed...
What part of this is misunderstood here? :confused:
January 22, 2003, 10:55 PM
Definitely a case where Jury nullification needs to come into play.
Additionally... the only law he broke was an unjust, unconstitutional law. This is just ridiculous. :cuss:
January 23, 2003, 01:16 AM
I take SERIOUS offense to governments that makes a man choose between going to jail and saving his son's life. Going to jail would be a welcome if I can see MY son's 18th birthday, but the fact that a state who is the one dragging it's feet, can't tell who the real criminal is makes me mad! :fire:
To quote Dennis Praeger,
"The criminal justice system is more criminal than just. It is always on the side of the criminals, never on the side of the just."
Reading about things like this makes me want to flip off gov'ment officials and cuss them out! <sensored sailor talk!!>
January 23, 2003, 01:26 AM
Ho hum...still waiting for the "lawyers" here to test thier views of the constitution....
No takers I guess....
Double Naught Spy
January 23, 2003, 07:52 AM
Does the Constitution say he needs a permit? Nope. It doesn't say a lot of things. The Constitution doesn't say that felons can't own guns either, but I don't very often see anybody defending their Constitutional rights to gun ownership.
While people keeping bringing up this philosophical question of the Constitution and broadcasting it from a soapbox, what they tend to fail to understand is that regardless of what they feel was meant by the constitution and how it is to be applied, currently in society we do have regulating laws on things such as guns. Personally, I think they suck as well.
So while on the philosophical level this guy should not have been charged, on the real life and practical level there are laws that have been held up as valid in the courts that are contrary to the philosophical perspective.
You know, had the guy been in a gun friendly state and had the same events happen but he grabbed his full auto Tommy gun for which he did not have a Class III permit and hosed the intruder, the same thing would have happened.
I don't know how many times it has to be said, but the laws suck in places like New York. Why people choose to live there is beyond me.
January 23, 2003, 11:46 AM
In keeping with my posting about Germany and the Jews before and during WWII:
I suppose that the extermination of people by their government is just too bad and is only a philosophical concern and not a practical one. If DoubleNaughtSpy and WildAlaska lived in Germany or Poland during that time and were Jewish, I suppose they would have just shrugged and told their neighbors to either go to the gas chamber like good citizens or get out of the country. There's obviously something wrong with you if you don't blindly obey the law.
What really bothers me about the comments of these posters siding with "the law" is that they are saying that we should dismiss the philosophical issues and face up to the reality...that the guy (or anyone) should just move elsewhere if the laws in that state don't suit him. The reality is this, gentlemen...THAT argument is pretty much a philosophical one and not reality for most people. Most people CAN'T just pick up and move based on their beliefs. I am happy for you if you are those rare individuals who are able to do so with relative ease but most of us are pretty tied to where we are because of financial or familial reasons. The guy had moved from Florida, yes, but did he move BACK to New York? Was he there because that is the only place where he could find employment doing what he does?
The law is the law, but the law is not always right. I feel that it is my duty to flagrantly disregard any law that isn't MORALLY right and do so whenever I get the chance. As of yet, I haven't landed in jail. If I DID live in some areas, I would likely be in prison for some of the MORAL but unlawful stances that I sometimes take. I HAVE suffered for some of my views but I'm still right and I've still won in the long run.
This country is about the CITIZENS and what is best for the individual...or it should be. More and more, we see drones and sheep bowing down to what their "betters" in government tell them is best for them instead of making their own decisions.
January 23, 2003, 11:59 AM
Hey I was going to point out where Double Naught Spy had a flawed argument regarding philosophy or reality...
But Harold Mayo beat me to it!
January 23, 2003, 06:02 PM
One of the problems I see with so many gun control laws is the serious inconsistencies from State to State. Sometimes there are inconsistencies within the State.
And, some of the State laws are at odds with Federal regulations within certain parameters.
It is downright easy to be perfectly legal to possess a gun in one State, and totally illegal in others.
I was just going throug the NRA.ILA.ORG website looking at gun laws from State-to-State. In some instances, the laws are fairly compatible, but in other instances, watch out. If you move there you could be in criminal possession as soon as you cross the State line. And, it could be for something rather trivial you might not even think about it.
Any time you move or enter another State, it is imperative that you investigate the State and Local laws there first.
January 23, 2003, 07:47 PM
Yep; sometimes a real patchwork quilt.:rolleyes:
Like MOA said; check 'em out before crossin' lines.
January 23, 2003, 08:09 PM
but I don't very often see anybody defending their [felons] Constitutional rights to gun ownership
Off Topic for this thread, or else I would ...
(but I guess you still wouldn't "see" me unless I posted my picture, which I ain't gonna do :) )
January 23, 2003, 10:21 PM
Marshall's got it right.
Zundfulge's point boils down to the fact that the guy DID comply with the law by sending in the registration papers. That NY didn't fulfill ITS obligation is another matter entirely and not the responsibility of Dixon.
SCOTUS case candidate? Maybe....
January 24, 2003, 12:33 AM
Guess we'll have to close this thread - no one is qualified as a lawyer to have an opinion on the law or the constitution. And no one here is currently going to trial for violating a gun law so as to prove they are willing to risk their life and liberty to stand by their convictions.
If only my cousin who was wounded in Vietnam, my father who was wounded in Korea, my uncle who died in WWII, my great uncle who died in WWI, and my distant relatives who fought in the Civil War, were available to post here, maybe they could have an opinion.
But us common folk, who work to feed and shelter our families, who pay our taxes, who stand ready to serve our country in time of need, who work for political reform, who have the responsibility of ensuring that the liberties our families bled and died for are maintained - our opinions and convictions don't really count.
You see it is the present laws that matter, not all that rhetoric by our founding fathers (that they fought and died for) about inalienable rights, not the rhetoric of the Bill of Rights, not that rhetoric about governments being instituted to secure inalienable rights and when they become destructive to those ends the right and duty to abolish them, and not that rhetoric about suffering a long chain of abuses and not lightly seeking to overthrow government.
I guess I should apologize for the temerity to even think that a man has a right to defend his life and the lives of his family using the most, and oft times the only, effective means available, a firearm. Especially if there is a law against it.
Except that now that I have thought about it, I don’t apologize, because laws that prohibit a man from defending himself or his family are shameful and repugnant to anyone who has a shred of human decency and who believes at all in the sanctity of human life. That is the truth and it remains the truth whether a man openly flaunts such a law, covertly flaunts such a law, complies with the law but works to change it, or is a coward and says and does nothing about it.
January 24, 2003, 12:49 AM
DAMNED good post, mack.
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