Tell me if I handled this right.


August 20, 2004, 02:54 AM
Right now its 12:40 am. For the last two hours someone has been ringing my doorbell. When I answer, there is no one there. Then they started tapping on my windows. At 12:30 I decided I'd had enough. So I grabbed the old Remington 870 and got out of bed.

My house has an old fashioned "mud room" which is basically a 4'X4' room with the outer door on one side and an inner door on the other. I turned off the lights in said mud room and waited very patiently. About three minutes later I hear footsteps up to the front of the house and the doorbell rings.

Now lets imagine for a moment that you're a 16 year old boy. You're out with your buddies, drinking and messing with some guy in the middle of the night. You ring his doorbell again, the door flies open and as the outer light comes on you see a very angry man in his underwear with a big black shotgun pointed at your head. Then comes that sweet, sweet sound. Cha-Chunk.

So I say to this kid, who's buddied have already vanished into the night, "Can I help you?" (Kid stands there looking like he's just pissed all over his pants.) "I said, can I help you?"

Finally the kid stammers, "I'm s-s-s-sorry. I have the wrong house. Please don't shoot me."

So I say, "What's your name?" He tells me his name and I reply with,"Oh really, are you Larry's son?" He says that he is.

I met his dad about two years ago, we meet every friday night at the bar for kareoke. So I pull out the cell phone and give him a call. Now is where it gets funny.

Larry answers the phone sounding very groggy and mildly annoyed. I make small talk with him for about a minute and then say, "Oh, the reason I called is that your son is here."

Explained what the kid was up to, and that he reeked of cheap booze then I hand the phone to the boy. Now, I couldn't hear what was said on the phone, but after a few minutes the kid hands the phone back to me. My buddy says to keep him right there and he'll come get him.

Dad shows up, appologizes and they leave. I don't think that kid'll be able to sit down tomorrow.

So what do you think? Did I handle that right? I'm not 100% certain that I needed to involve the shotgun.

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August 20, 2004, 02:59 AM
Friend of mine was having his beer stolen out of his garage late at night (supposedly by teens)

He (he's an odd duck) stalked the garage for quite some time before they came back - that sweet sound was his intro... his words were his bond.

he got all 3 kids names and phone numbers. Told them to go home - along w/ the advice that he was going to call the parents right then.

he waited... didn't want to be rude.

None of them lied about thier phone numbers... don't know what happened to em all - but least to say i'm guessing none of thier bottoms are happy.

Don't know that pointing it was the right thing to do... that old rule and all....

but hey... no harm no foul at this point in time.


August 20, 2004, 04:13 AM
So what do you think? Did I handle that right? I'm not 100% certain that I needed to involve the shotgun.

i think i agree with tharg here - involving the shotgun is fine, pointing it is a little iffy.

to be honest, i don't know that i'd have called parents unless it happened again. scaring the daylights (or nightlights, but that sounds really wrong) out of the kid or kids would seem to serve the purpose. of course, parents do reinforce the message, and there's certainly nothing *wrong* with calling them (especially if they're real parents who care about keeping their kids out of trouble). maybe it's just that i'm closer in age to the kids than the parents ;)

August 20, 2004, 04:44 AM
Don't know about the pointing either, but everything else sounds 100%. :D

I'm glad when I got drunk as a teen that I tended to be content to remain stationary rather then hunt up trouble.... :)

August 20, 2004, 05:00 AM
handled it right? You mean aside from assault with a deadly weapon?

You could argue having the shotgun was prudent since you didn't know for sure what was going on, but pointing it at the kid was over the top. Aiming a gun at a person is not something you do to 'make a point' or to scare them. You do it if you genuinely think you might have to pull the trigger in the near future.

I didn't get the impression you felt threatened, just annoyed.

I think you should consider yourself lucky you didn't get to talk to the police after calling the kids father.

just my opinon...

August 20, 2004, 05:40 AM
I don't believe that pointing the shotgun at the kid was a very good idea, but it all worked out for the best so no harm no foul.

August 20, 2004, 06:54 AM
I'm no lawyer (thank goodness), but I'd say don't point a firearm at someone unless you mean to use deadly force then and there and have a rock-solid reason to.

August 20, 2004, 07:13 AM
FWIW, I think you did the right thing.

My urban survival mode offers the following scenario:

Time: twilight hours
Place: Bedroom
Clothing: pj's and slippers

Item: Doorbell ringing.

Intial thought: Could be drunken fool looking for directions or some pranksters. Or it could be a squad of professional home invaders using one of the first 2 possibilites as a decoy. Better grab the benelli. And the remington. And the AR15. And the 45. Better give the wife a gun and tell her to hide in the closet and if she dosent hear anything in 30 seconds to call 911 and stay the hell out of sight.

Just my .02.

August 20, 2004, 08:38 AM
Can you clear up something for me please? Before you leaped out in your underwear, did you knoew it was a bunch of 16 year old boozed up kids?

If no, then you may have jumped out into two or three armed bad guys who may have shot you. (They may have been trying to see if anyone was home nefore they broke in).

If yes, then I think you were wrong for charging out with a gun poited at someones' head. You broke the gun safety rules. What if you tripped, or another kid startles you or something and you fire. Then you have a dead 16 year old in fornt of you and a whole world of hurt coming.

Next time, just confront the kids and leave the scatter gun behind the door.

August 20, 2004, 09:32 AM
in Texas you would be required to shoot them with rock salt, you wussed out! ;)

August 20, 2004, 09:43 AM
Can't say I would have done things much different. I hope he got his butt blistered by his dad.

August 20, 2004, 10:02 AM
Can't say I would have done things much different. I hope he got his butt blistered by his dad.


Agreed, you stopped this from happening ever again and everybody went home. Good Job! :D

August 20, 2004, 10:07 AM
What's right and what's legal are more often than not two totally diametricly opposed things.

IMO you handled the situation well. Not knowing who was ringing your doorbell repeatedly or why made it prudent to have the shotgun with you. Pointing it at the kid may have been over the top but sometimes that's what it takes to get a kid's attention. It will probably be a while before that kid tries that crap again.

On the other hand what you did - assuming the kid and father made an issue of it - is a felony where I live. The felony pointing of a firearm law here is pretty specific and IMO you broke the law. I don't have a clue what the law is where you live but at the least I'd bet you could be charged under brandishing statutes.

Like I said - what's right and what's legal are often not the same.

August 20, 2004, 10:15 AM
Take the shotgun. Load the shotgun. Ker-chunk the shotgun. Never ever point the shotgun unless you are in mortal danger. One sneeze and the boy is DOA. He tries to grab it in panic he's dead. Pretty risky IMHO. Ok not so humble.


August 20, 2004, 10:18 AM
How DID you know who was out there?

I would've grabbed my gun, called the cops, turned on every light inside and outside the house, and sat inside quaking until the cops searched and cleared the yard.

Plenty of 16 year old 'kids' who can be very very dangerous - drunk or sober. Some are okay, some are just young and dumb, but a few seem to be minus a soul.

Maybe it depends on who you are and what your neighborhood is like. Obviously what you did worked out well.

August 20, 2004, 10:52 AM
Since this is a right/wrong question and THR, will you tally up the rights,wrongs,maybes,indifferent,"other" and the totally missed the boat responses to get a definitive answer? ;)

August 20, 2004, 10:53 AM
I think you did the right thing. When have you ever seen a police officer or millitary person at the point of unknown eminent danger not have their weapon at the ready. Once the scene had been accessed as not imminency life threating then return to safer carry. Finger off the trigger though. Just my point of view.


August 20, 2004, 10:56 AM
Sounds like you did ok to me.


August 20, 2004, 10:58 AM
you did the right thing, IM assuming you didnt have your finger over the tigger untill ready to fire so him grabing the gun wouldnt cause death anyway.

The point is you might have just saved his life, what if he and his friends had alot of fun that night and they decided to go out and do it again to someone else not as forgiving as yourself.

Another thing to think about would be maybe not calling his parents, the kid would feel grateful and not impose on you again out of respect. Then you would be "the cool old guy" and earn respect with the neighboorhood kids.

All in all, no harm no foul. Next time grab twin .45's then your the "crazy old man." lol

August 20, 2004, 11:24 AM
No I don't think you handled it right.
1. Throwing open the door to an unknown threat in the dark is both tactically unsound and foolish.
2. Going to the door with an unloaded weapon if you though you faced a potentially lethal encounter is very foolish.
3. Loading it and pointing it at an individual who by your own admission you had no intention or justification to kill is foolish beyond all belief.

Pay for a copy of “In the gravest extreme.

August 20, 2004, 11:25 AM
If i show up at the door in my underwear, dont need a shotgun to scare anyone...


August 20, 2004, 11:32 AM
Lets look at all the evetns leading up to the end.

Late night/early morning door bell ringing and people at windows tapping on them.

around here that is the standard mode of operations of a home invasion. they knock then brake down the door. All of the casses here in TN have been done in that manner. All in the early moring hours.

now here is where I may make some people mad. but here it goes...

Where has accountability (sp?) gone. ? If the kids were not doing this then there would not have been a problem... Now i do not know the age of the kid but by the wording (butt spanking part) I ASSUME he is under age.

Where was the supervison at. If the kid had been shoot who would be blamed....the home owner of course....... The person protecting his home and family who did not invite and/or give permission to anyone to be on his property at such a time. Who also had no idea who or what was INVADIING his personal property and had every right to assume that something bad was about to happen and took the steps that was felt needed to defind his home and family.

Why is it when punks do this type of junk we feel bad for protecting our home and family. That punk made the decision to go to your home in the middle of the night. He took that chance, he tresspassed he did everything wrong broke laws even but Its not his fault it was that mean old man that had the gun that is to blame, for not just bending over and takeing any and all pranks up the wasszu because he has no right to stop them. Lets not forget that mean old man with the gun had NO i mean NO IDEA as to what the He!! was going on or what was about to happen nor who or what was waiting their for him.

punks are given way to much leway in my oppinion.

ok hope to not have pissed to many off. I have cleared my chest and will go and take a blood pressur pill now.


August 20, 2004, 11:41 AM
Hind sight is 20/20 folks. Remember that.

August 20, 2004, 12:17 PM
not to get nitpicky, but WA has more WMH (hysteria). :neener:

anyways, whos to say that a poor widdle 16 yr old baby is NOT a threat?

playing ding dong ditch for 2 hours making the homeowner think something more sinister is afoot definitely quantifies the doctors actions, imho.

August 20, 2004, 12:18 PM
is a felony where I live. No, it's not a felony here. It's the middle of the night, wacky stuff is going on, and it is not unreasonable to assume that someone is attempting to break in. It's home defense, even if you open the door yourself. You guys all seem to be forgetting that crime requires intent. Had he intended to maim the next 16 year old he saw, then this would be a different discussion.

That said, I don't think I would've opened the door... ok, I might have... ok, I would have, but I'd advise against doing it.

August 20, 2004, 12:21 PM
I think there are a lot of very good reactions to the scenario. It is dangerous to point a gun at someone, which of course is the whole point. I am glad everyone went home on their feet, vertical. You could not have known the kids' intent. And that is why I don't think you did wrong.

What were they doing? Were they lost? No. Were they casing the house to break in? Maybe. Even if they were a bunch of obnoxious drunk punks, someone needed to teach them a lesson. Luckily it was you, the guy who didn't shoot. A homeowner who was drunk, scared, not rational, paranoid or just plain stupid and the end result could have been a dead kid. In other words, the same kids, the same prank, and a different homeowner they could have ended up dead.

August 20, 2004, 03:03 PM
You could have called the cops, but in some areas involving the cops isn't the best solution if you think it's just kids screwing around.

I think pointing the shotgun gun at the kid was a mistake.

I think carrying the shotgun makes sense as a reasonable percaution.

If you thought there was a real threat your better off calling the cops and hiding inside with your shotgun.

It sounds like the kid learned his lesson, and it sounds like his father is going to make sure.

Kids will be kids. I pulled some similar stupid stunts when I was a teenager.

I'm glad no one was hurt.

I don't think you handled the situation that badly, but I think pointing the gun was a mistake.

August 20, 2004, 04:17 PM

"You done good"

Don't know if you were right or wrong - all I can tell you is I like it - like the outcome, and the young man may have been set back on the straight and narrow.

August 20, 2004, 05:35 PM
I think you did the right thing I have a boy that lives up the street that has threatened bodily harm to my kids.We called the sheriffs dept.the only advice they could offer was to stay away from him.My kids do that but he still threatens them so I am to the point where if he comes near my property He is going to get some 00 buck in his hindend.:rolleyes:

August 20, 2004, 05:46 PM
Suppose instead of tapping on the window they accidently broke it? What's Mr. Homeowner suppose to think then?

"Golly gee whiz honey, it's probably just some poor misguided teens. let's just go back to sleep."

Sounds like some future wards of the state to me.

You done okay.

August 20, 2004, 06:06 PM

It's time to introduce your kids to a martial arts teacher...seriously.


August 20, 2004, 07:23 PM
Since we debate if the incident constituted assault, let us take advantage of recent technology.

<Cynic Mode On>On the Continuum of Force Chart I propose a new entry right between Impact Weapons and Deadly Force. I propose entry of "MP3" where by pre recorded sounds of a Remington 870 being prepared, or a Remington 1100 doing likewise. To round it out add a 1911 slide release. Then when the homeowner is B&E'd in the middle of the night he can swiftly move to the nightstand and pull up his Tactical MP3 Player and play the appropriate sound.<Cynic Mode Off>

I was taught, trained, indoctrinate, and pounded by my father that you do not go screwing around a house, anyone's house, at night because they will be completely justified in blasting you with any firearm inside.

I'll be willing to bet Junior has a healthy respect for dark, occupied houses and that he will avoid a repeat of th unpleasantness. . . . .right after he Clorox's his underwear.

August 20, 2004, 07:31 PM
Yeah, I'd say you did fine. I dont even have a problem with you pointing the shotty until you identified the threat.

Calling the kid's dad was a real nice touch. Little hoodlum might well turn out ok now. If not, it isnt like he hasnt been warned.

As someone else pointed out here, screwing around with someone's house late at night is a damn good way to find yourself talking to St. Peter.

Standing Wolf
August 20, 2004, 08:35 PM
Did I handle that right? I'm not 100% certain that I needed to involve the shotgun.

I'd say you did the right thing, if only because the lad's likely to remember the lesson the rest of his life. Personally, I believe I'd have been wearing more than underwear, but then, I'm old-fashioned in some ways.

August 20, 2004, 09:10 PM
I'd say the shotgun worked. Do you have a Peephole in your door? Two scenarios:

1) It's a robber. If I'm gonna face him, I want to be ready. That means pointing the business end of whatever gun I have at him. He can't take my gun if he's dead. In this case the peephole would tell you immediately, and calling the police and leaving the door locked would be the better option.

2) the kids playing pranks, as you said. You open the door, and things pan out like you said. The only problem I could see is if the gun didn't move after you recognized that there was no threat. Here, the peephole would have told you to have it held at low ready or whatever.

The peephole is really the only thing I could see being a problem. By the way you describe the incident, I'd guess you didn't have one, and acted properly. The law can go flush itself.

August 20, 2004, 11:05 PM
Excellent, especially calling the father.

August 20, 2004, 11:33 PM
In my youth I tossed some TP with friends into people's trees. Never did anything destructive and made sure nobody that was with me did either. No eggs, no saran wrap, nothing horrid. Lots of walking, being quiet, getting in and getting out undetected. Only did it twice really. One of the guys was a teacher who said it couldn't be done because he woke up too easily. Told us that in class. Well, we were his "pet children" so to speak -- since he was also the wrestling coach. Got got 'em good. We were in 7th grade and 4 of the 6 of us wrestled for him in high school later on. He was a good sport about it when it was done and a number of people took credit before he found out who actually did it. Congratulated us actually on a job well done. Still friends with him to this day.

The other night was stupid... looking back on it somebody could've shot one of us -- although we were far from their house I suppose. I always was. Instincts I guess. Man, we did some dumb stuff come to think of it.

If I was on a guy's porch and he pulled a loaded shotgun on me and pointed it at my head -- I have no qualms with that. I'd dare say my parents wouldn't have either. Hell I KNOW they wouldn't have a problem with that. Now, if you shot an unarmed kid that'd be different... but having "been there done that" -- yeah it's okay if you ask me.

Now, if they -all- ran off... well, putting a few rounds into the dirt after they got 30 yards away would've made an impression that'd last.

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
August 21, 2004, 01:42 AM
I'd say you did just fine.

My main experience with unwanted guests has been during daylight hours. The sight of a screaming, naked man with a bad dog in one hand and a large caliber pistol in the other tend to make them anxious to forget their original purpose of bothering me.


August 21, 2004, 05:56 PM
you did fine.
This time .
next time,no pointing loaded firearms,and do not leave yourself vulnerable to getting jumped.
People are killed by teenagers all the time,teens are responsible for alot of crime.
There was a teen stealing beer from a garage in FL when the home owner chased him the punk stabbed him to death.

August 21, 2004, 07:00 PM
andled it right? You mean aside from assault with a deadly weapon?

You could argue having the shotgun was prudent since you didn't know for sure what was going on, but pointing it at the kid was over the top. Aiming a gun at a person is not something you do to 'make a point' or to scare them. You do it if you genuinely think you might have to pull the trigger in the near future.

I didn't get the impression you felt threatened, just annoyed.

I think you should consider yourself lucky you didn't get to talk to the police after calling the kids father.

just my opinon...

Yeah, he said he knew who it was all a long. Gimme a break. The kids lucky he didn't get his head blown clean off.

August 22, 2004, 03:11 AM

The votes have been tallied.

Most of you beleive that it was not nessecery to take aim. I can understand that. If I had been thinking clearly I most likely would not have. But it was very late at night after a very long day and I was bloody pissed.

A good portion of you said I should have called the cops. That'd be a great plan if they could be here in under an hour. As things are, my defence is in my own hands.

A few of you said that I should have liberated some garments from my closet. I like to think that the image of me in my underwear, holding a shotgun will come to mind for this kid every time he considers doing something like this again. Then, homefully he will become so violently ill he won't be able to move for at least an hour.

Most everyone liked the idea of calling his father. I thought it was better than calling the cops, since his father is a friend I'd rather not get his son an MIP.

Lots of folks said it was illegal. In Wyoming, you pretty much have to tell him that you're going to kill him or turn him into a fine red mist before the cops take interest.

If I had to do it all again I don't think I would have done a thing different. The boys mother called me today to tell me that the child had been diciplined. She then brought him over and he appologized. We're taking him shooting tomorrow. (that's an odd thought, next time he'll know how to use a firearm. scary.) If it had been a total stranger, I might regret some of my actions. Luckily for me it all worked out okay. Thanks a lot for the input guys.

August 22, 2004, 11:41 AM
Care to take one last ballot?
I'd say you did the right thing.

You may have thought it was just kids, but what if it wasn't...
Pointing the gun may have saved your life.

Here are the scenarios I see.

1) The scenario plays out exactly how it did. You get sleep, kid gets a lesson. It's done
2)Kid runs away, since your finger wasn't on the trigger (it wasn't...right) the kid would have run off and you would have gotten sleep. No lesson from dad, but Mr. Remington is an effective teacher.
3) You come out hoping to surprise kids, but come across a more sinister opponent. Good thing your 12ga is ready to go in case they try something.
4) You go out without your gun ready to defend. You get disarmed and...

Good job!

perhaps having the gun in a low-ready position would have been more PC, but the benefit outweighs the risk should you not find a group of rowdy kids.

A. Partisan
August 22, 2004, 12:22 PM
I think you did right. If someone was knocking on my door and tapping on my windows at 12:30 A.M. I would open my door with a loaded gun and it would not be pointed at the ground.

August 22, 2004, 04:55 PM
You can't threaten a person with deadly force for interrupting your beauty sleep, no matter how PO'ed you are. Deadly force response can only be used to counter a deadly force attack. If it was my kid, his butt would be blistered, and you would be hearing from my lawyer.

A. Partisan
August 22, 2004, 07:00 PM
When someone is lurking around a persons house knocking on the door and tapping on windows, how do they know it is not a deadly situation?

If I was chosen for jury duty on a case like this I would not vote guilty.

August 22, 2004, 11:28 PM
Did you have other options besides using a gun?
Did you call the police?
Were you in direct fear for your life?
Did the person(s) in questionhave motive opportunity, means, to inflict bodily harm on you?

August 23, 2004, 01:47 AM
Did the person(s) in question have motive opportunity, means, to inflict bodily harm on you? Someone's tapping on your window, ringing your doorbell. In the middle of the night, I don't think it's a salesman. Means is somewhat irrelavant, just like the finger gun in the pocket of a mugger. Motive? Well, you don't know that until there's liquid leaking down the leg of a juvenile delinquent, or a dead thief at my feet. If my gun's ready, he won't have much oppurtunity.

August 23, 2004, 02:01 AM
I would like to add, that since you weren't in a hurry, next time put on proper clothes and helps you fight if you have to, and if I learned anything from COPS, it's that it's always better to talk to the cops with all your clothes on....

Texian Pistolero
August 23, 2004, 02:46 PM
Hind sight is 20/20, but I would not point gun at anyone once I decided he was no longer a threat.

I think having the gun is legit , but would point is off to side after finding I was not in immediate danger.

Relatedly, if I wake up in middle of night, I may not be in best clarity of mind, so want very conservative (safety) SOP.

I THINK I might have deduced this as a kid's nuisance, and my local laws are on the ball and would have loved to handle this. Other parts of the country may be different.

Thanks for sharing this so we can all think it through.

August 23, 2004, 03:03 PM
In my opinion, you were more than justified in having your shotgun with you, you had no way of knowing it was a punk kid playing around, it could have been anyone and it is always better to have and not need than to need and not have.

August 24, 2004, 05:31 AM
Being a woman, I would certainly have something at the low-ready, or at least at-hand, when responding to a midnight knocking. If that knocking had been carrying on for any length of time, I was unable to identify any cars in my view, and if nobody had responded to requests for identification, and considering where I live, I'd have called 911 and claimed there was a prowler/attempted invasion in the process (purposely exaggerating the facts) and that I was armed. In my personal experience, the home invasion thing isn't too unlikely. Read my earlier posts for that history.

Any friend/neighbor who would come tapping at my door at that hour would know I'd be armed, and would be quick to identify themselves. (And we have a bunch of silly so-called grown up TPeeing pranksters in my bunch who know better than to come near MY place with the Charmin). Anybody else can move on to the next house, or if they choose to break in, will have to mess with a raving lunatic redhead in Looney Tunes PJs...and her guns...and her dog...and hopefully, after about 15 minutes or so, the police.

If it were my friends' kids, I'd feel more an obligation to the friend than to the child. You did right to tell his dad in this case. The "cool adults" when I was 16 could have done me some big favors by telling my parents, at least when I was partying too hard and taking too many chances, not covering for me. I'm sure the kid and dad realize you were freaked that you, personally, felt it necessary to have a shotgun at hand, and and that the kid's actions elicited that kind of alert response.

August 24, 2004, 11:32 AM
2. never let your muzzle cover anything you're not willing to destroy

August 24, 2004, 11:44 AM
Okay, so I didn't call the cops. If I had, it would have been over an hour of sitting in my living room waiting for them to show up and say they didn't find anything. Granted, this is a possible outcome where there is no confrontation of any kind. But then what did the kid learn. I'm not saying that I went into this for the sake of educating our nation's youth on the dangers of armed homeowners.

I don't really live in a safe neighborhood. Had to teach a previous kid not to go into people's homes and then pull a knife on them once. With a 9-iron. But that's another story.

Another thing, I had no idea who was outside. At the time it could have been anything from kids, to a BG trying to get me to open the door to vampires or MNZB's. If it had been anything but the kids, I would feel completely justified in leveling off and being prepared. I had no way of knowing that when I opened that door I wouldn't be looking at the barrel of another gun. So in response to those who quoted rule #2 at me, I was prepared to destroy any threat. Luckily I realized that there was no threat at the time.

Maybe I'm just paranoid. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that no one is out to get you.

August 24, 2004, 12:20 PM
Tally my vote in the "ya done good" category. Guys, keep in mind that other states have different laws. I am just as perplexed about some of you speaking about brandishing laws on your own property as you may be about Texas laws that say you can use deadly force for criminal mischief during the night. Granted, the case didn't warrant deadly force, but the kid learned a we all should have learned when we were out doing stupid things like it when we were kids. I also thing calling the father, rather than the police to get the kid an MIP, was the proper thing to do. His dad will have more influence on him than the police would have.

I can't believe that some states don't allow people to carry open firearms on their own property!

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