The following scenario takes place from start to finish, in about two minutes. As the threat evolves, you need to have a plan in place about what to do.
Late one Sunday afternoon, you are sitting in your home watching TV when you hear some loud, angry voices outside your home. After a few moments, you get up and go to the window to see what is happening. You see a man standing in the street, shouting profanities at your neighbor across the street. You see a women standing on your neighbor’s front porch. She is yelling, “Please leave, just leave!” You do not recognize her or the stranger standing out in the street, but you assume she is the neighbor’s adult daughter.
Suddenly, the angry man charges up the sidewalk toward the women who turns and dashes into the house. The angry stranger slams his body against the door but does not gain entry. By now, another neighbor has come out of his home to see what the disturbance is all about. The angry stranger sees the neighbor and starts yelling profanities at him, saying, “This is none of your business! What are you looking at?” The angry stranger runs across the yard toward the neighbor, yelling more profanities. You can see some dark object in the stranger’s hand. Is it a knife or a gun, or is it just a cell phone?
The second neighbor turns and retreats into his home just as the stranger slams his body against that neighbor’s door. He slams into the door several times and also kicks at the door repeatedly. The angry stranger does not gain entry. He walks quickly back toward the street, and then sees you standing in your window staring at him. Now you are the target of his anger, and he starts running towards your home yelling profanities and threats. You turn and run into your kitchen where you dial 911.
As the 911 operator comes on the line, you realize how nervous you are. Your own voice sounds strange as you shout into the phone, “Send help fast! There is a crazy man threatening me and my neighbors!” The 911 operator seems to be asking useless questions. You are trying to answer her when there is a loud crashing sound coming from your front door. You scream into your phone, “He is trying to crash through my front door!”
You drop your phone onto the kitchen counter and run to your bedroom to retrieve your gun. Your hands are shaking as you check to make sure the gun is loaded. You realize you are out of breath and your heart is beating so hard it hurts. Back in the living room, you are horrified to see your front door has now got a fist-size hole in it and the angry man’s hand is reaching through trying to turn the inside door knob.
Crazy things seem to flash through your mind. Who is this guy? Why is he coming after me? Why is my front door so easy to bust down? Isn’t this mad stranger hurting his hand?
OK, stop the clock. What you do next may change your life and the results may last forever. So far, you are still safe but very scared. Some of you will come to the conclusion that you are in fear of great bodily harm or death, and deadly force is justified to stop the threat. Some of you may decide to simply retreat out your back door and get away from the danger. Some will decide to go out through the side door, flanking the attacker and taking the fight to him from behind, surprising him and stopping the threat with deadly force. That action may not be justified. Yes, many states are “castle doctrine,” aka “stand your ground states.” If you have retreated and are no longer in danger, is deadly force justified? What if there are other family members in your home – your spouse, your children or other people who could be in danger?
You must have a plan. You cannot wait till something like the horrible events described above are occurring and then devise a plan of defense. You need to consider each of the possible actions you might take and the results of those actions. Make the wrong choice and you could end up being charged with a homicide, or you could end up being the victim of a homicide. You must have a plan.