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Bill Dog's Journal: it boggles the mind 33

Journal by Bill Dog

So tonight around 12:30 am, and I'm sitting downstairs watching TV. It's hot right now, so I had the windows closed and the central A/C on. Set to 76, so it hadn't run in a while.

My "living room" (it's an open concept downstairs in my townhome condo, so it's really just one big room) part is right by the front door, and I have my ceiling fan on at its highest speed during the hot months.

So the vertical blinds are flapping away in the window by the front door, and my TV is on this end, facing towards the front door, so at my doorstep you can hear that it's on.

And my recliner is 12-18 inches from the door handle. At about ear level where I'm sitting.

So I'm sitting there, and plain as day, someone tries the door handle. Now the setup here is that the door handle turns freely (although outside there's nothing to turn, you grab the handle and depress the latch with your thumb), but there's a deadbolt above it, keyed on the outside and with a switch on the inside, and that's what locks the door.

So whoever it was, clearly could tell that someone was home, up/awake, and most likely downstairs, given the blinds were flapping and the TV was semi-blaring (I play it a little loud, having lost some hearing or quality of from too much loud heavy metal with headphones, such that sometimes I have a little trouble making out what someone said).

And unless the person's watched me for a while and knew I was single and lived alone, would think potentially there was another person in the house, because I left the light on in my 2nd bedroom upstairs. (It's a CFL, and those I like to not cycle too much, and just leave on if I plan to come back into the room in a little while.)

And yet this person tried to come into my house. Now I've got 3 other doors around me, to my neighbors' places, but I can hear when they come and go from my recliner, because one door is right next to mine and the other two are in the next building just a skinny walkway's width away (we're packed in pretty good here).

Now I've heard reports of prowlers coming into peoples' homes when they're asleep at night, through an open or unlocked window. But this person had evidence to the contrary that the folk(s) who live here had gone to bed.

Which brings to mind the question, what if I hadn't had the top latched. What was this person prepared to say or do upon entry into my house, to the person(s) downstairs they would expect to encounter.

This person did not ring my doorbell nor knock on the door. I can't hear doorbells of my neighbors', but I can hear knocks on their doors, and their weren't any, so it wasn't some lost person in need of some kind of assistance.

The last neighbor who left their light on all the time for our walkway moved out recently, and my outside light on the light-sensitive controller broke a few years ago, so it's been completely dark out there, unfortunately. Apparently I should get that fixed and be the one who leaves that switch on all the time.

And maybe it's time to think about getting my first firearm. (And some lessons some where, having only ever shot a BB gun before.) I live in a nice neighborhood, but maybe that makes us a target.

And since I'm a heavy sleeper, maybe even getting an alarm system. Although I think those only detect a window opening, and not breaking.

Which leads to the other question that had come to mind about this person of the night. S/he was evidently prepared to confront this residence's awake occupants, so why not break a window to get in. The only thing I can think of is that the person wanted the element of surprise, and quietly slipping in through a mistakenly unlocked door would enable that, that a shattering window would not.

And yet occupants could come from other parts of the place, potentially with guns, so even if surprise was had on a downstairs occupant, it still potentially could've gone very badly for the presumably would-be intruder.

Oh, and no one tried the keyhole on the deadbolt, so it wasn't a neighbor who was just coming home drunk or something and walked down the wrong walkway, in this row of buildings.

And so I'll close with the ultimate question that came to mind: Why does really weird shit, happen to me. And no it wasn't a dream/I wasn't asleep, I'm a night owl kind of person, and had slept in until about noon-thirty today. I was watching stupid Friends reruns, after coming downstairs to catch Stossel's "Security and Liberty" special from 10-11. (Who's a whole topic unto himself.)

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it boggles the mind

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  • The simplest explanation is that the person thought they were somewhere else.
    • by Bill Dog (726542)

      Then they would've first stuck their key in the deadbolt lock part above the door handle, to unlock the door first before squeezing the handle. Like I do when I don't park in my garage and hence come in this door. But they didn't.

      And if they were expecting it to be their place and left unlocked, they would've squeezed the handle and pushed into the door to open it. LIke I do after just dragging my trash cans down to the front of the building. But they didn't do that either.

      It was just a careful squeeze

      • You assume the person on the other side was sober.
        • by Bill Dog (726542)

          But drunks aren't typically careful to be quiet. A merely disoriented person probably would've given it a few tries, in confusion.

          • Ever seen a drunk driver going REALLY slow?
            • by Bill Dog (726542)

              Sure, cuz they want to get home in one piece. But I've never seen a drunk step carefully once they're out of their car. Because it's primitively understood that falling down is generally vastly less dangerous than getting in a car wreck.

              In the dark, a drunk would've tripped on the single step up to my stoop.

  • "And maybe it's time to think about getting my first firearm. (And some lessons some where, having only ever shot a BB gun before.) I live in a nice neighborhood, but maybe that makes us a target."

    A pump action BB Gun makes the same Ker-Chunk as a 12 gauge; the sound alone can make a burglar who knows what it is run. 12 pumps, and you have the equivalent of rock salt load in a 12 gauge.

    • by Bill Dog (726542)

      I should probably get the real thing, just in case. What's extra bothersome about this is that the intruder could not be expecting to be a mere burglar in this case, but instead must've been okay with being a robber.

      Home invasion robberies (by two or three perps) in my larger region have been in the news, and women sleeping with a window open have gotten raped (by lone pervs).

      I've never been robbed or assaulted in 48 years of life so far, but I might not always be so lucky, and should think about that. I'

      • If you get the real thing, get rock salt load. Stings like the dickens- has a usually non lethal but the stopping power of a .45 unless the guy's on meth or angel dust and then you ain't going to stop him without a submachine gun anyway. There's a reason why ranchers trust a rock salt load to get rid of the occasional wolf. Plus- it won't penetrate walls.

        BTW, with any pump action shotgun (even a BB one) their only warning should be "Ker Chunk". Everybody knows that sound, and they know what comes next i

        • FWIW my general weapon of choice - for home defense - is a baseball bat:
          • It never misfires
          • It never jams
          • It never runs out of ammo
          • It's silent
          • You don't need any special permits to buy or own them
          • You already know how to use them
          • by Bill Dog (726542)

            I was also thinking about getting a baseball bat for behind the front door. But I think you have to be above average in size, really, to look enough like you mean it with one. And I'm not. (I would need something more like this [swordsandarmor.com]!)

            • But I think you have to be above average in size, really, to look enough like you mean it with one

              That is a possibility. I happen to be several inches above average in height myself; while I don't have enough mass to scare people just by size if I am holding something that could hurt I expect people will take notice (unless I'm being robbed by an exceptionally tall person*).

              (I would need something more like this!)

              Might be worth a try, as long as they don't think it's some kind of cosplay or BDSM toy.

              *I don't have an explanation for why, but exceptionally tall people don't seem to partake in much criminal activity - at least according t

              • Either way I do see my height as being advantageous if I should need to attempt to defend myself or my family with a bat at home.

                You are rolling the dice with your life unnecessarily with that plan. If an armed assailant breaks in, that bat -- even if it's a bad ass double walled DeMarini -- is no match for any kind of firearm, and you'd be taking the proverbial knife to a gunfight. You've got to watch out for yourself and your family.

                Also, the latest trend in criminal activity is to bring a buddy or
                • Either way I do see my height as being advantageous if I should need to attempt to defend myself or my family with a bat at home.

                  You are rolling the dice with your life unnecessarily with that plan.

                  You're rolling the dice regardless. It matters not whether your plan is a phone, a bat, a gun, or something else entirely. Guns are not 100% effective; even if you regularly practice with your gun it can still jam or misfire. You just have to decide which level of risk is acceptable to you. I personally find a bat to be an acceptable trade off as the likelihood of it accidentally killing an innocent person in my home is quite nearly zero. You might apply a different calculus to the matter.

                  Also, the latest trend in criminal activity is to bring a buddy or two

                  There have

                  • Guns are not 100% effective; even if you regularly practice with your gun it can still jam or misfire.

                    The probability of a gun misfiring when well maintained and lubricated is very, very small. Occasionally, you'll get a dud round, but if you're buying quality, factory made ammo (Hornady, Federal, Remington, PMC, etc) the probability again is extremely low. Revolvers can misfire if it's a dud round, but revolvers can not jam. Double barreled shotguns can not jam. Pump action shotguns and Semi-Auto hand
        • by Bill Dog (726542)

          This'll make RG cringe, but it occurred to me that I'm not looking for "stopping power" (as in putting the guy down) in a firearm and load, I'm looking for "repelling power". Because, as I said, I don't want to kill or seriously harm anyone. I want him to run off, not bleed out in my living room.

          It seems like if someone wants to kill me, they can just jump me as I come out of my house, or follow me to work and jump me there, or to the grocery store and gun me down in the parking lot. I'm not worried abou

          • It's not going to make me cringe, because that's the same thought process that led to me getting a shotgun in the first place.

            Like I said -- I've been told by a police officer that 95% of the time, the sound of a shotgun getting cocked is enough, that if someone is in your home, they'll run.

            The other 5% of the time, you'll want the stopping power of the boomstick.

            I, too, hope I never use any of my guns other than to shoot holes in paper (or fruit, or bottles, or tasty animals I intend to eat). While
          • What RG said, but I'll add this:
            In a panic situation, you want something kind of like the Israeli DIME warheads they have on Iron Dome- enough to do some damage, spread out fast so that you don't have to aim too terribly accurately. Add to that your wish to stay relatively non-lethal- and do the job on the first shot- and a shotgun shell with rock salt load is a great bet. 95% will run away without you even having to fire- Ker-chunk and they're gone as fast as you can chamber the load. Another 4%, when t

  • This is a not-terribly-uncommon strategy for some thieves. They look for doors that they don't have to do anything special to enter through, grab the first thing of value they see, and run as fast as they can. Happens far too often at universities as well; thieve enter in broad daylight, grab a laptop, and run as quick as possible (generally to the closest pawn shop). It's the equivalent of opening someone's shed and grabbing their lawnmower to sell for a quick buck.

    You could buy a firearm to defend yo
    • by Bill Dog (726542)

      (Took a chance seeing who's post this third one was, hoping that since mine wasn't a political JE it might not be toxic.)

      As I had been wondering that if this person was trying to get in, why not really try and get in, so thanks for posting this as a possible explanation. Still uncomfortably brazen of this person. I'll always be locking it now even if just stepping out to another side of the building for a minute. I suppose with the blinds flapping so wildly, this person could've looked in and saw the bac

      • (Took a chance seeing who's post this third one was, hoping that since mine wasn't a political JE it might not be toxic.)

        I ask you to make fewer assumptions in the future based on the author's name alone.

        As I had been wondering that if this person was trying to get in, why not really try and get in, so thanks for posting this as a possible explanation.

        You're welcome. I have heard of it happening more than once at universities; in research labs, offices, libraries, even in dorms.

        Still uncomfortably brazen of this person.

        I agree. Some people are quite bold.

        I suppose with the blinds flapping so wildly, this person could've looked in and saw the back of someone sitting in a recliner and could've decided to take the chance that I had fallen asleep and that maybe it was potentially a grab-and-go opportunity.

        I can't speak for them or their motivations. Indeed they could have been after something else entirely or it could have been someone who thought they were at a different door. I will speculate though from what I have read of grab 'n dash crimes previously

        • by Bill Dog (726542)

          > I ask you to make fewer assumptions in the future based on the author's name alone.

          No, it's still overall a sound policy, it's just that you're so bonkers in politics, it's easy to forget that, as far as I can recall, you seem like a pretty normal guy when it comes to everything else.

          > Now granted some would say that if you wait you are foolish, and gambling with your life or whatnot.

          Luckily for me it's my life to gamble with. I'm perfectly satisfied with cowering upstairs with a shotgun while I'm b

    • by Bill Dog (726542)

      p.s. And I would never defend property with a firearm. Even if I lived in a state that allowed it, which I'm almost sure of that I don't. I'd only risk an aggressor's life to defend my own. Because I really do want to be able to get through my whole life without killing or harming anyone. It just sucks that it's really the responsible thing to do to look into acquiring some means of deadly force, because of the remote but real threat of violence by uncivilized people.

      • Exodus 22:2

        “If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.

        You don't know why a person is in your house when they shouldn't be. You life is not worth risking to find out if it's a drug addict looking to swipe DVD's to pawn or the newest border jumping MS-13 member or terrorist there to cause you harm.

        Don't risk it.

        Maybe my perspective is different since I have a wife and kids, but if someone is in my house illegally, I can only a
        • by Bill Dog (726542)

          Ouch, but this was back in the "eye for an eye" days. I would interpret that and it's immediately following "on the other hand" verse as, if you strike out at an intruder in the dark, you can't see well enough what you're swinging at to consciously avoid trying to kill the intruder. Nowadays we have implements of instant light. (Altho I suppose one could intentionally leave it dark so as to be able to exercise said loophole! ;)

          But then there's the whole thing about the OT times being pre-JC, and all they

  • And maybe it's time to think about getting my first firearm.

    First off -- abandon any idea of using rock salt -- pissing off an intruder is only going to get you killed.

    Since you'd be new to firearm ownership, let me give you my armchair opinion.

    Get a pump action 12 gauge shotgun, and a bunch of 00 buckshot. Hornady makes a gimmicky "Zombie Max" 12 gauge shell, and while it's gimmicky, Hornady makes some damn good ammo (I carry the critical defense hollowpoints in my everyday carry gun, a Springfield
    • by Bill Dog (726542)

      > ... 12 gauge shotgun ... .45 ACP ...

      Ouch, I'm not 6' 200 lbs; meassumes the kick on those kinds of things would be a skosh jarring in my as-yet-un-powder-burned hands. Besides, even with practice I don't assume I could really hit anything whilst in freak-mode. But I've got a decent flight of stairs between two walls barely 3 feet wide, that I ought to be able to spray some pain down if need be across most of its width, I'm hoping.

      So yeah, I figured I'd need to practice, so the tip on cheap ammo to do

      • The only person I've seen have trouble with a 12 gauge shotgun is a 110 pound woman not holding the weapon correctly, and sadly youtube has no shortage of women with poor posture firing a 12 gauge (probably with a magnum load) and dealing with the recoil.

        I doubt you, as a man, would have any trouble with it. As for the .45 -- the recoil is not unmanageable in my conceal carry weapon, but might be a little much for someone inexperienced. My full sized Glock 21, on the other hand, my wife fires with no probl
        • by Bill Dog (726542)

          I wonder if one's ears are pretty much blown out when firing any kind of serious firearm indoors, without ear protection. That's another reason I don't want to have to reload, as I might be pretty disoriented after the first shot.

          • As someone who inadvertently removed his earmuffs at an indoor range...

            It'll ring, but not for long.
            • by Bill Dog (726542)

              That's good, because now I'm thinking I might need to be prepared to fire twice in the worst case; the first time with MH42's advice for ammo and the second with yours.

              • I have a Remington 870, pump action, shortest legal barrel. It holds 4 shells in the tube (really, if you're at home, and you need more than 4 shells -- you're fucked anyway. For me, at that point, my wife has grabbed the AR-15 as well...)

                Here's how I have it loaded:

                Hornady Zombie Max 00 Buckshot
                Hornady Zombie Max 00 Buckshot
                Hornady Zombie Max 00 Buckshot
                Remington 1 oz Slug


                Hopefully none of those shells get fired. The slug in particular is really bad news for an assailant -- 9.1 inch temporary ca
                • by Bill Dog (726542)

                  I'm not trying to be a contrarian to everything you're saying, but...

                  Actually that second video impressed me the most. A human torso is only so deep, and I think I just as soon have a large pattern like that, and that stays embedded in the attacker. Minimal exit wounds to me means maximal force of the blast absorbed by the attacker's body, and minimal chance of drywall penetration into other rooms (or neighbors' units).

                  And I'm pretty hesitant to assign much meaning to ballistics gel videos, beyond the coo

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