A 29-year-old man is hospitalized and expected to survive a gunshot wound received from a trigger-happy Illinoisan.
Wait, that’s not right. Let’s try that again.
A 29-year-old unannounced, uninvited house guest was warned and then shot once while attempting to break in to an innocent Illinoisan’s home around midnight. The criminal is expected to survive his wounds.
According to law enforcement reports, the rural homeowner heard the 29-year-old attempting to force open his back door. The homeowner armed himself and warned the criminal that he had a firearm.
Either through a drug-induced haze or simple bull-headedness, the assailant ignored the warning and, failing to make entry through the door, resorted to the high-tech method known as “throwing something heavy through the window”.
The homeowner fired a single shot, striking the intruder in the chest.
According to Fox2now, the Sheriff Lakin had this to say, “There are risks of being in certain businesses, and when you are a burglar that is a risk you run: you may get shot. “
He also had this advice for criminals, “If you go into a home at 12:30 in the morning, it might be time to change professions.”
So, what went wrong?
In our opinion: Nothing. At least, not from the perspective of the homeowner. He heard a noise, armed himself, performed a preliminary inspection, and took immediate action to repel an imminent threat.
"But," we hear you cry, "why didn't the homeowner just button up and call 9-1-1? That poor burglar was just trying to feed his habit! It's not his fault that he was looking for quick money!"
We'll answer that in reverse order.
1. We don't know what was passing through the mind of the assailant. Maybe he was just looking for a quick score. Maybe he was looking to empty the house. Maybe he thought he was breaking into a different person's house with intention to doing them harm.
The intention of the violent criminal is irrelevant. It is not (or, depending on jurisdiction SHOULD not be) incumbent upon a peaceful, law-abiding citizen to determine the intentions of someone using unlawful force to invade their home.
While we at Interritus can empathize with the plight of someone who feels desperate enough to commit crimes to feed their family/self/crippling Fallout 4 addiction, we do not agree with their acting upon that impulse and feel that their decision to execute their plan places the burden of guilt for their actions and all sequelae squarely upon their shoulders.
It is not the fault off the homeowner that said criminal was shot during a break-in/robbery/home-invasion/murder/etc...
2. Calling 9-1-1 is a great idea. Ideally, one should call before investigating. But when you live in the country, that scratching at your back door could just as easily be a raccoon trying to get at your fresh-baked apple pie cooling on the counter as it could be a burglar.
As a person who lives at some distance from the actual law-enforcement presence which that 9-1-1 call would summon, the Good Guy With A Gun has an obligation to ensure that the problem he's calling about is something that he cannot handle himself, such the raccoon listed above.
If a homeowner out in the sticks calls 9-1-1 for every little bump in the night he will A) tie up resources which could be used for more pressing problems and B) desensitize the emergency response system through constantly "crying wolf".
3. As stated above, rural homeowners live further away from law enforcement than their city counterparts. A county may only have one or two deputies patrolling in any one area, which could be hundreds of square miles in size.
If the homeowner in question decides that the intruder is just there to remove a few easily-salable items, then buttoning up makes a kind of non-violent sense.
If they're wrong, allowing your intruder to retain the initiative may not be tactically wise.
Is he armed? Is he drugged up and paranoid? Does he think you're someone else?
If such is the case then, given the amount of time it will take for law enforcement to arrive, you are going to have to Be Your Own First Responder. This means taking the initiative and momentum away from your intruder.
This can be as simple as buttoning-up with your family in a safe room and waiting for tem to come to you or as risky as proceeding to a location wherein you have the element of either surprise or good cover. Or you can do what this homeowner did and proceed to where the individual is still trying to get in and attempt a non-violent resolution through warning him away.