Texas’ insane gun laws have resulted in yet another man killed; this time in Dallas. According to Dallas PD, the deceased and a friend of his were locked out of the house when a man shot them.
Of course, the shooter was inside and owned the home in question while the deceased and his still-at-large accomplice were attempting to burglarize the house; but those are just details, right?
That depends on where you are and what you’re doing when someone shoots you. In this case, the deceased and his buddy were in the process of committing a burglary of an occupied habitation in Texas.
Texas recognizes the Castle Doctrine: The idea that a man’s home is his castle, that his person and property are inviolate without a warrant, and the he has the right to use force when a person or persons use unlawful force against his person or property.
Specifically, Texas Penal Code Section 9.31 has this to say:
Sec. 9.31. SELF-DEFENSE. (a) Except as provided in Subsection (b), a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful force. The actor's belief that the force was immediately necessary as described by this subsection is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:
(1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the force was used:
(A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor's occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;
While we here at Interritus are not lawyers, we would certainly define breaking into someone’s home as using force.
Further, it is a generally accepted point that if you are home, and someone is using force to make entry, there’s a high probability that they’re not there to sell their daughters Girl Scout Cookies. One could say that they are presumed to have malicious intent and it’s not the homeowner’s job to figure out whether it’s just to take the expensive stuff and bail or to lay waste to the place and all within.
So, someone is immediately trying to force their way into your home. Now what?
You have several options: Run, hide, or fight.
Texas law does not generally require you to flee you “castle”. So while running is an option, and a very valid option it is. Nobody will think less of you for fleeing a violent assault on your home.
Hiding is another great strategy…provided that the person is only there for a few easily removed items. If they’re there to take their time and really ransack the place, your lack of high-value goods may irritate them and cause you unnecessary pain when they find you and beat you until they realize that you’re telling the truth about owning nothing other than a futon, a three-legged coffee table and one towel. (Yes. Some of that was intentionally hyperbolic.)
Fighting is a method of last resort. The first resort having been to call the police and have them come get the bad guys before they can get in. Sadly, you’re oftentimes going to have to Be Your Own First Responder.
Police are stretched thin and overworked. You may wind up waiting a while for the cavalry to come charging in.
As such, calling 9-1-1 and fighting may be your best option, especially when combined with an effective warning to the potential burglars, followed by placing yourself in a position that provides good cover/concealment and a good field of fire or a choke point to ensure that you won’t be overrun or flanked.
If you’re going to wait for them to get in the house, then letting them come to a predesignated area may be your best option. If they have to come at you behind a solid-door blocked with a large, oak credenza, GREAT! It gives the police that much more time to get to you and more time for you to think, plead with you assailant to leave, or to get into a good shooting position when they finally get in.
Please note, that our opinion is that your sidearm is always your last resort. It’s just that sometimes your last resort is when they’ve smashed the window and are starting to climb inside.