Sunday, December 01, 2013

The nightmare before Christmas.

So, a couple in their 30s rents a home in a subdivision in a tiny town in the mountains of north Georgia, far out past Metro Atlanta's Oort cloud of strip malls and McMansions and actually closer to an exurb of Chattanooga than anything else.

They'd been there a couple weeks when late one night, they realize there's someone outside. A 911 call is placed and two deputies are dispatched to the scene.

While you're waiting on a Crown Vic to come from as much as half a county away, minutes can seem like hours. After nine or ten of those interminable minutes, the man of the house grabbed his .40-cal pistol and, leaving his girlfriend on the phone with the dispatcher, stepped outside to see who was in the yard.
"There was no light except for the front porch light," Wilson said, explaining there are no street lights at The Woodlands, the subdivision off North Marble Top Road west of Chickamauga.

"[Hendrix] gave several what he described as verbal commands," Wilson said. "[Westbrook] continued walking toward him after he told him to stop."
Fearing for his safety, Hendrix fired four shots, the sheriff said. One bullet hit Westbrook in the chest, killing him.
Now, it was dark outside, and in fairness, the light on the mysterious figure's "I'm A 72-y.o. Alzheimer's Patient" sign might have been burnt out, making it hard to read at 0400.

Seriously, though, most people living in the far outer 'burbs of a small city, knowing that someone is out there in the bushes, are probably going to feel completely safe and/or justified in grabbing a heater and going outside to check on the guy in the back yard if the cops don't show up immediately, without ever stopping to think about things like "What am I going to do if I tell him to 'Stop! Don't come closer!' and he does anyway?"

One thing that isn't completely clear from the article is that it sounds like the homeowner grabbed his gat, but didn't grab a flashlight. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, the latter would likely have been a much better tool to solve the problem at hand.

An even better tool would have been to stay in the house and wait for the guy you called on the phone, the one dripping with qualified immunity, to show up and get the situation spattered all over him instead. Then we could all be talking about the cop who shot the guy for Not Respecting His Authoritah.

From a legal standpoint, this dude may be entirely in the right... which isn't going to buy him a wink of calm sleep in the future.

As Drang said elsewhere, the great warrior philosopher Chef gave us the solution for situations like this:

So, lessons learned?
  1. Never get out of the boat.
  2. If you do get out of the boat, bring a blankety-bleeping flashlight with you. If you are carrying a gun in the dark and you are not carrying a flashlight so that you can see what you are shooting at, you are acting the fool.
  3. You need to understand that when you are holding a gun and you say "Don't come any closer," the person may come closer anyway. Now what? This is a reminder that we maybe want to start thinking about that now while we're warm and dry and it's light outside and we're not all pressed for time or anything.


Tango Juliet said...


Bob said...

In the guy's defense, that general area is tie you to a tree and make you squeal like a pig country.

Tam said...


"In the guy's defense, that general area is tie you to a tree and make you squeal like a pig country."

No it's not. Granted, I haven't been there since getting my DL issues with Georgia squared away in '07 or thereabouts, so maybe the economic collapse hit the area harder than I know.

Chickamauga museum is definitely worth seeing for the Fuller Gun Collection.

Steve Skubinna said...

As noted here previously, when I leave my rural home on foot at night I carry a 1911 and a tactical light. The reason is four legged predators, not two legged ones.

And I fully realize that the light is my primary defense. Having to unholster on a bear or cougar is a definite second best plan. I'd rather put 160 lumens in his face than try to put a magazine center mass.

Anonymous said...

I live in a rural county outside Louisville Ky. On any given day the closest cop is 10-30 miles away over country roads. Emergency services can take 60 min. or more to arrive. Its real easy to bad rap and second guess from the safety of an ivory tower collage town ,with a cop 10 min. away on foot. Outcomes are a lot less certain when you are on your own and your only "backup" is in your hand. If I were on this mans jury-he'd walk.

The Freeholder said...

Nicely put and total truth. I hope folks will pay attention to those words of wisdom.

When we moved from town to not-town some years ago the hardest thing for me to get across the the family was the utter need for turning on the scare lights, porch lights and still grabbing a flashlight before going outside after dark.

The night my daughter was driving down the street and had a pack of coyotes run across in front of her got the message across way better than I ever did.

Tam said...

"ivory tower collage town"

Heh. Yeah, it's a paradise on earth here in sleepy little Naptown. All we do is make collages out of ivory tower pictures and wait to wave at officer friendly when he strolls by on his beat.

Anyhow, now that we're done with the "self-reliance ePeen measuring contest", like I said, he doesn't seem to be legally in the wrong. I would not vote to convict him of anything either. His own conscience, on the other hand, may not be as lenient as I am. Mine wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

Let's see here:
* Couldn't clearly identify his target
* Didn't claim he saw a weapon
* Was not physically attacked
* Decided to pull the trigger when the guy didn't respond to his commands

If Mr.Homeowner isn't charged when the prosecutors get back from their turkey day vacation, he should probably consider himself the luckiest guy in the State of Georgia.

Tam said...

So, if someone is coming towards you after you have told them "I have a gun! Don't come closer!" do you have to actually wait until they start wrestling you for the piece, or can you shoot before that?

leaddog said...

Anon 10:54
He might walk, but that lonesome valley of second guessing and what if will haunt him the rest of his days.

I have what is apparently really good night vision, according to my wife and camping buddies. However, I NEVER go to check out a strange noise in the barn at night w/o a really bright flashlight. As another post said, I am more concerned about 4 legged trespassers than 2 legged ones.

I hate it that this guy made his way to a spot in one of my courses. Unfortunately this is a beautiful case study on a long list of things to not do.

I feel for his victim, him, and all the family and friends of both of them. What a tragedy.

greg said...

Yeah...this isn't one I can get behind all 'Hoorah' style. You hate to second guess someone dealing with a stressful situation at oh'dark-thirty, but I do not think his course of action would have been mine.

From a CYA standpoint, he made about 3 mistakes...heading out-side instead of digging in, not bring a light, and saying he saw his target 'in silhouette'.

Not sure this one has ANY kind of happy ending.

Divemedic said...

@Tam: "So, if someone is coming towards you after you have told them "I have a gun! Don't come closer!" do you have to actually wait until they start wrestling you for the piece, or can you shoot before that?"

That depends on a number of factors:
1 Are you white?
2 Is the shooting victim black?
3 If the answer to the above two are "yes," then we revert to the new Florida standard and call him an "unarmed victim" and prosecute you for not waiting until AFTER he was done beating your brains out on the pavement.

Charles Pergiel said...

Compared to guns, flashlights are unreliable, new fangled technology. Yes, there are good ones available now, but since they aren't as dangerous as a gun, they tend to wander off on account of nobody watching 'em. I know where my guns are. My flashlight is, well, it was here a second ago, it's around here somewhere, gimme a minute...

Charles Pergiel said...

If you don't want your doesn't-have-all-his-ducks-in-a-row grandpa getting shot, you might consider keeping better track of him.

Professor James Moriarty said...

Life sucks sometimes and there is no end of the stick significantly shittier than the other.

staghounds said...

I live in the next county, Chickamauga is suburbia, not rural.

I have a friend who heard noises downstairs about 2 A. M. one night. Definitely someone in the house. He gathered the wife and child into the upstairs bedroom and went downstairs to investigate.

Yep, the lights had been turned on. Someone was in the kitchen. My friend turned the corner with his .357, and found himself confronting a man with a knife!

A butter knife covered with mayonnaise! The man turned out to be the retarded adult son of the ten-years-before owner of the house.

He'd wandered away from the care place and gone home to make a sandwich.

Never get out of the boat unless it's under fire and sinking.

Alien said...

Never get out of the boat

So, when one moves into a new abode the first task, ahead of unpacking the coffeemaker or bedsheets, is to install 360 degree security lighting and a 6 ft reinforced privacy fence. Alternatively, one may furnish the crawlspace to provide comfort while one cowers in it waiting for The Government to deliver salvation.

There's no question he should have taken a really good tube of dark repellant with him, and I'd think the overwhelming majority of readers of this, and similar blogs, would understand that and probably have a Lotsa Lumens in their pocket most of the time. After all, Rule 4 says "know your target and what's behind it" and it's really tough to know the target in pitch black.

That said, "knowing what's in front of you" is of limited value unless you know why it's there and what it intends to do? Which is info you don't have, and there are probably only seconds to figure it out. Back to hiding in the crawl space; but, didn't Virginia Tech, among others, seem to indicate Waiting for Perdition may not always be the best choice?

Unauthorized entry had been attempted, arrival of Government Authorized Salvation was in the indeterminate future, and damn little info on which to base a threat analysis was available.
Still, running out with ones projectile expeller in hand may not have been the best choice; Officer Unfriendly will show up at some point, he will have a bright flashlight, has legal authority to shoot anything for which he will probably suffer no consequences, and "anything" in this case includes you standing in your yard with a gun in your hand. Having been thoroughly indoctrinated with "all guns other than mine are bad" the gendarme will select you, and not the wandering and addled Alzheimers patient, as the greatest threat and resolve said threat according to whatever training he has, or has not, received. That crawlspace is looking better and better.....

I'm opposed to reflexively "waiting for the cops" as a universal solution - for too many people the wait becomes eternal - and there is also a substantial amount of responsibility to be laid upon whomever the Alzhemer patient's caretaker is. My ass, first and foremost, belongs to me; I'm the one who feels the pain when something happens to it, so I'm the one responsible for its care. That includes protecting myself and those for whom I have responsibility. That also applies to those who have assumed, or been charged with, the responsibility for individuals unable to care for themselves.

That said, this is probably a good example for barricading in and waiting for the car with the Happy Lights. Assuming it arrives in time, of course, and the 72-year-old Alzheimers patient isn't actually a twenty-something 230 pound gangbanger with several friends...

Sam Brobdingnagian said...

@Charles Perigel,

Based on whatever it is you're saying there about flashlights, I hope your family considers keeping better track of you.

For myself, I keep a fair number of spare cheap flashlights around in case I misplace the streamlight that lives by the house gun and the spare good light next to it.

But maybe I'm just a pussy about shooting my elderly neighbors. Besides, they might beat me on the draw.

The Jack said...

There are differences between an action being moral, "necessary", and legal.

This also shows what when you've got a blastomatic in hand it's not wise to bluff.

(Even unconsciously bluff as in this example)

If you declare a conditional while armed you'll have to deal with someone calling your bluff.

Even if the person across the table doesn't know what's going on.

Which goes to the whole "knowledge gap" issue.

Hawken Cougar said...

Interesting that in some articles the deceased is referred to as being a nearly mute Alzheimer's patient who was unable to respond to shooter's commands. Yet another article writes that the deceased, who had wandered around for hours, was stopped and questioned around 2:30 a.m. by a deputy but let go after he told the officer he was checking his mail.

B said...

I wasn' there, and I don't know what was going though this guy's head.

Having said that:

"Be sure of your target and what is beyond it" seems to be a big part of what caused this tragedy.

Was he in fear for his life or safety? Perhaps. Was it a reasonable fear? Maybe.

Trespasser on his property, at night, who fails to stop when ordered and closes with him?

I'd likely let him walk too. But that doesn't make his actions right either.

He shoulda probably stayed in the house and waited for the Po-Po. Unless there is an issue with safely staying in the house, he'd have been better off staying there until the police got there. At worst it might have been burglars stealing his property.

And if you aren't smart enough to put a flashlight right next to where you park your heater for the evening, then be smart enough NOT to leave the house just because there might be an intruder on the grounds. I have three I can reach when standing next to where my gun(s) are placed for the night.....and one clipped to the holster of the nightstand gun....just for this reason.

I bet they charge him and jail him on the fact that he left his house with a deadly weapon when there was no immediate danger or reason to do so. Manslaughter.

Hawken Cougar said...

And, this just as easily could have gone another direction. Had the cop showed up and a person outside the home with a gun walked toward the officer it could have been the resident of the home that was taken to the morgue.

Dwight Brown said...

"...bring a blankety-bleeping flashlight with you"

Or just a regular flashlight.

A blankety-bleeping one might give away your position. Which would be awkward if you're doing a night ambush on the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Anonymous said...

He should have stayed in the house, no immediate threat to himself. should have a flashlight to identify to target. should have back up means to protect himself(non- lethal) pepper spray. We have a pack of Mastiffs for the light work. Never had anybody get closer then 30 or 40 feet from the porch if the guys are out there with me

Murphy's Law said...

Looking at this from a legal standpoint, re: self-defense, a very real problem with this fact pattern is that the homeowner initiated the contact. He wasn't fleeing or cornered in his home--he went outside and sought the deceased out. This, if nothing else, will be the crux of the problem when it comes to a charging decision by the prosecutor's office. Even if he was otherwise legally justified overall, it's hard to argue that you were in fear for your life if you went out and actually met your alleged assailant instead of just staying safe in your house. Anyone remember this issue from the Zimmerman case? At the least, it muddies the waters for a valid self-defense claim. At worst, it lets the other side argue that you are a bloodthirsty hunter and stalking killer.

Ideally, the District Attorney will decline to prosecute or just bring this one before a grand jury after things settle down a bit and some reasonable citizens will return a no true bill. Of course come the civil suit, he'd better have a good insurance policy with a decent company.

Drang said...

As a LEO noted in the pistol forums thread where I posted the video, there are circumstances in which one would be justified in getting out of the boat.
The sounds turn out to be accompanied by a mysterious figure poking around the detached garage or workshop? Maybe justified, what's in there?
The sounds turn out to be two guys fighting? If they seem evenly matched, call it in and observe. If one's on the ground and the other is stomping him or bashing his skull in, call it in, grab gun, light, and cell phone, and break it up.
If the sounds turn out to be someone calling for help, who then collapses on the lawn, ditto. (If they just sit on the porch but remain upright, they can probably wait.)

Depending on just how close to Chickamauga it was, I might be calling Ghost Hunters, that's no place for a descendant of a veteran of the Army of the Cumberland to be wandering around after dark...

Drang said...

Charles Pergiel said...
If you don't want your doesn't-have-all-his-ducks-in-a-row grandpa getting shot, you might consider keeping better track of him.
You've apparently never spoken to someone who works, or has relatives in, an assisted living facility.

Mike_C said...

I was wondering about the apparent discrepancy in the accounts of Mr Westbrook's (the 72-yo man) functional status as well, but they may both be accurate. When the deputy questioned him at 0230 Westbrook may well have thought himself on familiar turf and responded appropriately, but when lost, tired and in an unfamiliar stressful setting (such as having a presumably equally stressed man yelling at him) he could have reached the end of his tether and lost his ability to process/respond appropriately.

Heck, I imagine most of us have seen even "normal" people freeze up or otherwise act strangely under stress, so on further reflection I'm less puzzled by the tale of two Westbrooks.

Wonder what kind of dogs he had with him. Were they happy to be wandering about in the cold and dark for hours, or would they not have led him home?

Joe in PNG said...

1) Nothing outside is worth going through the Zimmerman treatment. Dealing with insurance is waaaay cheaper than lawyers. But if Bubba and his church choir friends want to kick in the door and come inside, that is a different matter.

2) I find it funny that folks will spend tons of cash on customized gats or tac ninja classes for home defense (what's your life worth!!), but won't put in good locks, better lighting, or even an alarm (the loud localized kind).

3) And of course, because it needs to be said twice, flashlights. Have plenty.

Aesop said...

There is no clean end of this turd to pick up.

Stupidity and foolishness abounds to all parties, from "caregivers" to home-dweller to the actual victim, but I don't think any of it rises to either a civil or criminal level.

If grandpa had been found eaten by bears or feral housecats, or blundered in front of a passing semi-trailer, his family's culpability-averting lame excuse wouldn't hold much water.

The "it was so dark I forgot my flashlight" Maneuver, and the "I never thought about the fact that some people are sick,lame and lazy, blind, crippled, or crazy, or even (horrors!) may not speak English" Castle Defender argument covers the shooter with no small amount of glory as well.

And for reference, Alzheimer's patients may indeed move from high-functioning reasonableness to babbling incoherence, which is exactly the nature of the disease, and a strong possibility of hypothermia onset in grandpa may have mimicked or even worsened.

Learning from the sad mistakes of others is probably the only possible good to come out of something like this.

Drang said...

Joe in PNG said...
2) I find it funny that folks will spend tons of cash on customized gats or tac ninja classes for home defense (what's your life worth!!), but won't put in good locks, better lighting, or even an alarm (the loud localized kind).

In this case, it was a rental property that they'd only been in two weeks, so they may not have had permission to install security devices, or may have been in the process of acquiring them.

Anonymous said...

We're in the southern part of IN, deep in the boonies and the cops are at least 20min away unless one happens to be nearby. Ask me how I know...

I do not leave the house without a piece, period. After dark, I do not go out unless I have a tac light, the me and the fire stick follow. All manner of four legged varmints and always the possibility of a 2 legged varmint or three...rare, but possible.

I won't second guess the guy 'cause I wasn't there, but I can't imagine taking a shot at something I can't ID satisfactorily. OTH, Alzheimer patients can do some pretty bizarre things, so may be the defender did what he thought was adequate ID based on bizarre actions of the trespasser??


Professor James Moriarty said...

The one thing that really reaches out and grabs me, as I casually peruse the comments here is the certainty.

I work in a courtroom and have sat for days at a time through rams of evidence, and at the end of the ordeal, not known who the hell was guilty. Sometimes, its pretty obvious, other times, rather murky.

That being said, the evidence presented here, handpicked for us, is from the local branch of the Fourth Estate.

There's no way in unholy hell I'd feel certain about judging the morality and/or legality of someone's actions from such scant and probably filtered information.

You are all so certain.

I envy you your certainty.

Tam said...

You seem to be pretty certain of my certainty, Mr. Moriarty.

I also know for a fact that several of the above commenters have plenty of their own courtroom experience. Can you guess which ones?

Old NFO said...

Well put, and DEFINITELY worth thinking long and hard on...

Farm.Dad said...

I wasn't there . I wasn't even the fella who showed up with the flashy lights and crime scene tape to sort this mess out, and damned if i will pontificate based on press stories before any evidence at all is available .
Tam raises some good points to think about here if you live where the police just as well stop and get a cup of coffee on the way out because it wont make a lick of difference on the response time .
Some stories just don't have a happy ending for anyone in them and this is one of them .

Kristophr said...

Thanx for the post, Tam.

Looks like better lighting is on the menu at Casa Kristophr.

Professor James Moriarty said...

Nope. Wouldn't hazard a guess as to which ones. Don't have enough info.

And my apologies if you thought I was referring to you. I thought it was obvious that I was referring to those that were pretty certain, one way or the other.

Tam said...

My mistake.

Matt said...

No happy ending to this one.

I don't own a boat, so am prone to checking out noises in the dark. Once it was a mountain lion in the yard, another time kids cutting through my yard, once a young lady and child needing assistance until the police could arrive. Last Tim it was a mini-van that rolled at the corner.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I started carrying a small flashlight on my belt for work, and quickly realized how useful it was for a variety of everyday situations. Sure, there's the occasional "bat-belt" comment, but it's a small price to pay for being able to see in the dark.

As for this case, the "calls your bluff/does not comply/now what?" scenario is why my Plan A is NOT to confront anyone outside my rural home. Retreat, call, & barricade seems like a better idea when the possible outcomes are considered.

Firehand said...

Daughter made me happy a while back when she mentioned that, on the times she's come over to feed critters and check mail when I was out of town, 'There's ALWAYS a flashlight handy.' Lots of them, one in every room(sometimes more, they migrate around at times). Both because I've been caught in the dark without artificial means of light- and don't like it- and because, as various folks have already said, I'm NOT going outside at night, to check the doors on the truck or whatever, without a light. Both to see with and to screw with the vision of someone else if need be. And I'm in a city.

And I'm amazed at the number of people I've known who either have one for the whole house, or have none. And then have to stumble around looking for matches and a candle- again- if the power goes out.

Have to agree with the proprietress: he may get off legally, but he's going to feel very ratty for a long time.

Greg Tag said...

In Texas, PC 9.32 says (a)" a person is justified in using deadly force against another...(2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:(A) to protect against the others use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force...

I'll bet your state has similar wording in its self defense laws.

The whole thing hinges on the word "reasonable".

It is dark, an unknown man, trespassing (at the very least) continues to move towards me after being told to stop and that I am armed.

I think it is reasonable to conclude that he poses a deadly threat to me - he refused to stop even after being warned. What sane man would continue to close unless he was armed with knife or club which he was trying to bring into action? Sadly, the answer hee was that the actor was not sane - he was merely a confused alzheimers patient.

Under such circumstances, will the Grand Jury believe my actions are reasonable?
I hope so.

I hope the guy is not indicted; this is a sad situation already. His action in investigating without a light was unwise, but not illegal.

A light would have prevented the whole issue - which is why there is one always available with every defensive arm in the house.

I will be sure to remind my students.


staghounds said...

"Nothing outside is worth going through the Zimmerman treatment."


I don't believe juries like people who kill innocent or helpless people, especially when the corpse was doing something their grandfather or one day themselves might do.

Nor do they like people who change a situation from no contact to confrontation.

In fact I don't think juries much like killing anyone if the killer had a safe, no-kill alternative.

That's why it's often a very good idea to stay inside a physically defined, safe, well lit area.

Juries, alas, have hindsight. They WILL project their own imagined judgement on your actions, and discount or surcharge you based on the actual results of your actions filtered through what they imagine they would have done.

If you have a boat, stay in the boat.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

"All cats are gray at night," is spoken frequently at our house. You don't pull down on a marauding 'possum, coon, or stray-whatever without a light.

Light29ID said...

There's a reason the Night Ninjas put lights on their weapons. It's called target identification and classification. Granted they're trained to make nanosecond decisions but still this guy wasn't kicking in a door at zero dark thirty in the Sunni Triangle. Part of being a gun owner is being able to use it responsibly and he didn't. Dig in, hold your position and wait for the cavalry.

staghounds said...

A light is no more a magic wand than a gun is. Many a 72 year old demented man is a formidable danger, and even more of them appear to be.

That is the point, I think, of her crack about the sign being out- there isn't one. It's impossible to FULLY identify your target, you take your corpse as you find him.

Which is my point about juries- they will act as if there WAS a sign, and hold you accountable as though there were.

They aren't supposed to, but...

Scott_S said...

We should seriously look at compassionate euthanasia. I've seen two family members go out to dementia. Watching them forget everything that made them who they were and then to force the best medicine money can buy on them to extend the days they live in misery is just wrong.

In one instance my grandfather attacked my grandmother with a broom. He broke the arm of a woman he loved for 60 years. Bet your ass when they are in this state they can be a credible threat.

Anonymous said...

Some people arguing past each other, tone suggesting disagreement but not actually saying things that contradict the others.

All of these things can be simultaneosly true:
1) shooter felt seriously threatened at the time and remote from police assistance
2) depending on the local authorities and climate, the guy could get put through the criminal justice wringer or not. Even if ultimately found not guilty, this can be extremely unpleasant and expensive.
3) Possible he might get charged with something and found guilty, or lose a civil case (though from facts presented here I would disagree with either)
4) Even if none of the above bad things happen, dude might wind up feeling bad about offing a demented old man. I would.

Given all the negatives above, and those that can occur in self defense scenarios generally, I think it's safe to say that a day you didn't shoot someone is better than a day you did. And so people here doing root-cause-analysis, trying to figure out practical procedures they can adopt that might help them avoid something similar, is a potentially worthwhile exercise.

Just one more thing I haven't seen here yet: sometimes demented people can be disturbingly bizarre in their gait, posture, movements, balance, and other nonverbal behavior. It would be very likely in this kind of situation to have an unconscious sense of "I can't see this guy clearly, but something is obviously very strange about him."

In the context of a nursing home in broad daylight, maybe that is not as much a threat (though as pointed out, sometimes demented people can be quite aggressive).

In the context of a shadowy figure lumbering around your back yard, all off-kilter and not-quite-right, it could certainly add to the shooter's perception of a potential threat.

Carmel IN

Alex said...

See also: Theodore Wafer, of Dearborn Heights, MI, and the late Renisha McBride.

Matthew said...

$700 on a handgun and can't spend atleast $10 on a Home Depot flashlight.

It is morally irresponsible.

Yes life may "suck" sometimes but not being responsible enough to define whether or not your "aggressor" is an actual threat or not is not an accident. Your car not starting or losing your job, that is life sucking.

A man lost his life at the hands of someone acting negligent.

I would not want to see him prosecuted but I hope his piss poor judgement haunts him the rest of his life.

perlhaqr said...

Alien: "[D]idn't Virginia Tech, among others, seem to indicate Waiting for Perdition may not always be the best choice?"

There's a whole continent's worth of difference between sitting unarmed in an unlockable classroom while a madman with a handgun rages through the school, and sitting with your heater in your hands (and preferably, that heater is a rifle), with your back against the wall watching the only entrance to the area with deadly intent.

I'm an anarchist, just to give you some idea of the level of government-distrust that is saying this, and I'm saying, they take the damn money out of my paychecks to do the job and have arrogated to themselves the authority to do it, so, unless the guy comes through the door, yeah, I'll bloody well let the guy in the Government Issue clown suit do the job himself.

*harrumph!* ;)

Tam said...


"There's a whole continent's worth of difference between sitting unarmed in an unlockable classroom while a madman with a handgun rages through the school, and sitting with your heater in your hands (and preferably, that heater is a rifle), with your back against the wall watching the only entrance to the area with deadly intent."


perlhaqr said...

Also, sadly, as a licensed EMT, my duty is "get out of the boat". Morally, if not legally. (Not being employed as an EMT at the moment.) Yes, it's a duty I picked up voluntarily. Yes, you may mock me about the perceived discrepancy between my espoused philosophy and taking that duty upon myself. ;)

perlhaqr said...


I gotta admit, it gives me some pretty good warm fuzzies when I wordsmith something worthy of your notice, Miss. :) (Ma'am? Mistress? What's the adequately respectful English equivalent of "Master" in the Chinese sense of "Sifu"?)

Kirk said...

I had a problem a few years back where some hood rats were out in the burbs trying to find dirt bikes to steal.

Well I have a dirt bike, and they were intent on stealing it.

First time. Got gat, forgot flashlight.

Second time. Got gat, got flashlight, forgot glasses. The polices sketch artist got the blurry purp drawing perfect.

Third time. Got shotgun, got flashlight, got glasses, let the politically incorrect dog off of leash.

Hood rats have not been back...