Friday, December 29, 2006

Things We Can Learn From the Daily News

In looking for interesting topics to comment upon each day, I read through several news papers. I generally start with the major Texas papers, then on to the Denver Post, the LA Times and the Seattle Times. I find articles in the smaller papers via Keep and Bear Arms and Google. There is a lot to learn from articles on the use of firearms for self protection. Today we have a couple of good examples.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

PACKWOOD, Wash. -- Gunfire that killed two people and injured one exploded near this Lewis County community Wednesday, when a homeowner found a visitor from Las Vegas breaking into his gun safe, the sheriff's office reported.

The homeowner said a male friend from nearby Morton arrived in the morning for a visit, along with two women and a man from Las Vegas, Nev., whom the homeowner did not know, said sheriff's Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Doench.

The homeowner told investigators he became suspicious he was being distracted by three of his guests, Doench said. Armed with a semi-automatic rifle, he directed the visitors to another part of the house.

There, he said he found one of the women had broken into his gun safe and was removing weapons, Doench said. She then shot the homeowner once in the ear with a rifle, giving him a superficial head wound.

The homeowner returned fire, killing the woman.
In these four short paragraphs we learn some valuable lessons. It is very likely that these "visitors" planned on stealing the firearms from the get-go. It appears to be the whole purpose of the visit. This leads us to lesson number 1.

1. Do not advertise the quantity and type of firearms that you own. Lots of folks know that I am a firearms advocate, very few know the extent of my small collection. Just as you would probably not inform a casual acquaintance that you have $20,000 worth of jewelry in your home, don't brag on your firearms.

(Note: The tornado sirens have just gone off)

2. "...he said he found one of the women had broken into his gun safe and was removing weapons" That was not a real gun safe. It sounds like it is one of the gun lockers made by Stack-On and others that are made to keep firearms out of the reach of children, but are not a deterrent to thieves and fire. If you have a quantity of firearms, protect them with a decent safe (also a good place to put that $20k worth of jewelry).

The first two lessons are common sense to many that read this blog, the third lesson is a habit that is not practiced by many.

3. "Armed with a semi-automatic rifle, he directed the visitors to another part of the house." The homeowner had a firearm at hand and at the ready, even when he was secure in his own home. This topic comes up for discussion fairly often on the gun boards, being armed in your own home. This incident shows that having a firearm handy at all times could save your life. Is there any doubt what the outcome would have been if the homeowner had not been armed and taken action?

Another incident with a good lesson occurred here in Texas and is reported in the Houston Chronicle:


CROSBY — Startled by a loud noise in the middle of the night, Jay and Russell Jefferies stumbled from their beds early Wednesday to view the monitor of their home security camera to see what had interrupted their slumber.

What they saw jolted them awake.

According to authorities, four heavily armed men were outside their small house in the 3900 block of Crosby Barbers Hill Road trying to kick in the front door about 2 a.m.

The Jefferieses, whom investigators think are brothers, rushed to grab their shotguns and opened fire as the intruders burst through the door shooting, said Harris County sheriff's Sgt. N. Araguz. One brother managed to call 911 in the midst of flying bullets, he said.

By the time Harris County sheriff's deputies responded to the weapons-disturbance call, two suspects had been fatally wounded.
This lesson is an easy one, install cameras at the entrances to your home or apartment. Basic two camera systems that interact with your television are inexpensive and easy to install. Motion sensor porch lights and cameras in addition to your alarm system will go a long way towards securing your home.

It could be said that another lesson learned form the above incident is that a shotgun makes a fine home defense weapon, sure seemed to do the trick this time.

As you can see, news articles can be a source of ideas for what works, and what may not. Most times the author is not very knowledgeable about firearms, but you can still glean some good stuff between the lines.

(Tornado update: A funnel formed and touched down not far from here. It did not last long and now all is well in this area. The radio reports that so far 18 tornadoes have formed in this storm system and there have been a couple of fatalities)


TexasFred said...

We didn't get any BAD weather over here by Rockwall but we got a lot of much needed rain... Glad you're OK...

Anonymous said...

Here is something I don't get. You have your safe for your firearms. Check. Out of the range of children and especially teens. Check. You store your ammo separetly from the arms. Check.

But then having a loaded gun "at the ready" means that teens and children can get to it.

I've always, always been confused about this one. Please help me out here.

Fits said...

For hundreds of years, households contained "ready" firearms without much of a fuss. This was the case in the home I grew up in, as well as those of my closest friends. Discipline is something intrinsically understood, but quite inexplicable to those missing it.

John R said...

Glad you stopped by Fred, we got over 2" of rain last night, that has got to help lake levels (and spring fishing),

Mudkitty; Now you know that I am not much of an advocate of keeping firearms from teens, quite the opposite. As Fits mentions, proper upbringing will do much more than any lock in keeping our children safe. My #3 daughter (the last to move out), kept her own firearms and ammo in her room, as I did while growing up. The only time I am concerned about locking up "ready" firearms while I am at home is when my grandchildren are in the house, and then only when we go to bed (My oldest likes to come and wake me up on the mornings).

Each household will be different, and if the children make it to the teen years without a sense of responsibility and self-discipline, then measures will have to be taken to isolate them from firearms in the home. This decision is up to the parents in the home.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that seems reasonable, depending on the teens who live in, or frequent your household.

But how do you keep the "ready" gun from the younger kids? And still keep the gun at the ready?

Anonymous said...

And you know, today is the first aniversery of the Harvy Family murders, and I always wonder, especially after diologuing here, if a gun "at the ready" would have helped the situation. I can think of at least one instance where it would have been good to have one, but it's an isolated instance, which would have been based on pure luck.

John R said...

Keeping a "ready" firearm for me is simple, I use a holster. There are other viable options, biometric or quick access electronic locks just to name two.

Anonymous said...

So you sleep and shower with a holster? You wear a holster at all times in your house.

Seriously. How would this work?

John R said...

I do not have children in my house at all times ma'am. I am a bit beyond that stage in my life.

Anonymous said...

But if you did? That's the question after all. That's what I don't understand about gun safty in the home, and the whole family safety bit. And I can think of many scenarios where a gun would not have helped the Harvey Family, and only on that would have.

The question is, how can you have a gun at the ready with kids in the house.

And how do you keep the teens out of the gun rack?

Anonymous said...

Jr.? Come on. These are the REAL questions. Because no one is trying to take away your rights.

Please, I'm literally begging you now, to try and answer my question. The one I've been asking all along, on many threads.

John R said...

Ma'am, I have answered your questions, several times and in several places in this blog.

I will though, work on a post that will thoroughly cover this topic.

Anonymous said...

I'm asking about having a gun at the ready with children in the house.

I'm asking how you keep teens from breaking into a gun rack?

I just want to be clear. Specific, not philisophical, or ideological.