Saturday, October 20, 2012

This Could Have Ended Badly

You may have already heard about this story where the 12 year old girl was able to shoot an intruder who broke into her home.  I was kind of cringing as I read the article because there were so many ways this could have gone wrong.  While I am happy that the outcome was as it is--the kid was able to defend herself and and bad guy got caught--here are some qualms I had as I read the post:

  • It is common for potential burglars to ring the bell or knock on the door to determine if someone is home before they break into a house.  When no one answered, the burglar assumed no one was home and broke in.  A better option would have been for the girl to yell through the door that her dad was asleep and he would have to come back later.
  • A gun was available to a 12 year old.  Yikes.  There are a handful of 12 year olds that I would trust alone with a gun (and my boys aren't included in this group because at 12 years old their judgement could be mature and stable one day, childish and "what the Hell were you thinking?" the next).  So while allowing unsupervised access to a firearm saved the girl in this situation, more often than not, kids getting their hands on a firearm without adult supervision is a stupid--and often deadly--thing to do.
  • The girl called her mom first.  In a scary or dangerous situation, everyone should know to call 911 first.  You want help on the way ASAP.
  • The girl shot the intruder through the closet door.  Yes, I know she had a reasonable assumption that it was the bad guy that she was shooting at but it could have ended up that the bad guy left and her mom came home and went to the closet where she told her daughter to hide and this would have turned out very badly.  tldr; shooting through a door or anything else that doesn't give you a clear view of your target is a bad idea.
The bottom line: yes it is a good idea to teach your kids how to shoot a firearm.  As soon as your kids are able to, they should learn about firearms, know how to take care of them, and know how to handle them safely. want to take as many precautions as possible so that a child would never find themselves in the above situation including teaching them what to do when a stranger comes to the door, having a security system with a panic alarm, and having a "safe room" that would be difficult and time consuming for the burglar to get into.  Fortunately this story had a happy ending...


  1. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. You can hypothesize the event to Nth Degree and it won't change the outcome. This young woman was brave enough to fight through her fear and took decisive action that saved her life. That is the lesson of this story. I will not armchair quarterback the myriad of decisions and choices she could have made differently.

    I'm just glad she had the presence of mind not to allow circumstances to overtake her and was able to employ appropriate force at the correct time.

    Far too many people are posthumously rewarded for being dead and unarmed verse being armed, alive, and brave.

  2. So, what would your 12-yr old do in the same situation? Just wondering...

  3. So its better she had no gun? Yes at 12 most kids have bad decision making skills but she is alive and well so its all good in the end.

  4. Anon--FORTUNATELY this situation worked out well. More often than not, leaving a gun out where a kid can get a hold of it or shooting through a door there you *think* you know what you are shooting at doesn't work out nearly this well.
    TRB--At 12 our boys thought it was a good idea to ride their skateboards off the roof of the house so easy access to firearms was a no go. See today's post for what I recommend kids do in this situation.
    Joshua--yes, fortunately this worked out OK.

  5. I happen to be in the group that thinks she did everything shouldn't 'cringe' to think of a gun in the house with a 12 year old and think immediately that she would somehow shoot herself, a friend, etc...she obviously could be trusted by her mom....I always get tired of people ALWAYS arm chair QB'ing and ALWAYS thinking it was so wrong...

    I am going with Joshua10....GREAT JOB young lady!!!