In a classic example of what not to do, an Alabama step dad shot his daughter after she attempted to get into the house at 2:15 in the morning, this past week.
It is being reported that the dad thought she was an intruder when he heard the garage door opening, and grabbed his gun to go investigate.
The man at some point saw the 15 year old girl, and “accidentally” shot her in the stomach area.
The teenager was transported to the hospital and the incident is being investigated.
That's what not to do, now here is what should have been done:
This is a sad scenario for all involved and it's never my goal to sound insensitive. We can all learn something from stories like these
This is a tricky situation for all parties involved and why we try to exercise caution to people when they say they want to go investigate the bump in the night.
There are a lot of things we don't know about this situation, like did the girl sneak out? Did the dad have a flashlight? Was he walking around the house with his finger on the trigger?
All of these are important things to note, but there are still things we can talk about in the mid-term to help make sure this sort of thing does not happen to you.
First and foremost, always use caution when going to investigate any noises you hear in the middle of the night. If you are groggy, just woke up, and don't know what you're walking into–you have no idea how things are going to work out.
It is generally a bad idea to shoot at a target you cannot see, which is one of the reasons why we should all have flashlights for use in the middle of the night. You just never know who may be trying to get in. Could it be a family member who didn't want to wake you in the middle of the night?
It's imperative that you can actually see your threat so you know what your target is, as well as what is around and behind it.
I'm not saying you should walk around with your flashlight lit because that can be a tactical disaster. Just that, you should have a light so you can see your target, which will also help you ID your target if you don't follow the next recommendation.
Call for ID
One of the most important things you can be doing is asking for a suspected intruder to identify themselves. We've covered this topic before more in depth so I won't spend too much time on it.
But the main point is that if the step dad had called out with a command, “identify yourself, I'm armed!” he would have prevented this situation from happening, when the daughter says, “it's me dad!”
Here is a story where our company president had a similar incident happen, where he had identified himself to his brother in the middle of the night after an unannounced visit.
I get goose bumps whenever I read that story because it could have been very bad.
Finger on trigger
Once again we don't have all the details of the story and cannot say either way if his finger was in fact on the trigger. But something we do know for certain is that walking around your house with your finger on the trigger can be disastrous for anyone under the muzzle.
The only time you should have your finger on the trigger is if you're on target.
Part of the reason why this is true is because when you're under stress with the thought that your privacy is in the process of being violated by an intruder, you lose some control over motor functions. That means if you see what you think is an intruder you flinch just enough that you fire a shot off.
However, if you keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you're on target, you won't be able to pull it on “accident.”
Sadly these instances happen more often than they should, but they are totally avoidable with just a small amount of prior thought and knowledge.
For example, my kids and their friends all know that I'm a gun owner and that if an intruder ever comes in when I'm not expecting it it might end badly.
This is one of the reasons why I leave my doors squeaky. A lot of folks will oil the hinges so they're silent. But I like having the warning system that someone has entered my house. When I hear the squeak of a door, I yell, “who is there?” My children know to ID themselves with their name, as does my wife.
This takes any of the guesswork out of the identification process and is safer for all involved.
This prevention can go a long way in regards to protecting life.
Do you take similar measures to make sure your home and family are safe?