ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When an Albuquerque couple caught a man burglarizing their garage, they asked him to stop.
When that didn’t work, they pulled out a rifle and a handgun, and held him at gunpoint until police officers arrived.
The above story is referenced in this month’s issue of The Armed Citizen®, published as part of the Official Journals of the National Rifle Association. It is also available in the online version of The American Rifleman magazine. A similar story is published at least weekly and available online at the American Rifleman.
The Armed Citizen® is very worthwhile reading because it describes actual incidents that armed Americans face when dealing with criminal predation. Reading the columns shows the difference between real life and the ludicrous ‘ninjas coming from the ceiling’ figbars of their imaginations that people frequently cook up.
For space and copyright reasons, The Armed Citizen® only publishes a summary of each incident, which the NRA does not copyright. The NRA summary of the above incident goes as follows:
Two New Mexico burglary victims used a rifle and a handgun to keep a thief under wraps until the police arrived. One of the Albuquerque residents came home and noticed a stranger loading items—including a generator the homeowner recognized as his—into a vehicle. He approached the alleged thief and asked him to stop, but the bad guy scoffed at him. The man went into his house, armed himself and his wife, and the two confronted the suspect, holding him at gunpoint until the police arrived. (Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, N.M., 11/21/15)
It’s useful to backtrack and find the original article. In many cases, there’s a lot more detail in the original story. Sometimes there is a wealth of information that we can learn from and think about our own situations ahead of time.
There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
The Albuquerque Journal article even includes video from the bodycam worn by the arresting officer.
What can we learn from the article and bodycam footage in this case? What questions are worthwhile to ask ourselves while we have the opportunity of cool reflection? Are there decisions we can make ahead of time to keep us out of trouble? Here are a few points to consider. There are probably more.
The couple has the alleged burglar at gunpoint. So far, so good. Let’s consider, however, that they were no longer on their own property at that point. Depending on the state you may be in, once you leave your own property, even by a few steps, the rules (Know the Rules) can change quite a bit. Let’s pose the question “What if the perp takes off running when the officer arrives?” Shooting him in the back at that point probably wouldn’t be a good decision, even in Texas. Remember that YOU have a good idea who the good guys and bad guys are, but the Officer has to sort that out. Don’t assume the Officer has all the pertinent information (Understand the Situation) or that he or she even believes the information given so far. It’s not like a false report has never been phoned in.
It appears on the bodycam footage that the Officer goes between the perp and the couple to handcuff the dude. The woman lowers her pistol as the Officer moves in; good for her. Unless you’re familiar with Contact and Cover procedures, how you’re going to react when the PoPo arrives is best thought of ahead of time. Given that it’s a physical skill, (Have Adequate Skills) maybe even a little practice is in order. Given the circumstances, the woman probably didn’t even have a holster on. What are you going to do with your heater at that point?
The perp was released on his own recognizance the same day and then arrested again a few hours later for armed robbery. What if instead of going after someone else, he came back to the house he burglarized? It’s not hard to tell he’s a nitwit. Keep in mind that criminals don’t think the way we do. What state of alertness and readiness are you going to be in, post-event? If an entryway to your home has been damaged, are you going to stay there? What if your weapons have been taken into evidence? Do you have backups, not necessarily at your home?
Peeing on the fence isn’t much of a strategy. We have a lot of information available that we can use to put together at least a rough plan for circumstances that are foreseeable. And it’s not like we have to make it into a heavy duty wargaming exercise. There are typically five or six incidents referenced in The Armed Citizen® each month. There’s one or two a week listed online. Five minutes thought per incident still works out to less than an hour per month.
The Armed Citizen® database of all incidents ever reported is available on the NRA-ILA website.