Skip to comments.Gun owner: I, not cops, got bad guy
Posted on 01/22/2004 3:22:03 AM PST by kattracks
January 22, 2004
Three days after Christmas, someone broke into the DeMar family home in Wilmette through a dog door, stealing a television, an SUV and the keys to the home.
The next night, Hale DeMar was prepared for a return visit. With his children upstairs, DeMar, 54, shot burglar Morio Billings, 31, in the shoulder and calf, police said.
Billings was caught at a nearby hospital and charged with felony residential burglary and possession of a stolen car, authorities said.
And, in a move that has drawn criticism, DeMar was cited with breaking Wilmette's ban on handguns and with failing to update his firearm owner's identification card.
The misdemeanors are unlikely to bring jail time. Wilmette Police Chief George Carpenter did not criticize DeMar for protecting his family but said homes are safer without handguns.
DeMar, in a letter sent to the Chicago Sun-Times, is now speaking out:
Village Trustees ... Stick to Parade Schedules & Planting our Parks
Many of us have experienced a sense of violation upon returning to our homes, only to find that someone else has been there. Someone else has trespassed in our bedrooms, looting and stealing that which is readily replaced. Many of us, still haunted by that violation, will never again have a sense of security in our own homes. Few, however, have awakened to realize that they had been violated as they slept in their beds, doors locked, as family dogs patrolled their homes. For me, the seconds until I found my children still safely tucked in their beds were horrifying. The thought that a young child may have been hurt or abducted was incomprehensible.
The police were called and in routine fashion they came, took the report and with little concern left, promising to increase surveillance. Little comfort, since the invader now had keys to our home and our automobiles. The police informed me that this was not an uncommon event in east Wilmette and offered their condolences.
What is one to do when a criminal proceeds, undeterred by a 90-pound German shepherd, an alarm system and a property ... lit up like an outdoor stadium? And now, he had my house keys and an inventory of things he'd like to call his own. Would the police patrol my dead-end street as effectively the second time as they had the first? Would my small children be unharmed the next time? Would the career criminal be satisfied with another automobile, another television or would he feel the need, once again, to climb the staircase up to the bedrooms, perhaps for a watch or a ring or a wallet, again risking little?
Would my children wake to find a masked figure, clad in black, in their bedroom doorway, a vision that might haunt them for years? Would the police come again and fill out yet another report, and at what point should I feel comfortable that the 'bad guy' got everything he wanted and wouldn't return again, a third time?
I went to the safe where my licensed and registered gun was kept, loaded it for the very first time and tucked it under the mattress of my bed. I assured my frightened children ''that daddy would deal with the bad guy ... if he ever returned.'' Little did I imagine that this brazen animal was waiting in the backyard bushes as I tucked my children into bed.
Fifteen minutes after bedtime, the alarm went off. Three minutes after the alarm was triggered, the alarm company alerted the police to the situation and 10 minutes later the first police car pulled up to my home, but only after another call was made to 911, by a trembling, half-naked father. I suppose some would have grabbed their children and cowered in their bedroom for 13 minutes, praying that the police would get there in time to stop the criminal from climbing the stairs and confronting the family in their bedroom, dreading the sound of a bedroom door being kicked in. That's not the fear I wanted my children to experience, nor is it the cowardly act that I want my children to remember me by.
Until you are shocked by a piercing alarm in the middle of the night and met in your kitchen by a masked invader as your children shudder in their beds, until you confront that very real nightmare, please don't suggest that some village trustee knows better and he/she can effectively task the police to protect your family from the miscreants that this society has produced.
This career criminal had been arrested thirty times. He was wanted in Georgia and for parole violations in Minnesota. How many family homes had he violated, how many innocent lives were affected, how many police reports went into some back office file cabinet, only to become some abstract statistic? How is it that rabid animals like this are free to roam the streets, violating our homes and threatening the safety of our children?
If my actions have spared only one family from the distress and trauma that this habitual criminal has caused hundreds of others, then I have served my civic duty and taken one evil creature off of our streets, something that our impotent criminal justice system had failed to do, despite some thirty odd arrests, plea bargains and suspended sentences.
Hale DeMar, Wilmette
True - If life were a John Woo movie, there would be no plot, your rate of shots to hits would be 10 times worse than normal with a rifle or machinegun and 10 times better than normal with a pistol, and you would see white doves fly by in slow motion as a signal that something IMPORTANT is about to happen.
As stated earlier, he (and any other convicted felon) can legally go out and buy pre-1899 firearms, because they are specifically defined as non-firearms under the '68 GCA. For that reason, anyone can buy such weapons without a NICS check, wouldn't have to go through an FFL, and wouldn't fill out a 4473. Oh, and only the receiver needs to have been manufactured pre-1899 - you can get a new barrel, trigger job, etc. if that's what you want to do. The only problem is that the number of such guns in decent shape in calibers that still have ammo produced for them is quite limited - but they are out there.
It wouldn't surprise me to learn that "Mrs. Liddy" also owns quite a number of Class 3 weapons. I would doubt that any home invader short of the entire 82nd Airborne Division would get out of their house with a detectable heartbeat.
Liddy is the kind of guy that makes me believe that our system is utterly unjust - he did commit a crime (several, actually), and he properly served time and went through parole as punishment - in other words, he paid his debt to society. He is no longer a physical danger to anyone - if he ever was - who doesn't first attack him or his family. He is now reformed - he hasn't (to my knowledge) committed any crimes since those he was convicted of, and he engages in a productive activity that supports him and his family, to say nothing of putting lots of dollars into various governments' coffers. He seems to be the ideal ex-con, yet our system says that this man has no right to defend himself against an attacker with the most effect means available. While I wouldn't want to take him on if I had a machine gun and he was unarmed now, what happens when he's 80 and (relative to his condition now) feeble - what's he supposed to do if some 24-year-old guy who weighs 260 pounds attacks him or his family? The system sucks, and for Liddy's sake I hope that his wife outlives him, so that he'll always have guns "stored" nearby.
Thanks for your predictable (and hopefully unpaid) pro-NRA statement. Did you ever consider that the Armed Females of America didn't exist when these laws were passed? I looked and couldn't find out the exact date of their founding, but I never heard of them until at least the time of the infamous MMM - meaning that they almost certainly didn't exist in the early 1980's (when Morton Grove passed its handgun ban).
The NRA will probably be involved when the villagers start to try to change the law again. Will the Armed Females contribute as much time and energy?
I would hope that the NRA would provide some impetus to jumpstart the effort to get these (unconstitutional) laws changed, but if that's been done in the past I've never heard about it. NOW, by the way, would be an excellent time to begin that process, while this case is still in the news. As for AFA - yes, I would expect them to be very involved. In fact, I'll bet that they will put in more time and energy - per member - than the NRA. Take a look at their website, and tell me if you honestly think that they are less pro-gun than the NRA. Just to give you a preview: AFA is in favor of repealing all federal firearms legislation, back to and including the '34 NFA (which the NRA helped to craft, as it did the '68 GCA). 'Nuff said.
Just so you know, I've been an NRA member in good standing since 1989, and I've never been an AFA member or contributor. I didn't write this comment to bash the NRA, but to get you to see that reflexively defending the NRA at the expense of other pro-gun organizations isn't always right.
If there isn't some sleazebag of an attorney out there right now urging the perp to sue the guy it would be a surprise to me.
Pretty rich. Watch any daytime talk/audience participation show and you'll notice the 'production' line is in full swing.
The fact is that Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony ANYWHERE from not only legally purchasing guns, but from legally owning any ("legally," as such term is defined by our unconsitutional system of justice, that is - and They have the ability to enforce those laws, no matter how patently illegal). As such, our hero will be forever debarred the ownership and use of arms if convicted, even if he moves to a different state - and THAT is a true crime. The only thing that Hale DeMar will be able to do "legally" is to buy an antique gun (i.e. manufactured prior to 1899) because they are not defined as "firearms" under the 1968 Gun Control Act (which is followed by most states). Of course, he can always get one via a private purchase, but if he's caught with a gun after a felony conviction, he'll be serving some heavy time in prison.
Then to hell with the law.
I agree with your sentiments. I can assure you that if I were a convicted felon released to live my life, I'd be of the view that I had paid my debt to society (or, in the case of the myriad victimless crimes now labeled as felonies, I'd think that society had f'd me and that I was due something back), and would seek to arm myself in self-defense. Probably, I'd start with a pre-1899 gun, but I'm sure that I'd eventually graduate to a newer toy. My life is worth more to me than virtually anything else, with only the lives of close family members (not necessarily including various in-laws :>) ) or VERY serious principles being worth more. I have, do and will do anything necessary to preserve it. After all, being tried by 12 beats getting carried by six any day.
That is the US code.
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