Skip to comments.GLAD SHE HAD HER GUN
Posted on 07/05/2005 10:00:25 AM PDT by vannrox
GLAD SHE HAD HER GUN
by Elinor Dufy
My gnawing guilt about owning a handgun faded as quickly as the determination on the face of the burglar as soon as he noticed the blue-steel Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver in my hand.
The young man, armed with an ice pick, had forced his way in my apartment and was waiting for me-even though he had heard me come down the stairs and had had time to get out.
When he saw the gun, the burglar became a sweet young boy pleading for forgiveness. After all, he was only a youngster, he only wanted a couple of dollars, he had never been in trouble before, wouldn't I please let him go-and, oh, please, please, don't call the police.
I wondered how courteous he would have been if I had come downstairs empty-handed, with just my tiny poodle at my heels.
As he stood in front of me, pulling nervously at his white gardening gloves, I thought of how the night had begun.
I had been at a Filmex reception hoping to meet a producer or director who might be interested in reading my script. But there were only animators and cartoonists there, and I found myself fading fast, so I drove quickly home for some much-needed sleep.
Less than two hours later my dog woke me with his loud barking. I was so angry that I scolded him harshly and was ready to spank him. He cuddled up next to me in a tight little ball as if asking for protection. He kept on barking, not toward the window, but into the apartment.
I knew that I would have to investigate if I was to get any sleep at all.
I turned on my bedroom light, all the time talking reassuringly to my dog. "What's wrong? What do you hear?" He jumped with pleasure when I got up and started down the stairs.
Suddenly, I stopped. Why, I still do not know. I turned back and got the gun that I was embarrassed even to admit owning. As if hiding it from myself, I hid it behind the folds of my white flannel gown.
Midway down the stairs I stopped. The television and everything else in the living room were in order, the front door was securely locked, all the cabinets in the kitchen were still closed, the downstairs bathroom seemed empty. I could not see the sliding glass door at the rear of the apartment.
"Go get it. What are you after?" I asked the little creature. He looked at me, wagged his tail and sat down. He was not going to move. I walked him through the downstairs to prove that nothing was wrong. There he was, in the bathroom, a shadowy 6-foot figure with the shiny weapon in his hand. Fortunately, I was barefoot; he had not heard me approach. He was startled and that gave me enought time to step back and raise the revolver.
"It's cocked. All I have to do is pull the trigger. Don't move."
His larcenous or lethal plans seemed to disappear in one deflating gasp. He was not going to take any chances with his life. I would not have to shoot him.
"Please let me go. All I want is a couple of dollars."
The kitchen light was on.
"Please don't call the police."
The telephone was in my left hand.
"Please let me go."
Go where, I thought. To the next apartment. One with no dog to wake anyone. One where guns were not present. The phone rang twice before the businesslike voice came on, "Lennox sheriff's office." A torrent of words burst from my mouth.
"Ma'am, we can't understand you." I took a deep, steadying breath and said slowly, "There is a burglar in my apartment. He is five feet away from me. I have a gun on him." Then there was a jumble of activity from their end of the line.
A woman with a low soothing voice got on the line. "Here is the suspect?-Make him lie on the floor.-Whatever you do, don't hang up.-A car is on the way.-The officers are looking for your apartment.-How can they get in?"
All this time the young burglar was using the technique taught in so many rape-prevention classes, mine included. He was trying to engage me in pleasant, distracting conversation about me, about my apartment, about my dog, about where he lived. And wouldn't I put down the gun, at least quit pointing it at him?
My hand was shaking so badly that I was sure he was afraid it would go off accidentally. But that gun was making the difference between a standoff and what?
(Betty, a woman in my rape-prevention class, had been raped while her assailant held an ice pick in her ear. Myrna had found someone in her apartment and had been knocked unconcious and robbed. Sandy had cowered in her locked bathroom hoping someone would come home before the intruder found her. And another woman had leaped from her second-floor window onto the asphalt below to escape her surprise visitor.)
I rested the telephone between my ear and shoulder and used my left hand to steady the gun.
As he talked I visualized a red glow around him. (Perhaps I was preparing myself in case I had to shoot.) That thought collided with the memory of signing a petition to ban handguns, of planning to sell my gun. I had never been able to understand why I had purchased the damned thing. I had even been embarrassed when I became a near-perfect marksman at the practice range. I was so against killing that I had almost ended a long relationship when my friend crushed a spider against his office wall.
I quickly pushed away all these thoughts and focused my attention on every move my uninvited guest might make or even think of making.
A light appeared through the front window. "We've found the place."
Two streaks of blue came over the back fence and into my apartment. My vision suddenly collapsed to a narrow tunnel. I saw the handcuffs go on the "suspect". I saw my hand holding the gun toward the earth outside the back door. I saw another hand gently show me how to uncock the gun.
I heard voices praising me for how well I had handled the situation. (What choice did I have?) I heard the young man objecting. He was only trying to show the officer where he was hiding his knife. (That, too?) And I heard the officers complimenting me on my choice of gun.
There followed icy silence and icier thoughts. What would this fledgling gun control advocate have done without the gun? What if I had bent to my landlord's wishes and gotten rid of my dog?
It was not until the sky turned a pale gray-blue that I was able to sleep again. When I woke I decided to go back to the gun range and practice.
She should have shot.
Guns and dogs = man or womans best friends when both are ready.
So, some lib judge will find an excuse to cut the perp loose and next time he'll have a gun of his own. Should'a shot him while she had the chance!
Nice story, I enjoyed reading that.
Such a well written first hand account.
Must reading for all undecideds.
Thanks for posting it.
She should have shot..my sentiments exactly. If he had an ice pick in his hand..dead man. Course I could also find an icepick in my drawer later.
molon labe, baby.
"She should have shot."
Intruder in apartment with weapon.... she could have reasonably argued that she feared for her life and acted prudently in ventilating the bastard.
I hope all FReepers are armed.
Unless I'm mistaken, there are many places in this "free" country of ours -- Chicago, for instance -- where she'd have been hauled away in handcuffs for possessing a handgun.
Good story..But I woulda shot the little ba$tard.
A good story with a good result, but she really should have fired. I've known hardened criminals who, facing an armed polieman, have offered and then attempted to put the officers gun where only a proctologist could find it. One should NEVER count on the sight of a firearm deterring a criminal-it only has to fail once.
If only a tiny % of these vile creatures are put down, the rest will stay at bay.
I thought she did well. Personally, I would have a really hard time "ventilating" someone unless they were attacking me, or making a move to.
Of course, by then it might very well be too late, I realize that. OTOH, since the dude wasn't offering any resistance...I just see no need to burden myself with the weight of killing another person, even a criminal, under those circumstances.
Just my opinion, of course.
good story, and I'm glad she has seen the light, but notice her hypocrisy. She was/is a gun control advocate (for others), but yet had a gun of her own. How condescending, how Rosie Odonnellish
Guns Over Democracy
Washington Post ^ | 7/4/5 | Editors
She's lucky she had a firearm, but even luckier that the guy was a complete and total coward of the most pathetic description.
A veteran crook might have disarmed her.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.