Courtesy of vvalpaper
I awoke from a deep sleep to the sound of the house alarm, and felt for my husband in bed next to me, forgetting he was working his night shift…a handgun was all I had…
I purposely selected the photo above, because this is not what it is like AT ALL when you find yourself in a panic, not only from the piercing noise of an alarm, and the struggle of functioning from a deep sleep, but from the realization that there could be
SOMEONE IN MY HOUSE!
And I’m all alone. And does the possible intruder know I’m alone? Does the intruder know my husband is gone?
There were many things that ran through my mind, but I knew first to get the handgun, chamber it like my husband taught me, and how I practiced at the shooting range. I listened for anyone approaching my bedroom door, or any of the other doors or windows that led outside, and most of all I prepared myself physically and mentally.
This was difficult through the alarm sound, but that alarm was hopefully the thing that sent someone running, instead of intruding.
I surprised myself at the ease of handling the handgun, which I usually struggled with awkwardly…
It’s heavy, and there are sharp edges that can catch my fingers and skin. I have to use a very hard and quick motion to slide it back to be chambered and ready for firing. Firing it is also awkward. It has a tremendous kick that lowers my confidence in having any decent aim at my target, and I have to control my squeeze and ease of the trigger, while at the same time holding the gun very firmly with both hands and all of my arm strength.
At the shooting range, I’m nervous just touching that handgun, and anticipate that awful sound and kick of it firing off. It makes me jump and my ears ring, even when I have ear protection.
In my bedroom, with the adrenaline kicked in, and definitely in “fight” mode, I had control of that scary gun.
The idea of “flight” at the time was ridiculous, because I didn’t know if it was safe anywhere I run, it was record-cold freezing outside, and I needed to wait for the alarm company to call, and to send the police if I said so. My best and safest chance was to stay put by the phone, and where I had the most advantage over anyone coming my way.
I also knew in the back of my mind that the record cold temperatures could have caused expansion and shrinking of the window glass to set it off, and wind could knock open a window as well. It all depended on which entry the girl from the alarm company said it was to call the police.
Unfortunately, it was the one window that is ideally situated for a burglar or intruder, never had a short or fault, and previously had a hole in the screen and a footprint in the flower bed a few years back–the only other time it went off.
“Yes, send the police!” I said.
I told her I was home alone, and at the other end of the house. She hung up quickly to call the police, and it occurred to me that I’d better call her back for her to also tell the police that I’m armed in my bedroom, I’m not going anywhere, and if anyone comes through that door I’m shooting. This didn’t phase her at all.
“Of course, she said…don’t worry!”
The Police Officer arrived about 10 minutes later. He rang the doorbell after already making his way around the property, finding nothing. I had to make that terrifying trek to the front door, not knowing if anyone was in my house or not. I made sure the Officer could see my handgun pointed down at my side and away clearly, to know I had it.
He said, “It’s OK, you can put your gun down.”
I asked him to check inside the house, and I let him go down the hallway to the designated window by himself with his gun, checking the corners and closets. It was all clear.
The Officer had to tell me that a neighbor recently made a call that she saw 3 people, but he also had to say that she called them ghosts, and he wasn’t sure about her mental stability. He had an obligation to inform me for my safety and knowledge. He was terribly nice, and I asked him if he would be mad if he had to come again if the alarm went off again?
He chuckled, and said, “Not at all.”
There is a real luxury in our country of having an opinion and being free to voice it, but there’s no luxury in having to take action with a handgun to protect yourself if you have to. After my personal experience, and truly having to prepare myself to be ready for necessary action, I find a stark difference between the luxury of opinion on guns, and the primitive necessity of using them.
All I know now more than ever before, is that I’m grateful for that gun. I’m grateful my husband made me practice, and I made myself practice. I’m grateful I had the resolve to prepare myself for whatever might come my way, and that I had given myself a chance in that deep-dark moment, when a handgun was all I had.