Van E. Harl


By now I am sure you have heard enough about the mother in California who gave birth to eight children. This past week she was able to bring two of the newborn children home and the press was waiting for her. From the video footage I saw, there could have been over a hundred people waiting in her front yard as she pulled up in an SUV. As the vehicle entered the attached garage the press swarmed inside and attempted to surround the SUV.

Having just finished a refresher class with the Colorado Rangers on the use of deadly force, I was a little taken back by the bold home invasion the press committed.

Unlike California, Colorado has as part of its State Statute the Castle Doctrine. Under this doctrine a person who has reasonable belief that his or her home is being invaded by an individual with intent to do harm, that legal resident has the State sanctioned ability to use deadly force to protect their self. This means if someone opens your front door and enters your home uninvited and you believe they have come in to do harm, you can use deadly force to stop them. Over twenty states have the Castle Doctrine and at least six more states with pending legislation, to enact this doctrine.

I lived in Illinois for years and in that state you have the obligation to retreat in your own home if a “bad guy” breaks in. If you are in your living room and someone kicks in your front door you have a requirement to run to the bedroom and hide. If the “bad guy” follows you then you have to run into the bathroom and hide. When your back is against the wall and you cannot retreat anymore, then and only then can you use deadly force. Of course in the process of retreating you are trying to get the wife and kids to safety. Think of herding cats in a forest fire. The kids are screaming, you and the spouse are panicking but you have this obligation to give the “bad guy” every chance to continue his criminal intend, as you are forced to perform an orderly retreat, before you stand your ground and defend you family. Well not in Colorado or Oklahoma and a growing list of other states.

Times are getting hard and will get even harder in the future. Home invasions are on the rise in this country. If there is ever a disruption in the food and commercial goods distribution in this country it will only take 24-48 hours before there is nothing to buy. Nice citizens with nothing to eat can become the “bad guys” very quickly.

Have you seen those burglar alarm company adds on TV? The “bad guys” are watching the good looking woman working out in her skimpy exercise cloths and so vulnerable. They kick in the door, the alarm goes off, the would-be home invaders run away and the woman’s virtue and honor are saved by a noisy alarm bell.

Now envision the power off or a Katrina situation where there is no one to respond to the alarm. The criminals are the first to know when the “cavalry” will not be coming anytime soon. Even John Wayne, when he was the “cavalry”, knew sometimes he had to be prepared to stand and fight on his own. In Colorado your attached garage is considered part of your home, your castle and if the would-be home invader rushes you, as you are standing next to your workbench, you can use deadly force to defend yourself.

This is why, as I watched the press invade that garage I had to wonder if they were glad to be working in liberal California were they could get away with home invasion or where they just criminally stupid? I would suggest that the Colorado or Oklahoma press would think twice before pulling the same stunt.

I am not advocating shooting the odd journalist or neighbor lady who enters your garage unannounced as you are working on your 1972 Pinto. I do however strongly believe you need to understand the laws of your state on the use of deadly force in your home. After you have pulled the trigger on that firearm it is too late to plead your innocence based on not knowing the law.

Remember though, laws mean nothing if you have to stand there and watch your family member bleed to death because you failed to be prepared. There is an old cop saying, “It is better to be judges by twelve than carried by six.”