Last week, I heard about what I thought was a Portsmouth home invasion on Summer Street. I immediately sat down with my wife and told her I think we need more home protection. We have a 12-pound, one-eyed Rat Terrier named Bing, who has admirably served our household each night for the last five years, but is she enough?
I explained shots were raining down on the mean street they call Summer. I was convinced this was the first of many home invasions to sweep the city. My wife told me to calm down, take a spray or two of CBD oil and slow my roll. She then asked if I knew the full account of the Summer Street shootout. She said if I took a minute to read beyond the headline, I might reconsider a trip to Kittery Trading Post to stock up on firearms, grenades, booby traps and a John J. Rambo knife to fend off any pending attacks as they spread north to my neighborhood.
I was too fired up to read the full story, so my wife laid out the details as they were presented by the Portsmouth Police Department. It appears a 17-year-old boy received a text that a party was taking shape at a house on Summer Street. The text was from a young lady who resides at the house. All seems like â€śsummer lovinâ€™â€ť on Summer Street until this Danny Zuko-Sandra Dee Olsson storyline took a wicked turn for the worst.
Nobody informed the adults in the house that Danny was stopping by. So Zuko shows up at 3:30 a.m. and guess what? The front door is unlocked. Iâ€™m with Zuko at this point. A text with an address to an unlocked front door only means one thing to me and all other 17-year-old boys. Yeah baby, party time! Whoops, not so fast party-teen, this party is being cut short by a gun-toting, party-pooping grownup. Sleepy grownup gun guy then allegedly pumps six rounds into the kidâ€™s car as the kid speeds off like ramma lamma ding dong.
As a parent of three, this story scares the daylights out of me, but as former non-rule following 17-year-old boy, this story scared the bejesus out of me even more. A 17-year-old doesnâ€™t say â€śOh my God, I was almost shot!â€ť No, a 17-year-old says â€śDear God, when I get home how am I going to explain six bullet holes in the family truckster?â€ť Nevertheless, thatâ€™s a column for another week.
Sticking with home safety, I say to my wife â€śwhat am I missing in this story?â€ť She said â€śThe front door was open, moron.â€ť She went on to add if youâ€™re obsessed enough with home safety to buy a gun, wouldnâ€™t you start with locking your door at night? Interesting point by the boss of this house, so I Googled â€śWhatâ€™s more important in keeping intruders out of your house, a gun or locking your front door?â€ť
I became frustrated because there were basically no websites devoted to answering this question. I found lots of home security websites that listed locking your doors as a major first step in home security, but none looked into whether it made more sense to allow intruders into a gun ownerâ€™s home, or just boringly lock the front door to keep the bad guys out? My next question was, should I chase an intruder out onto the street and start shooting in a densely populated small New Hampshire city neighborhood? Not sure of the answer, I find myself back in front of Google.
Now Iâ€™m getting some needed information. It seems to be a fairly overwhelming consensus by experts online that you shouldnâ€™t chase the home invader out to their car. Itâ€™s actually recommended you chase them out of the house, lock the door behind them and then call 911. So, after all this, I avert my trip to KTP and I decide to stick with Bing the killer one-eyed Rat Terrier and a cache of other surprises just in case any home invaders are reading my column this week.
However, I did learn two very valuable lessons. Number 1: Lock your doors at night, before you load your firearms. Doing this might keep you from having to discharge several rounds into your heavily populated neighborhood. Number 2: Donâ€™t shoot outside on the street. Following a potential bad guy on to the street is dangerous for you, the bad guy, and potentially for the neighbors you just met at National Night Out.
So much of Americaâ€™s gun debate is about background checks, gun show loopholes and AR-15s. Those are hot button issues to say the least, but I do think even the most ardent stand-your-ground, home protection, gun owner would agree family protection starts with locking the front door as a solid first line of defense.
If there is anything I missed please feel free to contact me, but before you do you should know I am not anti-Second Amendment, and, yes, I do know what itâ€™s like to have your house broken into with loved ones inside. Itâ€™s scary and I like many others am grateful everyone involved in this incident is still with us in our relatively quiet, but always exciting city.
Wayne Barrows is a New Hampshire native and Portsmouth resident.