Break In All Alone

All Alone and Someone Broke In

by Keith Pascal

Last week, a friend since childhood flew in to Eugene. His mother was having an operation … and surprised him with the news. (“Surprise! You aren’t here for a vacation — I have cancer, and I want you here for the surgery.”)

The surgery went well. He and I went to the Civil War basketball game a few days later. Then, when flights were downed because of weather conditions the next day, he was delayed until flights could leave San Francisco.

Since the weather was nice here, I picked him up from the airport, and we went for lunch and then a long walk along the Willamette river.

Then back to the airport, and he flew home.

The next night, someone broke into his mother’s house …

She was alone. In the middle of the night, she heard someone rifling through stuff in her living room. In the living room, a female woman, looking strung out from the lack of her drug of choice, was pulling stuff off shelves. Apparently, she was looking for items of value.

My buddy’s mom yelled at this woman to leave.

She wouldn’t.

More yelling … no effect.

So, my friend’s mother called the police. They came, and asked her if she wanted to press charges. She said yes, so they whisked the young junkie off to jail.

The above recounting provides us with a little fodder for discussion:

1. I’m very happy that nobody was harmed. It could have easily had a very different ending.

2. I’m not happy about the order of the phone call. She called “after” engaging with the intruder. If you’re 80 years old, you might want to rethink the timing of the phone call. Sneak down the hall and peak at the living room disturbance, if you must … but definitely call, before the bad person notices you. From your bedroom is safer.

3. If the person refuses to leave, that says a lot about her state of mind. Definitely adjust your actions based on the robber’s responses. Careful.

4. No weapons when confronting an intruder? We have escrima sticks and a few throwing knives hidden, for easy access, around the house. The intruder wouldn’t see them … but we can get to them easily and efficiently.

5. Now, the biggy … the disturbance in the living room is what woke my friend’s mother. Get it? It was not the sound of breaking glass or a door being bashed in.

In other words, she left a door unlocked. (Junkies often look for easy access.)

Knowing her, I’m willing to bet that her front door was, indeed, locked, but I bet that either the sliding-glass door to her backyard or the side door off her kitchen was not.

Could all of this have been avoided, if she had locked all of her doors and windows before going to bed?

6. One last comment … her son is the person who taught me that, in society, the consequences of a crime have to be severe enough that the person won’t repeat it. For example, a $500 fine doesn’t seem to be enough to stop people from cell-phoning and driving or texting and driving in this city.

Why do I mention this?

In my opinion, she “had” to press charges against the woman who refused to leave. If she hadn’t, then a small reprimand by the police would NOT have been enough of a deterrent from a repeated occurrence.

The consequence for breaking in had to be serious enough to teach her to stay away.

So, did I give you any food for thought?

Keith

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