The city where I live in North Central Florida is well known for its extremely low crime rate. Even in the criminal world, it is well known that gun ownership in my area is substantially above the national average, which likely contributes to the safe environment.
But last week I was having lunch with a couple of our county sheriff’s deputies, and they related an interesting story. A few weeks ago, they got a “suspicious person” call from a suburban house in what they described as a pretty quiet neighborhood.
When the deputies arrived, they were met at the door by a woman in her mid-50s. She thanked them for coming and proceeded to tell them what had happened.
The homeowner had heard the doorbell ring around 7:45 p.m. She had one of those popular intercom/video doorbells and saw a young man in a blue work shirt and baseball cap holding a clipboard. This was not an unusual sight in an area which frequently sees workers engaged in lawn care, air conditioning service, cable TV installation or utility work.
Being Suspicious Is a Good Thing
However, she hesitated. Service people tend to make calls during daytime business hours. She also noticed that the young man was wearing sunglasses. Odd, she thought, since it was so late in the day and the sky was still overcast from the usual afternoon rain showers.
Trusting her gut, she yelled, “Just a minute,” and retrieved her handgun from the nightstand in her bedroom. She returned to the door with her gun in hand. With the door still closed, she asked on the intercom, “Can I help you?”
The man then said he was there to inspect the main switch box because the power company had received an error code. The woman said that she became even more suspicious — not only because there was no Florida Power and Light logo on his work shirt but also because there was no FPL company vehicle anywhere on the street.
At this point, the woman cleverly began recording the young man on the doorbell camera and asked the man to hold up his ID so she could see it. He had no ID on his shirt and, after fumbling in his pockets, said that he must have left it in the truck. He then turned and left. After he trotted away down the street, she stepped out on her porch and watched him cut through the space between two houses. He never came back. It was then that she called 911.
Happy Endings Are No Accident
I love stories like this. Too often these stories end with some victim being interviewed in the hospital … or worse. But this woman did everything right.
First and foremost, she didn’t just immediately open the door — a common mistake made by far too many people in similar circumstances.
Second, she made sure she had her gun in her hand, not tucked away in a drawer.
Third, before opening the door, she demanded identification. When it was not forthcoming, she refused to open the door.
And finally, even though the situation ended without incident, she took the time to notify law enforcement. As a result, they were able to create a neighborhood bulletin, complete with the suspect’s photo.
Will the suspect be caught? Who knows? But at least one woman avoided becoming a victim.
About John Caile
NRA Certified Instructor John Caile has more than 35 years of experience in the firearms industry, including training others in concealed carry and practical handgun shooting skills. As the communications director of the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee, he was instrumental in passing Minnesota’s landmark concealed carry permit law. John has appeared on national talk radio and network and public television and is a contributing writer for Concealed Carry Magazine. He continues his lifelong activism for gun owners and their rights in Palm Coast, Florida.