As promised, here is a revised story of this original post: May 20, 2012 portion of the post.
The boys had pleaded all morning to visit the neighbors house. They have 3 children and since we've all been working there's not been much time for play. I walked with them the next farmhouse over and spent about an hour visiting and helping Jim mend a fenceline. Jim seemed like the proverbial farmer with a quick wit, stern look and the fortitude to roll with the changes. He was a God fearing man and was quick to correct my use of language. Our short conversations were filled with intelligence and humanity. Neither one of us desired the situation we're in but neither one of us desire the alternative. He needs to refine his gun handling skills and dreads the day, if it ever comes, that he must choose between his life or the life of someone else.
His wife, Abby, is a sweet gal but according to Jim, she's loaded with dynamite if you cross her. She is a wonderful cook and knows how to cut corners without sacrificing the taste. With alllot of baking goods and spices/seasoning not available, one must adapt. The 3 children are spitfires and closely have all the attributes of their parents rolled into one. The oldest is 12 years old and I think she has a crush on my son Brad. Her name is Angie and she is a heart breaker. The two younger ones are twin boys. I can tell them apart but most I've talked with claim they can't. They are 9 years old and love when the boys come to play. Jacob and Elijah are good boys and although full of mischief, its harmless mischief. Well unless you consider letting all the air out of the truck tires to see if they can get Dad mad enough to cuss harmful.
I said my goodbyes and told the boys I'd be back later in the afternoon. All three seemed to be ignoring me until a raised hand waved slightly as they ran off. I headed back across the field to the road, wanting an easier walk and enjoy such a beautiful day. Finally, the house to ourselves!!! A good lunch filled with silence and maybe a nap was in order. As I rounded the end of the drive, I caught a wiff of grilled cheese sandwiches, my favorite. I closed the driveway gate behind me and locked it. I made the 200 yard driveway in record time! I was faminished and desperately wanted some quiet time with Caroline. As I came to the perimeter fencing, I slowed down my progress and made sure the dogs knew I was coming. As I opened the gate, both dogs came barreling across the yard and about knocked me backwards. For a split second, their attention was diverted to the tree line but soon enough they were both yapping at my heels. I noticed as I made the porch entryway, they both sat and watched the tree line again.
Caroline had outdone herself. Not only had she made grilled cheese sandwiches but also a pan of chicken soup. We sat down to eat and as I was devouring the sandwich, one of the dogs let out a nervous bark. About 5 seconds later they both started a vicious barking ensemble that alarmed us. I took to the hallway, grabbed the 12 ga. shotgun loaded with 00 buckshot. First 2 rounds were 00 buckshot, the third was a deer slug and back to buckshot. If the first two shots maimed you or slowed you down, the third shot would finish the job, was my theory anways. As I made the doorway and onto the porch, the noisemakers went off on the fenceline to my left. I spun and hit the ground with one knee as I drew aim on a fella trying to climb the fence. I yelled for him to stop as he cleared the fence, hit the ground and never stopped his advancement. He just kept coming so I fired two rounds in his direction at about 30 yards. He slowed a bit, stumbled about and proceeded to gain his footing again. I yelled for him to stop again and he drew what appeared to be a handgun. I dropped him square in the chest with the slug. Theory tested and approved. Now I had 3 shots left or two...damn the adrenaline was pumping hard now. I dropped the shotgun inside the front door and unholstered my 45 acp. The dogs darted to my right just as the man came around the corner. I believe he was as surprised as I was, even moreso when the 45 let loose. First two shoots went wild as I wasn't calm, cool or collected. He made the fatal mistake of stopping to turn and retreat when the 3rd shot, well he had an extra earhole now. He hadn't even hit the ground and I was back inside the house.
We had already prepared for a home invasion by practicing certain drills. Since the kids weren't home, Caroline was to either go to the basement or head upstairs. Basement door was ajar so that was my clue she was upstairs. If she'd gone to the basement the door woulda been shut and locked. Also, the half eaten grilled cheese sandwich on the stairwell was an obvious clue. I started clearing the downstairs while keeping an eye outside. It was eerily quiet. Where were the dogs? About that time I'd finished the thought, they let out another viscious ensemble of barking. They were on the front porch still and barking to the front part of the yard. As I entered the kitchen, I heard the back door creak slightly and a shadow burst through the doorway. I fired 3 shots as I dove for cover behind the kitchen island. I heard a loud gasp followed by what can only be described as a death scream. I peeked around the island and saw nothing. I peeked over the top and nothing. I slowly rose to my feet with all my senses on high. I saw the shadow fall in the back yard and grabbing his leg. I dropped the mag and chambered another one. I'd lost count again and wasn't taking any chances. As I stared out the door at the man, another man bolted from beside the doorway and headed out across the yard. I dropped him second shot and he didn't move. About the same time, I heard gunshots from inside the house. Damn I'd forgotten all about the dogs backing out front! Had someone gotten past the dogs? 4,5,6 shots rang out and my mind shifted to defensive mode. Then from the front yard I heard someone yell..."Sum of a Bi...." His voice trailed off and I made the front door just as he made the treeline. 4 more shots rang out from upstairs and I hollered for Caroline. She knocked twice on the floor that signaled me she was ok.
We both sat very still for what seemed like hours. Nothing but the eery silence again and the dogs panting. Or was it my heart? I could hear her begn to rustle upstairs and I quietly told her to remain still. She thumped back in her "Oh no you din't" voice she was checking the property out. Yes dear... A few minutes later she said it looked clear and I made my way out the backdoor to check on my shadow man. As I approached him, I was on full alert and ready for anything. He was ashen gray now and lifeless. Upon further investigation, my shot had hit the femoral artery and he bled out. The other man was lifeless and had no vital signs either. I made my way back into the house, called the dogs in and hunkered down for a another attack. 5 men and all attacking from different directions. Speaking of the 5th man...
We both sat quietly for an hour. One reason was we both needed to regain our composure and secondly we needed to make damn sure there weren't more armed attackers. I took this downtime to inventory my ammo, shape of both firearms and making mental notes. Shotgun has 3 shells left and 45 has a partial clip. Other clip is laying on the kitchen floor. As I recounted, I had fired 6 shots from the first mag and two from the second mag. If there was another attack, I'd have to be selective now on shots and this wasn't good. I could move belly prone across the hardwood floors and not be seen. But to get to the extra ammo I'd have to open the closet door. This movement alone would give a signal to anyone watching the house. I couldn't risk it right now. I could hear Caroline reloading the rifle and she let out a sigh. Not in relief but in disgust. I whispered if she was ok and she said yes very bluntly. I didn't press the issue as I knew better. I'd heard that tone a few times before.
Both men in the backyard had a disheveled look. Maybe the were homeless and wanting food. But why the armed attack? I mean its not really that bad right now, or is it? Crack heads looking for an easy score? Well not as easy as they thought! Still, the 5th man got away. I'll have to ask Caroline what happened after she shot at him. After 45 minutes the dogs weren't showing any interest in anything but hunkering down for a nap. I decided it was time to move and make haste towards the closet. Found the box of shells and 45 ammo. I stuffed my pockets with both, shells on my left and casings on my right. Grabbed the shotgun and headed upstairs quickly, two steps at a time. I found her peeking out the window and tears streaming down her face. I grabbed ahold of her in the biggest hug of our lives. I asked why she was still crying after 45 minutes. I know her well enough that this length of crying time was very unusual. She broke the hug and showed me her rifle. "I thought I had the 270 but when I shot the first round I knew immediately I'd grabbed the .22.", she exclaimed. "I let him escape alive. I know I hit him at least 3 times and one shot was in the butt." Well at least she hit the mark I thought to myself. Amazingly, she's more upset she grabbed the wrong rifle instead of 4 dead men in our yard.
We grabbed the 270, her 380 and my 30/30 along with ammo. We headed downstairs and she went out back to few the dead men. She stood in silence for a moment and then she kicked one square in the head. She went out the the bell we had and rang it 3 times, waited a couple minutes and rang it 3 more times. After a shorter pause she rang it twice. That was our signal to the boys, as practiced, we needed help BUT it could still be dangerous. Pretty sure they heard all the shooting and would be waiting for a signal. As she was ringing the bell, I removed all weapons from the dead men. One gun, ball bat, knife and razor blade is all I could find. Seriously? I left the bodies as they were, figuring we'd have to explain ourselves to the law enforcement. I went to check on Caroline and as I rounded the house, there she sat focused on the treeline. "I hear some movement coming thru the trees.", she stated calmly. I took cover at the burning barrel and kept a close eye for signs of movement. I could hear the movement now and voices. Then it went quiet. The dogs sat at the fenceline waiting patiently for anything. Ears were perked, noses in the air and they were tense. About this time, a voice called out. "Teddy" to which I replied, "Rough Riders!" It was Brad and the boys along with the neighbors. One by one they made their way from the treeline to the fence with the next in line waiting until the other reached the fence. Brad was the last one to come across and we all gave hugs along with handshakes. Jim complimented our son. He said the first shot rang out and he sprung into action ordering us to take cover. He also took charge when the gunshots ceased and again when the bell rang. I could not help but beam from ear to ear.
The women took the kids inside for refeshments. I asked Jim if he knew about handguns and he stated matter of factly he did. I handed him my 45 and my son the 30/30. Brad headed inside to get his stash of defensive armaments and returned with a 9mm, .40 and his 270. He handed Jim his .40 and gave me back my 45. Had his BOB of ammo and my BOB of other supplies in hand also. We talked of the 5th man and his direction of travel. We decided we'd call the LEO's first and get them headed this way. Jim went inside to use the phone as he knew the area better than we did and knew a few of the LEO's. He returned with news that it may take a few hours and might even be tomorrow before they got here. I hollered at Caroline to get the older tarps and get these scumbags covered up. I was tired of looking at them and I didn't want the kids to be mentally traumatized. Well, I didn't want the mental images but the kids were a good excuse.
After a quick bite to eat, Brad and I set out to find our 5th man. Jim stayed behind with the families to provide extra man power. He had no business being out with us and he definitely was out of his element around the bodies. Brad found the first sign of bodily damage as a few spots of blood were located just over the fence. Spots of blood were minimal and I used 1% peroxide to test if its blood or not. Just about to the treeline and the blood spots were about penny sized now and always to the right side of the path. In a patch of dirt, we found a footprint and drew a picture along with some measurments. As we entered the trees, we could follow the trail easily as the older leaves were overturned and scattered. We spread out to about 15 yards apart and made our advancement along the trail. We would stop every 50 yards or so, sit quietly for minutes and listen for noise. Just as we were closing in on the other side, I saw movement ahead and signaled to stop. I watched as the movement took shape into a man dancing around in a circle...without pants on! He was wiping off his legs with his pants and holding it firmly to his butt cheek. I giggled quietly and motioned for Brad to stay put. He was about 75 yards off and too far, for me anyways, to make a surprise rush. I crouched as I moved forward hoping to not make noise before I could close the distance. As I got closer I gained momentum and at 25 yards I was at full rush. He looked up with an "Oh Crap" look on his face as I lowered my shoulder and knocked him to the ground. He hit the ground hard and I pointed the shotgun right in his face. "Don't say a word or you'll die right here in front of Mother Nature and all her flesh eating critters!"
He was definitely our man as he had 3 small wounds on his body, one was in his butt cheek. We dressed his wounds, dressed him with pants and secured his wrists with Zip Ties. He was ranting and raving the whole time and I eventually gagged him. He was obviously a drug user as he was shaking and twitching as if he needed a fix. We walked the 30 minutes back to the house without much incident, well except for getting over the fence. We kinda just let him fall over without assistance. Anyways, we made it safely home to be greeted by family and canines. We took our prisoner and tied him to the clothesline post. We then tied one of the dogs to the other post with just enough chain to be within 4 feet of him. We then tied the dogs favorite toy just above his head and she started yapping and barking. Doing whatever she could to get the toy, she was making a ruckus that rattled my nerves and I wasn't even near them. I hollered at him she'd eventually give up and as long as he didn't move or make a sound she'd stay quiet. We all headed inside to discuss what next. Brad took the kids upstairs to occupy their time and keep watch. The little ones had no clue what happened and I preferred to keep it that way, for now. Jim called the LEO's again and informed them we'd captured the 5th man. He was informed they'd be out at 7am the following morning. We were not to cause any bodily harm to our prisoner and should provide him with accomodations. So after a well-deserved meal we set out to accomodate our new guest. We built a fire near him for warmth, ungagged him to fed him and then poured 1/2 gallon of water into his mouth. Reapplied the gag and shook the toy for the dog. Accomodation complete!
Jim and family spent the night with us. We took turns watching for more unfriendlies and we discussed developing a neighborhood watch sentry system. We would call for a meeting within the week. After today's event, we needed to move forward and quickly. Around first light I walked the 200 yards to the front entrance. I wanted to meet the LEO and not risk them getting shot or us for that matter. They arrived abit before 7 am and we exchanged greetings. They came with a squad SUV and a paddy wagon along with 5 personnel. One sherriff, two deputies, one coroner and one gopher. We rode up to the house without fanfare as I guessed the kids were still asleep or just waking up. We made the way to the front area while the coroner and gopher went to work. Caroline had made coffee and biscuits and we each took a cup. These guys seemed nice enough and we felt comfortable around them. Jim came lumbering out the door and greeted his friends with much delight. Each deputy took an adult aside and took our statements. They also took Jim and Abby aside to hear their version of the story. The coroner and gopher headed around to the back area with us in tow. The sheriff busted out in a hearty chuckle when he saw our guest and the yapping dog. He went and untied the man and let the gag loose enough for him to mumble. The dog torture had obvious effects as he wanted nothing more then far away from the house. He really freaked out when he learned the man attending to his wounds was a coroner.
The whole process took a little less than two hours. The man was loaded into the paddy wagon along with his buddies in body bags. The deputies confirmed our accounts and the sheriff was convinced it was a good shoot. We talked abit about the happenings around the county and he gave us accounts of similar shootings being commonplace now. We were given the green light to protect our property and lives without hesitation, without it being said directly. I sensed trouble was coming soon and he wanted us all to be proactive and not reactive. He said a deputy would stop by weekly to check on us, that being Deputy John. John took to playing with the kids and made quick work of their game of tag. A younger man around 25-28 I guessed and had a military presence about his demeanor. I mentioned he should at least hit the siren or horn before making the trip up the driveway. I'd have to talk with this young man and find out more. If he had military training it could prove invaluable to making our homestead safer and our new community safer too.
Our meeting with the neighbors was very productive. Of course the hot topic was protection since the attack on us has worried the neighbors. We have beefed up our first warning by adding a few dogs to our homestead. And more weapons are available for quick response. As for the neighbors, we have devised a patrol plan that will involve everyone and a scheduled rotation. We are also planning a training session for weapons use. Of the 12 families, 4 men and 1 woman have military or weapons training. These 5 have been tasked with providing all participating families with training, weapons and ammunition. Each house is to have at least 1 handgun and one shotgun or rifle and the required training of each. We have mapped out the area of 12 families and assigned sector numbers. We have made plans to visit each sector and take a daily traffic report of outsiders. Being so close to town, its impossible to shutdown the roadways, as the people would view this as a hostile act. We want to remain "invisible" if at all possible. Areas with the highest traffic will get the immediate attention of protecting the homesteads and subsequent training. We have drafted a manual for all to read and hopefully adhere too. It's in a basic outline form and a few of us will be collaborating the writing effort. There is not much we can fix about people on foot through the countryside. This will be apart of regular patrols both day and nighttime.
The local authorities stopped by our meeting to lend suggestions and support. While vigilantism is discouraged, the mood has shifted to our protective rights. They assured us they'd not interfere as long as we didn't become the aggressors. This created a bug sigh of relief. They are seriously understaffed and talk amongst our "elders" and Sheriff was grim. He told us armed gangs have been seen moving about the larger cities. He has also had reports of more traffic in and about the county. No attacks other than the usual home invasions or thefts by 1 or 2 people. The town medical center has been at capacity with the recent onslaught of personal attacks. Minor to serious injuries and thankfully only the bad guys have been reported deceased. He has sent his reports to the state government and also to the National Guard base. All local authorites are now on alert and 24 hour call. Something is about to happen and he wants to be prepared. He chuckled when he talked of our prisoner. He said the dog did a number on his mental stability and he told them anything they wanted to know. He had mostly useless information but did provide some information on unsolved crimes.
Root cellars will be built very soon as the equipment, gas and manpower is now available. Supplies are being delivered within the week and plans are set in motion! It's all starting to take shape...