At what point does an intruder become a risk?

Supposing someone has broken onto your land. At what point does this person register as a risk to you? Is it the moment he/she steps onto the land? The moment they break into your property? The moment they reveal themselves to be armed or potentially armed? Is it somewhere inbetween, or is it at another point?

What action would be considered a justifiable reaction, if you were under the impression that someone on your land was a risk to you or your property?

I have a fenced in yard, so you have to actively intend to enter my property. If I saw a stranger in my yard but not trying to get inside my house I’d just call the cops. Let them deal with it. I don’t think fear of property damage is sufficient justification for violence.

Once they start up trying to break in though, all bets are off. The cops get called, the bat comes out, and I’d holler for them to go away. I think simply yelling at a “standard intruder” (burgler) would scare them off. But, if some stranger knows I’m home because I’ve yelled at them, and continues to attempt entry the only logical conclusion I can draw is that they intend to harm me or my children. In a case like that, I’d react as quickly and as violently as possible and just pray that the cops show up fast.

The moment a person sets foot in my home (presuming they are uninvited and unknown), they are a threat. Use of deadly force is justified, IMO.

Legally, in America, different states have different thresholds for the use of deadly force, but generally speaking, a person is under no obligation to retreat. If I were to be confronted outside of my home, my first obligation would be to get away, if possible. A man’s home is his castle, and all that.

You chaps have it pretty rough over there, from what I read, regarding defending yourself and your home.

Yea, because one answser covers all situations effectively.

As with much else, it depends on the conflict. You can be the hick sitting on his porch with a shotgun like certain posters, or you can be the hippies inviting the intruder to smoke out, or somewhere inbetween (stoned hippies with guns?), but you kinda have to take it as it comes.

If you always go right, you’ll eventually need to go left O_o

What the hell is ‘O_o’? I see the kids using that a lot these days. Object oriented? Open office?

Raised eyebrow. Pardon, I’m used to being on IRC.

It depends on what sort of society you live in, and what you perceive to be a threat (have you ever seen Bowling For Columbine? Regardless of what you think of Michael Moore- he makes a good point about that sort of thing)

Have had these happen [after my parents bought their current abode]:

Noticed a red car in the drive, went to investigate, an elderly man wanted to park his car in our drive (for whatever reason) as he was a friend of [name] who lives further down the road from my parents … (he wasn’t going to visit the friend)

Another elderly man came into the garden one day and wandered around for a look. He’d seen the (now removed) FOR SALE sign a few weeks earlier and was checking the place out …

A man of indeterminate age, but quite obviously “not the full shilling”, frequently used to come into the garden to see if anyone was home, and if the back door was open would come in to say hello to his friends who lived here (my parents). Haven’t seen him for a while tho’ …

Several “friends and family” of the former owners have dropped by for a chat - unaware that the house had been sold.

<shrugs> Rural Ireland - whatcha gonna do?

Gawd help any of them poor souls should they ever wander near Brutus

Threat depends on proximity, circumstance, time, and ability to harm.

I used to own a large piece of property in the country. Several times whilst I was out inspecting it I would see people on it. Typically, I drove up to them (or walked) and asked them what they were doing. Almost all the time they were either “just walking” or returning home from fishing. No harm, no foul.

A couple of times people on the property had guns. Typically .22s or shotguns. When asked what they were doing, they were either “hunting” or returning from hunting elsewhere. At this point, because many casual hunters seem to take offense when told they can’t illegally hunt without permission on someone elses property, I considered them a threat. However, you have to use diplomacy when they have guns, and I would ask them nicely to leave. If they didn’t, I would note what I could, wait, and call the police later. If they started to threaten me or get bellicose…well, being alone and small and in the country, I always carried my gun too. Typically my Mini-14 but sometimes my AR15 HBAR (if I didn’t have to walk far - damn thing is heavy). No prizes for guessing who would win that argument all other things equal…

Now that I’m all citified - someone in my yard gets the same response, sans firearms. I want to know what they’re doing there, and if it’s something I don’t approve of I ask them to leave and note who they are or how they looked. In my back yard, which means they have to enter a fenced area, I would be much less likely to bother to ask, and would likely tell whoever it is to leave at once.

In the house, everything changes. There is typically no rational reason for any person to be in my house without my knowledge and consent. Then they can be considered a threat until proven otherwise.

Is deadly force called for? Once again, it depends on proximity, circumstances, and time. I walk in to my house and there’s a strange man in the kitchen, I likely head calmly for the nearest weapon, and keep it in behind me while asking why they’re there. If I was, say, upstairs and heard someone enter my front door and walk around, then same thing.

Worst case? I know a few people in GD (and less brave people elsewhere) have tried to characterize me as dangerously psychotic and trigger happy based on this, despite all the qualifiers I typically use, but at night everything changes. If I wake up to find a strange person in my house, that strange person has little chance avoiding being shot.

When you come onto my property you have my FULL attention, if/when you forcibly enter my home I WILL defend myself.

Unclviny (a liberal at heart who gets real conservative real fast when faced with a threat)

If you note what I actually said, “The moment a person sets foot in my home (presuming they are uninvited and unknown)…” A person in my yard is a bit different from a person actually in my home. I know rural Ireland is all rustic and whatnot, and your only real problems comes from trying to get the leprechauns to give up the location of those pots of gold, but I bet even you folks react with a bit of alarm if you find a stranger in your house.

I’m like unclviny. You will have my full attention.

I live quite a ways out in the sticks. Sheriff? Anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes I suppose.

Usually, It’s someone that confuses our driveway for a road or jeep trail. Only happens about once a year, and it is usually kids out looking for fun.

It’s VERY uncommon for us to have unexpected visitors.

I’ll turn on the outside lights, and try to determine their intentions. AND HOPE they don’t get stuck in my driveway. If they don’t present a threat (and I’m dressed) I’ll walk out and direct them on their way.

Umm, sorry I sort of blew up about gays and the constitution in the other (now closed)gun thread. My rant was mis-directed.

It depends on the circunstances. I can give you the argentinian Penal code answer.
If there is someone inside the house, the intruder “fractures” or “climbs” in, and it is night, you can legally kill him. BUT, the circunstances are going to be investigated.

I live in much the same circumstances as enipla and much of what’s quoted applies.

If someone surprises me in my house, it means they’ve disabled some very alert dogs and are intending to do harm. I’ll shoot to kill without giving a warning and sort the details out later. 12 Ga. shotgun, #4 shot is my defense wepon of choice.

My next door neighbor woke up to find a drunk guy sleeping on his couch. He was certainly not a threat. He called the cops anyway, and threatened the guy with a gun. Turns out he stumbled into the wrong house.

But I said that one of them did enter the house, he’s done it more than once, my mother found him in the kitchen one afternoon and he came in while I was having my dinner one evening … we tend to keep the doors looked now. He was - as I said - not the full shilling, and he only wanted someone to talk to, and it was hard work getting him to leave :smiley:

The dividing line for me is entering the house. On the yard, in the driveway…you’ll get my attention, directions how to be somewhere else, and a close watching until you are somewhere else. In my house uninvited gets you drawn down upon, while the wife calls the cops. If you are found there at night, you will be found there in the morning. Same as John Carter…12 gauge pump with #4 buckshot.

Personally, I don’t have any firearms…I don’t hunt, never bothered to get a license, and don’t want the hassle anyway.

I do, however, have a sharp-ass katana hanging in my upstairs bedroom. Given that I live in a somewhat seedy apartment community (not slum-level by any means, but I keep my doors locked), uninvited nighttime visitors are welcomed with a close-up view of pointy steel. That’s happened twice in the three years I’ve lived here (my roommate frequently forgets his keys when he goes out at night, and I don’t want to lock him out), and let me tell you, it gets the intended reaction. One guy turned out to be a friend of my roommate’s, and he was cool about accepting my apology after he got over the initial shock. The second guy? Don’t know what he was there for, but he left in a hurry. The cops were called, but they never found anything out. That was about a year ago, and I haven’t been bothered since.

The question I usually get asked after this story is “what if the guy had had a gun?” Well, if he did, he didn’t have it drawn and aimed as he entered the apartment, and if he’d gone for it once I got to him, he’d be minus one head.

I suppose I should probably also address the OP, seeing as how that’s the point and all. Living as I do in a small apartment (the door opens into my living room, which for all intents and purposes is the same room as my kitchen, and the bedroom is an upstairs loft), it’s rather hard to enter “my property” uninvited without being seen as a threat. Those of you with large pieces of land, such as Una used to, face a stickier ethical dilemma than I; people might enter your property accidentally or for more benign purposes, and a certain degree of judgement is required. As for me, you’re a threat as soon as you enter the door, and if you have any business with me, you’d best state it quickly. I’m not a violent person; I’ve never been in a fight and have no intention of doing so anytime soon, but I do know how to use my sword and I will defend myself against intruders.

Incidentally, there’s another katana hanging downstairs in my living room, in case the intruder feels compelled to challenge me to an honorable duel. Somehow, though, I doubt if your average burglar brushes up regularly on his kendo skills…

Not in Great Britian. An armed robber has more rights than an armed homeowner.

I live an an apartment complex, and every once in a while (since the numbers on the apartment doors are barely visible) someone will accidentally open my door. However, if that person did not immediatly explain their actions of get the hell out of my home, they would be facing the business end of one of the 25 or so kung fu weapons that line the walls of my apartment.

Got a katana? Maybe we should spar :wink: