Recently, in Wisconsin, a 20-year-old youth fled a beer party when the police arrived. He ran down the street and ended up on the front porch of a residence. It was 2 A.M. Since the case is still under investigation, we don't know all of what happened. But we do know the homeowner shot and killed the youth and, at this time, there is no indication that the youth was armed or intent on any criminal attack.
Certainly, we all have a right to protect ourselves from imminent danger and, in many states, we have the right to use deadly force to prevent an invasion of our homes. But this incident brings to mind the reality of dealing with a suspected criminal attack.
In our defensive planning we often imagine dealing with the bad guys. We clearly see that they are armed, we challenge them to drop their weapons, and they comply. In the real world, this is very often not the case. Criminal encounters generally occur in very poor light and we simply cannot see the person's hands, or what is in them. The next shocking realization is that a pointed gun is not a magic wand that will freeze bad guys in their place. Instead, their street-gang bravado makes them laugh at us and ignore our commands to stop and show their hands. Do you really have the right to shoot?
The smart move, in the house, is to lock the door, take a defensive position behind cover and wait for the police to sort things out. On the street, it is best to find a way to exit the situation. Back into the closest place of business and ask them to call the police. Move to cover or move to your car, but find a way to get the hell out of there.
Building your confidence through defensive handgun practice is one way to deal with such situations. But it is also equally important to take the time to make realistic defensive plans. No one wants to be the victim of a violent criminal attack, but we also don't want to get in a situation like the homeowner in Wisconsin—facing a lengthy investigation that could lead to charges. It has been said that "Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance." This is especially true in personal defense.