A Comedy of Errors
The noise was not the weather. Mrs. Martel confronted a man entering her shattered door with all that she had at her disposal......a tongue lashing. Then she shoved the man back through the door and barricaded it as best she could. She peered out the window to see if the intruder had left.
Through the darkness she could make out the shape of the man walking through the snow to the other side of her home. He held a bag in his hands. Judie Martel immediately regretted not locking her kitchen door that night. She knew without checking that the kitchen door was unlocked. She seldom locked it, after all, this was Kennebunk Maine, not Detroit Michigan. Rather than locking the door however, she ran upstairs to awaken her husband, a Vietnam vet.
Now, one would think that a Vietnam vet would know what to do. I have to give John Martel credit. He grabbed his shotgun. Then he grabbed the one, the only shotgun shell that he kept in his home. Thus armed, John Martel ran outside towards the shadowy figure in his snow covered yard. When the intruder saw the homeowner with the shotgun, he turned to run.
John Martel fired his one and only shotgun shell over the running man's head. Intentionally. On purpose. Blam! An effective home defense tool became a club. "I was going to shoot to kill," Martel said. "But I've had enough of killing. I shot over his head and he ran up the road."
The police arrived with the radios crackling. Neighbors had called 911 and reported the gunshot and two men running through the neighborhood. The first intruder, Sean Barker, was captured almost immediately while attempting to enter another home. It took a State Police K9 unit to track his buddy Eric Wallace down. The dogs found his backpack, which contained his ID. Although both men were in their early twenties, they each had criminal records and a history illicit drug use. The footprints in the snow showed the men had cased several homes before selecting a victim.
I am happy this couple survived their home invasion, but I have to think it was by Divine providence. The couple is shopping for dead bolt locks, and are considering a large dog to protect them. Judie Martel, a social worker, is trying to view the experience in the most positive framework. "We are very blessed," she says. Her husband is also seeking to reconcile the experience.
"If they had harmed her, I wouldn't have shot in the air," he claims. Well, Mr. Martel, if you have one damned shotgun shell, what the Hell do you plan to do if they decide to harm you and her after you shoot your wad in the air?
It's news reports like these that frustrate me the most. They lay seed to the illusion that blind luck and "blessedness" will save a life. Luck does play a part, to be certain, but Lady Luck favors the person who is prepared. Those deadbolts? They are not going to work if you don't use them. A dog? How about learning to protect yourself? Go buy a box of shotgun shells and quit playing Barney Fife.