Perspective of the Perceived Open Door Danger
Editorial Article – and a kind of Sunday sermon rant – by Jim Lantern
9:00 a.m. CT Sunday 25 January 2015
First, some background…
The crime rate is fairly low here in Norman, Oklahoma, home of Oklahoma University, which is one of the reasons why I moved here 3 May 2008. I’ve lived at the same apartments complex since then. It’s a massive apartments complex of several buildings, 2 to 3 levels, with external stairs and walkways. I started out in a 1-bedroom. Then 6 months later I traded with a neighbor for a studio/efficiency. In April 2012 a ground floor 1-bedroom became available in a neighboring building, which I wanted then, so I moved to that one. The foundation cracked there, allowing rain water to get into my bedroom. The landlord didn’t want to fix it, because the apartments complex has been sold and will be bulldozed in August 2015, so I was offered a different apartment in a nearby building. I accepted it and moved in mid-November 2014. It’s a ground floor corner apartment next to stairs going up to the second level, with the sidewalk going to a parking lot just west of my door, so there is a lot of people who pass by my door.
My bedroom window faces south, and can be opened to let in fresh air. The living room window facing west can’t be opened, so if I want a good fresh air cross-breeze then I have to open my door facing north into the open space between the building I’m in and the one to the north. When weather is good – not too cold not too hot, I like to do that. There have been some crimes here – mainly breaking into apartments when people are not at home, and cars broken into. I’m not concerned about anyone coming into my apartment to rob me or harm me, unless someone has been threatening to do so – which happened here during April and May 2012. Most criminals are active between sunset and sunrise. I do keep my door closed at night. I do not answer my door at night unless I’m expecting a visitor. I never go out at night anymore. I get shopping done usually during mornings, or early afternoons. I don’t own a gun. I do have a sword, which would be good for giving free haircuts to any unwelcome intruders.
My living room looks more like an office than a living room. No dining area – I have a breakfast bar with open space from kitchen on east side into living room on west side. I do have a dining table, which I use to form an L with my computer desk. I sit inside the L on the long side of the dining table. Visitors can sit at the ends and the opposite long side. My computer desk is at an angle to the walls with the dining table, so the west window is to my right, front north door to my left, nearby northwest corner behind me. So, my back is not to the door or the window. Both are easily within view. And I do have a good view of O.U. football stadium from my living room window. I have a 26-inch flat-screen TV in the southwest corner with a 13-inch TV above it. I use the smaller one to monitor news, weather, and sports, while using the bigger one for primary interest.
The open door issue…
Recently, this month, weather has fluctuated between extreme cold and near record-breaking warm weather. So I’ve had my bedroom window open, and front door open, first at sunrise for a few minutes to let in a little fresh air then, and then again later in the day when it is warmer outside.
Recently, this month, when my front door has been open, several people walking past outside have stopped there, looked in, then seeing me at my desk have asked me, “Do you know your door is open?” No shit Sherlock, I’m thinking. How can I be sitting within view of the open door and not know it is open? The question being asked by them is a stupid question and implies I must be stupid for having the door open – as well as being stupid for not knowing it is open. Maybe their intentions are good. There is concern for my safety in the tone of their voices. It’s like, don’t you know how dangerous this place is, so why do you have your door open?
“Do you know your door is open?” The stupidity of that question is as bad as the stupidity of the idiots who come to my door from time-to-time, usually on Saturday afternoons, to try to sell their religion to me. Evangelists doing outreach. Most of them start out with two questions that are so stupid I find them to be insulting and offensive. “Hello, sir. Have you ever heard of the Holy Bible? Have you ever heard of Jesus Christ?” Few things leave me speechless, at a loss for words, but in this day and age those questions blow me away. For them to actually believe there are people here in the United States of America – I mean Americans born here, who have never heard of the Bible and Jesus, indicates to me that those particular door-to-door religious fanatics are the people who are living in the darkness of ignorance. Norman, Oklahoma, has so many Christian churches, it isn’t possible to go a day here without hearing something about the Bible and Jesus. Is there no mercy? Give me a break! I get enough of it via the Internet. I produce some of it too – so, no, I’m not anti-Christian! I only ask that other Christians not insult my intelligence (now at nearly age 59), past education, and upbringing, with such blatantly stupid and insulting questions. Yes, hard as it is for some to believe, I’ve heard of the Bible and Jesus. Even more shocking, I’ve actually read the Bible. I found it to be useful when I’ve been preaching the Word of God. By the way, I’m now a Spiritual Universalist.
Yes, I know when my damn door is open. I’m not an idiot. I’m not stupid. I’m not blind. A criminal should do some praying before entering this lion’s den.
By the way, I’ve noticed most tenants here never open their window blinds. Never. Only a few like me regularly open the window blinds to let in the sunshine – free light during the day instead of having electric lights on all the time. Also, I have installed thin curtains across the lower two thirds of the windows to give me some privacy, while still letting in enough sunlight so I don’t need to have an electric light on and waste electricity.
I’ve told the people, who have expressed their concern, that the door is open to let in some fresh air, and for them to not worry about it. Their concern is that someone will just walk on in to rob me or harm me.
There is a different perspective on this, which obviously none of them have considered.
Imagine a lion in a cage. The cage door is open. Who is in greater danger? The lion, or the idiot who walks into the lion’s cage and shouldn’t be in there? If the intruder has a gun and intends to use it, then of course the lion is in danger. If no gun, then dinner is served.
Therefore, it should not automatically be assumed that I’m the one who is in danger from any intruders when my door is open. It is possible that an intruder might be in danger from me.
Please keep in mind, I’m not leaving my door open to set a trap for potential criminals, which would be illegal. It’s only open when I want to let in some fresh air. By the way, I’m not the only tenant here who has a door open to let in fresh air during good weather days. There’s nothing illegal or wrong with doing that.
Oklahoma has a good Stand Your Ground law similar to Castle Doctrine. It is legal here in Oklahoma to use deadly force within your home to protect your home, property, and life from an intruder – who is there with criminal intent to rob you, or to injure or kill you or any member of your family. It is necessary. Police can’t prevent it. Police can’t protect you after the intruder has already got inside – especially when police response time can take as long as an hour. The crime will be done and the criminal long gone by the time police arrive, so you must be prepared to defend yourself within your own home. Even so, local police – and especially the chief of police – are strongly opposed to anyone using deadly force in self defense under any circumstances. I don’t understand why police want to give the advantage to criminals. This is not just about guns, but deadly force by any means – any kind of weapon – for self defense.
It is as if police are opposed to the legal right to self defense. Considering the recent history of police gunning down and killing unarmed people, and then claiming they had to do so in self defense, then that in fact makes them hypocrites. Police can kill unarmed people in self defense and get away with it, but I can’t kill an armed intruder in my home in self defense? Bullshit. They want to take guns – all weapons – away from good citizens by such means that is totally useless to prevent criminals from obtaining guns and other kinds of weapons. Whose side are they on? My concluding opinion is police can take all that nonsense and go to hell. Fact is, the police are becoming as dangerous as the criminals. I cringe when I see a cop headed toward me. Can’t fight a cop and win. I worry less when I see a suspected criminal coming toward me, because I at least have a chance of winning a fight with a criminal. So my advice is to always cooperate with police officers and to do so as quickly and politely as possible. Otherwise the odds of you ending up dead are about 99% near certainty.
Anyway, this is not just about open doors but also unlocked doors. Businesses don’t keep their doors locked and closed when open for business. Of course, I’m not operating a business out of my apartment, but people should likewise feel safe in their homes – at least especially during the day.
Problem is, crime rates are increasing now, especially in high density housing. Therefore, caution is advised. Use commons sense. Be aware of your surroundings, and nearby people coming and going. It’s better security for you to be able to see outside during the day with your window blinds open, but keep them closed at night. It shouldn’t be a problem during the day to have your door open to let in fresh air, but keep it closed and locked at night – because that’s when the most dangerous criminals are out roaming around like wild animals. When most cops have vanished – making their third shift useless.
If we all have to live and work behind locked doors and covered windows 24/7, then the criminals are winning. If so, then new and more effective action must be taken to correct that problem.
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