A burglary at a neighbor’s home a few weeks back prompted an 85-year-old Pennsylvania woman to arm herself with a .22-caliber revolver. She kept it at the ready near her bed in the bedroom. The thought of having a weapon in the house let her rest easier as several homes were being hit in her area.

This past Sunday afternoon, the woman heard what ended up being a 17-year-old punk breaking into her house. “I just walked right on past him to the bedroom and got my gun,” Leda Smith said. “I said ‘What are you doing in my house?’ He just kept saying he didn’t do it.”

Pointing the gun at the perpetrator, the grandmother forced him to dial 911 and confess his crime and told the operator to send the police to pick him up. Still holding the revolver, she then had the 17-year-old lay face down on the ground, arms and legs spread, and waited for the State Police to show up.

The boy was charged with attempted burglary and related offenses in juvenile court, but his name was not released due to his age. “It was exciting,” Smith said. “I just hope I broke up the (burglary) ring because they have been hitting a lot of places around here.”

Happy ending for the old lady this, but I wouldn’t suggest 85-year-old women store fully loaded, unlocked .22-caliber revolvers, out in the open, on their nightstands in the bedroom. Lucky for her the kid broke into another room first and didn’t come across the weapon before she did. Lucky for her it was only a punk kid, and not a deranged lunatic that would have rushed the old lady, and probably taken it away from her.

I’m pretty sure the woman has not received much, if any firearms training. It’s hard to say if the woman would have actually pulled the trigger if necessary and I’m sure the potential for an accidental discharge would have been pretty high. That 17-year-old was rightly scared with a shaky old lady waving a loaded weapon at him.

At the same time that I applaud her efforts of defending herself and her household, I have to imagine she could be taking other effective and safer measures. One option would be to have some simple and inexpensive home alarms installed. If a loud window or door alarm announced the presence of this kid before he even made his way into the house, he would have ran away and avoided the confrontation all together.

Perhaps a shot of pepper spray would have been as effective as pointing a gun at the kid. Sure everyone remained unharmed in this instance, but if push came to shove and the lady actually shot and killed this kid, it would have been far more tragic than if he got a quick coating of pepper spray.

I believe in defending my household as much as any of my other fellow card-carrying NRA members, but the thought of an 85-year-old woman, living alone at home, thinking a .22-cal is the answer kinda scared me.

Perhaps she would consider buying a dog? Now she has protection and companionship. I love my dog… yeah, she should buy a dog.

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