So, I was out walking my dog around my apartment complex the other day and I walked in front of a unit that had a sign hanging on the door, reading, if my memory serves me correctly, “Caution: Castle Doctrine Exercised Here.”
Like I do when I see most pro-Second Amendment signs or bumper stickers or t-shirts or other paraphernalia, I sorta chuckled to myself and said, “He (or she) is one of us!” Presumably, the person in that unit is a good guy with a gun, an unabashed supporter of one’s right to keep and bear arms, a gun-loving patriot just like me.
Then I started thinking about the sign a little more. And the thought occurred to me, while it is both a welcoming beacon to fellow gun owners and a warning to would-be home invaders it may yet signal another message, one to a very nefarious subculture of the criminal element: gun thieves.
That is to say, is the pro-2A sign on the door not also saying to potential gun thieves, “There are guns inside this apartment”? It most certainly is. Does that make this apartment a target for gun thieves? I’d argue it does.
Now, the impetuous robber — the guy hopped up on meth or heroine, looking for a quick score — is probably going to walk away and go to another apartment unit. But the gun thief is different. After identifying a potential source for firearms, he has to be more discerning, more patient, more conniving than the drug-addled robber. Why? Because the very thing he seeks to steal is the very thing that could be his undoing. He has to take his time with the break-in, he has to carefully case the apartment (house or automobile), he has to plan everything to ensure the occupant is out of the apartment before he can strike.
Let’s face it, everyone leaves their home. Even me. Now, I work from home. And I’m here an awful lot. But I also go to the gym, run to the grocery store, the bank, the post office, the range, you know, I leave my apartment every now and then. So too, does the individual living in the apartment with the Castle Doctrine sign on his door. Probably for work during the day. A vigilant gun thief would have no problem figuring out the occupant’s schedule or at least a rough estimate, making the occupant’s apartment an easy mark.
Then again, maybe I’m thinking about this the wrong way. Maybe the gun sign is also a deterrent to gun thieves. Maybe the gun thief thinks to himself that if the apartment dweller is fastidious enough to put a sign on the door he (or she) is also fastidious enough to buy a large gun safe and keep his firearms secured. Or, maybe he thinks that this is an occupant who seriously considers his or her self-defense posture and in addition to owning firearms he or she might also have a dog or an alarm system or a network of friends who help monitor each other’s apartments.
I guess one can drive themselves crazy trying to anticipate how a criminal will behave given certain signs and symbols. I know I certainly don’t have the answers. As with the rest of life, it’s probably a gamble one way or the other or, depending on your personal luck, a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. As of right now I don’t have any 2A signs on my apartment door nor do I have any plans on putting one up. Though, that may change as I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this issue. What do you think? Do you hang pro-2A signs? Do you pronounce yourself as a gun owner to the world? Do you believe pro-2A signs deter criminals?