Image by Oleg Volk. Used with permission.

At a recent Guns Save Life meeting in Pontiac, a retired Illinois State Trooper talked about a couple of home invasion cases with very different outcomes right here in the Land of Lincoln. He shared publicly-available information, offering important lessons gun owners can take from the facts of the cases.

First, he talked about a shots-fired home invasion in the town of Streator on the day after Christmas last year.

In that case, Austin Adamchak, 23, forced entry on the home of his ex-girlfriend intent on beating her new boyfriend. What isn’t as well-known is that Mr. Adamchak had pulled the same stunt about 30 days earlier. In that instance, he seriously beat the new boyfriend, really tuning him up in a big way.  For whatever reason, Livingston County didn’t take Adamchak into custody after the first home invasion.

Meanwhile, the new boyfriend learned an important lesson after the first beat-down.  So when Mr. Adamchak returned the second time and forced entry, the now slightly older and definitely much wiser boyfriend brought a couple of little friends to the party:  Mssrs. Smith and Wesson.  He used them to punch Adamchak’s ticket. Permanently.

Contrast that situation with what happened about 15 years ago at the Rick and Ruth Gee home about an hour south of Streator.

Yeah, that one made national news, after all, how many pentuple murders happen in towns of 800 people?

In that Beason massacre, Christopher Harris went to his ex-wife’s parents’ house where the ex- was living. He wanted to re-kindle their relationship – or at least the romantic aspects of it. The ex-wife wasn’t at home, but her parents and her younger siblings were.

Drunk and high, Harris climbed into the 16-year-old special needs daughter’s bedroom through the window. Cops believe he was about to sexually assault the girl when the couple’s 14-year-old son confronted him.  With the heart of a lion, that 14-year-old kid put up one heck of a courageous fight against a man well over twice his age and size.

Harris, who brought along a tire iron, beat the 14-year-old to death with repeated strikes to the skull. Then, in a tremendously horrific, bloody and chaotic scene, he proceeded to kill the rest of the family, one at at time, using the tire iron to smash their skulls.  The wounds, as one might imagine, were beyond horrific.

Rick Gee, reportedly a man of slight stature, didn’t believe in guns or violence.  One might say that he was anti-gun.  But talking didn’t stop Mr. Harris from his rampage. 

If fact, without providing a lot of details, the trooper noted that it seemed as though the 14-year-old son put up the greatest resistance of anyone in the home to the intruder’s homicidal attack upon the family.

In the end, Rick and Ruth Gee were killed, along with their 11- and 14-year-old sons and 16-year-old daughter. Their three-year-old daughter survived, but barely.  Meanwhile, today Harris spends his days in nearby Pontiac maximum security prison.

“If they had a gun, it might have turned out very differently,” the Trooper noted.

The retired trooper urged folks to embrace firearm ownership to defend themselves both in public and at home.  After all, guns are the great equalizer, even against a drunk, coked-up 30-something muscular man with homicidal rage in his heart. 

In the case of burglars, he advised that you shouldn’t shoot unless you’re threatened with death or great bodily injury. Obviously someone trying to molest a child (or an adult) fits the “great bodily injury” category and then some.

On the other hand, if they’re stealing your TV, he advised to let them go.  There are a lot of downsides to using deadly force against a bad guy.  And in the case of the stolen TV, you’ll spend more cleaning up the spilled bodily fluids and tissue than you will on a new TV.  And that doesn’t even take into account the risk of a trial, getting sued or threats of retribution from the deceased scumbag’s friends and family.

The other bit of advice he offered: make sure you have self-defense insurance. That kid who shot the ex-boyfriend repeat intruder in Streator may very well be sued for killing his attacker.  Obviously the suit would likely be tossed, but lawyers aren’t cheap and getting to that dismissal could take time and thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The takeaway was that sometimes those who eschew the proven benefits of firearm ownership sometimes have to live (or die) with the consequences of their beliefs.

And if you’ve got a comfortable holster, why take it off when you get home?  Leave it on.  That way if a crazed homicidal lunatics like Austin Adamchak or Christopher Harris force entry on your residence, you won’t have to go looking for the proper tool for dealing with that sort of dangerous animal.  Instead, it’ll be right on your side.