“The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like law, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one-half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves.” – Thomas Paine, “Thoughts on Defensive War” in Pennsylvania Magazine, July 1775
May, 2018 went out with a bang for us. Our normally peaceful, quiet life was abruptly interrupted on the morning of May 29 by a knock at the door. A Deputy Sheriff had come to warn us that a gang of bandits had committed armed robbery and were now fleeing from the police on foot. They were hiding in the immediate area. We were to lock everything up and stay vigilant. We were a prime target for a desperate man looking to steal a getaway car.
I made certain all of our doors and windows were locked. I made certain the vehicle we keep out of the garage was locked up. I hid all of the keys inside the house. Later that afternoon a Louisiana State Trooper came to the door to reiterate just how dangerous the situation was. They had caught three of the four but the fourth man was still in the area armed and dangerous. After that sunk in I decided that keeping two small pistols out, one for myself and one for my wife, was not adequate. I got one of my Winchester rifles out of the safe and carried it around with me everywhere in the house.
We have dogs. They live inside the house with us and only venture out into a fenced in back yard. Dogs are the best burglar alarm one can have. No Frisbee time those two days but I still had to walk them out in the yard for bathroom breaks so I took them out one at a time several times over those two days so that I could keep one eye on the dog and one on the tree line. I carried my rifle with me.
That night was one of little sleep. I guessed that the fugitive would wait until dark to make his move. With all of the outside lights on and all of the inside lights out I put my wife in the bedroom with one Catahoula Cur and the three small dogs so that she could sleep. I slept on the couch with the other Catahoula, a 115 pound Teddy bear named Jack, sitting up with the Winchester across my lap. Every time Jack would raise his head or a cricket would chirp I would wake with a start.
On Thursday the 31st a hundred yards from our front door the last desperado gave himself up to the Sheriff. Two days of triple digit temperatures without food or water and near zero chance of escape convinced him to throw in the towel. It was a huge relief for the whole community. My rifle went back in the safe and everyone could mostly relax again. The experience reminded a lot of people that danger is real. The wolf can show up at the door anytime without warning. My pistols stay handy.
Incidentally Rigolette is pronounced ‘RowGulley’, one word. Hey, it is Louisiana.
I have to give credit to the Grant Parish Sheriff Steve McCain and a huge thank you to the other departments that aided us. Steve handled the crisis in a stellar manner. He got his man and no one was injured. He kept the suspect surrounded until he gave up. No doubt he could have gone charging into a couple hundred acres of thick woods after an armed and desperate man to put an end to the affair much sooner but he chose the safer tactic. It meant a sleepless night for a lot of people but if that is the price of no one getting injured I will pay it any day of the week.
This situation could have ended very badly but it did not. When it comes to deterring crime the police are only half of the equation. Mr. Alexis never did try to invade any of the homes in this community, not for hostages, not for food or water, not for a getaway car. He was afraid to. You see, everyone in this community owns firearms. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear gunfire from somewhere in the community. People here practice with their guns. There is sport shooting, hunting and just plain practice. Most importantly those arms are used for self-defense. The families and homes here are guarded with them. It seems that Mr. Alexis took note of this. I’m sure that crazy guy that walks his dogs with a rifle slung over his shoulder was no small part of his decision.