Jkm asked a good question yesterday, how do you protect your stuff. I replied about my Mossberg shotgun and Sig 226's, and how an intruder into my home while I was out almost caught a blast from said Mossberg when I beat the cops to my house. I figured I would elaborate a bit since A: I don't want you all to think I am some gun nut - and B: those of you who made very valid points about being in a greater danger while being armed vs. an armed intruder in an encounter should be heard too.
First off, I moved to where I live because I used to carry for work when I lived in the midwest, and my hometown metro area is not the most pleasant either, so I wanted a nice safe place to have a family. I know plenty of people who have been shot, most have survived, most were unarmed at the time. I had had a Glock 17 and traded up to my 226 after I inherited my Uncle's service 226, then bought one for myself. When I moved to my current city of residence, I kept my pistols 2 states away in a locked gun safe, thinking I was done with that mess.
Fast forward some amount of years, I buy a big ancient farmhouse on the outskirts of the city in a very nice neighborhood, and have that family. At the time of this incident, I had my girlfriend, 2 year old daughter and greyhound dog, and a Mossberg 12 ga. I had bought to protect my flock of chickens from all types of predators that were in the 1mi deep woods behind the house.
I was out with some friends around 5 miles away with my Peugeot diesel, automatic wagon (slowest car in the world, just about), when I get a frantic call. There is a man that walked in the house and will not leave, in a snowstorm, with a backpack and no shirt on. He won't talk but won't leave either, and he was blocking the door out and the door to the rest of the house, where the gun is. Crazy eyes. I told her to hang up and call the cops (she should have done this first) and call me back. Jump in the Pug, blast through traffic to get home at somewhere between 80-85 MPH, black smoke all the way, somehow the head gasket held and the car stayed true to the road. No call back, no cops around. I pull in and run to the front door, my girlfriend is there (phew) and crying, but untouched, and was on the phone with the cops. My big 95 lb greyhound had come out and terrorized the guy (probably tried to lick him, but GOOD BOY regardless) and he bolted. Run in, grab the shotgun, tell her to lock the door and not open it for anyone until the cops came. Go back out and follow footprints to the back yard. There was this motherfucker who had intruded into my house, with my loved ones these who were terrified and would be for some time to come. I shout for him to lay down on the ground or I was going to shoot. He goes for his backpack, pulls out a knife and bolts back to the front of the house. Still no cops, SHIT. I follow with the gun, cops get there. Being the neighborhood it is I almost get shot when I come around with the shotty. Dude ran off down the street. As I am laying in the snow face down trying to tell the cops this was my property my girl comes out and vouches for me. Tell them the details. Down the street there is an almost perpetual speed trap (different town, we lives on the border) where this dude with no shirt on runs by in the snow. Being diligent cops they grab him and my town police get the word. Find 8 knives in the backpack of varying styles. Who the hell knew what he had in mind, and he was strung out on something probably I have never even done. He got a year in jail, was out in 6 months.
Soooo, after that I pulled the pistols out of storage, cleaned them, got my girl some lessons, she ended up being a pretty natural shot. It helped her heal knowing there was one here, one there, and one by the back door for protection for us or poultry. But I almost ate it that night, or I was damn close to shooting someone I didn't know and going away for that. No "castle" law up here. If it wasn't for my terrifying greyhound who in the hell knows what would have happened.
In closing, guns have a place, and it can be many. If it helps you sleep at night, that is one place. If it makes you feel secure in your domicile, so be it. Just know how to use them, keep them away from the kiddos, like really far away, and have respect.