One night I was up late, sitting in the little sun room at the front of my house. I had some candles lit and I think I was playing guitar. I saw someone walk in through the back door of my house. I lived with 3 or 4 people so I was not alarmed but when he got close I could see that it was not someone I knew. I said something like “hey, man, what are you doing walking into my house.” It became clear very quickly that he was way fucked up on drugs or something. He was fairly incoherent. He started saying stuff like “It doesn’t matter ’cause we’re all gonna die anyway.” I felt this could turn into a dangerous situation. I noticed a large kitchen knife clearly in view. To try to diffuse the situation, I offered him a beer. Again he went on about how I was going to die. I was not very confrontational — I was calm and rational and acted like I was trying to understand what the hell he was talking about. One of my roommates was asleep downstairs. I yelled down, “Mark, come up here.” He sounded pissed and said “What?!?” I said, “Get up here.” He must have understood from the tone of my voice that something was up. He came up the stairs in his tightie whities. The guy said again something about how it doesn’t matter and we’re all gonna die. He then swept his arm across the bar and knocked a bunch of plants on the ground, shattering them. Mark acted disinterested and walked back downstairs. Within about 3 minutes I saw a flashlight in the back yard and it was the police. Mark had called 911. The woman officer asked if she could come in. I said yes. The guy reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag of weed and stepped on it. The police officer cuffed him. She asked what happened and I told her. She said, “You gave him a beer? That’s an interesting tactic.” I did not point out the bag of weed on the floor and she didn’t see it.
Apparently the guy had entered someone else’s house across the street, too, which is why the cops were so nearby. I was asked if I wanted to press charges and I declined. I smoked the weed.
The reason I titled this post the way I did was because one of my roomates had a handgun that he kept loaded in the house, which pissed us off. If it had been him and not me, the situation would have turned violent. By staying calm and non-threatening, I was able to diffuse the situation. Now maybe I was lucky and maybe I could have been attacked and killed. Maybe I would have wished I had a gun in that case. I can’t say. I do know that being focused on a peaceful resolution paid off by creating a peaceful resolution. Violence begets violence.