Imagine that you live in a state like New Jersey, where your right to defend yourself with a firearm is hardly recognized at all.
Now imagine two men forced their way into your home after following you home from walking your dog. They rob you, rape your girlfriend (and future wife), and mercilessly beat you to within an inch of your life.
It sounds like the plot of a horrible, violent movie, but it was very much reality for James Dittrich and Meredith Duffy of East Orange, New Jersey. Dittrich attempted to attack one of the suspect’s and gain control of his firearm, but ultimately the pair of suspects just resorted to mercilessly beating Dittrich to within an inch of his life. Fortunately, Duffy was able to call 911 while Dittrich was being beaten.
It’s been almost a year since this story, and it has taken the couple nearly that long to even begin to recover emotionally, physically and financially from the home invasion.
ABC is doing a profile of the couple on their Nightline show. According to ABC’s website [emphasis mine],
They feel safer in Ohio, they said, adding that their experience drastically changed them and their views on a number of issues, including gun control. Before, both didn’t feel the need to own a gun. Now, they are proud gun owners and keep a handgun in the bedroom.
“I didn’t want a gun. I specifically didn’t want one,” Dittrich said. “I was very much opposed to hav[ing] one, and I guess I got the realization that the police really can’t protect you. They can respond, and they can protect you once they get there. But, you’re on your own.”
Dittrich and Duffy said their old apartment building had surveillance equipment but that on the night of the attack, the cameras weren’t functional.
The couple will likely never fully emotionally heal from the incident. Remember cases like this when anti-gun activists tell you surviving an encounter is the most important thing. While victims who end up using a gun to defend themselves certainly carry some emotional baggage, the ones I’ve spoken to seemed to have similar feelings to this couple. However, those people were at least able to take solace in the fact that they were able to fight back and did what had to be done.