The detective wannabe in me thinks there is more to this story than meets the eye, that someday it will be one of those 48 Hour Mysteries type stories. It's a real tragedy. There are many comments on the stories at the Times Union and Buffalo News defending the home owner, many questioning the home owner's actions, and a few from people who know the victim. Lots of speculation. I say there are many questions and more details have to come out before the truth will be revealed.
The news stories report that both the victim and the home owner are good, upstanding people. I have no reason to doubt this, so I would believe that the victim was partying hardy with old college friends at a happy life milestone celebration, that he had too much to drink, that the suburban houses look alike, that he went into the wrong one accidentally, was acting stupid drunk, the home owner freaked because a stranger who was acting strange was in the house, interpreted it as a threat or was seized by panic, and he shot him. One could use it as an example of a home owner protecting their own life, family and private property, of the risks of violence when guns are handy, of the tragic outcomes possible from drinking too much, of a sad accident that took a good person's life and that will probably haunt the shooter forever. That's what I would believe, and I'd see the many sides to this horrible story.
I know what I just wrote is all speculation (very few details have emerged at this point), but the detective in me says it just doesn't add up. I'm no stranger to partying foolishness (especially when I was 31), but I can't remember an event, especially not one that was connected to a baby shower, having zero responsible people there - people like me who hardly ever lose control, even when partying. Who take car keys, make food and offer water. Wasn't there anyone at the party who noticed their drunk friend wandering off?
Then, I grew up in a place where locking doors was not always a given, but even then, when I was a teenager, the practice became pretty standard, especially at night. What are the odds that this guy chose the unlocked house? Wouldn't someone who was concerned enough for safety to rely on a gun lock their doors? Again, as a "responsible" person (I always turn lights off, be sure the stove is off, etc.), I am vigilant about locking the doors - and I am not all that scared of crime. It doesn't say that the door was unlocked, but even if the victim was pretty drunk, if he was the kind of person the news is reporting, how could it be that he had the skills or inclination to break in?
Something else interesting that is unrelated to it not adding up. I haven't "scientifically" tallied a qualitative analysis - but it seems to me that more of the comments at the Buffalo News site are supportive of the home owner, while more of the comments at the Times Union are supportive of the victim. An example, I think of being more comfortable believing bad things about "the other" and excusing the actions of your own, something we study in my Toleration class. "Your own" in this case would be "local."