By Sheriff Jim Wilson
Two fairly recent events have come to my attention that I think are worth sharing. In the first case, a woman was home alone, working in her kitchen. Suddenly, her backdoor was kicked open and a man she had never seen before came charging straight for her. The woman had a defensive handgun (and a concealed-carry permit), but the gun was on a shelf in the bedroom closet. Although the woman made a mighty effort, she never made it to the bedroom.
Compare that to this second event. In this case a man was seated in his easy chair, probably watching the evening news, when his home-security system told him that someone was at, or near, his front door. Checking the video, he saw two criminals, both of them armed with handguns, jumping onto his front porch. When they kicked the door open and entered the home, they were confronted by the armed homeowner, kneeling and taking protective cover behind a large couch. One of the robbers died in the entryway and the other robber, seriously wounded, was found two blocks away by the police.
Unfortunately, too many home invasions end up like the first example. All of our lives we’ve heard the saying, “My home is my castle.” Yet, the castles of old were far better protected than many of today’s homes. That may be because too many folks just don’t think they could really be victims of a home invasion; after all, that’s something that happens to someone else. Others may be so fed up with working out there in the real world that their home symbolizes some sort of sanctuary and, by its very existence, is safe and secure. Clearly, in this day that is a false sense of security.
As with other defensive gear, there are now all sorts of ways to make that home more secure and to create a much more realistic sanctuary. Hardware stores all across the country have a large assortment of good locks for windows and doors that are relatively easy to install. That same hardware store will also have a large selection of outside lighting systems, also easy to install.
But, of course, the biggest improvement in recent years are the home-security video systems. These systems can not only give audible alarms, but they can also supply video to personal computers, cell phones and security companies. And, like the locks and lights, they have been on the market long enough that a person can find some sort of camera system to fit just about any budget.
All of these things, properly installed, will give the homeowner enough early warning to respond in whatever manner is appropriate to the situation. It is simply another form of Condition Yellow—relaxed awareness of what is going on around us.
There are still other relatively inexpensive things that the homeowner can do to harden their target. Some folks enjoy moving their furniture around every so often, just to give the home a new look. I wonder how many people have ever thought about the movement of furniture to provide strategic advantage. A book case, heavy couch or other piece of big furniture, placed in the proper location, can provide cover that can be expected to stop bullets.
The homeowner should also keep in mind that no one knows his house as well as he does. It makes sense to do a strategic walkthrough of the house with the idea of locating various places of cover and concealment. Do the children in the family know places to hide when trouble occurs? And, by doing a walkthrough with a defensive mindset, the homeowners can find the best locations from which to mount a defense. So, right up there with “My home is my castle,” let’s put “Prior planning prevents poor performance.”
The smart homeowner will also heed the advice of Col. Jeff Cooper who said, “If you are reading this and can’t put your hand on your defensive firearm, your training has been wasted.” In a home invasion, the victims will probably not have time to run to the back bedroom and get a gun out of a closet. It makes far more sense to strategically locate defensive firearms throughout the home. If children live in the home, it would be smart to invest in some of the coded lock boxes that are available—which aren’t a bad idea even if you don’t have kids. In short, just about any family can work out ways to safely have their defense guns quickly available, yet secure.
The biggest mistake that people can make is to have that false sense of security. You know, “that sort of thing just doesn’t happen in our little town.” Or, “I’ll get around to it one of these days when I’m not so busy.” There are all kinds of excuses a person can make. Those excuses don’t do much good when that door comes crashing in. And, it is impossible to implement a personal-defense plan that doesn’t exist and never has existed. You are responsible for your own safety and the security of that castle is up to you, too.