LINE IN THE SAND

Take the necessary measures to fortify your home and defend your loved ones.

I am a crime victim; a survivor.

I survived an attempted murder. I survived two bullets, one close to my heart. The man who shot me is on record as saying he intends to finish the job. That man is out of prison now, and I have taken some steps to minimize his chances of success.

The steps I have taken were suggested by various former and current law enforcement experts and were based on my particular needs, my particular situation and my particular abilities and limitations. What works for me might not work for you, and that is true of everything from my choice of window shade to choice of firearm, so I am very wary of people who claim one particular firearm is /the/ best universal choice for home defense. It doesn’t work that way.

 

The author lives in a very rural area

The author lives in a very rural area. The good news is that this means little crime. The bad news is, it means the best he can hope for from the closest sheriff’s substation, if all conditions are perfect, is a 10-minute-plus response time.

The following are suggestions that will work for most people in these troubled times.

LOCKDOWN

Long ago, when I was still young enough and dumb enough to think I could be a tough guy, my first karate instructor gave all his students a lecture that boiled down to the following: If you ever end up in a situation in which you have to use karate to defend yourself, you’ve done something wrong.

With that in mind, the best weapons for home defense are prevention and advance preparation. Most crimes that take place in private residences are crimes of opportunity, where the criminal enters through an open door or window, so start by locking them. After that, take the obvious and proper steps to ensure that kicking in the front door or smashing a window is not an easy option for someone wishing to force his way into your home. There are companies that make extra-strength locks and companies that make almost-invisible, unbreakable films you can put on your windows. Do the research and find what you need and what you can afford.

Ensure you cannot be taken by surprise. Get a dog (/not/ an attack dog that carries a substantial weight of responsibility and liability, but a dog that will bark its fool head off at a stranger) or any one of the multitude of sophisticated electronic early-warning systems to alert you that someone is on your property.

Create a fortified “safe room” for you and your family, if you can afford it; a place where you can lock yourselves in and bad guys out until the police get there.

But do not rely on the police. They have to prioritize, and your emergency will take a back seat to—for example—an officer under fire.

BREACHED PERIMETER

If, like most of us, you can’t afford a safe room, consider your options and rehearse what to do in the event of a home invasion. Pick a spot where you can make your stand as safely as possible to protect your entire family and practice getting to that spot. Have a cell phone within that perimeter so you can call 911, even if the land line has been cut. Write down pertinent information you will need to give to the police (you’d be surprised how adrenaline can turn your brain into the rarest thing in nature—a complete vacuum—and I’ve heard accounts where people under stress gave the addresses of places they lived years ago in other cities). And never, /ever/ go looking for trouble. The moment you do, you become the prey, instead of the predator. Make your stand and don’t move; just reconcile yourself to losing the TV or the collection of Snap-On tools or whatever. You may have spent years saving the money to buy those things, but they can be replaced. You can’t.

Finally, for that worst-case scenario we all pray will never happen, if you have to make a stand, the best weapon to use is the firearm with which you feel most comfortable and confident.

By Jameson Parker

 

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