I ask my self-defense clients this question all the time — especially if they are enthusiasts that almost solely rely upon their gun collection for self-defense. How would you protect yourself from a violent attack if your gun malfunctioned? Or you ran out of bullets? Maybe you can’t even find your bullets or your gun in time enough to actually use them.
Tonight, when your family goes to sleep, it’s going to be a bit different than most…You tuck your kids in and you slip into bed with your wife, who is quickly drifting off into sleep herself. You read a bit from your favorite book or catch some of a late night show. You think your hear a sound coming from down in the kitchen. You are not easily shaken, so you just shrug it off as you’re “imagining things” and go about your nightly routine.
You go to the bathroom one last time and as you come out – BAM! You’re struck with the sight that you have only thought possible in Hollywood films. There is a thug posed right in the doorway to your bedroom – a BIG thug. You are certain your gun is kept right by your bed in a biometric safe, but is the clip in? Is it loaded? Where did you leave your box of bullets? Whoa, there’s no way you are gonna get this altogether before this attacker is upon you!
You stand there like a statue. Time feels frozen like a bad crime scene picture. You don’t know if you are scared or just feel unprepared. You’re just have no clue what to do – your mind is blank! Your wife looks over at you in a half awake haze. She starts to speak, but when her eyes follow yours to what you are staring at over at the door. She shrieks at the top of her lungs. She’s Very, VERY, loud.
Your heart skips a beat as you hear cries for help coming from your children’s room as well. Did they react just to hearing their mom’s scream or because another intruder could be in their room, too? You hear another clang coming from down in the kitchen. Is there a 3rd guy? Wow, now a 4th intruder? You must make your move and it has to be with no delay. No time to think. No Hesitation. You MUST act right now! Do You know what to do???
You are the mark and you are in the middle of a home invasion. You have to ask yourself the question, am I going to live or die? Am I truly prepared to protect my family with the self-defense skills and know-how that is needed in a time like this? Have I really taken the time out to learn everything there is to man-up and keep my family safe from harm? Without second-guessing myself and possibly causing them even greater harm?
When that attacker lunges towards you – THIS is what you do…
Self-Defense has a lot to do with self-reliance and preparedness. You must take action before your time of need. There is no time to prepare when already confronted with an emergency situation, especially not a violent one. When an intruder enters your home with the intent on harming you or your family, you only have time to react – not to plan. Your reaction is your action. So your plan for action must already have been set in place prior to the emergency.
This home self-defense plan for your family must be developed, set, checked, tested, retested, and refined before it can be effective. Then, the plan must be rehearsed and memorized so that it be comes reactive instead of thought-based. You don’t have any time to think when split-second decisions must be made. Rather, you must come from a place knowing rather than thinking in an emergency situation like a violent attack or home invasion.
When someone breaks into your home, it must be “go time” all the time. There is no room for hesitation. Your life and the welfare of your family are in your hands. So this is how you prepare: Take the time now, RIGHT NOW, to build a realistic home defense plan and educate yourself on all the aspects that you might feel you are lacking in.
Put the training and the resources in place – both physical and mental. Learn how to defend yourself from a violent attack. Understand how criminals might enter your property and make it harder for them to do so. Commit the family to learning, practicing, and memorizing what to do and how to do it. It must stick in their minds so that they can just move into action without thinking.
Security is based on putting the protocols in place that become habits not hinderances. If you put a whole system of self-defense together and then neglect to abide by it then it’s useless. If you make it so complicated or, on the other hand, so simple that it’s inherently lacking, then you lose, too. It must be decisive, direct, and devastating to an attacker who crosses your line of defense.
Here are 7 Simple Home Invasion Self-Defense Tactics to put into place:
1. Have at least 3 different escape routes out to the house that all of your family members know and have traced. Their exit plan must be instinctual and effective. Remember, just like in advanced military based tactics: 2=1 and 1=NONE. If you only have two ways out of an environment, you can quickly find yourself only having just one.
Unfortunately, in the midst of a violent attack, the one escape route that you have may now be blocked by the very attacker that you are trying to get away from. So make sure you always have more than a pair of options within all aspects of the design of your system.
2. Make sure multiple hiding places are possible in the event that escape isn’t an option. Remember from just above, more than three, at the least. Although exiting a potential violent encounter is always the best route, sometimes it is impossible to make that happen. So there always must be a second set of variables put in place.
3a. Know where your gun is at all times. If you own a weapon, always have it locked, cocked, and ready to rock. By locked, I mean in a safe secure place that is easily accessible to you and any other adults in the household that you know, love, and trust. A biometric or simple push-button combination box is best. It’s your choice in keeping a round chambered or not. Trigger locks are great precautional measure for extended storage, but not “active” storage.
3b. When I say cocked, I mean you must have the unit well maintained, cleaned, and lubricated. A firearm is useless for defensive purposes if it is just as likely to jam as it will fire. I won’t get into makes and models here, but fancy and expensive just don’t cut it – simple, reliable action does. Also, make sure that you have ammunition in or right by the piece. As an additional safety precaution, you don’t have to have a round chambered, but you better know that it isn’t so that you know you need to load a round before you can trigger.
3c. Ready to rock means: get training on your gun. Don’t think that you are even gonna hit the broad side of a barn door without keeping up your target practice. Just chillin‘ in the firing range shooting at targets is the bare minimum. If you can afford it, take regular tactical firearms training courses. Stay on top of your education, because the last time I checked, bad guys just don’t stand still — especially if they see a gun being drawn.
4. Always keep a bug-out bag loaded, maintained, and ready to go. What’s a bug-out bag you ask? It’s for when it all hits the fan and you gotta get outta Dodge really fast! It should have all the basic necessities to escape and evade any situation. The most important point to make here though, is that most people keep their bug-out bag inside their house; for the purpose of home invasion defense, you must insure that the bag is stored at a close location outside of your house. You don’t have time to dig around through stuff in your house before you make your escape. That would completely contradict and prolong your escape and evasion unnecessarily.
Store your bug-out bag in a tool shed, unattached garage, or secondary enclosure away from your primary house. The size of the bags and what you put in them depend upon what area of the country you live in and what the regional weather is like there at the time (some contents of the bag may change seasonally), how many days supplies need to last for, and how many people the bag is to service. The amount of factors and variables that go into this are beyond the scope of this article, but I will discuss them in an individual post at a later date.
5. Exterior routes, rendezvous, and relocation. You must create provisions for where to go once you get out of the house, how to hook back up with other household members, and where you are all going to head to after that. Also there must be protocols in place for what to do if someone didn’t make it out or is unaccounted for. Have the cops been called? Are there other possible perpetrators outside your property that need to be dealt with?
6. Learn how to create improvised self-defense tools on the spot. Some refer to these as improvised weapons, but I always want to lead my clients in a “defensive” direction. With great knowledge comes great responsibility, but since none of us are spiderman, we have to make do with make-shift tools and train our intuition to take action in an emergency situation.
7. What do you do when you have to actually fight back with your bare hands? Fight back with all your might. Don’t stop and don’t give up until the threat no longer exists. I am a firm believer that when all possible options are exhausted that it is, without a doubt, better to be judged by 12 rather than carried by 6. This is the case in most home invasions. The eminent threat of death, rape, or torture of your family is not a judgement call that can be made in the matter of time that you have in a potentially violent situation that has already begun to take action with the unlawful entry to your property.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I condone the use of lethal force in situations that do not require the use of it to adequately protect and escape. But, when you are out-numbered or the true nature of the threat is unknown, then deploying maximum force in the self-defense of your family is not only necessary, but required as you do not know what will come at you next.
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Self-Defense of home and property can look completely different from person to person. As a follow-up to yesterday’s LL Cool J incident, I wanted to take a look at home invasions and property protection a bit further in-depth. There are a lot of factors that come into play as to how you choose to defend yourself and your belongings. Family and friends, children, pets, and personal property all come into play when taking a stand in your defense. Whether you live in a single family home or an apartment or condo makes a big difference, too. The cost and quality of your personal effects and, more importantly, their sentimental value or how hard and long it took you to acquire them.
If you live in a rental unit, whether it be a house or just an apartment, there is usually far less pride and care you will have for that property. That’s good and bad all at the same time. What’s good about it is that there is rarely any type of sentimental attachment or built up pride in the domicile. It’s not usually on your own dime if there is any damage to the overall structure or well being of the grounds.
You most likely care very dearly about the contents and people living with you, but not the property because it’s not yours. This lack of personal attachment is good, but, at the same time, also promotes a problem. When you don’t own the property you live in, you tend not to care about it much. If you don’t care about the interior, exterior, and grounds as much. This can lead to laziness in the upkeep of your environment.
Failing to upkeep your house and property can shoot the probability for home invasion or burglary way up the statistical ladder. Having overgrown garden shrubs and bushes can pose for easy hiding places for criminals. Faulty lights and electrical mechanisms for gates can prove to be the invitation that bad guys were looking for. If you have the idea that a rundown property will get a pass from the perps, think again. You might just be creating the opportunity for a violent attack to occur against you or one of your family members. Rapists are just as much of opportunists as robbers are.
If you live in an apartment or condo, leaving the blinds open all the time or a bunch of prime merchandise on your deck is an invitation to burglary and theft. I had a client get an expensive bike stolen off of a second story balcony. The intruders just brought a ladder one night and climbed right up. The bike was always in plain site, but the people thought that being on the second floor was enough of a self-defense against any crime. For the record, this wasn’t a bad neighborhood, either. It was just five minutes outside of Beverly Hills, CA.
If you live in a single family home, you have a chance to acquire a lot of things. Not just a bigger TV or multiple cars, but the tools, art, china, and the list goes on and on… But just because you own it, would you actually desire to defend it with your life? I’m not talking about your wife, kids, family, and loved ones. Yes, even fluffy the cat or fido the dog, too. I’m talking about the stuff like electronics or doodads that could possibly be worthless in less than 5 years.
I believe that every person has a right to defend their property. Though, I do question what it is that people consider to be potentially worth more than their life. Would you put yourself in front of a bullet for your car? A lot of people do during a car jacking. Would you stand between a knife and your purse or wallet? Is it really worth rolling the dice on your life for those types of personal possessions? I’m just asking the question, so don’t shoot the messenger if your answer is a resounding “yes.”
Many people put themselves in harms way everyday to protect what they possess and believe in. I don’t question anyone’s right to take a stand and fight to defend what is rightfully theirs. I honor it. I do suggest before putting your life on the line that you truly gauge whether it is potentially worth dying for in a violent attack. Defend your family to the death, but please – let the bad guys take your rolex… fake or not!