Gather round friends and listen to a story of a home invasion that could have gone very, very wrong. A week or so ago one of my friends who happens to be a a fourth degree Black Belt had some idiot try to force his way his house. The would be home invader kicked in the storm door but failed to get through the front door, possibly because my friend's no fool and had replaced the screws in the strike plate and dead bolt with longer screws. Now admittedly most home invasions happen in poorer neighborhoods, but my friend lives in a very nice area making this attempt kind of unusual. Add in that my friend probably could have tied the would be crook in knots, and the fact that the guy took off when he failed in his first attempt to force the door was a wise decision.
So how could things have gone wrong? Easy. Being no dummy, and not having any troubles with the thought of him or me, the first thing my friend did was grab his gun and make sure his wife and child were out of harms way. But then he made a very bad decision. He went out the door after the idiot who had tried to commit home invasion. Now admittedly my friend is a great martial artist. Indeed in all honesty he's better than I will ever be; but no matter how good you are, no form of karate will make you bullet proof! If the intruder had been armed then my friend would be pushing up daisies instead of running a very successful school. So what should my friend have done?
For starters, in addition to making sure his family was in a safe place, he should have instructed his wife to call 911. Now in all fairness, I can't imagine him not doing exactly that; but he didn't mention it when he was telling me the story so I have no way to know one way or another. But once that was done and he had his gun in hand, he should have immediately found some form of cover! In my friend's house he could have ducked down behind a couch or darted into the kitchen. Either way he'd have had plenty of cover and a clear shot at anyone coming through that front door. In my house I'd have had a lot more choices, including two stairwells, the kitchen, and, if I had time, the front room where I'd be behind them as they entered. I could also have ducked into the powder room right off the entry way, but then I would be trapped if anything went wrong, and it never pays to discount Murphy's law. It'll bite you in the ass every time!
So what should you do? Well for starters you need to look at your own home right now. How might an intruder try to force his way into your house or apartment? Admittedly most home invaders go for the front door. After all their whole strategy is to smash their way in, grab whatever they can, and get back out again as fast as possible; and hang the damage to property or people. But not every crook is going to go for the front door, so look at every possibility and try to figure out where you can get good defensive cover and still have a clear shot at any intruder coming in that way. At the same time try to figure out your line of retreat if things start to go south. Next you need to find a safe place for your family to retreat to where they won't find themselves in the line of fire, yet at the same time there needs to be a line of escape; so an upstairs bathroom with only a tiny little window that no one could possibly get through probably wouldn't be an ideal choice. At the same time your family really needs a reliable way to call the police. After all, you're likely to be too busy to do it yourself, so get them used to having their cell phones with them at all times. And finally, try your damnedest to figure out a way to get the hell out of dodge before the bullets start flying. It may be a cliche, but the best fight really is a fight avoided! Things can be replaced, your life cannot; and no matter how good you may be, there's always someone out there who's better or luckier. So get a good insurance plan with a replacement value rider and let the bad guy have your things if you can safely get out of there.
Now comes the hard part. My friend had done all of that. He even practiced it a few times, yet he still went out the door after the intruder instead of following his plan. Why? Because when things get real, we as human being will instinctively do one of two things. We'll either attack, or run away and hide; it's simply the way we're wired! That's why police departments, fire departments, ambulance crews, and hospitals have so many disaster drills. That's why the military trains their recruits to tears. The only way to keep from falling back on that instinct is to practice our plan time and time again. Indeed, you need to practice it till your family starts muttering about white jackets with extra long sleeves since it's obvious you've become paranoid. Admittedly it's as boring as hell, but it's much better than being another statistic in some police report.
Of course there are all sorts of things you can do to make your home a much less inviting target, many of which I covered in an earlier ramble. And who knows, I may revisit that ramble again; but I think it's time to bring this one to an end. As always I hope I gave you something to think about, so until we meet again in this little corner of cyberspace I call my own I wish you well. May the sun be always at your back and may the road rise up to meet you. And as always, remember, if it's worth doing then it's worth doing with attitude!