The world is getting crazier.
Regardless of where you live, the news definitely seems to portray a world that is closer to resembling Independence Day than Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
While an alien invasion may not be imminent, some sci-fi worthy things are going down, and you want to be prepared for threats. For both yourself and your loved ones, it’s important to have a home defense strategy in place.
What is a Home Defense Strategy?
If you’re reading this and thinking, “I have a gun - I’m good,” here’s the thing:
A gun is a tool, not a strategy.
Make no mistake. We love guns.
And as part of a full-scope home defense plan, a gun can be a game-changing asset (more about that later). However, it may not always be available in the moment, and it won't save you if you don't know how to use it.
A thorough home defense approach factors in multiple aspects of a breach & ways to improvise with a variety of tools. Kevin McCallister from the 90’s classic Home Alone epitomizes this concept.
Whether you live in a dangerous city or neighborhood, a remote area where “neighborhood watch” is non-existent, or just want to exercise your 2nd amendment right to bear arms and be prepared in suburbia, here are some cues we can all take from this clever 8-year-old to be smart, safe, and set up for success in the event of an intrusion.
1. Have a Prepared Mentality
The fact is, most attacks happen so fast, there are only precious seconds between life & loss. This does not mean everything is left to chance, however. You can greatly reinforce your chances of being mentally & practically prepared by rehearsing some plausible scenarios.
Taking self-defense classes, setting up home defense drills, or studying a martial art are some ways to help you and your loved ones train to avoid a “freeze” response to an attack. Mentality - no matter the application - can be the difference between life & death.
Training to use your firearm quickly should also be a no-brainer. If you balk when using it under stress, it's not going to do you a lot of good.
Two studies by the University of Dallas uncovered some noteworthy behaviors in disaster-survivors:
One looked at how “anxiety consumes space in working memory.” This means that under distress, the mental capacity to perform tasks necessary for survival is greatly reduced. This increases the importance of training your instinctual or muscle-memory responses to overcome the “freeze" effect.
The studies also found that “[Long Term Memory] is not being accessed during a threat.” No matter how much you may will it, the brain in survival mode may block access to the memory bank that houses “that one choke-hold I learned in that one class nine years ago.” Training isn’t just for professionals. The more recent & realistic your practice is, the more available - and therefore impactful - it will be in a threat situation.
Finally, be prepared to be more aggressive than your attackers. A robust home defense mindset is ready not just to go on the defensive, but to actually outdo the other party in forcefulness. You are the defender and hero of your home, and this conviction drives you to repel intruders at many levels long before you’re face-to-face.
2. Create A Multi-Dimensional Plan
It’s important to create a layered strategy that prevents intrusion at multiple stages & minimizes risk long before you’d have to engage in a fight (gun or fist). Got a gun and an emergency response plan? Great. Have a gun, plan, alarmed windows, and a well-trained (or even just scary-looking) dog? Even better.
As you channel your inner Kevin McCallister, try to imagine as many different home invasion scenarios as you can. Intruders look for weak spots so they can enter where least expected. If you can see your home like they do, you're already safer.
3. Follow the 5 D's of Home Defense
One simple guide for evaluating a home defense plan structure is to follow the classic maxim “Deter, Detect, Deny, Delay and Defend.”
Consider the age and maturity of any kids in the house, and any habits your family already practices. What are some ways you can deter a potential threat? If laser tripwires & alligator moats aren’t complimentary to your lifestyle, abundant and/or motion-activated lighting, an unpredictable schedule, and a dog might be your best allies.
If someone does decide to make an attempt on your property, making friends with situationally-aware neighbors and installing security cameras can help detect unusual activity.
It almost goes without saying, but locked doors and windows are more effective than you'd think. To back up standard locks, there are plenty of YouTube videos that show how to reinforce deadbolts & door hinges to deny entry. You can also zip-tie the manual garage door release cord up high & lock that door leading into the house to avoid a commonly exploited point of entry.
Do your utmost to make sure they can’t get in - but remember, you might need to get out! Don’t make door-locking so robust that you & your family become trapped in an Escape Room of your own making.
As soon you realize there’s a threat, call 911. Of course, this won't help you in the short term. While you wait for backup, do everything in your power to slow down the intruder and keep them from entering your house.
If you have reinforced locks in place, you've done half the job. Using the alarm button on your car keys can also help draw attention to the house to draw a quicker emergency response or scare away the intruder before you're forced to make contact.
If someone has already gained entry into your house and you don't have a firearm, you may have to physically engage in a fight to survive until help arrives. Have code words that trigger your loved ones into a pre-established plan of action to stay safe & keep track of each other.
If your gun is available to you, use it to stop the threat as quickly as possible. However, gun or no gun, a home defense plan built with the right mindset & solid preparation will help you put up a good fight.
Check out Part 2 for some ideas on choosing the right weapon to defend your home.
So you can Kevin McCallister the heck out of those intruders.