(It has been brought to my attention by some LE Friends and Family that this article generalizes the shortcoming of Law Enforcement too much, therefore, I have made some revisions to clarify my points..I support all LEO’s and the job they do everyday..the point of this article was not to denigrate them, but raise awareness that a person’s personal and home Security is their OWN Responsibility..not any Local, State or Federal Agency. The 2nd amendment is a privilege, not just a right…let us never forget that.)
Behind every popular, hip cultural term (and Hollywood Movie starring Jodie Foster) today is an Idealogy that drives it. Let me say from the jump that in writing this article I am not shooting down the “IDEAL” of the Panic Room as a logical response for the Civilian Operator when confronted with a burglary, home invasion or other SHTF situation. What I am attacking as a fallacy is the “IDEALOGY” that drives the Panic Room craze, ie; when something goes wrong, Lock Your self in a room, call 911 and hope the Police will get there in time.
This, in the authors humble opinion, is a symptom of the “Nanny State” mentality that has been vigorously promoted in the past 4 years by our fine leadership at the local, state and federal levels. No need to worry about anything, Big Brother has your best interest at heart, so when some crack head, knocks down your door and wants to rape your 12 year old daughter and sodomize your 8 year old son, we want you to run like a scared little girl to your titanium enforced vault and call the Police. Wow. Why doesn’t the powers that be just hand out cyanide tablets and tell people anytime they feel threatened, eat this. It would be much more humane, don’t you think? No, the humane thing to do would be to promote civil responsibility and 2nd amendment rights..it YOUR job to protect YOU and your family, not the County, City, State or Government. Gee, I think I read that somewhere in a document dated 1791, the Bill of Rights??
The concept of establishing a fixed, secure position to defend yourself and your family is solid defensive thinking, and can be qualified with solid military dogma dating back hundreds of years. The concept of hiding and hope the Police will save your skin, is not. Unfortunately, one can do a quick google search and find some very disconcerting stories to qualify this point also. I think I have expressed this as clearly and bluntly as I know how, so let’s start expanding on what WE SHOULD DO when trouble comes a knocking.
First of all, it is beyond the scope of this article to cover all the possible scenarios that might drive a person to “Hunker down” and defend their home and family. Currently I am working on a very in-depth 3 part article entitled “Defending the Castle” that will cover those topics. That being said, I will assume for this scenario, things have gotten out of hand, you are armed with a firearm you are proficient with and you have decided to collect your family and retreat to a pre-selected area that offers the following (we will discuss these in detail):
- Hard Line or Cell Phone Service
- Rear Security
- Hard Cover
- Clear Fields of Fire & Background
- Escape Route
Communication: Make sure you have either a hard-line or cell phone service where you decide to make your stand; there are some that say you should not depend on a hard-line, because a “professional burglar” will cut your telephone line since most burglar alarms are connected through them..Once again, I am not going to go down that path in this particular article to refute that, because although that logic is going in the right direction, it is nieve. Suffice to say make sure you either have a hard-line available or get good reception with your cell in your safe room.
Just because SOME police departments are notoriously late and/or a no-show when called in an emergency does not mean we should not call them. There are several reasons for this, the most important is to cover yourself legally in case things go south while defending your property and life. Again, for the sake of time, it will be suffice to say “Just Call Them” and report the situation, but be cautious in what you say. Take into account, the 911 tape will be the prosecutions Number one piece of evidence against you if this incident goes to trial.
Rear Security in this situation simply means “Watching your Ass”, or, putting your back to a solid wall or area that cannot be breached easily. If you are using a bedroom for instance as a safe room or “Fall Back Position”, and there is only one entrance into the room, placing your back a Foot (12 inches) or more away from the opposite wall across from the door is sufficient. Without going into more detail than this article will allow, bullets follow walls; more on that later. Avoid Windows, doors and sliding glass doors obviously; If there is more than one person that is armed in your group and for whatever reason, you have to fall back to a room with more than one entrance, (which is highly un-advisable) that person can act as “rear security” and guard that door…We will expand on this quite a bit in the Castle article on integrating small unit tactics and using security elements; we will also explain choosing a safe room with a single, natural “choke point” to avoid having to guard two zones.
I get asked this quite a bit and the easy answer is Hard Cover is something that would stop or slow down a bullet..STOP being the primary word. Be creative here, but be smart. The most logical choice in most domestic scenarios is a hardwood dresser or night stand; these are typically constructed out of solid hard wood and will act as a good barrier. I have heard people promote using mattresses or box springs for this, and although that might work well in a tornado or hurricane, these would make poor bullet stops. The other principal you are trying to accomplish here besides something to take cover behind is something that would slow down the bad guy in the event the bad guy makes the mistake of trying to breach your safe room. Of course, for this scenario, the heavier and bigger, the better but adding the very important caveat that if the object is so big and heavy the woman of the house could not move it herself, it is a moot point. Plan accordingly.
Clear fields of fire and background is a Two part challenge: Having clear “Fields of Fire” is simply making sure your safe room gives you ample space and a clear lane to make a shot if need be. Choosing an architecturally advantageous position that creates a natural “Choke Point” or “Funnel” is recommended. Hallways are my favorite, but we will discuss this at length later on. The second and most important factor in choosing a “Shooting Lane” is considering your background. We always think that in a life or death struggle, we will always shoot like Rob Latham, hit our target and take down the bad guy. This, unfortunately is not always reality. When under stress, people miss and bullets have to go somewhere. Considering the caliber of your weapon and the bullet type you have in the gun at the time, even if you do HIT the BG, bullets have a tendency to keep going through all types of medium. We need to give sufficient thought to this. Here is the short list to consider:
- Head Count. Having your entire family accounted for in the safe room. Of course, Murphy’s Law is always active, so in the event you do not have a head count and still have to engage the BG, the second point is very IMPORTANT. In these types of situations, there is no such thing as “FRIENDLY FIRE”.
- Firearm and Bullet selection. This is an expansive subject and we will cover it in-depth in Protecting your Castle. For purposes of this article and scenario, Hollow Points or Frangible ammunition are the best choice. As for Firearm choice, I will make it simple and tell you as long as you are not using a RPG , that will not only kill the intruder, but your next door neighbor and his cat, we can work with it.
The escape route is simply a way to evacuate the structure from your safe room. Ideally, You DO NOT want to have to leave your safe room to escape; but of course Mr. Murphy will never allow that to be written in stone. This will typically be a window, but could also be something such as an attic or cellar also. Any alternate route that allows you to escape quickly. This goes hand in parcel with your pre-planned “Action” plan you should have gone over with your entire family and practiced exhaustively to not only include an Intruder, but any SHTF situation such as fire or tornado for example. Of course inevitably this brings up the obvious question: “If someone is really trying to harm you or your family, why not just escape at the first sign of trouble??” This requires a lengthy (and legal response) so stay with me for the answer.
As I said before, this article was written really as a prologue to the article currently in it’s infancy entitled “Protecting your Castle”. I wanted to get your minds in the right gear and wet your appetites a little. Between now and then, make good use of your time and study your States Self-Defense statutes. This includes the Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure. Although I would read all of it, pay close attention to PC 9.31-9.44. For my fellow Texans, that can be found HERE.