Danger is all around you. Whether you can see danger and act if necessary that’s the real question. Put aside all your prejudices and ask yourself: are you ready when danger literally comes knocking on your front door?
When you realize something is wrong
Recently my neighborhood was a victim of violence and bloodshed. The details are still being made public, but we know two people are dead and one critically injured. The injured victim was airlifted to a nearby hospital and the sad part is our family was busy with dinner and movie-watching and we didn’t hear a thing.
All was quiet. In fact a family member mentioned that they saw something on social media about a serious event with lots of police and fire on scene. My response: someone might have been in a bad vehicle accident. We went back to dinner.
It wasn’t until shortly after dinner we noticed the emergency lights from various patrol cars both moving and posting in various parts of our neighborhood. Obviously there is something wrong. Now what?
The first thing you need to do: secure your loved ones. With no information, assume the worse and batten down the hatches. It’s much easier to take a few wraps off than to try and ramp up.
If you don’t carry in your home you might want to rethink your decision. Maybe you don’t need to carry your primary carry handgun, but being armed in your home gives you many options not afforded to those unarmed.
Since I could see a posted patrol car nearby it was my best opportunity to get information.
Lesson number one: before you leave the safety of your home have a plan. I had the family move to a safer part of the house and informed them I was going outside to ask questions.
I would be right outside and gone for this length of time, if longer I would text them. I also told them if something were to go wrong who to contact and lastly to lock the door behind me to keep the house secure.
Preparations and precautions
As it turns out the suspect was at large. Had I not spoken to the officers on scene I might not have found out until it was broadcasted on the nightly news.
With a suspect at large in a crime like this all bets are off and your home security measures need to be modified to meet the emerging threat.
It’s likely he will still be close by, the reality is you don’t know. You don’t know if they are hiding out nearby or half way across town. All you can do is take precautions.
What type of precautions you take will be largely dependent on your skill level, gear and perceived threat.
Firearms that are normally stored may be staged at different strategic points in the home. Medical gear may be staged as well as phone systems fully charged. It’s important to take a moment to brief your household on what to do and what not to do, with an emphasis nobody answers the door, but the HMFIC.
In this case, reporters and investigators roamed the neighborhood. The most important thing to remember: if you break the seal on your threshold, no matter how much or little, the door is open. So you better be sure who’s there.
Sure enough, I heard a knock.
I had the family move to a safer place in the house as I prepared to open the door. Having a dog is blessing. I cannot emphasize how much I love this animal, and how valuable they are to us humans in times like this.
Remember, there are things you cannot see in the dark. So start by having all the lights on outside. Don’t give anyone with potentially nefarious intentions any place to hide or lurk. Be polite, but have them get to the point.
Have your visitor identify themselves. There’s nothing wrong about asking for a picture ID and asking them to wait — behind a closed-door — for you to call for verification.
[Media could take a lesson from law enforcement on this. How to deal with the media is a whole other article in itself, but you are far better off being brief and returning to the safety of your home.]
Bad things happen in our world. There’s no denying that we live in a violent world with people who fail to value human life. All you can do is protect what matters to you most.
Don’t wait until the last minute. When things start to go sideways, educate yourself, arm yourself and stand ready.
Jeff Gonzales is a former US. Navy SEAL and preeminent weapons and tactics instructor. He brings his Naval Special Warfare mindset, operational success and lessons learned unapologetically to the world at large. Currently he is the Director of Training at The Range at Austin. earn more about his passion and what he does at therangeuastin.com.