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Earlier today, respected author and TTAG commentator Dan Baum took me to task for suggesting that average folk ought to make their house more of a bunker and less of a target. “Alarms, vault doors, exterior lighting….Where do you live? Beirut? Nothing in here about what to do if a meteorite hits your house, which is about as statistically likely as a home invasion.” The standard answer to this objection: “If you believe that, why do you wear a seat belt?” The rabbi’s response: “Sheep.” My slightly more loquacious reply: “Shit happens.” For example, consider the internal lock failure on my Performance Center Smith & Wesson 686 . . .

I’ve never heard of an internal lock failure on a full-frame Smith & Wesson handgun. Never. A stainless steel Smith? What are the odds? A million to one? More? But not only did the L-Frame Smith’s internal lock lock-up all on its own, it happened to me. Not some guy. Me. And not only did it happen to me, a gun blogger, but it happened while I was videoing the gun’s operation.

The odds of experiencing this failure in the middle of a media show-and-tell are astro-friggin’-nomical. And yet, there it is. Even though the odds of an internal lock failure happening again in a self-defense scenario (no less) are remote squared, I’m going with the tao of the Snoop. I’m gonna to drop it like it’s hot.

Truth be told, I didn’t believe there was any risk that the 686’s lock would lock me out. And now that I know it can, I’m not prepared to take that risk. And that’s what all this alarm, big ass doors, light and guns stuff is all about Dan: risk management. I’m ditching the 686 with lock for a 686 without lock for the same reason I carry a gun in the first place: to minimize the risk of catastrophe.

Despite angering the Suarez mob and other reasons not to be named later, I don’t think there’s a significant chance that I’ll be facing a home invasion anytime soon. But I do believe that if a home invasion occurs at the old homestead, there’s a better-than-even chance that it would be catastrophic. In other words, a home invasion is a small risk with an ENORMOUS downside.

If invaders assaulted, raped, tortured or murdered me or one or more of my family members, it would be statistically insignificant. But it would also be personally devastating. An event that could quite easily ruin my life and the lives of the people I love. Forever.

So I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. If that means maintaining what you consider to be an unhealthy level of anxiety, tooling-up with what you might consider to be unnecessarily powerful weaponry and training in what you’d probably consider to be surplus-t0-requirement gunfighting techniques, if that means I seem paranoid to you, so be it. I’ve got too much to lose to care what you or any other “rational” person has to say on the subject.

McNabb says the robbers kept demanding to know where the safe and drugs were.

“He kept saying, ‘Where’s the safe? Where’s the safe? Where’s the drugs?’ I said, ‘This is the wrong house. I don’t know who you’re looking for,'” McNabb described.

As one robber continued to beat him, another turned to his young son.

“He stuck the gun in my three-year-old’s face saying, ‘I’ll kill the kid,'” McNabb said.

Then, he says, “they tied me up with tape, put me on my stomach and hog tied me. I thought they were going to kill me for sure – right in front of my family.”

He didn’t know at the time, but a neighbor heard the all screaming and called 9-1-1.

Luckily for the McNabbs, deputies were able to catch the suspects red-handed. McNabb says the crooks were trying to force his wife at gun point to rob the home next door when deputies got there.

They immediately arrested one and caught the other two later. He says the three were likely trying to hit the home next door, where one of them often hangs out.

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  1. You called it 100 percent right RF. We all buy home insurance in case our home burns or someone gets hurt and sues you. I’ve heard of other peoples houses burning to the ground or injury lawsuits, but I don’t have any friends or family that this actually happened to. We all buy car insurance in case we have an accident. I know plenty of people who had to use their car insurance because of an accident (this includes family and friends, but not me, so far.) Just because no one ever got hurt on my property or my home burned or car accidents doesn’t mean that I don’t need car insurance. I almost forgot about HEALTH INSURANCE, which I don’t even want to get into. We ALL need CAR INSURANCE, HOME INSURANCE, HEALTH INSURANCE, and RF’s plan is just a DIFFERENT TYPE OF INSURANCE.

    • Makes perfect sense to me. Call me paranoid as well. I am proud of my knowledge that bad things happen to people and that me and my own are in fact – people.

  2. Unfortunately, the hoplophobes have muddied the proper meaning of paranoia so much. Clinically paranoid requires that you be sufficiently deluded and irrational to NOT function normally in society.

    If gun owners were all truely clinically paranoid, it would be a little more obvious in the way they acted in public.

    So here’s an exercise for all of you hoplophobes out there reading this blog.

    1 – Find a concealed carrier. If you can spot him/her. Or, if you want it to be easier, find an open carrier. Oh, you’re too afraid? Well, this IS a chance to prove you are right once and for all by actually OBSERVING a gun owner’s behaviour….what have you got to lose? Oh, and if somehow, you think you pegged a concealed carrier, try and ask if they’re carrying (directly or indirectly) or you can try and feel for it (although this may either get the cops called on you, or if they’ve trained in retention skills – something worse)

    2 – Once you’ve located one, write down all the behaviours he/she does OBJECTIVELY. Any emotional, descriptive words with your opinions in them only adds to bias.

    3 – You can try and engage the gun owner if you want in conversation, that is, if you aren’t quivering yet.

    4 – Tell us what you saw!

  3. “Nothing in here about what to do if a meteorite hits your house, which is about as statistically likely as a home invasion.”

    There are fates much worse than death. If a meteor hits the house, then hey, at least the people who knew me will have a funny story to tell. While the Petit home invasion was as notable for its rarity as it was for its brutality, I just can’t let that happen.

  4. Robert,

    The issue I had with your previous post was the sequence.

    You basically said to turn your house into a bunker before even considering purchasing a firearm.
    And the attitude I got from it was, it wasn’t smart or advisable to purchase a firearm until you’ve done that.

    First, let’s look at costs as a factor. An alarm system can run from free to several thousand dollars to install with monthly fees close to a hundred dollars.
    Not everyone can afford that expense.
    The same factors go into the securing the house. In order to put in better doors in my house, I have to completely re-do the entrance. The door is a non-standard size.
    Heck, even my garage door is the original 1969 wooden door with large windows in it. Replacing it will not be a trivial matter financially

    A Firearm can be borrowed from a friend or relative for free or a good quality used firearm purchased for several hundred dollars or less. A Maverick by Mossberg Security 88 in 12gauge can be purchased new for $189.

    Next, practicality. Some apartments, condos, rented homes, etc do not allow modifications — such as alarms or changing the doors. In other homes, there can be a need to change other items first. Furnaces, air conditioners, electrical work, insulation, windows.
    I had to spend over $20,000 to replace the 1969 single pane, aluminum frame windows in my home with modern double pane windows. The energy loss from the windows was tremendous, Texas in the summer means huge electric bills. This also increased the security of my house, but where are thieves most likely to strike — the new windows or the old wooden door?

    Again, the costs of putting an alarm system in my house is ridiculously expensive. The reason it cost so much to replace windows was because I have 31 in my home and it is a modest home not a McMansion.
    While eventually I will install an alarm system, there were the costs of putting a daughter through college, two boys in high school band and Boy Scouts.

    Lastly, retro-fitting a house can develop a bunker mentality that borders on out right paranoia. Learning to use a firearm on the other hand tends to encourage a confidence in personal ability and is practical in more places than a single home.

    Steel doors can’t travel to a motel or a camp ground. Barred windows can’t spend the night at a friends house.

    A firearm in the home can be used by many people, even teenage children, giving them the confidence to protect themselves when home alone.
    Isn’t it harder to say the same thing about any security system short of a bunker?

    I agree that improving the security of a house is important but there are other factors involved.

    Which is more important: providing a secure house or skills that last a lifetime?

    • Is that a trick question? I’m thinking . . . both.

      Obviously, we don’t live in a perfect world. We can never have—nor would we want to live in—an impenetrable bunker. Even if we had mad gunfighting skills, we can still be murdered. So I understand that real people need to do what they can for home defense within their financial and practical boundaries. And I stand stand by my recipe: first an alarm, then secure doors and windows, then lighting, then firearms familiarization, then a home defense gun.

      An alarm needn’t be expensive. Wireless systems have brought down the cost of monitoring dramatically. As I said in the piece, all you really need is perimeter coverage with a scary ass siren. There are plenty of plug-‘n’-play systems on the market. Existing doors and windows can be reinforced easily and cheaply enough. Although they’re not ideal, solar lights can be bought for $20 apiece and simply pushed into the ground (when possible). Getting to grips with a rented gun at a range with a pro instructor? Fifty bucks?

      I reckon a home defense gun without a house alarm system dramatically increases the odds of a negligent discharge (oops!) and decreases the chances of a successful defense. On that point, I am adamant. Alarm first and foremost.

      Your thoughts?

      • Robert, I agree with you on the alarm 100%. Put shock sensors on the basement windows & have them “always on.” If someone comes in, you’ll have plenty of notice. Monitoring or not (I do), invest the $100+ in an exterior siren (under the eves, in a vent) – it will be heard for BLOCKS. With any luck, the would-be intruder will leave immediately. Without that luck, you’ll know someone is coming in. That might scare the s**t out of me but it would be much better than knowing they are there when I see them step around the corner. It also alerts neighbors who might get a description or have their own methods of cornering the crook. (Me: just a normal homeowner with a fascination for guns and security and I do know how to use them).

  5. AntiC makes a fine point as to detecting the person with a hidden gun. I try to observe all the shooters at my local range, and you’d be amazed at the diversty of gunowners that carry. It covers the entire gambit from young ones (21 men and women) all the way to our seniors (again both men and women). You would never even suspect that most of these people would own a gun, never mind carry one. I’m sure that these folks feel that they’re “WELL SUITED” to carry, and that’s what counts, not what the gun hater Jadeloon wants to believe. Reading Jadeloon’s posts are funnier than the comic strips (but the comic strips do make more sence than the gun hater)

  6. An alarm system is an essential part of a home-defense strategy. Not having one is simply meshuggah.

  7. “Nothing in here about what to do if a meteorite hits your house, which is about as statistically likely as a home invasion.”

    Sadly, untrue. Try googling “home invasions on the rise.”

    “You basically said to turn your house into a bunker before even considering purchasing a firearm.”

    I agree with both posters here. Protection is never a single defense, but layers. The problem with relying on only a gun is the mistaken assumption that because you have a gun you will prevail. As I so often say: you can do everything right and still die.

    Fortifying and alarming also offers the advantage of deterrence. You want to make your home less inviting than your neighbors. Punks want an easy target. Just leaving large dog dishes outside, even if you don’t have a dog, can make your home far less appealing to someone who does not want to tangle with a dog.

    A dog is another good option. My German Shepherd is better than an alarm. He alerts me well before an alarm would sound, his presence and barking is a real deterrent and he is a weapon upon himself. (I spent 10 years training defense dogs as a hobby—yes, I have strange hobbies). Even a small dog can act as an alarm and a deterrent.

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