“Honey, wake-up! There’s someone downstairs!” Hit the panic button, gather friendlies behind you (handgun in hand), call the police, secure your long gun, assume a defensive position, wait for the cops. Hey, it’s a plan. A better plan than attempting to clear your house, where all kinds of things can go horribly, bloodily, permanently wrong. And yet . . .
There are times when you have to clear your house To locate the aforementioned friendlies. To reach the panic button. To get a bigger gun. To take that turkey, avocado and bacon panini off the grill.
You might think navigating through your home during a home invasion is relatively easy, if the dictionary definition of nerve-racking. You know your house better than Kate Moss knows how to cut a line of cocaine. You’ve been taught how to “pie a room” (Oh! Wise guy!) You may even have drawn the curtains and practiced.
But before you move through your home consider this: if the bad guys aren’t retreating (best case) they’re either advancing (least worse case) or waiting in ambush (worst worse case).
The bad guy doesn’t have to know squat about a particular house to know where to place himself—or themselves—to ambush a homeowner. They can also hear the good guy coming. They get first mover advantage, the choice of terrain and the element of surprise. You get luck, if you’re lucky.
Aside from God’s beneficence, there are two important strategies that can help you win a home clearing encounter of the ballistic kind. First, speed, surprise and violence of action. (Yes, I’m counting that all as one.)
Hollywood teaches us to creep through the house, shotgun at the ready. That’s what’s called dramatic tension or, as I like to call it, death with a stick. If you’re going to clear, clear and clear fast. Be ready to engage (remembering that you still have to know your target and what’s beyond it). At the very least be a moving target.
Second, use mirrors. Position mirrors so you can see into otherwise obscured areas where you’re likely to encounter a violent threat.
In the pictures above, the wise homeowner realized that getting a visual on a bad guy at the door or on the second floor required him to expose himself (so to speak) in the “funnel of death” (a.k.a., the staircase). The mirror solves the problem.
During a nighttime nightmare, strategically positioned mirrors have a secondary benefit. When you shine your light on them, the bad guy or guys mistake the mirror as the source of illumination. Silly bad guys. Tricks are for kids!
You don’t have to turn your home into a house or mirrors to increase your odds of surviving a home invasion, but a few strategically placed mirrors would be a good reflection of your forethought and planning. Both of which save lives.