You are at home on a Saturday night. It is after 10 when you hear unusual sounds from the back of your house. You go to the backdoor to see what is going on. That is when a man with a hammer breaks through the backdoor. He attacks you with the hammer as well as attacking the other person living in the home with you. You run to get your gun. You come back and shoot your attacker. Now he stops his attack.
You and the other occupant of the home retreat and call police. Emergency Medical Services take the three of you to the hospital for treatment.
The defender did a number of things that helped him save his life and the life of his housemate. He owned a gun for self-defense. That made a huge difference when he faced an attacker who was swinging a hammer at him. Also, the homeowners locked their back door. That forced the intruder to make noise by smashing his way into their home. The defender heard that forced entry. Rather than ignore the noise, the homeowners took action. Later, the defender got his firearm and protected himself and the other occupants of the home. Both of the occupants retreated and called 911. They stayed at the scene and gave a brief statement to the police.
These news articles always leave out many of the details we want to know. If we’re going to investigate a problem then let’s bring the tools we might need to solve it. If I go unarmed and an attacker is hitting me and my family with a hammer, then I’d hate to have to turn away from my family so I could get my gun. That is a decision we can avoid by planning ahead.
Let me say that another way. A plan is as important as any of the physical tools you might use in your defense. Each family needs a plan of their own.
If you’re living alone, then you can retreat to your bedroom. I assume you’re carrying a loaded firearm on your body if you’re out of bed. If not, then you should go get your gun. Once you’re armed then you can lock your door, get your phone, and call the police. Get behind the bed with your gun pointed at the locked door. I almost forgot, but you want to turn on the lights so you can see what is going on and identify any threat before your finger heads towards the trigger. Once you’re in that situation, you now have a very high chance of surviving an attack.
Things are more complicated if there are other people living in your home with you. Two unrelated adults may decide for each of them to simply defend themselves. They can each retreat to their rooms and each call the police.
We can’t take that simple approach if there are people in the home who rely on us. Those dependents could be young children, aged parents, or infirmed adults. Most of us will defend other innocent people in our home. I don’t know if the adult in your house should move to the children’s room or if the children should retreat to yours. You have to decide what plans are the best fit for your situation.
Use your resources. Teenagers and young adults can, and should, be part of the safety plan. The best situation is to have at least two armed adults who are working together. Now, one of you can keep their eyes on the bedroom door while the other armed adult calls 911.
If you store guns around your home, then try to dial 911 on your cell phone while you’re pointing an (unloaded) gun at the bedroom door. Holsters are wonderful tools because they let us use both hands while retaining control of our handgun.
There is a reason we want to retreat if we can. We don’t know who is waiting for us outside our door. We don’t know how many people are there. We don’t know how they are armed. We don’t know their state of mind. I don’t want to leave my bedroom to face an unknown number of armed strangers who could be hiding somewhere in my home. In the original story, both of the occupants of the home had to go to the hospital after being attacked by a single man who came through the door swinging a hammer.
It is hard to defend the people you love if your arm is broken. That is why investigating a noise in your home while you are unarmed and alone is a bad plan. Rather than depend on luck, we want to take the course of action that will work almost all the time.
There are millions of new gun owners in the US who are thinking about their defense for the first time. They know a loaded gun left on a bedside table isn’t safe. They know an unloaded gun isn’t very useful. These new gun owners are still learning about rapid-access-bedside safes. Now is the time to talk to your family and plan for success.
If that is a hard sell at home, then here is a suggestion that might make it easier. You can invite your roommates to a defense-in-the-home class. Let the instructor walk them through their first safety plans.
A good plan includes a little of everything. If you’re an experienced gun owner, then when was the last time you and your family walked through their safety plans together? Maybe there are new people living in your home who need firearms training. You also need a lawyer to call.
Rob Morse highlights the latest self-defense and other shootings of the week. See what went wrong, what went right, and what we can learn from real-life self-defense with a gun. Even the most justified self-defense shooting can go wrong, especially after the shot. Get the education, the training, and the liability coverage you and your family deserve, join USCCA.