I have been thinking about security a lot lately. I am not sure why, but this is the latest thing that has been an ever present thought as I go through my daily activities. I suppose it is a logical extension of prepping after food and water sources are shored up that your mind would turn to security. I started to analyze our defensive options at our home since we have chosen to shelter in place should any type of disaster scenario happen. This carried me down several paths that I hope to discuss with you and they all focus around steps you can take to keep your family safe, or provide some additional protection in your home if things get really bad. This is the first post in a series about what problems you may be faced with in a WROL (Without Rule of Law) society. This is a worst case scenario but I believe that exercising your mind by thinking about issues like this could prepare you better for less catastrophic emergencies. Honestly, I hope to never be in a situation that requires these plans and methods, but I think it is valid to discuss them in terms of preparing your family.
Bugging In is not a perfect solution either
To Bug in and hunker down or to Bug Out and take your chances on the road. This is one of the major questions at least logistically for preppers and you will have people on both sides of this issue. Bugging out brings with it an entirely different set of circumstances and must be planned for in different ways. Hunkering down can eliminate one set of problems, but presents a whole new set of challenges. Further complicating the issue is that life gets a vote. Just because you make a decision now whenever everything is pretty much normal doesn’t necessarily mean that circumstances won’t change and cause your plans to need adjusting. In some cases your carefully laid plans may need to be thrown out altogether.
A lot of careful consideration usually goes into the decision to either hunker down or to bug out. I think that in no small part it comes down to your resources and your common sense when you are asking yourself these questions. First off the obvious question, do you have a place to go to? If so, bugging out becomes much more realistic. Then questions like how will you get there, what to take and who else will be going with you start to get answered. The pieces begin to fall into place and you can make a plan for dealing with the contingencies as you think of them. For a long trip, you can plan how to load the vehicles, where to refuel, storing caches of supplies along the route, alternate routes, etc.
If you have no place to go and there is not an immediate, life-threatening situation that is making you leave your home; if you have supplies such as food and water then why leave? For a lot of people, absent some impending natural disaster, disease, nuclear accident or chemical spill, staying where they are living currently is going to be the best option. You may have a support structure at your current location or family that prevents you from leaving. Even in war torn cities people stay behind and this isn’t without precedent historically. Bugging in would seem to me to be a logical choice in a lot of situations unless you have a fully stocked survival retreat within a few hours away or have friends and family to turn to within a relatively short distance. It may be the only choice you have if life steps in again and prevents you from implementing your Bug Out plan above.
Regardless of whether you chose to Bug In as part of your plan to be fully prepared, or are forced to stay where you are, you may have to deal with the unpleasant reality that usually rears its ugly head anytime there is turmoil or disasters. Humans can on one hand be incredibly loving and also incredibly evil and after a disaster there are usually stories of both. In this article I plan to talk about some steps you can take to protect your family from the later type if you find yourself Bugging In.
Know your enemy
The spectrum of people who could possibly be threats run the gambit from desperate beggar to organized gangs. Burglary and looting are crimes of opportunity. The opportunity for a burglar is usually an unsuspecting homeowner or a house that is easily broken into. Looting uses the opportunity of a situation in which the perceived enforcement of laws by police has dissolved. In time after time we see situations like Hurricane Sandy where people were looting the day after the hurricane. Some of these people were even dressed like power company workers to fool anyone who saw them poking around houses. You can expect that regardless of where you live, if the crisis is bad enough and prolonged enough there will be homes near you, maybe yours that are targets for this segment of society.
I think it is reasonable to assume if we routinely see this type of behavior with what is considered a relatively minor weather event; much worse could be expected as the level and intensity of the emergency increases. Right now even with all of the lights on, food and fuel still being shipped to stores and the welfare and unemployment checks getting delivered; we have women who are gang raped in Chicago, Veterans are beaten to death and there are attacks and murders in every major city it seems weekly. Can you imagine how bad this will get if we are plunged into total chaos? Can you foresee how completely dangerous your neighborhood might get if there is no Rule of Law (WROL)?
Staying in your home and Bugging In may be the only option you have, but depending on how serious the disaster or crisis that we are going through, that home might have to be your castle and fortress. There are some steps we can take to give you an advantage if this is your Alamo and may keep you alive to see another day. Hopefully, we can at a minimum take steps to make your house a less ideal target and keep your family safer.
There is no magic wand
With all that said, I want to be realistic with you. What I am going to suggest is not going to make your house bulletproof. It will not stop a tank or military assault or prevent a fire. It will probably not stop several determined people who have the time to attack unopposed either, but it could give you just enough of an advantage that it could save your life and hopefully make them look for an easier target. What I plan to highlight are several considerations that you can implement that are relatively easily which can make it a little harder for people who want to get in and cause you harm or try and take what you have. This should offer some protection from the casual thief or looter, not necessarily the mutant zombie biker gang.
I think it is also worth saying that if someone is intent on killing you or getting to you or your family you have to consider what you are willing to do to stop them. I do not believe that it is realistic to expect bad people to simply go away because you talk sternly to them or get in touch with the pain they are feeling. If someone has made up their mind to get to you, the very least they will do is take what can either keep your family alive (food, clothing, water, money) or safe (security). If you are incredibly lucky, the only thing they will do is take your supplies. I don’t think that is realistic though and you may be in for a very horrible lesson if things get to this point. The lesson might end up costing you your life.
We have talked about the use of deadly force in several other posts in various situations. I do believe that you owe it to yourself and your family to be mentally prepared to use deadly force in a situation like this if the need arises. If you have no plans to fight back, then you should be prepared to live (or die) with the consequences. I fully expect anyone in my family and probably most who are reading this blog to be open to if not embracing the same beliefs. I never want to have to harm anyone, but if you are in my house or property with intentions to harm my family I will do what is necessary. Do I expect this is going to be easy or that it won’t change me when its over? No, but that is beside the point. I have sworn that I will do what is necessary to protect my family. That is one of the reasons I advocate carrying a concealed weapon, because violence like this doesn’t wait for a disaster. It can happen any day.
So, now we have the framework. Bad things have happened, you are forced to stay in your house and try to ride out the storm so to speak and people are or could be trying to get into your house or get at your family. If it comes to that, you are prepared to use deadly force if necessary to stop them.
Step 1 – Gathering intelligence
First things first. Before you even consider how you would begin the planning process of defending your home it helps to know what is around you. By that I mean understanding what is in the area immediately surrounding your home and expanding outward from there, further out. I recommend periodically conducting what I call the neighborhood RECON to familiarize yourself with what is going on in your neighborhood. I don’t mean simply knowing your neighbors although that is very important; what I mean is knowing how to get to your house by methods other than the surface roads. What are the landscape features that may help or work to your advantage? Knowing who has certain resources that may become targets will give you information that the looter who is driving through won’t have. This can be as simple as taking walks through your neighborhood, but the key is to pay attention to details.
Having area maps is another step you can take in planning defenses and even exit strategies if the need arises. You can go online and order very detailed Topographical Maps from the USGS store. Knowing this information before you need it can show you paths of likely drift and avenues you can use to escape.
Once you know what is around you, another prerequisite to any defensive strategy is intelligence. The first and perhaps most important piece of intelligence is knowing who is in the area. It is important to know as far in advance as possible when someone is headed to your position before they are actually at your door. For a lot of people, this would be difficult without a large group and training. If you live in an apartment complex, this article might not work for you. On the other hand, you may be able to use the other people in your apartment complex to form a network that can take turns watching activity and alerting anyone of an advancing threat. If you have a typical home you do still have neighbors unless they have bugged out already. A security network would be even more advantageous in this situation but I will discuss how that might be set up in another post. For this discussion, lets pretend you are mostly on your own.
If we think about defense in rings around your home where the first ring would be your home itself. Going out from there would be your yard and then going out from there maybe 2 houses or 200 feet in either direction.These rings would indicate where you have different methods of identifying and stopping the threats. Ideally, you would want to know that someone is coming as early as possible so the outermost ring would demonstrate that distance. How would you be able to tell if someone was a few houses away and headed to your position or who at a minimum was worthy of additional scrutiny?
Assuming again that you are on your own, that you don’t have an squad of marines or a checkpoint at your disposal you would optimally have a method of knowing what is going on all around your property. This usually requires an position that is elevated so you can see over houses and bushes. Without having to have a guard tower installed one option could be a tree climbing stand or my personal favorite, a kids tree house. These can give you the ability to gain an advantage and see a larger piece of the surrounding area. This may not be practical or possible so your advance notice will need to be adjusted to the defensive ring that you can see. If you can only see your yard then you greatly reduce the amount of head start notice you can have for this type of situation. It may also be that you must stay inside for quarantine or weather issues.
A simple way to be alerted to approaching people is wireless Motion detectors. Motion detectors outside can alert you to someone who shouldn’t be there. Assuming that we are talking about a real crisis here, there is a high probability that the power won’t be working. This is when having your own backup power would be extremely helpful but there are other, low-tech options you can deploy that work as well. If you have power and motion detectors at the perimeter you will have advance warning of someone who is entering your yard. Using this you can run to where the threat is coming from and address it or at the very least be ready to address it when they reach your home. Dakota alert has systems designed for this exact purpose.
There are also small trip wire devices that will pull a pin that triggers a .22 blank cartridge. These can easily be set up (provided you have blank .22 shells) and can alert you audibly. You can set the wires up in the places that someone would most likely travel to make it to your home and when they go off, you would have advance warning that someone is approaching.
There are other low-tech options too like setting up a string of cans on the porch that can make noise once the line holding them has been disturbed or crushing a light bulb so that you hear the glass breaking as someone walks on it. These are less ideal and probably work better in the movies in situations with complete darkness, but can work in some cases. The perfect system alerts you well in advance of when someone is near your home, but you do have to be able to hear it.
Tomorrow we will talk about how you can prevent entry to your home and how to deal with attackers if they do make it inside.