November 28, 2014

Home Security Inside and Out

Let’s face it, most homes are not built with security in mind and are relatively easy to get into. But that doesn’t mean they need to stay that way! In this article, I’ll give you some tips on making your home look like a harder target, actually make it harder to breach and give some general things to keep in mind about security.

 


Things to Keep in Mind

My local police captain said that most theft is drug related; people either breaking in looking for drugs, prescription or otherwise, or people breaking in to steal things they can trade or sell to get drugs. He also said that most of the crime in my city comes from Minneapolis, which is twenty miles away. I think those two things hold true in any area. Most theft is probably drug related and most criminals don’t steal from the area they live. They travel to another neighborhood or city.

Why is this important? It means that often times the criminals would have to “case” a residence to see if it is worth breaking into. The term “curb appeal” usually means how aesthetically pleasing your home is from the curb. One often wants curb appeal when they’re selling their home.

But does your home have curb appeal to Joe Dirtbag and his criminal friends? Are there any expensive items in view from the street that might advertise other valuable items that might be inside? In my neighborhood, it’s not uncommon for people to leave their garage door open until they lock up for the night. Anyone passing by can get a good idea of where they may want to come back to later. They might not want the items in the garage, but if you have expensive tools or other items, that can be a sign that other valuables are inside.

One thing I recommend is to walk around the outside of your home and look for ways that Joe Dirtbag may try to gain access. Do you have any tall shrubs near windows or doors that could give Joe Dirtbag a place to hide while he tries to gain access to your home?

Have you heard this one? “Two friends were hiking and came upon a mother bear and her cub. The bear gave chase and the two friends began running. One friend said to another, there is no way we can outrun this bear. The other friend responded with, “I don’t have to out run the bear, I just have to out run you”.

Many times the same theory applies; you don’t need to be able to make your home impenetrable, you just need to make it look like a harder target than your neighbors.

All of that being said, if someone wants to get into your house, you’re not going to keep them out. The items I’ll cover have two purposes; to make your home a harder target and to slow down Joe Dirtbag once he does gain access to your home.

Some things to keep in mind about Joe Dirtbag and his friends are that, in general, they are lazy and not sophisticated. Yes there are some criminals who might use lock picks, subvert alarm systems and use devices that disarm cell phones. But for the most part, the criminals that break into the average homes use brute force and go for easy pickings.

There are two types of security that will be covered; active and passive. “Active” means that it is something you will have to do, like locking a door or putting a door brace in place. “Passive” is something that you just have to install once. This would be something like putting longer screws in a door jamb.

Security systems are a good option if they fit your lifestyle and the monthly payments are not prohibitive. The following are things you can do on top of or instead of a security system.
 

Home Exterior

I covered a bit of this above. None of these, by themselves, will deter someone, but if you have multiple things to make possible detection too risky, they may go elsewhere. Do you have bushes or hedges that could conceal someone trying to gain access to a door or window? Do you have a tree that could be climbed to give access to a second story window? Motion sensor lights are a great item to have. They only light up once something has passed in front of the sensor. One option is to use thorny bushes such as Pyracantha and Barberry in front of windows.

Home alarms are a great option and having a sign in your yard that advertises the alarm is a good idea as well. It, by itself, won’t stop anyone but adds one more item to the list of reasons why your house might not be the best choice is the objective. If you don’t have an alarm system, you can buy alarm company signs on eBay and Amazon.
 

Home Interior

The goal for this section is to make it take as long as possible for Joe Dirtbag to get through the front door to you and your family. As with the exterior, the interior of most homes is not set up with security in mind. It is set up for the ease of use and comfort of the family. However, having a way to lock a teenager in their room until they’re 30 does sound appealing. But I digress; the average home has a front door or windows that a criminal can gain access from, and a bedroom door that is often hollow core with a simplistic lock. If we can add another layer or two of security, we can add to the length of time it takes Mr. Dirtbag to get to the family, giving us more time to gather the family, arm ourselves and call police.

I think everyone should have a room in their house they consider a “safe room”. I don’t mean a room that is commercially fortified and has its own air filtration system. I mean a room that you might reinforce, that is the “go to” spot if there is an intruder. If you have children, you might choose one of their rooms. If you have multiple small children, you might first go to the smallest child’s room and carry them to the largest child’s room and make that the safe room.
 
Doors

This info applies to both exterior and interior doors. If you chose to make one of the rooms in your home a safe room, doing the following things to the door of that room will greatly increase the time it takes to get to you. Before I go further, let me give a brief description of the parts of a doorway. The door frame is the opening in the wall, reinforced by studs. The door jamb is what is attached to the door frame, which the door is then mounted to via the hinges. It is possible to reinforce many parts of the door so I’ll cover them individually.
 

The door

There are usually county or city codes on the exterior door, so I’ll not cover that. I do recommend that the interior door of the safe room be solid and not a hollow core door. A door that has three hinges is preferable over a door that has only two hinges.
 
Door Jamb and Hinges

While expensive, it is possible to replace a wooden door jamb with a metal one. Most of the time, the screws that are used to attach the door jamb through the hinges to the door frame are 1”-2” long, which is not long enough to go into the studs of the door frame. Replacing them with 3” screws will allow the screw to go into the door frame. This is beneficial as the impact from a kick is then displaced over the door frame as well. Now, instead of a kick only needing to tear the screw out of the door jamb, it is needing to break through the stud as well.
 
Striker Plate

The striker plate usually is only two inches or so and attaches with two screws. It is possible to get one that is 4”, the full length of the door, and attaches with multiple screws. Replacing the short screws with 3” screws that will go into the door frame is also a good idea. Adding a longer strike plate that has more screws will displace a kick over a greater area, making it harder to kick the door in.
 
Locks

Most exterior doors have a deadbolt and a lock on the handle. Here is a video that shows how you can reinforce the deadbolt with a metal pipe. Most bedroom doors have flimsy locks on the handles, if any lock is there at all. Replacing it with a lock that cannot be picked with a paper clip is one option. Adding a deadbolt that is reinforced with a pipe is another.
 
Door Braces

There are several types of door braces, all of which are active security, so you’ll need to put them in place for them to work. Some will mount on the floor. If you have carpet or wood, this might be an option. If you have tile or would rather not have something mounted to the floor, there are braces that slide under the door knob and have a pole that extends to the floor. I’m not endorsing the following products, as I have never used them but I wanted to show a visual example. On a side note, these two types of door braces make lock picks useless.

Here is a video of a floor based system called Nightlock. It shows two men, each trying to kick in a door, one with Nightlock and one without. In the video, the gentleman trying to kick in the door never gets through. In fact, the door jamb begins to separate from the doorframe before he gets in. Now I don’t know if they did anything else to make that door more secure, but if not, this is pretty impressive.
 

 
Here is a video on a door brace that slides under the door knob. I tried to find a video of this type being tested but couldn’t find one. This type can also double as a sliding glass door stop and can be taken with you to be used when travelling. If you don’t want to mount the floor based systems, this might be the best option. I like the idea of this for the safe room. It could be next to the door, waiting to be used.
 

 

Windows

Windows are a bit trickier to protect but there are still a couple options. The first is the more expensive option, which is a film you can place over the window to make it more resistant to breaking. While I am sure there are more companies that sell this type of film, here are three 3M, Solar Guard and Burglar Guard. The only one that listed prices that I could find was Burglar Guard. Their price was $319 for a 36in by 25ft piece of film. As you can see in the video below, this stuff works.
 

 
Another, less expensive, option is window alarms. These won’t prevent glass breakage but it will alert two different ways; on vibration or if a magnetic contact is broken. They range in price from $7.00-$15.00 per alarm or you can buy a full window alarm system for under $200 on Amazon.com
 

Final Thoughts

Doing many of the above mentioned things can add precious seconds to the time it takes you to respond and act on your plan. Having a firearm and phone in your safe room is also a good idea but know how to use both! Wait for the dispatcher to tell you the scene is clear, not the “officer” on the other side of the door!

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What to do if Your Spouse doesn’t Want a Gun in the Home?

I don’t usually post things that could be seen as controversial.  Today might be a little different.  It is not my goal to offend anyone, and I apologize if I do. I realize that either sex could be opposed to a gun in the home, but the vast majorities, in my experience, are women.  The advice I am going to give today is from the perspective of a man.  Ladies, if you’re in favor of a firearm in the home and your husband is not, most of what I have to say applies to you as well.

 

Why Are They Opposed?

The first step is to find out why they are opposed.  In my experience most objections to firearms from are either based on a lack of understanding about firearms, or are an emotional response.  Don’t poke fun at their opposition, or minimize their concern.

If it is a lack of understanding, one thing you could do is see if they would be willing to get some training.  One thing I have learned (yes the hard way) is that spouses don’t always take direction from one another.  Find an experienced firearms instructor and, if possible, a female instructor.  You could also attend a First Shots class together.  First Shots is an introductory class on basic handgun safety and operation.

If their response is emotional in nature, find out why they feel the way they do.  If your spouse is generally an open minded person, you may be able to show them facts that back up your support of firearms.  It is my experience that when anyone bases their argument on an emotional response, you’ll have a hard time getting them to see differently.

 

What To do if They Won’t Budge.

Let’s say you’ve discussed the issue and tried to get them to see your point of view, but they still won’t relent.  What should you do?  I believe that men and woman are generally equals in a marriage.  When it comes to the safety and security of the family, that role generally falls to the man.

If you feel that a firearm is the best way to protect your family against a multitude of possibilities, purchase one.  Explain to your spouse that you have heard their point of view, but that you feel it is your duty to keep your family safe, and to do that you feel you need to be on level playing ground with the criminal element.

Assure them that you will be safe, you will get training, a gun safe, keep the firearm stored safely.  Do not rub their nose in it, do not flaunt it.  You should also be prepared to spend some time in the dog house.  I am blessed to have a wife who thinks much like I do, but if she was opposed to guns, I would reassure her, purchase the gun and think it worth being in the doghouse it to feel like I did everything I could do to protect my family.

 

Closing Thoughts

I wrote last week that Security is a Woman’s Responsibility Too and I stand by that, but let me clarify.  I think, in this one area, it is the man’s primary duty to protect the home.  Ladies, if you have a husband who is anti-gun or can’t fulfill his duty to protect the home, I believe that the duty now falls on you.

 

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Security is a Woman’s Responsibility Too

I have noticed that almost half of the people that like the Prepared Christian facebook page, and roughly half of the people that sign up to receive email updates are women.  This article is directed at all of my female readers as well as any man that has a woman in their life.

In many homes the job of seeking out the cause of things that go bump in the night is relegated to a man.  But what happens if the husband isn’t home or is incapacitated?  Then consider single moms or single women that live alone.

According to the Rape Trauma Services website there are “1.3 women (ages 18 and over) in the United States are forcibly raped each minute. That translates to 78 per hour, 1,871 per day, or 683,000 per year.” I believe these statistics were taking from 1992, but I have a hard time believing they would be any lower today.

Whether it is seeking the source of something that went bump in the night, or fending off an attacker, security is a woman’s job too.   The most important self-defense tool you can have is your mind, so I want to discuss mindset, I will also list some tools available to keep you safe.

 

Mind Set

The statistics turn my stomach, but they are eye opening.  It’s something men might think about as a danger for the women in their lives, but not as an ever present danger to themselves.  But the truth is, it is an ever present danger to women.  If you’re reading this there is a good chance you are a prepper, someone who is awake to potential dangers and someone who takes measures to mitigate them. Rape and other violent crime is another very real danger, in fact it is more of a danger than most of the other things we prepare for.

The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence is a book everyone should read, but especially woman. It explains that there are things that happen that we might overlook, but our subconscious picks up on.  I wrote a review of which can be found here. Once you open your eyes and see that there are dangers and you decide to take precautions, you can do things like practice situational awareness and use the Cooper Color Code, these two things will help you be more aware of potential threats, which can help you avoid possibly dangerous situations.

 

It’s Not Just a Man’s Job

As I mentioned above security is many times treated as a man’s job.  I have received email’s stating it and I have seen similar comments on various forums.  I don’t have a problem with security being primarily the man’s job, but it is also the woman’s.  When something goes bump in the night, I am the one to check on it, but Trudee is at the ready, to assist me or call 911 if needed.  If I was injured and was physically unable to check on it, or if while checking on it was rendered incapacitated, she would have a means to protect herself and call for help.

For a woman to be able to defend herself, she must have a weapon she is comfortable using.  One option that I like is a youth model 20 gauge shotgun.  Youth models are shorter and weigh less, and are easier to maneuver inside.  If a handgun with defensive loads are what is used, I suggest going to a range that rents guns and try a few out.  I know one of our local ranges has “Ladies Night” that are a basic introduction to handguns class made up of only woman.  First Shots is an organization that Trudee and I actually went through to take an introductory hand gun course through.

If you can only afford to have one firearm at home, please make it one that the smallest framed adult can use.  And each person should know how to operate it and be comfortable using it.

If you aren’t able to carry a firearm but want to have something for protection, I recommend pepper spray.  I wrote an article called Self-Defense: Pepper Spray where I explain some of the downsides of certain types of pepper spray.  I personally carry Cold Steel Inferno .38 oz. Keyring Hardcase Unit Pepper Spray as does Trudee,  it is OC type, which is an inflammatory agent and causes one’s eyes to slam shut and severe burning.  CS and CN types are irritants and some people are not affected.

 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to security, it might primarily be “the man’s job” but some of that responsibility also falls on the women’s shoulders.  Ladies you are responsible for your own safety and for the safety of your family, even if that means in an assisting role.

 

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The War on Guns; Part Two

The President is to announce his plan to tackle gun violence later today, there are rumors it will entail some new legislation and some executive orders.   I’ll probably add my thoughts on it in the comments section later today.

 

The War on Guns; Part Two

 

Gun Grabbers

As I mentioned in part one, there have been people who don’t think civilians should own firearms since they were affordable enough for the average civilian to own one.  Some of these people have evil intent, but the vast majority is simply naive and afraid.  They seem to believe that more regulation will stop gun violence. Making drunk driving illegal hasn’t stopped it.  There are still many thousands of people arrested for DWI and even more who got away with it.  They also fail to realize that those committing gun violence often have procured the firearms illegally.  That same element who commits gun violence now, will still find a way to get guns.

Those in favor of much stricter gun control come from many avenues, some of which you might not be familiar with.

 

Law Makers

Recently Senator Feinstein had a press release of a bill she will propose to the Senate, aimed at Stopping the spread of deadly assault weapons.  The proposed bill would ban the sale of any militaristic style firearm that had a large capacity magazine.  This bill would stop the personal sale of any firearm, the “gun show loophole”, which allows a private citizen to purchase a table at a gun show and sell their own private collection to other civilians where a personal sale is legal.  These sales, to the best of my knowledge, do not require the seller to perform a background check.  This bill would grandfather in any guns owned at the date of signing, but would require they all be registered under the National Firearms Act and registration would require a picture and a finger print.

This bill is obviously troublesome to any legal gun owner, but something about it doesn’t sit right.  I think this is possibly one of two things.  The first is an attempt at Overton Window., which is a political maneuver where a law maker knows certain legislation would not be accepted in the current political climate; they propose something outrageous, knowing it will not be accepted and then they propose something a little more palatable.  The second proposition may still be bad, but people are more willing to accept it as it’s not nearly as bad as the first proposal.

The second possibility is that this bill is just the start.  If it is passed and we still see gun violence there could be harsher and harsher crackdowns.  As I mentioned above, the element of society who commits gun crime now, in large part, illegally possesses firearms now.  If more regulation is added those, the same people will still commit crimes with guns, which will lead to more regulation and restriction.  Layer upon layer of restriction will only cause legal, upstanding citizens to be unable to own firearms.

The most despicable incident was when Vice President Biden said Obama Considering ‘Executive Orders’ to Deal With Guns.  More on this below.

 

The Media

From news agencies to newspapers and untold blogs, the left has gotten behind stricter gun laws than at any time I can remember.  There have also been many celebrities who have filmed commercials asking:

“How many more?  Enough. Demand a plan. Right now. As a mom. As a dad. As a friend. As a husband. As a wife. As an American. As a human being. For the children of Sandy Hook…We can do better than this. It’s time for our leaders to act.”

How many of those hypocrites have done TV or movies where they used a gun and glorified violence? The trouble here is that this is effective and they know it.  We live in a society that pays more attention to what their favorite celeb is tweeting, dating and wearing than any relevant thing going on in the world around them.

 

School and Doctors

I have read multiple reports in the last couple of years about doctors asking children and adults about what firearms were kept in the home, where they were kept etc.  I, myself, was asked a few years ago during a routine doctor appointment.

I have also read of children being probed at school about what firearms their parents had.  I have a relative whose eleven year old child was talking about a zombie apocalypse.  A teacher overheard this and brought her inside, where she was questioned by multiple adults.  They asked her how she would deal with zombies, if her parents owned guns and other related questions.

I don’t know why schools and doctors are asking these questions or what they’re doing with the information, but you should be aware that some are asking it.  We told our kids what to say if ever asked these types of questions.

 

The Truth About Gun Violence

The truth about any “war” on any inanimate object is that they do not work.  In prohibition it was illegal to make, serve or drink booze, yet there was an entire sub culture that sprang to make, sell and drink booze.  The war on drugs has seen millions of people in and out of jail, but has done little to slow or stop trafficking, sale or use of drugs.  In fact some states are now legalizing marijuana.

Instead of waging war on guns, we should be taking a look at why and who commits gun violence.  We could also make soft targets harder.

 

Mental Illness and Depravity (the true problem)

If we take a look at those who commit mass shooting, I believe we would see most, if not all, were afflicted with some serious form of mental illness.  There are a couple of problems that don’t catch this before acts of violence occur.  First is that many people in the mentally ill persons life don’t want to bring the issue to light.  Some may even be in denial themselves.  Parents say “not my child” or “boys will be boys”.  No one wants to believe that their child is capable of harming them or anyone else, so they don’t get the police involved.  They don’t bring their child to get therapy and overlook certain behaviors.

Often times there can’t be intervention until the mentally ill person commits a crime.  As I mentioned above, loved ones often overlook small crimes, such as underage domestic violence.

I posted this on facebook the day of the Sandy Hook shooting:

“I do not understand the depth of human depravity, there will be some that come out after the tragedy in Connecticut railing against guns, when in truth they should be railing at depravity. We should all be praying for those who lost loved ones, God is the only one capable of healing pain so deep.”

I think that in many cases, when it comes to youth committing gun violence, we can look to the home.  I’m not necessarily saying it is the parents fault, at least not directly.  I have read about some of the kids who have taken part in school shootings and in many cases, the parents were not aware there was a problem.  Maybe they just weren’t involved enough in their kid’s life.  Maybe, because of the digital age we live in, it’s just easier for kids to hide things.

Some say its video games or violent movies.  I disagree, in part.  Yes there are some games and movies that are too violent, but waging war on the games or movies is not going to be any more effective than the war on alcohol, drugs or guns.  Endless hours of video games, violent or not, isn’t healthy.  Parents need to tell their kids they can’t play that game or can only play games for so long.  Parents need to be parents.  They need to stop trying to be their child’s friend.  They can be friends once they’re adults.

The truth is that if we paid more attention to mental illness and acts of depravity, the lives of those people would probably be enriched, and we may slow down the rate of violence, involving guns or not.

 

Guns Involved In Crime

My beautiful wife, Trudee, recently had a conversation with someone on Facebook who was fully behind banning all evil assault rifles but had no problem with people owning handguns, or so she said.  Trudee tried to use logic, which didn’t make a dent in this woman’s thinking.  This makes sense as this woman and many who think like her generate their opinion from irrational fear.  Here is some truth that you can use to inform yourself and others.

I posted this on Facebook recently: “FBI: More People Killed with Hammers, Clubs Each Year Than Rifles”.  This report shows that from 2005 to 2011, each year there were more people killed with hammers and clubs than with rifles.

“For example, in 2011, there was 323 murders committed with a rifle but 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs.”

While this does not take handguns into consideration, that isn’t the point.  Anti-gun advocates largely refer to “assault rifles”, which, according to the FBI, are less used in crimes than hammers.  This also leads me to believe that it is not just “assault rifles” that they want to take away.  I think they can just make an easier case to restrict “assault rifles” because there has already been a ban once.

Fox News has a story where reformed crooks say::

“the New York newspaper that published a map of names and addresses of gun owners did a great service – to their old cronies in the burglary trade.”

One of the reformed burglars went on to say:

“That was the most asinine article I’ve ever seen,” said Walter T. Shaw, 65, a former burglar and jewel thief who the FBI blames for more than 3,000 break-ins that netted some $70 million in the 1960s and 1970s. “Having a list of who has a gun is like gold – why rob that house when you can hit the one next door, where there are no guns?”

 

Guns Used to Stop Crime

Very rarely will you see the main stream media show a story about someone who used a gun to stop a crime. During research for this article I found two sites that publish every news story like this. One is the NRA and the other is The Armed Citizen.  There is most likely some overlap, but both are good resources to get examples of where a gun actually saved an innocent life.

 

What Can We Expect

I wish I could say I knew what to expect.  I may not know what will happen, but I do believe something will.  People have believed President Obama would go after guns since he made the comment, “they cling to their God and their guns”.  Now we have the Vice President talking about executive orders to deal with guns.  We also have the President saying he is putting his full weight behind dealing with guns.  I suppose they could just re-implement the old “assault weapon” ban, but I don’t think they will.  I think they believe the Overton Window has moved far enough that they can make a bigger grab.

An executive order used to bypass congress and make ownership or purchase of certain guns illegal, or requiring every firearm be registered would be unconstitutional and, thus, illegal.  This President has sidestepped congress and the constitution already.

If there is an executive order, there are at least three possibilities.  First, congress could override it with a vote of 2/3.  I honestly don’t see that happening. This is the same congress that passed ObamaCare after all.  The second option is something that Ted Nugent recently commented on as well.  Local law enforcement could refuse to enforce this as an illegal law.  This is also the goal of The Oath Keepers, who reach out to those active duty military and prior service military as well as law enforcement and ask them not to enforce ten (unlawful) orders if they are given.  The number one being disarming the American people.

If you are unaware, when you join the military you take the following oath:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

Many veterans, myself included, believe that since we have been discharged from active duty, we are no longer beholden to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or obligated to obey orders given from Officers or the President.  We do, however, feel we are still obligated to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.

If Executive Orders are used, depending on the enforcement of them by local law enforcement, we could see another executive order used to install martial law and suspend Habeas Corpus.

 

How Can We Respond?

I say “can” because I won’t presume to tell you what you should do.  Here are my thoughts on how I believe a follower of Christ can act and not walk in sin.

First, let me recommend two articles written by Pastor Chuck Baldwin.  These are well worth reading.  The first, entitled My Line In The Sand Is Drawn Here!, covers his thoughts on the proposed bill from Senator Feinstein.  He also gives you some ways to fight this and to help you draw your own line in the sand.

The second article is called Revolution?.  In it, he explains how the Revolutionary war was actually sparked by gun control and how Christian leaders of the time took a very active role, defying a ruler imposing immoral laws on them.

Now is the time to pray for our enemies, to pray they act out of wisdom and logic and not out of irrational fear.  This is also the time to take action.  This is the time to let our Congressmen and Senators know that we want them to stand firm and protect the Second Amendment of the Constitution they swore an oath to protect.  You can find the phone number and other contact information for your Congressmen and Senators at USA.gov.

In case you’re wondering here is the oath they take.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

If and Executive Order to go after guns is used, or if Congress and Senate overreach in regulating firearms, they will go against the Constitution and against what our Founding Fathers saw as God-given rights to all people.

In God’s Law vs. Man’s Law I explain that when Man’s law contradicts God’s Law, we can be morally correct and violate man’s laws.  I also give examples of this from scripture.

There have been several people saying there will be blood in the street if they come after guns.  I pray not, but  I have to say, I do see it as a possibility and I would not have said that even three months ago.  Each one of us will have to pray for guidance and draw our own line in the sand.  I caution you from posting anything inflammatory on this or any other site on the Internet.

May God bless us each with His guidance.  Lord please give us wisdom so we may see how You would have us act.  Let us stand firm in Your Word.  Bless those elected to lead us with wisdom and courage to uphold the oath they took to defend the Constitution.  Father, I ask that this fight end peacefully and that the outcome not infringe on the rights You have given to all people.

 

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The War on Guns; Part One
The War on Guns; Part Two

The War on Guns; Part One

Unless you have been under a rock the last month or so, you have heard multiple things about the federal government “going after guns”.  This issue is very important and multifaceted.  I want to talk about why this issue is so important, the Second Amendment, the attacks on it and the people who are attacking it, what we might see and how we as Christian gun owners can respond.

This will be a lot of reading, so I am going to break this up into two articles.  The first will explain why this issue is so important.  I’ll also touch on the Founding fathers and the Second Amendment. I am going to link to other articles that I think you should read as well.  I know this is a lot of reading, but it’s important to know why this fight is so important and to understand the argument for our right to keep and bear arms.

 

The War on Guns; Part One

The war on guns is not new but in the last few weeks it has reached a fevered pitch.  The Obama administration is taking the advice of its former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who suggested “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  Please do not misunderstand.  Let me make this clear now; the shootings that have happened in recent history are horrific acts committed by depraved and often mentally ill people.   Despite this, the Obama administration is using this as an Overton Window to take advantage of the situation and do something they could not have done sooner.

 

Why Is This So Important?

There are two reasons this issue is so important.  The first is because of what we may face and what the past has shown when firearms have been restricted.  The second reason knowing this information is important is to have a rebuttal to those who would argue to take our guns.

 

Having a Ready Response

Security is one of the five basic human needs.  I believe it is the most important one, because without it you cannot protect the other four.  I believe the Founding Fathers also thought it was vitally important.  I do not think it is by mistake that right to “keep and bear arms” is the Second Amendment, following only the right to speak out in protest.

The Apostle Paul told us we should have an answer ready to explain and defend our faith.  I think that is good advice for anything you have convictions about.  You should be able to logically answer and explain your stance to anyone who challenges you.  I say logically because I think people that base their opinion in emotion often don’t sound serious.  That is not to say that one cannot be emotional about their beliefs, I just think one should have them rooted in logic and facts and speak passionately.

I was recently asked what a Christian should do if the government comes after guns.  I answered that we should follow God’s law any time it and man’s law contradict.  If you understand what the Founders intent was when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, you’ll have an easier time answering that question on many subjects dealing with our laws, including gun rights.

 

Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Let me first say that I am not comparing President Obama to Hitler or any other despot.  There have been those who believe no civilian should own a firearm since firearms were affordable enough for the average citizen to own one.  I will discuss gun grabbers in further detail later in this article series.  For now, I want to discuss some of the world leaders who have forced strict gun control on their nation and the outcome it led to.

There is some controversy about Hitler and gun control.  From my study of history, I am led to believe that the Weimar Republic had strict gun control in place long before Hitler came to power.  Hitler did take advantage of it and Jews were not allowed to own firearms.  He is also quoted as saying at a dinner talk on April 11, 1942:

““The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms.  History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.  Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.   So let’s not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order throughout the occupied Russian territories, and a system of military strong-points must be evolved to cover the entire occupied country.”

Joseph Stalin is quoted as saying:

“If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”

Mao Tze Tung, Nov 6 1938

“All political power comes from the barrel of a gun.  The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.”

Most recently Robert Mugabe, the dictator of Zimbabwe, has instituted a ban on guns.  Here is a link I found interesting; a liberal who had their mind changed on the possession of firearms.

Something these and so many other evil men understood is that there are two sure ways to control people, take their guns and take their food.  There is a quote that say’s “God created man, Samuel Colt made them equal”.  It is a firearm that levels the playing field and gives a people the ability to stand up and resist tyranny.

Some people will say “This could never happen here”.  I wonder if the Jews in Germany thought the same thing, or the people of Zimbabwe, Rwanda and so many others.

I saw a post recently on facebook that said “I saw a movie once where only the police and military were allowed to own guns.  The name of that movie was “Schindler’s list”.  Never Again!

 

The Founding Fathers

I wrote a series of three articles last year that dealt with the Founding Fathers the Constitution, and the future of America.  I also wrote God’s law vs. Man’s law.  In them, I explain that it took great courage to write the Declaration of Independence. Aside from the Bible, it is one of the most important documents in existence, largely due to the following sentence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The reason that one sentence is so important is because it states that the rights mentioned above in the Bill of Rights and the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and yes, the right to keep and bear arms are granted by God, and what God grants, man cannot take away.

The Founders knew that a large government could not be trusted.  That is why there are so many checks and balances.

 

The Second Amendment

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Something important to keep in mind when studying the Bible, the Constitution or any historical document is that context its king.  Something taken out of context can completely change what the document means; this is the case with the Second Amendment.  I have done a lot of reading the last couple of weeks, shoring up what I didn’t fully understand, keeping track of what the anti-gunners were doing and how pro-gunners were responding.  I came across a fantastic document from the Lectric Law Library called The Second Amendment: The Framers’ Intentions.  The author does a fantastic job of explaining the wording of the Second Amendment and how the particular words meant something different at the writing of the Second Amendment than they do today.  I highly suggest you read it, as I will only touch on some key points of the Amendment.  Any of the italicized text in the Second Amendment section comes from The Second Amendment: The Framers’ Intentions.

The first question to answer is; “why would this need to be specified and added as an Amendment?”  As Noah Webster, whose name you might recognize from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is quoted:

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.”

You see, the founders knew that tyrants preferred an unarmed populace.  They knew that an over reaching government with a standing army behind it was a threat to the liberty of the citizenry.

Once we understand that these words were very carefully chosen and that the Founders thought they were important enough to make them the Second Amendment, let’s take a look at the words themselves.  I’m going to break this into smaller pieces and dissect each one.

 

A Well Regulated Militia

Context is king.  When many people hear the word militia today, they might think of extremists who stock guns and are just waiting for a chance to use them.  But, when the Second Amendment was written, the word meant something else.

“When the Constitution was ratified, the Framers unanimously believed that the “militia” included all of the people capable of bearing arms.”

“ALL of the people capable of bearing arms”; this means that according to the founders we are all in the militia.  Alright, so anyone who is capable of bearing arms is in the militia, but what exactly does “well regulated militia” mean?

In modern times the word “regulate” often makes one think of the government regulation and restrictions.   A much better (and much longer) explanation can be found at The Second Amendment: The Framers’ Intentions.  A condensed version is that the founders knew the militia might one day have to fight a standing army raised and supported by the federal government.  They would not have made the militia subject to be regulated by the government.  Who then would be the regulatory body of the militia?  Again, context is king:

“This interpretation is in keeping with English usage of the time, which included within the meaning of the verb “regulate” the concept of self- regulation or self-control (as it does still to this day). The concept that the people retained the right to self-regulate their local militia groups (or regulate themselves as individual militia members) is entirely consistent with the Framers’ use of the indefinite article “a” in the phrase “A well regulated Militia.”

That’s right, “We the people” are to self-regulate our own militia groups made up of anyone capable of bearing arms.

 

“Being necessary to the security of a free State”

Some of us may say we live under tyranny now, but it pales in comparison to the tyranny the Founders lived under.  The Founders knew there were three potential enemies; the first, an invading country, the second, a single terrorist or small groups of terrorists, the last, the standing Army sponsored by the federal government.

It is the job of the standing army to fight against invading forces.  It is the job of police agencies to deal with terrorists.  It is the job of the militia to be a check against the standing army.

“Thus, “well regulation” referred to something else. Since the fundamental purpose of the militia was to serve as a check upon a standing army, it would seem the words “well regulated” referred to the necessity that the armed citizens making up the militia(s) have the level of equipment and training necessary to be an effective and formidable check upon the national government’s standing army.”

“This view is confirmed by Alexander Hamilton’s observation, in The Federalist, No. 29, regarding the people’s militias ability to be a match for a standing army: ” . . . but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights . . . .”

Of course we don’t have a structured citizen militia as well trained or as well-equipped as the standing army, but this does provide the basis for citizens to own weapons on the same level as the average soldier.  This would not apply to planes, tanks, mine or grenades, but it would permit semi-auto rifles and semi-auto handguns with high capacity magazines.

 

The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The first two parts of the Second Amendment set the stage for why the people have the (God given) right to keep and bear arms.  This last part flatly states the right shall not be infringed.

“Furthermore, returning to the text of the Second Amendment itself, the right to keep and bear arms is expressly retained by “the people,” not the states. Recently the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed this view, finding that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right held by the “people,” — a “term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution,” specifically the Preamble and the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Thus, the term “well regulated” ought to be considered in the context of the noun it modifies, the people themselves, the militia(s).”

Here is another fantastic piece from Roanoke.com called In Webster’s English.  It explains that the English language has changed since the writing of the Second Amendment and uses the first Webster’s dictionary to explain it.

 

The Second Amendment in Modern Times

There have been some recent developments with the Second Amendment.  First, on August 24, 2004, the Justice Department released a brief on Whether the Second Amendment Secures an Individual Right.. They state:

we conclude that the Second Amendment secures a personal right of individuals, not a collective right that may only be invoked by a State or a quasi-collective right restricted to those persons who serve in organized militia units.”

In the wake of illegal confiscation of firearms after Hurricane Katrina, there was H.R. 5013 (109th): Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006, which, among other things, states:

“The Second Amendment to the Constitution states that a `well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed’, and Congress has repeatedly recognized this language as protecting an individual right.”

Most recently, on 6-28-2010, the Supreme Court upheld, 5-4, that The Second Amendment’s guarantee of an individual right to bear arms applies to state and local gun control laws.

 

In Summary

The Founding Fathers clearly laid out that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right.  There have been many evil men who have tried to control their people by outlawing the ownership of firearms.  I believe the Founders knew this was a possibility in the future of our nation, which is why they spelled it out.  Even though they spelled it out, some have tried to muddy its meaning.  With the paper from the Justice Department and the decision from the Supreme Court it is clear:

 

The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

 

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The War on Guns; Part One
The War on Guns; Part Two

Protecting Yourself and Your Property After a Disaster

Scenario:  Jerusalem has been devastated by war and is in ruins.  It’s walls have been broken down and it’s gates burned by fire.  Nehemiah, King Artaxerxes’ cup bearer, has received permission from the king to go to Jerusalem and rebuild it.  Their enemies have plotted to catch them unaware, kill them and stop their work.  Nehemiah has discovered this and decides:

Neh 4:16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 4:17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 4:18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. 4:19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 4:20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” 4:21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 4:22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day.” 4:23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.

In every medium to large scale natural disaster there are people who come to the area to loot.  There is a second group of people; “disaster tourists”.  These are people who want to go to the disaster area to see, in person, what they have seen on TV.  One of these is obviously a criminal but the other isn’t as nefarious, at least not on purpose.

 

Looters

These dirtbags pray on the misfortune of others during what might be the worst time in their life.  I have heard of people both sneaking around and stealing items that have been relocated by the event, as well as people dressing up, pretending to be representatives from utility companies.  I have also heard reports of items gone missing once a restoration company is hired, the home owner believing their contractor’s employees stole from them.

I think the default tactic most people go to is “I’ll guard my house, gun in hand”.  This may be an option in some circumstances, but it might not always be.  Imagine if there is massive destruction and, God forbid, your home is destroyed.   Your family is okay and has relocated to a nearby shelter on the night of the destruction.  You have nothing but the clothes on your backs.  When you attempt to go back to your home the next day, there is a police officer parked on the road leading into your neighborhood.  He will not let anyone enter without proof of residence.  Remember, I said you only have the clothes on your back?  This scenario is a very good reason to have a copy of the important documents stored away from your home.

Now let’s say there is a smaller amount of damage but still too much for you to feel comfortable letting your family stay there.  Would you put them up in a hotel room and guard the house alone?  Remember, after Hurricane Sandy, there were many people who didn’t have power for over a week.  While that might not be a stressor for some of you, do you want to put your family in a position not only be without power, but possibly face looters and other dirtbags?  Not to mention, whatever destruction is in the area, such as flooding, debris from destroyed homes and businesses, etc.

If the damage in your area is minimal and the biggest problem is lack of power, you might choose to stick it out and guard your home.  If so, the following are some things to keep in mind.  There is safety in numbers.  You might choose to form a group with other neighbors who have stayed behind, forming a neighborhood watch.  Have a 2-4 hour shift from sundown to sunup every night, rotating people so everyone gets enough rest.  If possible, I would want two; one stationery and one roving watch.  If there is trouble, the stationery watch would alert the others.  Having two-way communication would be a huge plus.  Another option for the roving watch is to carry an air horn, giving three blasts if they find trouble, everyone heading for the source of the noise.  I realize this gives away the element of surprise, but if it’s all you have, it is better than nothing.

I’m not a big fan of the “Looters will be shot” signs.  Why tip your hand?  It might also invite Joe Dirtbag to use overwhelming force.  Whereas, before, he might have just snuck around to see what he could steal, now he expects trouble.  He might just shoot you and take what he wants.  On a side note, this is also the reason I don’t open carry.

Nehemiah expected trouble from his enemies.  He also knew that with the limited resources he would need a citizen army, which meant each person would pull double duty as guard and laborer.  He told those who lived outside the gate to stay inside to help stand guard.  They slept in their clothes so they could act immediately.

If we had a modern day example, I think it could look something like this; each family is armed and prepared to defend their home and their neighborhood.  There is a neighborhood watch that had a stationery watch and, depending on the size of the neighborhood, either one or multiple roving watches.  You might think this is overkill, but Nehemiah’s enemies didn’t defeat him.  They could see they were ready for battle by the ever-present sword or spear, with plenty of people on the lookout.  This isn’t to say that everyone has to be armed.  The presence of people will often deter Mr. Dirtbag and company.

 

Disaster Tourists

As I said, these people aren’t nefarious on purpose, but they can be harmful unintentionally.   If you read the Fox News story on “disaster tourists”, you’ll see that the home owners said the gawker traffic was much higher earlier in the week.  If the roads are in bad shape, there might only be a few routes to use and they are congesting them.

One of the people interviewed for the Fox News article said she felt violated.  I can understand that, I wouldn’t like it very much if people wanted to come and “tour” one of the worst events in my life.

The disaster tourists also can be a means for Joe Dirtbag and friends to blend in to case the neighborhood for later looting.  This would be the reason that police are often posted near entrances and refuse entry to anyone who cannot prove residency.  If law enforcement is stretched too thin, you could always do this yourself.  Most folks will understand if you tell them only residents who can prove residency are allowed in.  Keep in mind that you have no legal ground to stop anyone who demands entry, even if they cannot prove where they live.  You could ask if they know someone in the neighborhood and find that person to vouch for them.  You could also have someone follow them to their “home”, to see if they do, in fact, live where they say they live.

Going back to Nehemiah, having people who take turns working on cleanup and standing guard/watch is a great idea here as well.  While the tourists might not mean you harm, keeping tabs on those not helping to “rebuild the wall” is still a good idea.

Do you have any other ways to protect oneself and property after an event, from looters and disaster tourists?

 

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Keeping Watch Once It’s Hit the Fan

If society falls apart, even for a limited time, it would be a good idea to post a watch.   This can assure that your family or group stays protected and rested.   In Light, Sound and Smell Discipline I covered some things that should be considered at all times once its hit the fan.  This goes for being on watch too.  Below are other things to keep in mind while on watch.

I stood many watches while I was in the Navy.  Those watches were much different.  There are, however, many principles that are the same.  Please add your suggestions in the comments section below.

 

Staying Awake

This is probably the most important thing and can be one of the hardest.   In a time when stress and tension are high for an extended period, you might not get a lot of rest.  After a few days without rest, your mind easily wanders off and your body rebels to get sleep, especially when things are quiet at night, but your family and friends are counting on you to stay awake to keep them safe.

Staying awake can be a real challenge.  What works to keep one person awake won’t necessarily work for the next person.  It might help to keep moving.  Your mind may still drift off, but it can snap back as long as you’re awake.  You can’t fall asleep if you’re walking.  Well, I suppose you can, but not for very long!  LOL.  Be thinking of things that help you stay awake now that don’t completely distract you.  Make a note of them.

The trouble with caffeine and other stimulants it is that they can affect you after your watch has ended and interfere with your rest.  The four hour energy “shots” might not be a bad option if they work for you, they just make me yawn louder.  If you do decide to use coffee or other stimulants, limit them so you won’t be awake after your watch has ended and so you don’t have to step away for repeated restroom trips.

Taking small shifts is a must.  In the Navy, we stood mostly four hour watches.  Some of you might be tempted to take a longer watch to give your family more rest.  Don’t.  Everyone needs their rest and your family needs you to be rested as well.  The longer you delay sleep, the harder your mind and body will rebel.  In a training school in the Navy, I had a young man in my class who, for some reason, could not stay awake.  He was told to stand up during a lecture and still fell asleep.  The instructor gave him a three foot 2×4 and made him hold it over his head.  By the end of the day, this young man had two knots on the top of his head.  I share this just to show you that sometimes your body simply shuts down.  Rest when it’s your turn or you’ll be more of a danger to your loved ones.

 

It’s Called “Watch” Not “Defend”

If you hear something that goes bump in the night, wake others up, depending on how big of a bump it was.  If you go check it out on your own and are overpowered, there is no one to sound the alarm.

If you go with a buddy system you have two sets of eyes and ears to look for what made the noise, and two people to defend if needed.

 

Communication

If you’re standing watch and see or hear something, being able to radio someone to wake them allows you to continue to observe what is going on.  I have recently become an affiliate for Midland radios.  I did so because I have a few Midland products and think highly of them.  In the interest of full disclosure, I will receive a small commission if you purchase from them by clicking on the image to the right or the Midland text here.  The Midland two way radios or any higher quality FRS two way radio would be a good fit here.

 

Sound the Alarm

If danger is imminent, having a fast way to wake everyone is a good idea.  If you want to maintain the element of surprise, sending someone to give everyone a quick shake might be the only option.  If the element of surprise is lost and you just need bodies fast, an idea I had was for small air horns.  I bought a bunch of them at the $1 store.

 

Neighborhood watch

If you have developed a neighborhood watch, you might develop have a stationary watch at a main entrance or two, having a roving watch that goes between the two.   This is another area where having radios for fast communication is essential.  Depending on the size and density of your area, a two way FRS radio should work ok.  If not, moving up to a CB is a good option.

 

Rules of Engagement

Having the response planned ahead of time is crucial.  Now is the time to be thinking about what you might do if society is erupting and you hear a noise a house or two away at 02:00.  Does this response change if there is no established rule of law?

You should also have defined what everyone’s job is, even if it is to stay with the kids and reassure them and keep them as quiet as possible.

 

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What Does Civil Unrest Look Like and How Can You Stay Safe Near It?

There have been a lot of rumors of possible or expected civil unrest, which I mentioned in What We May See at the End of 2012 that is not related to the Mayans and such as this recent article from Infowars.com, entitled Will The Election Results Cause Massive Riots To Erupt All Over America?.  This could range from small peaceful protests to large violent riots.  In light of this, I thought I would look back at civil unrest in our history and from around the world to see if there is anything to be learned that could help if we’re ever caught near civil unrest.

 

Mob Mentality

Mob mentality means a group that acts together without a previous plan.  Mob mentality can turn dangerous if there are negative or hostile emotions being expressed.   People often feed off one another’s anger.  If one person acts out in violence, others may quickly follow.  People soon think as a group and continue to feed off each other’s hostility.

There are a certain percentage of people who will act with honor in any situation.  There is another percentage that will act with dishonor and take advantage of people in any situation.  There is yet another group of people who will usually act with honor except when presented with the opportunity to “get away with it”.  In a group of people, all it takes is for a small percentage of dishonorable people to influence the opportunists and chaos ensues.

Examples where this has happened would be riots after sporting events, flash mobs with malicious intent and, to some extent, the riots seen with “Occupy Wall Street”.

If you are facing a group where mob mentality is present, the best advice I can give is to leave the area immediately and call the police from a safe distance.  Flash mobs are a bit different; they are usually made up of teenagers who text their friends and the group quickly builds because so many have been texting.  They often then target a specific location, streaming in and either burglarizing the location or, in some instances, assaulting patrons or employees.

If you are faced with a flash mob, I would advise you to forget what you were there to purchase and leave immediately.  You do not know what the intent is or how long it will remain peaceful.  Retreat to a safe distance that the mob cannot quickly get to and call police.

 

Extended Lawlessness

I can only think of one case of extended lawlessness in recent American history.  That would be the LA riot in 1992, which lasted six days.  There were 53 people killed and over 2,000 injured.  Rioting was sparked in a few other places across the country but the majority of it was seen in LA.

Looting and violence was rampant.  I had a friend in the Navy who lived in South Central LA during the time of the riots.  He said his mother made him and his brother stay lying on the floor almost the entire time because of random gunfire.  I have read reports that police were so overwhelmed in parts of the city that some business owner took up arms and defended their businesses.

Looking abroad, we see similar traits.  When Saddam fell and his police went into hiding, Iraq was full of looting and rioting that carried on for many days.  I remember reading reports from Tunisia and Egypt soon after the civil unrest started there.  There were reports of small convenience stores running out of supplies, cash machines running dry and neighbors banding together to defend their neighborhood from the rioting thugs.

There have been many anti-austerity protests and riots in Spain, Greece, the United Kingdom and some other European countries as well, many of which have turned violent.  I remember reading one report of sporting goods stores in the UK running out of baseball bats because people were buying them for protection (see what happens when you don’t have the right to bear arms?).

If you live near a city that is in the midst of extended lawlessness you will have to make a decision.  Will you be safer if you bug out or batten down?  If you chose to batten down, here are some things to keep in mind; 1.) Make sure you have food and water available so that you do not have to risk leaving the house.  2.) Keep some emergency cash at home just in case you must leave for emergency supplies.

If you have to go out on foot, always be looking for cover and concealment, even if you don’t have to use it in the moment, you should always know where the nearest is at any given moment.  Avoid large groups of people; you have no way of knowing what they may be up to or when mob mentality may take hold.  If you see violence taking place, whether it is a fistfight or any other type of violence, it can shock your system to see it “in real life”.  Do not fixate on it, push it from your mind and focus on putting distance between you and it, you can process what you saw when your safely back home.  Keep your head on a swivel as they say in the Navy and keep looking around you to make sure you know who is nearby.

If you go out near civil unrest in a vehicle, keep as much distance as you can or you may be faced with the decision to use your vehicle to “make some room” to push through a crowd or to simply flee.  That is why I suggest you keep moving.  Do not stop and watch.  Keep as much distance as you can. Almost every time I see footage from riots, there are cars that are vandalized, flipped over or burned.

You cannot depend on 911 or expect the police to show up quickly.  It might be wise to take a page from the neighbors in Egypt who banded together to protect their neighborhood or from the business owners in LA that defended their businesses because the police were so overwhelmed.

 

Restoring Order

Police and possibly the National Guard have the difficult task of stopping the lawlessness and restoring order.  This job could be made increasingly difficult because in many cases the dishonorable people will try to blend in with citizens who’re nearby.  This is used to great effect in Iraq and Afghanistan where someone will shot at our forces and then drop their gun and hide amongst the civilians standing nearby, or will run into a hospital mosque.

As I wrote in What We May See at the End of 2012 that is not related to the Mayans, local law enforcement agencies have trained with the military in urban operations.  Also Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons and the Air National Guard ordering several LRAD (Long Range Acoustical Devices).  The article also states:

“With this order, LRAD systems will be in use by every major force of the Department of Defense,”

There are two dangers.  One is the rioters and the other is the response to them.  You would be well advised to keep your distance from both.

 

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Building a Defensive Battery

Please bear with my soapbox for a moment.

With all of the talk about the small arms treaty and the comments from the President on guns after the recent tragic shootings, I decided it’s time to write this article while there is still time for you to legally build your defensive battery.

Does this mean that I think the UN small arms treaty will pass or that the President will come after arms if he gets reelected?  The truth is, I don’t know.  What I do know is that our liberties have slowly been stripped away for decades, much more rapidly in the last four years.  I also know that the left hates private gun ownership.  Enough soapbox, on to the main article.

 

What is a defensive battery? 

That is a subjective question.  It’s subjective because it depends on what you think you’ll need the firearms in your battery for.  Since I can’t answer that question for you, I’ll just cover some popular types of firearms to have in a defensive battery.  This article might sound a bit similar to Finding the Best Home Defense Gun to Meet Your Needs
Finding the Best Home Defense Gun to Meet Your Needs but a defensive battery isn’t just for home defense.  It could and possibly should include firearms that you would never use for home defense.

 

Handguns

I covered some things to look for in a handgun in Buying Your First or Next Handgun , so I’ll not go into detail here.  If you’re in range to use your handgun, your training is more important than your caliber, so to me that argument is mute.  I have consistently seen three brands that are always highly recommended.  They are (in no specific order), Glock Smith & Wesson and Sig Saur.  I’m not saying other brands aren’t as good.  I’m just saying that I see these three rated higher more often than others.  Do your research and shoot it before you buy it.  I’ll leave it at that.

 

10-22 Rifle

In a defensive battery?  Yep.  Remember, a defensive battery isn’t just for protecting the homestead.  It could be used in providing for the homestead as well.  There have been many pots filled with a 10-22.  These are usually $150-$200 new.  I got two for the family to learn to shoot with.  Ammo is cheap enough that you could shoot all day for very little. I wish I would have purchased Ruger 10-22’s as they have set the standard, so-to-speak.  I have heard many survival experts, when asked the “If you could only bring one gun, what would it be?” questions, say they would bring their 10-22.  It can take small and large game with a carefully placed shot.  It can help you stay in practice.  For these and other reasons, this one is a must in my opinion.

 

Shotgun

I covered shotguns in some detail in Finding the Best Home Defense Gun to Meet Your Needs, so I’ll just glaze over it here.  For sheer versatility, this is a must.  You can take small game and birds with birdshot or larger game with buckshot and slugs.  I mentioned this in the other article, but it needs to be said again.  If you only buy one shotgun, the smallest framed person in the home that might be called upon to use it, has to be able to handle it.  That might mean you need to go with a youth model 20 gauge, but it will still do the job.

 

As for brands, I have heard good things about Benelli but don’t know much about them.  I have also heard good things about and have fired a Mossberg 500.  My favorite thing about this gun was the safety placement in the top, which is very easy to reach with your thumb.   The shotgun that I have seen the most praise for and my personal choice is the Remington 870.  It’s not as easy to find a range that will let you rent a shotgun, so if you don’t have one, see if you can find a friend that hunts.

 

 

Rifles

 

I’m going to break this up into two separate classes; hunting guns and long guns. The reason I am separating the two is because, to me, they have different jobs and also because one of them is going to be in more danger of being regulated than the other.

 

 

Hunting Rifles

 

Hunting is a skill set I don’t have.  My dad wasn’t a hunter and I didn’t have anyone else to teach me.  Even if you’re not a hunter, it might still be a good idea to have a rifle capable of taking game in the state you live.  From Semi-auto, bolt action, lever action and more calibers than I can name off the top of my head, there are many options.  What might be good in one state, where average ranges are a mere thirty to one hundred yards, is nothing to states where ranges could go a few hundred yards.  If you’re not a hunter, this information can be quickly gathered in an internet search.

 

 

Long Guns

You may have heard these called “black guns”, “assault rifles”, “machine guns” or other silly names.  These are the guns that fell under the Assault Weapons Ban and are in danger of it again.  These are semi-automatic rifles that can have high capacity magazines.  I have said that, to me, long guns have a different job than hunting rifles.  While some are very capable and often used to hunt with, let’s call a spade a spade.  These are the firearms used to fight wars.

I’m not saying that as detraction, so why then would I say this is a viable option for one’s defensive battery?  There are a few reasons.  The first is that the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States says I have the God given right to.  Now, some might say “the Founders never meant for the average citizen to own an AR-15 or AK-47” but I disagree wholeheartedly!  If those platforms would have been around then, you can bet the revolutionary war would have been fought with them.

My second reason is that there is no better weapon to defend yourself.  They have the range, stopping power and capacity to stop an enemy and keep him at a distance.  Hence the reason they are the firearms used to fight wars with.

My third reason is, look at places like Mumbai or even the bank robbery in Los Angeles County in 1997.  In Both cases the criminals had far superior firepower then the police.  Or in the case of Mumbai, any nearby gun store or civilian.

There are, again, many platforms and calibers, too many to list.  I will just touch on two popular choices that I am semi familiar with.  They are the AR-15 and the AK-47.  Again, let me say that I started out as a prepper with no firearms experience.  I was in the Navy but we were not required to shoot a firearm to be enlisted.  I fired both an AK-47 and an AR-15 without having a clue how either worked, and got no training on them before using them.  I was easily able to figure the AK-47 out.  It was designed that way, to be reliable and easy enough to teach “peasants” quickly.  I am embarrassed to say that when I tried to “rack the chamber” of the AR-15, I ejected the magazine.  That was entirely my fault, not the guns.  It does take more training than the AK-47.  I’m not  saying one is better, then the other, that might be for another article.

Long guns will be the first gun to be regulated.  If you want one, now is probably the time to act.  If you want more high capacity magazines, the same holds true. The President’s comments that “I think a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals,”

Oops, I keep bumping into this dang soapbox. Yes he was wrong on the type of gun our soldiers are issued, but he means all long guns, not just AK-47’s. I have read reports that every household in Iraq is allowed to have one fully automatic AK-47 for home defense. I have also read that as part of conscription, every Swedish adult serves in their Army and is allowed to bring their fully automatic rifle home. American’s are required to have a special permit to own a fully Auto rifle. But I would happen to agree with the Swedish and Iraqi Governments, that yes, they in fact do belong in the hands of the citizenry.

 

Ammo

You may have heard the saying that “without ammo you just have an expensive club”.  How much you store is up to you and what you can afford.  I have seen many recommendations that you should have 500-1000 rounds for each firearm you own.  I guess the thinking here is that if it did hit the fan, you might find it difficult to restock easily.  I have also seen plenty of stories where someone was arrested for something illegal, and it mentioned that he has “thousands of rounds of ammunition.”  I also just read that there is a bill being proposed now that would require any purchase of 1000 rounds be reported to Homeland Security.  Depending on where you live, it may be easy to purchase ammo, though for some, purchasing any volume online might be the only option.

If you belong to a shooting league, you can go through a thousand rounds in a weekend.  This would really hamper them.  If you’re someone that just likes to enjoy range time with friends, you can go through rounds fast as well.

In both the case of the shooting at the screening of the Batman movie and the shooting at the Sikh reports have come out that suspects were on law enforcements radar.  Adding new legislation isn’t the answer, using what is already there is.

 

Finding the Best Home Defense Gun to Meet Your Needs

Everyone has their opinion on what the best choice is for a home defense gun is and they could all be right. This topic, like many others, isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are cost factors, training concerns, legal restrictions and even the area in which you live to consider.

Instead of giving my opinion, I’ll give you some general guidelines and my take on different platforms so that you can find the perfect home defense gun for you. I’m going to speak in generalities in this article. I don’t know your local laws, please look to them for your firearm regulations.

What Makes a Good Home Defense Gun?

 

These are the factors I use for CCW or home defense guns.

  1. It has to work every time I pull the trigger or misfires have to be so seldom that the number might as well be zero.
  2. It has to be a common caliber; the more common the caliber, the more common the ammo. This is for people building their primary defensive battery; if you have go to handgun, by all means get something nonstandard.
  3. I have to like the gun; how the grip feels and how it feels when shooting it. I was talking to someone who said his dad owned a Glock for many years. His dad was involved in a car accident that caused some nerve damage to his hand. Afterward his dad could no longer shoot the Glock because of the way the polymer grip vibrated. If you don’t like the feel of it, you won’t shoot it, if you won’t shoot it you won’t be proficient at it.

 

What is your budget?

I could say that the hands down best home defense firearm is a $1000 carbine, but if you only have $200-$300 in the budget, nothing else matters. I’ll speak in generalities because it will always be possible to find a firearm that is more or less expensive. That being said, rifles and carbines are usually going to be the most expensive, followed by handguns and shotguns being the least expensive.

 

Will each adult have their own firearm, or will there be one home defense gun?

If this firearm is going to be the only home defense gun in the home, the adult with the smallest stature has to be able to fire it efficiently. Gentlemen, if you only have one firearm and your wife cannot fire it effectively, she might as well be without a firearm. This is not a knock on you ladies. Some women do not have the upper body strength to wield a loaded 12 gauge or the like. Some women just don’t like the recoil. There could be another suitable option available that is easier to handle and has sufficient stopping power.

 

Where do you live?

There is a huge difference between living in an apartment versus your nearest neighbor living a half mile away. If you live in an area that has neighbor’s very nearby, penetration is a concern. This all but rules rifles out. With handguns you can limit this some by choice of ammo. You have more options with a shotgun but you have to be sure you aren’t compromising on stopping power. More on this later.

 

What do you have the most practice with?

Let’s say you have a 12 gauge loaded with buckshot for home defense but you have only shot it a handful of times. Let’s say you have the gun you wear for conceal and carry that you have fired hundreds of rounds downrange with. Which of the two is the better choice?

There is a caveat here. Since this is a gun for defense, it must have stopping power. If you’re in a .22 league and have the most practice with a .22, enjoy the league but practice with something that has more stopping power for home defense.

 

Platforms

Speaking in generalities again, when it comes to stopping power, rifles are better stoppers than shotguns, which are better than handguns. Rifles and shotguns don’t conceal well without the police being called (haha). When out in public the handgun is the best option. For home defense, penetration is often a concern, whether a round goes through interior walls or exterior walls, you have to think about others in your house and your neighbors. Shooting through walls is an article from The Box O’ Truth. In it, he shows that most handgun, rifle and many shotgun loads will penetrate walls.

 

Handguns

I have seen all kinds of arguments for and against using handguns for home defense. Some will say that the handgun is what you use when you can’t carry a shotgun or rifle. There is a similar argument that the handgun is what you use to fight your way to your rifle. Both are very valid points. Handguns do not have the range or stopping power like the other options. If it is what you are trained with, it could be the best option for you.

My concern with using a handgun for home defense is over penetration. Most rounds will penetrate multiple interior walls and punch through an exterior one as well. With frangible ammunition this can be mitigated to some extent. This type of ammunition is made to expand upon impact and limit penetration. This isn’t to say they are not man stoppers. This type of ammo is more expensive but you should shoot with it to ensure it works well with your gun. While it is expensive, it is not nearly as expensive as a funeral.

One plus that the handgun has over other platforms is that it can be shot with one hand. If you have a child that you have to carry, or have a disability that would make using the larger framed platforms prohibitive, a handgun might make a good choice.

 

Rifles/Carbines

Having the longest range, the most rounds per magazine and the best stopping power, these are the most expensive option. As with handguns, over penetration is a concern. Frangible ammunition does not work well in rifles in most cases and is only available in a few select calibers. If you live in an area that penetration is not a concern, this is a great option.

 

Shotguns

Most often the least expensive option, a brand new shotgun can be purchased for $200-$300 and I have seen them at pawn shops for less than $200. In home defense ranges, a shotgun with the right ammo can be an effective man stopper. Shotguns come in a variety of gauges, The most common are the 12 gauge and the 20 gauge; the smaller the number, the more powerful the shotgun. Many people will say that a home defense shotgun should be a 12 gauge. If this is the only firearm in the home, I’ll go back to the point I made about the person with the smallest stature being able to handle the firearm. If that person still has trouble with the weight of a fully loaded 20 gauge, youth models are available. With the smaller frame, maneuvering through the home might be easier and with the right ammo, the youth model will still be an effective stopper.

Shotguns have a variety of ammunition available; birdshot, buckshot and slugs. Slugs, while a very effective stopper, are not a great choice for home defense due to over penetration. Buckshot and birdshot come in varying shot sizes. Birdshot is not defensive ammunition and should only be used on, well, birds. Here is a link to The Box O’ Truth where he shows just how effective 20 gauge #3 buckshot is. For home defense loads, #3 or #4 buckshot would be sufficient to stop Mr. Dirtbag and will have far less penetration than bullets.

Shotguns have less capacity than the other platforms. You can compensate for this with a stock shell holder. There is a belief carried by some that shotguns don’t have to be aimed. This is simply untrue. Practice and training are still needed in every case.

Another plus too shotguns is that they are multi-lingual. The person breaking into your house might not speak English, but everyone speaks shotgun.

 

Things you should have with your home defense gun.

  • A light. Whether mounted or not, you need to be able to see your target and make sure it’s not one of the kids sneaking in at 2 am. You can kill them (figuratively) in the morning (haha).
  • Training. Save up and spend money on good quality training. I know there multiple places within an hour of me that offer training specifically on home defense.
  •  Night Sites. If your firearm can have night sites I would recommend getting them. It will help you with target acquisition.
  •  If you have older eyes or problems with target acquisition, a laser might be a great option.
  • Did I mention training? TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

Your firearm is useless for home defense if you cannot get to it quickly, here are some of my thoughts on Being Armed at Home.