Rob Morse, over at his webzine Slow Facts continues publishing a series of help articles for the millions of people who have purchased guns (many for the very first time) in the last few weeks. Please credit Rob and share this around. It is to everyone’s betterment to do this sort of sharing, and Rob is fine with it! I’ve added a few short additional comments and done some editing. – Nathan
This is valuable and useful information for all of the people who have just bought guns to protect themselves, their families, and their property (business or personal) during this time of troubles. You can find this follow up here and the last commentary with Rob’s first help article here.
PROTECTING YOUR FAMILY
That new gun in its box in the bedroom closet won’t keep you safe until it is part of your security plan. Becoming a gunfighter takes months of practice and makes you seconds faster. But having a security plan takes only a few hours and gives you minutes of advantage. Spend your time where it does the most good. This is what should you do first.
Violent crime happens suddenly so you won’t have time to plan during the event. Please plan and practice now because during an emergency, you’ll only have the options you rehearsed. Physically walking through a safety drill makes all the difference in the world! Your mind falls back on your habits when you’re half asleep and stressed.
Another reason to build and practice your security plan is to change the world around you. If your doors are locked, then criminals often move on to try someplace else that is easier to enter. Lock your windows too. Now you can call the police and tell them that someone is moving through the neighborhood trying the doors. If you have a few dollars saved up (and the stores are still open or you can buy online), then add motion-activated porch lights and a video doorbell. Those simple steps WILL make your family much safer.
There is another “free” safety item that you can put in place. Talk with your family about what to do in an emergency. You want to retreat to a safe-room and lock the safe-room door while the bad guys are trying to kick their way into your home. Once your family is in that safe room, then you call the police. That safe room is where you stage an extra phone, a flashlight, and your keys. Press the car alarm on your key ring. Locked doors bought you that minute to react.
Do not search your house looking for the bad guy. I’ve studied about a thousand examples of armed defense. You want to protect your family from a locked room and let the police be the ones who confront the robber.
Some people gather their loved ones in the master bedroom, and some couples move to their children’s room to protect them there. Do what works best for you. Walk through your plan several times and adjust it. First, pretend you are starting from bed in the middle of the night. Also conduct a walk-through as if you and your family were in their favorite spots during the day or at mealtime. Look to see where your family is at risk as you slowly step through your safety plan. Test it a few times, and then rehearse with your entire family. Maybe you need another flashlight and phone in your children’s room(s).
Keep your guns secure from children, from criminals, and from crazy people. You also need your defensive gun to be available quickly. How will you do that so responsible adults can defend your family in seconds? Many of us use a small quick-access gun box when we’re not carrying our gun in a holster.
We win by staying safe until the police come and arrest the bad guy. We want to avoid a gunfight where the bad guy gets to shoot at us and the people we love. If there is a bad guy in your home, then shout that you’re armed and that you called the police. The goal is to keep our family safe. If words will stop people from attacking them, then use words. (If you are in a rural/frontier area with long response time, you need to do things differently – subject for another time.)
Unfortunately, what other people do is not up to us. Guns are not magic objects that control people’s minds; they are projectile dispensers, and nothing more. We use a gun when locked doors and harsh words don’t work. Whether the confrontation comes to that point is up to the criminal and the strength of our doors, windows, and locks.
Study the problems of armed defense. We want to recognize the uncountable situations when we should not use lethal force. Maybe you should have some pepper spray with you too. Identify the rare cases when we have to use a firearm. Shooting someone probably won’t kill them, but that is up to the doctors. Recognizing what to do will save us seconds of indecision. Don’t shoot at people who are outside your home.
Take a firearms class so you are both safe and accurate with your firearm. (Right now, that can be tough, but there are ways – again subject for another time.)
Don’t chase the bad guy. Have a family member stay on the phone with 911. Tell the dispatcher what you look like and what you’re wearing. You probably want to put the gun down before the police arrive. Do what the police tell you. If you get conflicting orders, then don’t move.
Your security plan includes what to say to the police. Tell them you’re the person who called. You defended yourself when you faced a lethal threat. You want to press charges against your attacker. Point to any obvious evidence like broken windows and doors. Say that you’ll give a full and complete report and cooperate with the investigation after you’ve spoken to your attorney.
Now be quiet and call your lawyer. In that moment, you are suffering a chemical brain injury from adrenaline. Talking is more likely to hurt your situation than to improve it. You might be handcuffed and arrested. You might be taken to jail. What matters is that your family is safe. Have a plan so you can get legal representation if you’re in jail. Buy a legal plan if you don’t have 50 thousand dollars in cash to spend on your legal defense.
Plan so your family is safe. Plan so you act within the law. That is how you protect your family.