Active Defense of Your Home

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

There’s an old saying that locks only keep honest people honest. When it all comes down to brass tacks, that statement nails it. Everything we’ve talked about for securing your home is dependent on that. There is no security measure we’ve talked about, nor security measure you can do, which will fully guarantee that a criminal can’t get into your home. It all depends on how much that criminal wants in.

Every passive security measure there is, whether for your home of for Fort Knox, all has the same purpose; to dissuade the criminal. The idea is that if it is hard enough for them to get in, they’ll give up and go elsewhere.

Criminals are lazy, otherwise they wouldn’t be criminals. They’d do something rational, like getting a real job and making a living. But they think it is easier to live a life of crime, expecting that they can get away with it. Of course, they don’t take into account the cost of spending years behind bars… but that’s because they all think they’re so brilliant, that they’ll never be caught.

But what about that criminal who is motivated by something more than just greed? The one who wants more than just to steal what you have, so they can sell it to a fence for a tenth of what it’s worth? Will your passive defenses stop them? Probably not.

Take rapists, for example. Many of them have fantasized about their intended victim to the point where they can’t be dissuaded by anything you can do to make the home secure. They’re out to get what they want, and they’re convinced that they’re going to get it. Locks of any sort are merely something to overcome along the way to getting what they want.

In that case, active defense measures have to come into play. By active measures, I mean you doing something. That can either mean running away, or taking up arms in defense of yourself, your family and your home.

What you actually decide to do is up to you, taking into account the laws of the state in which you live. But let’s take a quick look at the three basic options you have:


Running is probably the easiest way to avoid conflict with a criminal; unless, of course, they are seeking to have a conflict with you. If all they want is to steal your purse or rob your home, running gets you out of danger, assuming you leave the purse or home behind.

But running means abandoning what is yours and essentially giving it to the criminal. While there are no possession that are so valuable as to be worth a life, we have all worked for what we have. So it’s really not all that easy to just give it up.

This becomes even worse in crisis or post-disaster situation. Abandoning your home and possessions in that situation could leave you in a very vulnerable position; one which could ultimately end up costing your life and the lives of your family. In such a situation, running would probably be the worst possible option, as it would leave you without the things you need to have to survive.

Fortunately, most states have some sort of “stand your ground law,” otherwise known as the “castle doctrine.” Put simply, this states that you aren’t legally required to abandon your home and turn it over to a criminal, but that you can stand your ground and defend your home, even to the point of using deadly force when necessary.

Using Non-Lethal Force

There are a number of non-lethal weapons on the market today, most specifically pepper spray and tasers. These are intended to temporarily incapacitate criminal assailants, giving you a chance to escape. They are not intended as a permanent solution to the problem, but only to be used in conjunction with running.

The real problem comes in when people use non-lethal weapons, without the intent of running, thinking that they are safe because their assailant is incapacitated. But here’s the rub, they won’t be incapacitated long. You can’t really count on the police getting there to slap on the handcuffs before they come to. And you can be sure that once they do come to, they’ll be seeking revenge on you for what you’ve done to them.

So any non-lethal weapon should only be used as part of a larger self-defense strategy. If you can incapacitate the criminal and then bind them before they are able to function once again, that’s great. It saves you the mental anguish that comes along with shooting someone. But if you can’t do that or aren’t planning on running away, don’t use one of these.

Using Lethal Force

Most states allow the use of lethal force in self-defense. This mostly means using firearms to protect yourself, but it is not limited to the use of firearms. There are a large number of other weapons that you can use to kill someone, other than guns.

The tricky thing here, is that your actions are subject to judicial review. What that means is that the courts have to agree that your actions were justified, after the fact. If they don’t agree, you could face criminal prosecution for murder or manslaughter, just for doing what you think is defending yourself. You’ll only have a split second to decide if your actions in using deadly force are legally justified, and the courts will be able to take however much time they need, to determine if you were right.

That may not seem fair, but it is real. So you want to be sure that before you use lethal force, you understand the law’s constraints on doing so. Otherwise, you could find yourself in more hot water than you can stand. We’ll talk more about that next time.

In the mean time, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Chris and Dr. Rich

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