Cultivate Some Defensive Cactus

I’m big on active defensive measures and have to remind myself from time to time that passive ones can be a useful addition. Passive defenses play an important part in deterring the criminal element, as well as buying us time to react, when it is necessary to resort to passive measures. Considering that our real goal is to prevent a crime being perpetrated against us, rather than to shoot and possibly kill someone, having our passive defenses do the job for us seems like an efficient way to go, when we can.

Basically, passive defenses are anything that keeps criminals from doing what they want to do, without our intervention. Locks on our doors and windows are the most basic level of passive defense there is. But alone, those locks aren’t really all that effective. They’re counting on the fact that criminals don’t want to make noise and attract attention. None of them are really capable of keeping the criminals out all by themselves, as it is easy to break into any locked door or window if one isn’t concerned about making noise.

One level above any passive defense we might choose to use would probably be booby traps. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t allow us to use those, which actually makes sense, as they are non-discriminating and might hurt a child. Even so, there is something that could be considered a passive booby trap that we should consider using, especially if we live in an area where there’s a high risk of people trying to break into our homes through the windows.

The idea of planting bushes below first-story windows, making it harder for criminals to gain access to those windows and try to use them as an entry point is an old one. But I think we can do better than that. There’s no law against planting cacti wherever you want, just as long as you’re planting them on your own property. So, why not plant cacti under your windows, where they will either discourage those thieves from trying to get into your home or make them pay the price for trying?

Cacti can be useful in other parts of your property as well, such as just inside your backyard fence, in places where someone might try to come over the fence. Since most break-in artists have either been in the home before breaking in or have cased the joint thoroughly, it’s not as if you were placing those cacti there without them having the benefit of knowing of their existence. Should they forget however, the reminder will be painful.

Another place cacti can be useful is denying access to your property, if you have a larger piece of property outside of town. A cactus garden placed just about anywhere denies access. If there’s a canal or trail bordering your property, a cactus garden allowed to grow along it is a better deterrent than any kind of fence you can think of, even barbed wire.

Of all the plants you can put on your property, cacti require the least maintenance. They grow naturally in extremely arid areas, so it isn’t necessary to water them frequently. However, you might want to consider watering your cactus garden frequently when first planted, as that will help them grow quickly. Just make sure that the soil has good drainage, so as to prevent root rot. Cacti need the soil to dry out between watering.

If all else fails, the same cacti make a great warning system, as anyone who stumbles into them is likely to be a bit noisy about it, either crying out from the pain or stumbling around trying to get out. In either case, the cacti end up acting as an alarm system for you, giving you the opportunity to turn to more active defensive measures.

You might want to grab your first-aid kit, along with your gun though, as they are likely to need first-aid, more than want to continue trying to penetrate your home. From painful experience (in military training), I can tell you that landing in the cactus is a sure-fire way of dampening anyone’s desire to get into wherever it was that they were trying to get into.

All in all, adding a cactus plant or two might just be what the doctor ordered, when it comes to helping make your home safe from anyone breaking in. It might not seem like it, but those cacti could be just as important as keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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