Neighborhood Defense

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

We’ve talked a fair amount about defending your home and defending yourself, discussing different ideas about weapons and tactics that you should employ. Proper use of these weapons and tactics work to increase your safety and that of your family. But I’d like to take a moment today to go outside the box; specifically, to outside the box that is your home and talk about defending your neighborhood.

Before we go any farther, let me remind you that the law allows you to defend yourself, not to act aggressively towards others. Many states also allow you to defend others as well. But in either case, “defend” means that there is imminent threat of life and limb. In other words, there has to be more than just a perceived threat.

Having said that, perceived threats are what we’re going to talk about today. When I talked with you about situational awareness and the four different levels of threat awareness, I was actually talking about perceived threats. These are things that look like a potential threat, but have not yet manifested themselves.

If we always wait for a threat to manifest itself, we are putting ourselves and those around us at an unnecessary risk. Ideally, we want to identify those threats and prepare for action, before the bad guys take action. But we can’t legally take action, until they do. The initiative is always in the bad guys hands.

As a general rule of thumb, the law looks won’t accept that you are at risk, until the bad guys enter your home. If you meet them on the porch with a drawn gun, you can be charged with brandishing a weapon. You have to wait until they get inside your home to confront them with that gun, even if you are certain that their intent is to break in and attack you.

But here’s the point, you don’t have to wait until they get into your home to be aware of what they are doing or to put your hand on your gun. For that matter, it’s perfectly legal to have your loaded gun in hand, pointed at the door, when they burst through it. As long as you are inside the confines of your own home, any armed criminal is considered to be a threat, until they turn to flee. That’s important, once they turn to flee, the law states that they are no longer a threat to your safety.

Ok, so here’s where I’m going with this. That is, for you to become aware of everything that is going on outside your home, in your neighborhood. If there are neighborhood kids playing ball in the street, you should know it. Not only that, but you should be able to identify every one of those kids by name and where they live. The same can be said for a couple walking down the street, a child selling candy door-to-door or a second-story artist climbing over someone’s back fence.

The Neighborhood Watch program, which can be found in just about every city across the country, is about neighborhoods working together to keep an eye on what’s going on in their neighborhood. Whether you work through a formal arrangement like that or merely an informal agreement with your neighbors, the idea is that you want to be working together to keep an eye on your neighborhood.

None of us can keep track of everything that’s going on. But we can, when we work together. As I sit here in my office, writing, I can look through the window and see the street in front of my home. It is rare that anyone goes down that street without my noticing it. I identify them, where they live and what they are doing.

I’m doing this to protect myself and my family, watching for potential threats. At the same time, my vigilance is extending to my neighbors as well. In watching the street in front of my home, I know who is doing down the street to the houses at the end of the cul-de-sac where I live. If anyone passes by, who doesn’t look like they belong, I notice it. Likewise, I notice the occasional car that’s going to fast, posing a risk to the kids playing in the street.

When I see things like that, I take action… subtly. That action might be nothing more than to take a short break and go out on the balcony to stretch my legs. It might be to take my bicycle out of the garage and stretch my legs by pedaling down the street and back a couple of times. Or it might even be to stand out in the street and stop the speeder when they come back, letting them know that their reckless endangering of our neighborhood children is not acceptable.

But here’s the thing. I’m not the only one doing this. I may do it a bit more than some others, simply because I work out of my home and my office gives me a nice vantage point to see what is going on, but my neighbors do it too. I may not be the only one who suddenly decides to stretch my legs or who stands out in the street to talk to the speeders. Others will too.

Together, we are working to keep our neighborhood safe. It’s not formal. We don’t have an official Neighborhood Watch set up. What we have are neighbors who understand that our safety is all of our concern. We also have enough hunters living on our block-long cul-de-sac to give anyone pause.

Criminals want to work in the shadows, where they are not seen. By eliminating those shadows, we’ve drastically reduced their ability to do much of anything. Maybe we’re not making our city any safer, but we are making our neighborhood safer; and that’s about all we can expect to do.

And like many other peace-loving Americans, we keep our powder dry and our survival gear close at hand.

Chris and Dr. Rich

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