When You Answer Your Door at Night

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

A recent move has put me back in an apartment, something I thought I’d long ago left behind. I don’t enjoy hearing the neighbors loud music or smelling it when they’re smoking pot. Yet one has to have someplace to live and at this point in my life, this is where I am. This one change carries with it a number of smaller changes, such as having to answer my door a lot more at night.

This, in turn, has caused me to reexamine the way I answer my door at night, especially since I strongly suspect the neighbor across the hall is a drug dealer. I don’t know what to expect when I open the door, or even if the knock I heard was for me.

Needless to say, some of the people I’ve found outside my door are people who I don’t really want to talk to, making me glad that I’ve got a pistol by my side. But considering that they are standing within eight feet of me, even if they are right at the neighbor’s door, I’ve had to question my tactics and whether that pistol is really doing me any good. For that matter, I’ve had to question how I open my door.

Just to give you a bit of background on this, I’ve already had run-ins with my neighbors. They seem to be a bit sensitive as to who looks in their cars and their windows. So, they decided they were going to intimidate my wife one night. Sadly for them, I was the one who opened the door and I didn’t have a shirt on. They saw the gun on my belt and decided to back off. That tough guy suddenly wasn’t so tough.

But I didn’t expect that to be the end of it. To start with, I was using the peephole in the door. You know, that thing that everyone says you’re supposed to use. But then I realized that even using that made me vulnerable. If someone really wanted to get me, seeing the peephole darken when I looked through it would tell them when to start shooting or to kick down my door. I wouldn’t have time to react.

There’s more than one way to solve this problem. The easiest is to just not open my door. But that seemed rather inconvenient to me. Going out the back door to check who was coming (I’m in a ground-floor apartment) seemed a bit extreme too. Besides, the neighbors can tell when I go out that door.

What I did was to install a Bluetooth video camera that’s hooked to my computer. I was able to find a small one on eBay, which is not all that noticeable. Since I have my office in the home and the office is near the front door, it’s convenient to stop by my computer and take a look at what’s going on out in the hall, before I open my door. At a minimum, that lets me know if it really was my door they were knocking on. It also lets me know if things don’t look all that good.

Just a note here: you can buy the same sort of camera and link it to your smartphone. My son-in-law has done that and it even has a motion detector to contact him when someone is moving in the house.

With the camera, I can make a better decision on how to open my door. If I know who it is, I can open it with a big smile and a hello. If I don’t I can open it with my gun in hand, just in case. If it’s just the mailman, I’ll see him leave my package sitting on the floor.

Of course, I’ve got to be careful about how that gun is in my hand. As I mentioned in last week’s message, brandishing a firearm is a serious infraction, which can land you in jail. But if my wife and the dogs are the only ones who can see that I have my gun in my hand, it’s not an issue. So I keep my hand behind the wall, where nobody but them are going to be able to see.

While that still leaves me somewhat vulnerable, at least I have the ability to defend myself. I’m good enough at instinctive shooting or “point and shoot” that I am confident that I can hit anyone in the hall at that range, without putting a bullet through the neighbor’s wall.

The next step in this process will be to add an intercom. That way, if I’m unsure of who it is, I can ask. This adds another layer or safety for me, in the rare event that they decide to kick the door down or just shoot through it. Since my end of the intercom will be in my office, their shots will pass me by, about 15 feet to my left.

The point here isn’t paranoia, but safety. With the neighbors I have, I can’t see taking any chances. Doing things the way I am means that I’m protected, even if there’s nothing to protect myself from. That’s a whole lot better than playing Russian roulette with my life.

And like always, I’m making sure I keep my powder dry and my survival gear close at hand. What about you?

Dr. Rich

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