Plan, Prepare, & Mitigate

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Much like FEMA recommends that each family have a plan and an emergency kit in case of hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters, I am a firm believer in having a plan in place for other situations, like home invasions and burglaries. A few weeks ago, a police officer’s wife in the Hampton Roads area demonstrated the importance of just such a plan when a man broke into her home.

On Wednesday, March 11th, about an hour after the James City County police officer left for work someone started banging on the door and trying to turn the knob. The officer’s wife stated that he kept trying to convince her to let him in because he was in danger, but when she looked through the peephole and didn’t recognize him, she latched the door, called 911 and grabbed her gun, just as she and her husband had trained.

While she grabbed the gun, the man forced his way into the house through a window in their daughter’s playroom where their daughter had been only 30 minutes before. The woman said the intruder was acting erratically and appeared ready to attack her, so when he started advancing aggressively toward her, she shot twice. One round went through his hand and into his abdomen, and the other through his groin. While the man is currently recovering from the gunshot wounds, police say he could be facing a burglary charge.

Fortunately this situation ended with the victims unharmed, but so many things could have gone wrong, especially if the woman had panicked. For example, what if she had never crimescenemade a plan, and under the stress and fear for her daughter, had simply gone to the daughter’s room with nothing to defend them with? If the police were unable to get there in time before she was forced to pull the trigger, would they have arrived in time to save them if she didn’t have the foresight to grab the gun? What if she had never practiced taking the safety off of her gun and under the stress of the situation forgot to do so? Would she have figured out why her gun wouldn’t fire before it was too late?

I don’t bring up all of these hypothetical problems to destroy your confidence in your ability to defend yourself or those you love, but because it is by thinking ahead, through every possible step, that we can best be prepared if that situation ever arises. So take a few minutes out of your day to look at the layout of your house, to think of the possible scenarios, and what you would do in each of them. If your home defense gun is a pump action shotgun, occasionally dust it off and make sure you can still manipulate it without much concentration. If your gun has a safety, do a few draws and train taking the safety off until you don’t have to think about doing it; your finger automatically does it for you. Think of where your home defense gun is going to be stored and who can have access to it; is there more than one way to get to the gun? And most importantly, make sure everyone else in your home knows what the plan is, as this will make it work much more smoothly and therefore ensure greater safety to your and your family.