The Guardian Broadcast
"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."
A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.
"Home Defense – Perimeter Security"
Everything we do as guardians is centered around preparedness for the dangers we face, and one of the things most readily overlooked is home defense. Every seasoned criminal knows that even the most vigilant people have to let their guards down some time.
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This week, I want to have a casual talk centered around the idea of perimeter security. I’m going to end this with a few actionable points that we should make sure we’ve addressed in our own lives; boxes that need to be checked regarding home security.
Many of you know, I’ve read and read a lot of war memoirs. Not specifically related to combat; I find the memoirs of logistics personnel just as interesting as the memoirs of combat veterans; I think they’re all important stories and memories that should be read and remembered.
That said, some of the most terrifying moments for soldiers and marines through many wars was night time. As the sun went down, the unit had to become even more alert. That’s because not only does the cover of darkness allow for more enemy troop movement than day time, but because many of the enemies we’ve fought in an asymmetrical way knew that surprise attacks at night had the best odds of causing confusion, damage or even dislodging a part of the front.
For example, by late 1944 in France, many Americans companies were down to 50 or 60% strength, foxholes at night were spread far apart, and sometimes platoons or companies had 50 or 60 yards between them. Soldiers on the line had to constantly worry that enemy units would slip in undetected. The same was true so many times in the pacific front, where Marines would hear screams from the next foxhole, as it was realized that a Japanese soldier had snuck in on a suicide attack, and was now stabbing another Marine to death. Rarely could anyone go to their aid, because any bodies above ground at night could only be assumed to be Japanese, and would be met with rifle and machinegun fire from the rear. When the screams stopped, the grenades would begin flying out of the hole. There were similar situations in Korea. In Vietnam too, sapper infiltration at night when on patrol was always a possibility.
These attacks are blisteringly effective for an enemy. Even when they fail, they ensure that combat personnel are never fully rested, are always on edge, are always facing panic and burnout. But if the attacks succeed, they can cause casualties, broken links in communication, and holes in the line for a reserve unit on standby to then push into.
People fighting enemies in strange countries have learned many ingenious tactics for hardening their perimeters, and lots of the problems they faced and the solutions that dealt with them – in spirit or even in technique – can be directly applied to private American citizens who live in the land of peace and plenty.
That’s because, for us too, night time is usually when we’re most vulnerable.
Let me share something about my personal life. I’ve always been a morning person. Not only do I like waking up early, but the moment my eyes open, my mind is completely awake and alert, and thoughts are already zinging through. I step into our walk in closet, shut the door so I don’t disturb my wife who is far more normal, and I do some jumping jacks, some shadow boxing, throw some cold water on my face, and I’m ready to rock.
That’s all still true for me, but when I was a younger man, I could fall asleep within a minute or two and I would wake up at the slightest sound. I prided myself on this ability, and I felt secure. If I ever woke up in the night, I knew beyond doubt that something had woken me up.
However, now that is changed. Being several years into fatherhood, with 3 children so far who are 4 years old and under, sleep itself has gone from something I used to take for granted to something that is at times my closest friend, and my most hated enemy. I’m sure you’ve been there, or maybe you still are. From dinner time on, it’s a marathon. Get the kids washed up, put in pajamas, you read them their stories, have your final chats with them about their days, get them to bed, all three of them, with you and your spouse juggling roles… then, already tired from watching these little rug rats drift off in the beds you made for them, you stumble back down stairs to clean up from dinner, clean up from the day, have a moment to yourselves if one of the kids doesn’t wake up, and before you know it, it’s after midnight, and you’ve got to be up in 5 or 6 hours. 5 or 6 six hours might be pushing it, but an hour after you fall asleep, the infant wakes up crying. That takes 30 minutes. Then a couple hours later, the bigger kid has to pee. Then, an hour later, you’re getting kicked in the face by the toddler as they sneak into your bed.
It’s fun. It’s an adventure, and I love every minute of it – or at least strive to. I’m at least grateful for it. BUT, it’s had a most unfortunate side-effect for me, in that there are times when almost nothing can wake me up. It’s like the level of exhaustion reaches a point where your body’s natural self-preservation instinct believes that a lack of sleep is more dangerous at that point than the invader crawling over top of you in your bed. Because there are times when I wake up at 4 in the morning, and sure enough, a toddler did crawl over top of me at some point. Didn’t bother me a bit. I had a stack of 2x4s fall over in my garage, which is directly below my bedroom. Didn’t wake me up. Some mornings even my wife will be surprised by it. “Yeah, the baby was up for an hour, fussing. I had to turn the lights on and everything- but you never budged.”
All this has taught me that I can’t trust my sleeping body any more, to wake me up if there’s danger. And this is a REALLY bad thing. A very, very important thing to quickly find a solution to.
That’s because like the soldiers and marines trying to sleep in strange lands, you’re vulnerable when you sleep. And your enemy knows that. Well, what enemy?
Young men in combat know who their enemies are. And their life is ordered around eliminating that enemy while keeping yourself and those around you safe. Your life is ordered around other things, but we Guardians especially are aware that we really do have enemies. Now, not active enemies who have singled us out, though some of us might. But the criminal element is ever present – meaning, those who live by a code of ethics that says, “whatever I want, whenever I want it, no matter who I have to hurt to get it”.
Some people aren’t cut out for accepting this reality. They are either too complacent and don’t believe they’ll ever be victims, or they’re too edgy, and can’t live a normal life. They then center their lives around self-defense, until their life is hollow and is frankly not even worth defending. And the role of the self-defense educator then becomes to scare the complacent into action, while calming the hyper-active into seeing the statistical and relative peace of being an American in 2016. We want everyone to have a realistic sense of the dangers they face.
But I don’t think anyone listening to this Broadcast has a problem understanding that the enemy is out there, and that all that is required for an attack to happen, is for you to present yourself vulnerably in front of an opportunistic predator. Now, everyone – myself included – has hundreds of 5, 10, or 20 second bursts during every day where we become vulnerable. But very rarely do we cross paths with a member of the criminal element, and if we do cross their paths, the educated, aware Guardian usually heightens their alertness level, making sure to avoid presenting themselves vulnerably. For example, we would never stop and bend over to tie our shoes when three belligerent-sounding youths were walking behind us on the sidewalk.
I believe this understanding that the enemy is around us at all times is important for all Guardians who can handle that knowledge without it causing undue alarm. Because it shouldn’t alarm you, it’s always been true, and it’s true for every American. And yet, attacks are rare, you are far more prepared than most, and so you shouldn’t be alarmed. But I believe this awareness is so important, that I used to call this Guardian Broadcast the Forward Operator Broadcast, in an attempt to make the point that you and I can never ‘shut it off’… that we are always operating in what is effectively enemy territory… that there is almost never a place where we can go, where we aren’t the most prepared people, and where we are “safely behind our lines”. There really just isn’t a place like that. Because while it’s natural that we would carry our handguns out and about, our homes are in some ways even more vulnerable.
When we’re out and about, we’re moving unpredictably, making encounters with criminals pretty darn random and rare. And even if we drive the same route to and from work at 9am and 5pm, we’re like zebras in a massive stampede, unlikely to be the ones singled out for violence even if there is a predator.
But our homes are not only stationary, but they are loaded with valuables. Every room contains a mountain of personal treasures that demonstrate such a high quality of living that would they drop the jaws of some people in this world. And some people would literally kill to live in your palace.
Friends, I have watched videos of people getting stabbed in the chest for a cell phone that came free with a 2-year contract. I’ve watched husbands’ and wives’ necks stood on and shot in the back of the head over less money than you might make in 3 hours’ time. We cannot question the attractiveness of our homes as potential targets; We can only prepare for the day – or night – when they become targeted.
Okay – so one problem we face as home dwellers is that unlike the company of Marines moving through the Vietnam jungle, we are sleeping in the exact same place every night. This gives our enemy a very convenient scenario in which to plan an ambush.
Another problem is that, unlike the Marines, we are not expecting an attack. If you’re 50 years old and have never had a home invasion, that means you’ve slept almost 20,000 nights with no issues. How can we expect our bodies to remain on guard while sleeping after 20,000 nights that suggest there is no danger? Most of us can’t.
Still another problem is that, unlike the Marines, who had strategic shifts that ensured that only half of the unit was sleeping at a time, our households tend to go dark at the same time, and there’s a long, large window of time in which our entire families are sleeping.
A similarity between us and the Marines in the jungle is that during the day, we’re alert and awake. The enemy knows that if they move on us during the day, they’re going to have to deal with relatively alert people. And alert people can yell for help, call for police, retain physical descriptions, or in some cases, shoot back with guns. At night, the enemy has a much better chance of either sneaking in and taking valuables and leaving – or more likely – sneaking in, taking total control through speed and intensity and confusion and violence – and doing whatever they want with no urgency until just before sun-up.
Think of it like this: You know your home better than a criminal. And so IF you’re awake and alert and armed and prepared, then you make a very hard target.
And so in my analysis, home defense preparation comes down ways that you can make yourself MORE awake, MORE alert, MORE armed, and MORE prepared during a home invasion.
Let’s briefly talk about ‘more awake’ and ‘more alert’.
We can’t survive and repel a home invasion if we’re not awake and alert. Imagine a human body without its skin: open to any possible contagion floating around in the air, with no warning system that its being infected. But our skin is highly sensitive, alerts us to the slightest touch, and is a pretty darn hard membrane. The fact that it takes years and years of repeated exposure to our skin of gasoline and oil to cause cancer is very impressive. Our homes have to function the same way. They have to alert us when something touches their skin.
The sooner we can become alerted to the presence of a potential threat, the better off we’re going to be. If we could get a warning 2 days beforehand, our potential killers would find us sitting behind sandbags sipping coffee with well-oiled M1As, and a squad full of sheriff’s deputies in front of that, right? That’s the best case. What’s the worst case? Waking up to the smell of piss and whiskey and an $80 12 gauge pressed to our foreheads as we lay in bed, that’s the worst case, right? Well, we have to realize then that every second of notice we can get before that muzzle is touching our heads drastically boosts our odds of surviving.
Devices that make you more alert and more awake can be divided into two categories: those that speed you up, and those that slow your enemy down. Alarms speed you up; Obstacles slow your enemy down. The best obstacles, like a claymore mine which we don’t have, alert you in addition to slowing your enemy down.
Regarding those that speed you up, at very least, our bedroom doors and ground floor windows have to be locked with some sort of noise-making mechanism in place that is going to wake us up. And if that’s the only notice we get, we have to have our weapons close enough at hand so that they can be deployed IN BETWEEN the time these noise-makers begin going off, and the offender reaches our bedside. If you have kids and can’t sleep like with a loaded rifle or shotgun or handgun next to your bed like I did before I had kids, then you simply need to guarantee that you have more time between being alerted and needing to fight.
So, every window and door accessible to the outside should have a method of alerting you when breached. Simply put, you need a tier 1 home alarm system. Some people have dogs. I think dogs and alarm systems work very well together, this being one of the original purposes of a domesticated dog, and all. But you have to know that your alarm system will work, and you have to know that your dog will work. My dog won’t. She never barks, and she’s not threatened by strangers. I don’t know why she isn’t, but she isn’t. I wish she was.
What about obstacles – well, every door and window that can be accessed from outside should be secured with a solid lock. A window that is locked well needs to be broken. This makes noise, in addition to the alarm system. And, a broken window has to be passed through carefully, which takes a second or two. Locked doors with standard deadbolts sinking into wooden frames take a couple seconds for a 200lb man to break through. That’s a lot of noise and some notice. A steel door frame is going to take a lot longer, and a door secured with wedge locks is going to take even more, or could even be impossible for even a couple men to break through, which will push them to either changing to a window after making a bunch of noise, OR will just cause them to break off the attack and leave.
But we should also have motion detectors inside the house. Because listen, the home invasion stories I’ve read and the videos I’ve seen very rarely begin by someone smashing through a window or door. Again, these are opportunists whose success depends on taking you by surprise. Crashing in doesn’t accomplish that. So IF you ever have to defend yourself inside your home, you can almost guarantee that your invader – or group of invaders, more frequently – will have tested 2 or 3 houses before landing on yours, and that the only reason they landed on yours will be BECAUSE they’ve managed to creep in. Maybe you left a window open. Maybe your door didn’t latch. Or maybe your garage door could be pried open 10 inches, and the door between your garage and house wasn’t locked. And so, motion detectors and noise makers on your door become necessary back-up plans.
We also have to consider perimeter security for when the power is out. We should make sure we have backup noise makers that don’t rely on electricity, and we should be extra careful to secure all doors and windows before turning in when the power is out. This is another time when a dog can finally contribute to the family, if it’s a reliable guard dog or noise maker.
There’s a lot more I could go on about, and will in the future. But for now, I think that since virtually all of us have a lot of work that could easily be done to strengthen our homes’ ability to alert us and pose obstacles for an invader, I think that’s enough for now.
Let me end with one other point. During a prolonged disaster, where electricity and law and order are reduced in their reach for a sustained period of time, you will need to revert to the system of sleeping in shifts that the marines and soldiers use in war, when forced to sleep in contested territory. If you think of home invaders scanning for targets, peeking in windows and testing doors, a home with typical windows, no electricity, and all parties asleep will be a no-brainer. When you sleep in shifts during an emergency, you drastically lower your odds of being selected, drastically raise the odds of survival if you are, and everyone will end up being far better rested, since the body of a wise person can never truly relax if he or she knows that relaxation could be a death sentence.