Editor’s Note: The following is a post from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.
Check out the last five episodes in this series:
- Ep. 10 Should I Shoot? Restaurant Etiquette
- Ep. 11 Should I Shoot? Inside the Home
- Ep. 12 Should I Shoot? Spare Parachute
- Ep. 13 Should I Shoot? Understanding Disparity of Force
- Ep. 14 Should I Shoot? ‘Gun-Free Zone’ Doesn’t Mean You’re Helpless
A good friend of mine recently moved back to his hometown after being away for more than 20 years. What he found was the place kind of looked the same, but the crime rate was at a level of a third-world, cartel-controlled drug town. Home invasions were a daily thing, and he has a family to protect.
He was what some would call a gun guy growing up but had not spent much time shooting other than some sporting clays. The call went something like this: “Sammy, I need some advice on how to better secure the house. What guns should I get?”
After some discussion about alarm systems, cameras, a big dog and making the house more secure, we got into the guns part. Bill immediately took my advice about selecting the proper firearms and getting some quality training so he could get his concealed pistol permit. He’s even doing some shooting competitions to keep his skills sharp.
During one of our many conversations, the topic of where to keep guns for easy access while in the house came up. This took us down the road of “what if?” questions as they pertained to what I call “repelling boarders” or “defending the castle” from a home-invasion robbery.
Home-invasion-type robberies are at the top of the list for violent crime — just under premeditated murder. More often, home-invasion robberies involve those in the home being beaten, raped and murdered. I’ve seen the aftermath of home-invasion crime scenes firsthand, so what I’ve seen drives me to always be armed in my home. If a well-organized robbery crew breaches your home like a SWAT team doing a dynamic entry, you will not have time to get to a safe or other secure location to retrieve a firearm. You will have to fight off the initial wave with what you have on you.
In Bill’s situation, he feels most comfortable carrying a Glock 21 while he’s in the house and out. He’s a big guy and can pull off concealing the big handgun. At first, it felt somewhat strange to him to not take his gun off when he got home, but in time, it became a part of his routine. He now says, “I feel naked without it.”
Some of you might be saying something like, “I live in a great community. Things like that don’t happen here.” My answer would be, “Not yet.” Ask the man in Connecticut who watched his family get tortured, raped and murdered while he was bound and beaten and I bet he would have told you the same thing: “Bad things don’t happen in our town.” Crooks today are evolving to become better crooks. They learn the most while locked up and, when they get out, they ply their newfound trade on the helpless.
Let’s get to the big question this column is about: Should I shoot if someone forces his or her way into my home?
You know I’m going to say I can’t tell you what to do since I’m not in your shoes, but if you aren’t armed or don’t have a firearm within your reach when a crew hits your front door or rear slider, then you will be at their mercy since you can’t defend your family when you are unconscious or worse.
Side note to home invasions: Those really cool stickers folks put on the back of their vehicles showing the stick figures of mom, dad, a couple kids, two dogs and a cat might look great and it shows you love your family. I don’t put them on my vehicles and I urge my friends and you readers to not put them on either. Crook crews do scouting missions of their own before they hit homes invasion-style. One look at the back of your car and they have a pretty good idea how many people and what types of dogs they have to account for in your home. Don’t help them out.
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.