I have spent a productive afternoon with my wife and dog on the couch, watching a show that I was previously not aware of called “Panic 911”. Some of you may have heard of this in passing or even watched it a time or two. The phrase I most frequently heard was, “These people felt safe and secure in their home up until this incident occurred”.
I have some things I want to say about that, but the bottom line up front is that it’s one thing to say you are safe in your home, and feel safe in your home, but it is a completely different ball game to MAKE yourself safe in your home. And no, I’m not just referring to owning a firearm and taking frequent trips to the gun range.
Prior to the event recount by the grim-voiced narrator who sounded like a combo of James Earl Jones and Tom Hanks, they gave a brief Intel overview on the area surrounding the home that was the objective of the invasion or burglary. They were described either as located in rural areas (which I prefer) or in neighborhoods described as having “drug problems” which usually indicates more criminal activity than just narcotics. This is what we call a “Road to War” briefing or Area of Operations brief, which gives you the run down of the areas history, economically, religiously, who lives there (pertaining to both bad guys and good guys) and what has been experienced by units that have previously been in the area. This kind of information does not just pertain to the battlefield, but also to your very own neighborhood and the surrounding areas. Having a firm situational understanding of your “AO” will maximize your knowledge of what you could possibly face when you least expect it.
When you discover information that could have a negative impact on your family as far as your AO goes, don’t keep it to yourself, fearing that you could give them cause to worry. Instead, brief your family on the situation, and ensure they understand some of the warning signs that may indicate something bad is about to happen. Give them options and create a plan that will keep everyone out of harms way, and ensure they understand each step of that process. The local Law Enforcement officers in most cases will be more than happy to explain how they respond and how they would like you to respond in order to help them do their job. They will also tell you in grave terms that when seconds count they are minutes away, which means your plan should cover not having them on site for at least 10 minutes.
You should also be aware of the level of proficiency that the local Law Enforcement has and what their posturing is. Hopefully they seem alert and ready, and give you the peace of mind that they will respond in time to protect your family, but if they don’t, well, your plan needs to cover such deficiencies. Understanding your neighborhood will help you better build a system that will not fail as long as it is understood and adhered to.
I am not going to build a plan for you and your neighborhood, as I would only be guessing as to your particular situation. But to summarize what I have written here, no one wants to live or work in an area that they do not understand, and in this day and age we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to what is happening around us. Do not allow yourself to be a victim, do not be caught unaware of the potential threats around you. Instead, know them, plan to defend against them, and hope that one day you can look back and say you were glad you never had to.
David Solano, Weapons and Tactics Section Leader, TST