By: Paul Forum
In several of my recent articles, I have used the term “defendable position.” Protecting yourself from harm in the home or out on the street is NOT military combat or even a football game. Maybe I should not admit this, especially in Alabama, but I am not much of a football fan. Oh, I do watch an important game or three during the season. I always try to watch when Alabama beats Auburn or Georgia because I love to rag on my brother when either of his teams lose. But I digress. In both football and the military, a certain number of casualties are expected.
In the self-defense world, casualties on your side are NOT acceptable! Another set of terms used in self-defense is “cover” and “concealment.” Cover can be a bulletproof area to hide behind, whereas concealment can be something as simple as a wall or bushes so the bad guy can’t see you. When I was first a cop in the early 70s, we had several damaged old U.S. Post Office mail boxes at the gun range. They were solid steel, welded and riveted and would stop most handgun bullets. These are still around, but you don’t seem to see as many as you once did. BUT, in a gunfight they make excellent cover. Big tree trunks, concrete or brick walls are a few other great “cover” areas.
Not many of us will have a solid steel U.S. Post Office mail box in our living room, but there are other areas in a home that are almost as good. Typical construction in this area is wood frame with brick for the outside walls. Corners are reinforced with extra lumber to support the doors and windows. I have even seen 22-caliber bullets cut right through today’s white pine building lumber. Yellow pine is a lot tougher, and I have seen bullets bounce off and even leave sparks when hitting yellow pine. Driving galvanized nails into yellow pine will break a few hammers.
When faced with defending yourself in your home, plan ahead and seek out corners that will have three or four 2x4s or even 2x6s built into the frame around doors. When retreating to a defendable position, crouch down as low as you can, exposing as little of your body as possible. Use what we call a “quick peek” if you hear the intruder coming closer.
Heavy furniture can also make excellent cover, such as a chest of drawers full of clothes. Beds, the bigger the better, are good cover. Again, crouch down low and gain an advantage. The bad guy is most likely looking at his own eye level for you, not down at his knees. Refrigerators are good for concealment, but today they are mostly plastic or very light weight sheet metal.
The top of a staircase is an excellent place to take cover. You have the “high ground” and the bad guy must enter a deadly area to get to you. If you are building or planning to build a new home, plan to have a “safe room” included at the time of construction. Adding a safe room later can sure mess up a good floor plan and be much more expensive. Many new homes today are including tornado-proof safe rooms which can certainly be used as an excellent defendable position.
Always have a spare cell phone plugged in and charged nearby, in your safe room, or defendable position. Have your address written out and taped on the back of your emergency cell phone. Sounds silly? Our brains can sometimes do strange things during stressful events.
Should you shout a warning? Yelling, “Stop! Police!” as usually required by our buddies in blue, may actually be dangerous for an innocent homeowner and would “give away” your defendable position. If you believe the bad guy already knows where you are, then that’s possibly a different situation. Yelling out, several times, “I have already called the police! They're on the way!” Even better, “I have a gun, it’s loaded, and I know how to use it!” Now would be a good time to “rack” the shotgun. The sound of a shotgun slide racking back will strike fear into anyone but the most drug-crazed miscreant.
Plan and rehearse your self-defense plan. Actually walk through and practice shouting that warning.
Remember: THE BEST GUN FIGHT YOU WILL EVER BE IN IS THE GUNFIGHT YOU AVOIDED!
By: Paul Foreman