Expectations Can Lead To Disaster – Part 2



By Seth R. Nadel

Continued from Expectations Can Lead To Disaster – Part 1

There are other expectations in the realm of personal protection which call for closer examination. For convenience, I’ll place these in the format of the classic “BUMP” in the night.

It’s late, and you hear, or think you heard, a rather loud bump during the night. You are in bed with your partner, so it was not them, and you have no children or guests, so they are automatically ruled out. Perhaps it was in your dream, but you are awake now! Maybe you have a pet, and so you suspect that clumsy cat knocked something over. A wrong expectation at this point could have a really negative outcome, so you must make a decision: What shall I do next?

One choice is to call the police – but you expect that the cops don’t want to be bothered. Well, you are wrong! Every officer I have ever spoken to said they would rather respond, and find nothing, than have to deal with the aftermath of an outlaw in your home.

On the other hand, you may expect that the officer will appear instantly, before any harm can happen. I have been in a few countries where there actually was “a cop on every corner,” and that is no way to live! They know everything about everybody, and there is no expectation of privacy. In one country, if you have an overnight guest, you are required to go to the police and tell them the name, description, address, date of birth, and car model and license plate of your guest! We have a special name for places like that: Police States. You can expect to wait for the police to arrive in this country. Yes, that period is when seconds become minutes, and minutes become hours!

Since you will have to wait, it’s a good idea to make your bedroom (or bedroom closet) into a safe room with a solid door and good locks. A cell phone, flashlight, ammunition and handgun can be very comforting at times like this. You can let trained professionals with guns, lights, body armor, and equally well trained canine partners do the searching.

Another choice is to “just take a look, myself.” After all, it was just a bump, not smashing glass or anything. I have, when I was in Law Enforcement, search some buildings where we thought there were outlaws. I can state from experience that, properly trained, armed and equipped, and with other officers backing me up, it is NO FUN! In sub-zero weather, you quickly get covered in sweat, and you find out just how fast your heart can beat. You expect to find an armed assailant behind every piece of furniture, inside every closet, up  in the attic and down in the crawl space.

What you expect to see.

Searching your own home offers some advantages, as you should know where every piece of furniture is and where every door is and which way it opens. It’s much easier still if you have done some dry runs, figuring out where to shine your flashlight to illuminate those dark corners, and deciding what is cover vs. concealment. You can also start to figure out what you will do when (NOT IF) you find someone.

Notice the tip of his boot?

This is usually when folks realize that having your only light ON you handgun is a bad idea. You turn a corner, expecting to find your clumsy cat, only to be pointing your light – and you gun – at one of your kids who came home early to surprise you, or your drunk but harmless neighbor, who thought your house was his. Bad things happen really fast, and you cannot call that bullet back!

Conversely, you turn that corner only to find some stranger grabbing your stuff – TV, laptop, cell phone, whatever you prize. Do you freeze, fight, or flee? Does he/she/they freeze, fight, or flee? Have you considered all of these variations and your reaction to them? What if one flees, and one attacks? Or one starts to flee, then turns and attacks? Or one freezes, appears to comply to your commands, and then tries to flee? Maddening, isn’t it?

What you DO NOT want, but should expect, to find!

We can try to bring some order out of this confusing situation by thinking it through now, when you are not stressed:

  1. All of your stuff is or should be, insured. Yes, you may have to kick in a few bucks to replace old with new, but are you willing to possibly kill someone over your old stuff? No matter what you may think, your life is NOT in your phone!
  2. No matter how well trained you are in martial arts, shooting, boxing, or other forms of personal protection, in this instant the outlaw may be bigger, faster, better, or just luckier than you! Unless you ARE Jason Bourne, you will not win every fight. Do you really want to chance getting killed over your flat screen TV? They are making more of them, you know.
  3. Running away may not fit your self-image, but so what? Back off and call 9-1-1 ! (Oh, those guys may think I could not handle this! WHO CARES?) Rather than thinking about “the guys,” think about the $10,000 a completely justified shooting could cost you.
  4. Just because you have a gun does NOT mean you will not get shot/stabbed/clubbed. So now you lose your stuff, your physical and mental abilities, your job, your home, possibly your family, perhaps even your life. In short, don’t let your ego (mouth) write checks your body can’t cash.
So you lose your laptop, rather than your life!

The outlaw has options too, and we better think about them as well. In a recent incident, after being shot, the outlaw ran backwards toward the defender! Could you justify shooting someone in the back? In this case, it was caught on video.

What will you do if the outlaw surrenders in your living room, but your phone is in the bedroom, and no one is there to bring it to you? Or your cell phone is dead because you forgot to charge it – again?

We also expect everything to work as advertised – our gun, ammo, flashlight, phone – everything! NOT a good idea! Recently a good friend went to the range to train with his carry gun. When he left, he reloaded, and since he would be back soon, did not clean his gun. When he did return, his pistol would not fire! Seems on the very last shot, his firing pin broke, and for two weeks he carried an oddly shaped, lightweight thing to throw at bad guys! “The advertising said it would work” does not look good on your tombstone.

What can we do? Have a plan, and a backup plan, and a backup for the backup plan. Expect every tool to fail at some point, and be ready to figure out now what?

Mostly, follow the Latin Saying:

“Sic pax, para bellum.”

If you want peace, prepare for war!

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