Picture this: It is 2:00 a.m. and you are in bed for the night. Things are falling apart due to a local upset of some kind, be it man made or a natural disaster. You are isolated by these events and there is no help to be had as the local Authorities are to busy with damage control in other areas. You are disabled and have little ones to protect. Your spouse is a bit of a worry wart and panics fairly easy. You hear something that is out of place, what do you do? If you have any form of home defense you should consider how best to use them to your advantage. Let’s look at what the possible scenario you would run into if the Bad Guy really wants to get what you have. With the exception of Alaska in the summer, the majority of the world is dark at 2:00 a.m. So we have one ace here to start and that is the darkness around you. This is an advantage and also a disadvantage. If applied properly, darkness can be used to give you the edge in a confrontation with the Bad Guy.
Lighting around your home is one thing that you should consider. In the case of a disabled individual, I would suggest that you consider emergency backlighting of a potential target. One issue that you might want to consider is backlighting a potential target that may be trying to gain entry into your home or apartment. The way this works is that if you hear a bump in the night, you turn off the lights inside of your house and you have a set of emergency lights outside that come on and illuminate the front, rear and sides of your home. That way the intruder [who’s eyes have adjusted to the bright light] is coming into the dark to find you while he’s illuminated from behind. Because you have him backlit, he stands out. Because you’re in the dark somewhere he is at the disadvantage because his eyes must first adjust to the dark and you can see him as a silhouette with the outside lighting. Everything that you do along these lines increases your chances of survival and decreases the intruder’s chances.
Think about red dot sights or maybe even when and how to use lasers to your advantage. So there you are: You’re hidden by the darkness with a gun with a red dot sight that does not give away your location. You have a suspect standing across the room from you who can’t see but is a perfect target for you, if you need to shoot. I won’t guarantee a 100% first shot effectiveness but I would be amazed if this approach didn’t work out for you.
Another thing that I would do: contact your local NRA regional counselor or local NRA firearms instructor. This is the sort of situation that these great people live for! They’ll come to your place, look it over and make suggestions to help you out. They’ll explore all sorts of options with you and study ways to help make your life more secure and safe. Since you have a computer, go to the NRA’s web site and contact them if you think it is appropriate. You can also call them. I would start with 877-NRA-2000. Explain your situation and see if they can forward your call to people who have worked with other disabled or infirmed people. I’d bet a month’s pay that you will not be the first person with a disability to call them.
Another thing that can be of use to you in this situation would be some form of intruder alert system that would not require utility (120 VAC) electric power. In a grid-down scenario you will have no power to run your expensive home alarm system if you have the luxury of affording such a system. The back lighting can be accomplished with solar powered lawn lights and good placement. If the Bad Guy is smart enough to kill your diesel generator you still have a backup on the back lighting.
For those of us who have children this project can be great fun. That and your camouflage you home brewed alarm system that you string across your windows and seldom used doors. Using 550 Para cord and old soup, vegetable or coffee cans [with a few small rocks or bits of hardware inside to act as “clappers”], a hammer and a good sized nail along with some craft paint and brushes you can create a cheap alarm system that for all intents and purposes could scare the bad guy away and alert you to an uninvited guest if they are determined to enter your home. Using the hammer and nail punch holes into the upper part of each can so you can run the Para-cord through each can. After you have done this the family can sit down and paint the cans with the craft paint to dress them up a bit. Be creative and make this a family project. Once decorated and the paint is dry string the Para-cord through the holes and secure them to the window frame and door jams in a manner that allows them to clank together if someone tries to get past them. In the case of the doors I would recommend that you only string them up at night and in a manner that if the door is opened the cans would fall off of the door frame and clatter to the floor. If you have little ones who have gotten a hold of several cans you can’t believe how much noise those things make when tossed about on the floor even carpeted floor. If asked about the cans hanging in your windows by those people who are not onboard with the prepping and security issues when TSHTF you can just explain it as a family art project and your kids were so proud of their little art masterpieces that you wanted to show the world how talented you kids are. (Some people might think you were a bit of a whacko if you told them the cans were used as and intruder alarm. Sheeple tend to forget that in the event of a grid-down scenario that their fancy ultra high tech alarms won’t be working.)
The next system was created by my mother who is 65 and lives alone with her 10 cats. She hates computers and technology in general so she had to be creative in her home defense measures. Her weapon of choice is a 2 foot long wooden stout stick and a can of RAVE #4 hair spray. An eye full of that stuff and it can be as effective as pepper spray. Believe me I walked in to her room one day to ask a question right when she was spraying her hair. I think it took me about a week to gain full use of my left eye after she inadvertently hit me with the stuff. Talk about pain that stuff knocked to the floor as soon as it hit my eye. Even flushing immediately did little to help. Being hair spray the stuff sticks real good to anything it hits. I got my first lesson in unorthodox defensive weaponry that day. I didn’t give it much thought until years later when my mom got an uninvited guest trying to get into the house. One of the transient bums from the homeless shelter down the street though my mom would be an easy target. He was drunk and determined. The rattling cans didn’t deter him he just shoved them aside but that was enough to alert my mom. She grabbed her RAVE hair spray and went to investigate. To her surprise the perp was opening her bedroom door as she was about to go see what all the noise in the dining room was. He of course was at the disadvantage because mom had surprise on her side. The perp was probably not expecting this little old lady with a determined look on her face to be ready to defend herself. As soon as he opened the door he got a face full of RAVE. This of course had the desired effect. The perp nearly broke his neck trying to get out of my mom’s house. One little thing my mom did to prevent cat escapes was to place a 2×4 across the entrance hall leaving enough room for the front door to open and to keep cats from making a mad dash for the door without hitting the 2×4. Well Mr. Bad Guy in his mad scramble to get out did not see this board and proceeded to trip over it on his way out the front door. This of course produced some rather anecdotal commentary from my mom when she told me what had happened. So with no fancy Alarm system and no Gun my mom managed to rid herself of an unwanted guest. It turns out that after mom filed the police report the perp was picked up a few hours later in the emergency room of the local hospital. It seems he was having vision issues and a bit of a bump on the head from his tumble out the front door of my mom’s house. It turned out this guy was bad news there had been a string of break-ins in the area and he was generally very unpleasant to the home owners if they confronted him. Most of the confrontations did not end well for the home owners.
In most of the cases they were elderly and unprepared for an intruder. In two of the cases the home owners had security systems but didn’t activate them. My mom’s security alarm did not require a security code or any form of activation. It is passive 24×7 protection. The cops involved in the investigation actually got quite a kick out of my mom and her little security system and defensive measures. For someone living on a fixed income with little to no resources to protect he home from the bad guys she managed to do something that others with the means and resources could not do. I will say if you can afford it having a good quality security system is always the best means of protecting you and yours but in the end it is your wits and a little pre-planning that will make the difference in anything you prepare for. We, as humans, tend to depend on technology more than we should and in some cases the convenience makes us lax and we lose to some degree the edge we will need in a SHTF scenario. My mom is not rich by any stretch but she has common sense and a severe dislike for high tech gadgets. Having those nice toys would be cool but in the end it won’t be the technology that keeps us alive it will be our own determination and hard work that keeps us alive. A dose of practical skills–not technology based–will be the difference between living or dying in the face of a world turned upside down, be it man’s own self destructive behavior or the wrath of nature. The few who think “outside the box” will be the ones who make it after the fall of civilization as we know it today.
JWR Adds: Readers should beware of using any chemical weapon that could cause permanent eye injury, such as lye or insect repellent. Even using hair spray might be misinterpreted as criminal intent to maim an opponent. In our litigious society, that could result in a lawsuit that could leave you without a home, and penniless. In localities where it is legal, I recommend large volume pepper spray dispensers. These are marketed primarily as bear repellent, with brand names like “Guard Alaska“, “Bear Guard”, and “17% Streetwise.” If they are legal in your jurisdiction, then buy several of the big one-pound dispensers, first making sure that they are at least a 12% OC formulation. Leave them concealed but quickly accessible in several parts of your home. You should keep one by your bedside, one near each exterior door, and one in your bathroom. (The latter, keeping in mind that criminals might break in at the most inopportune times!) Now that all of our kids have been properly trained with firearms, we take the same approach with keeping loaded guns handy. Here in the hinterboonies, it is four-legged rather than two-legged predators that are our main concern, but many of the same principles apply–such as maintaining at least Condition Yellow vigilance and keeping weapons close at hand.
Many of the major firearms training schools such as Front Sight, Gunsite, and Thunder Ranch make special accommodation for handicapped shooters. I highly recommend getting the best training available. Having a gun and knowing how to handle it confidently and competently is a tremendous equalizer. Even an 90 pound elderly woman can be a match for a 220 pound man in his 20s that is on steroids–but only if she has a gun handy and knows how to use it. Burglars: Beware of Granny with a Glock. FWIW, I’ve heard that wheelchair-bound students at Front Sight have received tremendous support and praise from their fellow students and instructors.
Regarding night shooting, I second your motion on backlighting. Short of using lethal force, you might also consider strobes or other dazzling lights or sirens that can be activated remotely. (Not in the same room that you are in!) That will be enough to “buffalo” most nighttime intruders. Used photographer’s strobes can often be found on eBay or on Craig’s List for very reasonable prices. Rigging a remote control switch is child’s play. And in a long term grid-down situation, a rechargeable boater’s compressed air horn might serve the same purpose as an electric siren. (See BoatersWorld item #367340023.)
I generally prefer tritium sights rather than Red Dot electronic sights. Red Dot sights are battery dependent and hence require regular inspection and maintenance, but tritium sights are always “on”. Tritium is a radioactive isotope gas that has an 11.2-year half-life, so that in 11 years they will still be half as bright as they were when bought “fresh”. Since in my experience most tritium sights are too bright when new, they effectively have a 22+ year useful life. No muss, no fuss, and no batteries to go dead.