Where Are Your Red Lines?, by Domesticated Ranger

Editor’s Introductory Note: The following article is graphic, and not for the squeamish. Some folks should probably skip reading it.

It finally happened.

The fecal matter has well and truly impacted the rotating air oscillation device.

The Schumer Hit The Fan (SHTF) situation is well underway. Societal norms are out the window. People are struggling just to stay alive.

But your garden is thriving because, after all, you are prepared.

Not only is your garden growing and thriving, but you have put measures into place to help keep your garden safe.

You put up a fence made off hardware cloth to keep out the little critters that would otherwise eat your plants as soon as they start growing. The fence also keeps animals from trampling through your garden.

It also serves as something of a reminder to others that it is a protected space that they should not go into.

It helps that you put trail cameras up to help keep an eye on your garden. You decided to splurge and bought solar-powered cameras that send alerts to your monitor in the kitchen when they detect motion, so you are always able to know when something, or someONE, has tried to violate the sanctity of your garden.

It would have been great to have one of those systems that send photos or video to your phone when motion is detected, but because the SHTF, cell phone service is intermittent at best, if it is even working at all, and it is certainly not a reliable way to keep your garden or areas of vulnerability around your property safely watched over.

Suppose that early one fine morning, your monitor starts beeping, alerting you to the fact that movement has been detected in your garden.

You look at the monitor’s screen, and then hurry to the window to look outside, and you see people raiding your garden in spite of the security measures you implemented. They have entered your property in spite of that “No Trespassing” sign you prominently posted, and somehow, they didn’t believe the “Trespassers Will be shot, survivors will be shot again” sign either. Imagine that…

These people are taking the food that you have worked hard to provide and that is meant to keep your family alive when times get tough.

And times have suddenly gotten tough.

What Will You Do to Protect What is Yours?

This begs the question: What do you do to protect your resources? And more importantly, just how far are you willing to go to protect those resources?

There are several levels of protection that you can engage in.

Do you give them a little food just this once and then tell them they have to move along?

Do you demand that they leave, “or else?”

Do you give them a stern talking-to along with some finger-wagging like Dad used to do, reminding them that their lack of preparation in no way constitutes an obligation on your part to make up for their short-sightedness?

And then you send them to their room without any supper…

Do you fire warning shots aimed to hit near the garden raiders to be sure you send a message about trying to raid your place? An ounce, or 5.56mm, of prevention and all that.

Because, after all, you want the word to quickly get out about the dangers of trying to steal from you, and, you need people to understand that the reward is not worth the risk.

Maybe you decide to let the dogs out. You know the ones, those antisocial beasts you keep around that hate everyone but your family, and happily chase everyone and everything out of their yard, and probably missing a sizable chunk out of their posterior.

Yet, in spite of all that, they don’t respond to your efforts to run them off because they are hungry and they are desperate.

Where Are Your Red Lines?

Just how far would you go to protect your resources? And where are your red lines?

Red lines are those events that, when crossed by an adversary, punch your GO button and cause you to take decisive action which cannot be undone.

Violations of your red lines force you to pull the trigger, hit the clacker (a reference to detonating a claymore anti-personnel mine!) or you take some other action that will result in Bad Things happening to the bad guys.

One of the key concepts I teach in my self-defense courses is to decide now, while all is well and you are not in danger, exactly what you are willing to do to another human being who means to do you some harm.

Self-defense is ugly, it’s brutal, and it is very unpleasant, but it is also necessary, and you have to make some decisions in advance about all of it.

In my classes, you decide right then and there how hard you are willing to punch an attacker in the face, if you are okay with delivering a kick to the groin, or perhaps you’d just prefer to stomp the bad guy’s head into the ground.

You determine now if you are willing to gouge his eyes out, blinding him for the rest of his life, or if you have any issues with delivering a straight kick into his knee, wrecking his ACL.

You decide in advance if you are willing to use your pocket knife to slash his hamstring and make him hit a wicked slice or hook every time he plays golf from now on.

You settle in your heart and mind if you are willing to bash a bad guy’s brains out with a rock, stab him with something sharp and stabby, or maybe help him eat a car bumper.

Self-defense question: What is red and flies, and is really bad for your teeth?

Answer: A brick.

It also gets the undivided attention of the bad guy, and generally removes his desire to remain in the area.

You also need to decide in advance if you are willing to go to the ultimate level of self-defense against an attacker and end his life when you’ve temporarily knocked him to his knees with a crushing blow to the back of his neck, or by using any other of about a bajillion other methods of making a bad guy take The Dirt Nap.

What are your limits before your red lines are violated?

You simply cannot address that moral issue when the bad guy is right in front of you intent on stealing/harming/robbing you, or worse, so you need to be certain of what you are willing to do to another human being BEFORE any of it ever happens.

So, what are you willing to do to people who are stealing from the garden that YOU planted and that is meant to feed YOUR children and YOUR spouse?

Maybe killing them isn’t the first response. That’s probably a decent call, but who knows what the situation might be?

Some Possible Situations

Is it a bunch of leather-clad thugs that say they’ll be dealing with you as soon as they’re done dealing with your garden?
Is it a family with their young children in tow?
Is it some neighbors who live just a little way down the road?

Let’s say it’s local folks that are being driven by hunger and desperation because they failed to prepare. Maybe you even know them.

And what if those same people keep raiding your garden, even after you gave them a strongly worded warning coupled with an appropriate brow beating?

How far will you go to protect the resources that you have prepared to keep your family alive?

Having a security plan is critical, but if the plan does not settle where your red lines are, it will fold under pressure, or will otherwise leave you with regret for the rest of your life.

Did you escalate too quickly when something less violent could have worked? You pulled the trigger before the red line was crossed, and now have to live with that unfortunate decision.

Did you fail to escalate in time while you had the advantage and before they inflicted harm on you or yours? The red line was violated but you still hesitated to act in time, and as a result, the bad guys were emboldened and Bad Things happened to you instead of Bad Things happening to the bad guys.

Did you escalate things a little but not nearly enough to establish dominance before it could get out of control? The red line was crossed, and you reacted, but didn’t go all out because you just couldn’t bring yourself to hurt someone. The Bad Guys perceived the threat you posed but were not intimidated by your weak defensive action, so they reacted without hesitation with greater force than you brought to bear, and Bad Things happened to the good guy.

No Easy Answers

There are no easy answers to serious moral dilemmas, but you can have a plan settled for when to escalate, how far you are willing to escalate a situation, and be settled in your mind and heart what you are willing to do to another human being before you ever have to deal with deciding what to do when someone forces your hand and threatens the week-being of your loved ones.

And then, living with the aftermath will not be as great a burden on your conscience because it was already settled long before you had to face the situation.