When I was age 12, my father, then a veteran cop and newly divorced from my mother, took me out with one of the house shotguns.
"What are we doing?" I asked.
"Contingency planning," he responded.
For the next hour, he had me practice removing the unloaded shotgun from its scabbard, loading it, and firing it at nearby named targets. At first it was fun. Then he turned the volume up. Speed. Smoothness. Accuracy. Determining which target he meant. Speed. Smoothness. Inside of half an hour, I was sweating a tad. Inside of 45 minutes, I was shaking a little. He worked me. We did that for about an hour every two weeks for about 6 months. While there are those who are faster with a Remington 1148 and 1100 shotguns, none know the order of arms better than I do, from those sessions. Before long we moved on to pistols. .38 Special revolvers. .45 acp 1911 semiautos.
The point was that, if you've practiced your order of arms, and don't have to consciously think about how to shoot, you'll do better in the important determination of whether to shoot. As the young man of the house, some of this fell on me. Oh, Mom was in charge of that house; make no mistake about that. But home defense was my duty, almost completely, by the time I was 13. Are all thirteen year olds capable of taking on this role? I will have to smile and say that, in my years of experience as a police officer, I question that all adults are capable of taking on that role.
But if it's your duty to see to the protection of your family, don't just get some equipment and assume that the duty ends there. Consider how it will be used. Get used to living with the equipment. (A shotgun locked in a safe in the garage with the ammo somewhere far from it might as well not even be figured into the equation of home and personal defense.) Practice. Practice some more. Think about what the situation is that will cause you to activate your emergency action plan. Make scenarios, and consider what your response will be, and whether it's actually practical. Err on the side of caution toward the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
My friend LawDog has a nifty action plan for his family: Keep your cell phone on charger on your bedside table. In the bedside table, attach with a split ring a key to the front door to a Cylume stick. Should you hear a bad guy coming into your house, lock the door to the bedroom (an interior-only sliding bolt is inexpensive and can help you here-- interior door locks are notoriously feeble.), and call 911. Break and shake your Cylume stick, and toss it (with key attached) out the window. Then retire to your walk-in closet or bathroom within the bedroom, still on the phone to 911, preferably with a persuader of some kind (gun, taser, stun gun, pepper spray, bat, knife, fuzzy bunny slipper, can of hair spray....), and tell the dispatcher to have the officer let himself into the house with the key you just tossed out. Wait 'til the cop calls all clear from your bedroom door. Hey-- it's an action plan.
And it's better than most.
Labels: self defense