by Hellesponte & Kerodin
October 25, 2010
that will obtain when it happens, whatever
it may be, are not (likely) the immediate end of
the world. If I'm wrong about that, you won't
need this column.
Many common sense
preparations will serve you and your family whether
we face an economic collapse that leads to supply
chain failures, or a pandemic, or martial law.
One likelihood that
many people seem to ignore is that when it
happens, Government is very likely to impose travel
restrictions, at least for a minimal time. In
the DC Metro area, my AO, you can trust any
significant event will result in the immediate
lockdown of the area. Citizens will find
merely getting home from work to be a serious challenge,
likely to take many hours even for what is normally
a modest trip. Remember that everyone will be
trying to get somewhere, at the same time.
Everyone will want to rush to the store for last
minute supplies, just as they do when a snow storm
is in the forecast. Add
to the chaos the fact that Government will shut down
many typical routes.
For those who have a
cabin in the hills or other hidey-spot out of the
way, consider seriously if you will be able to move
your family out there in the hours and days
immediately following an event. If not, you
will probably be confined to your home. For
most folks, there is no cabin, and home in the
suburbs or city will be home base.
Once the family is
safe in your home, and you have decided that you'll
be sheltering in place for a while, your first
concern will be physical security. If you are
convinced that LEO will be coming to put you on a
bus, you have an immediate set of tactical
considerations to square away.
Even if you are not
worried about Uncle Sam inviting you for an extended
stay at Camp Nowhere, physical security is prudent.
Most of your neighbors are 3 days away from an empty
pantry, and hungry people get aggressive.
Hardening your suburban home to protect your family
is simply prudent, even if it never happens.
Your suburban or city
home was never intended to withstand siege or
attacks by hungry neighbors, marauding gangs, or
LEO. You probably have thin exterior walls,
basic windows (and too many of them), hollow
interior walls and doors, and a floor plan that is
not conducive to repelling invaders while keeping
your friendlies (family) out of fire zones.
But, you've got to work with what you've got...
First, forget much of
the garbage written by Keyboard Commandoes who
advise you to wire claymores and prepare for
Armageddon. Who wants the dog tripping the
claymore hidden in the flower bed beside the front
porch? No need involving ATF or your HOA
You need the ability
to harden your doors, the primary points of entry
for neighbors, baddies, and LEO. The goal here
is to increase the amount of time and energy
required to open your door. If you can slow
down the entry team, you can be ready when they do
make it over the threshold. You can not make
your doors impenetrable, so don't try. Even if
you could, the smart bad guy will just avoid the
door and break out your double-pane windows.
Your answer may
be as simple as adding additional deadbolts
or chains. The weak spot though,
especially if LEO is using a ram, is your
door frame. It is typically rather
flimsy wood or thin metal. Hinges and
chain locks are only as secure as the screws
digging into the frame. Not very
You can replace
your door and frame with an attractive steel
unit, if you have the desire and resources.
Another option is to rig a strong cross bar
that is anchored beyond the door frame.
Be creative, use
basic materials. Making your home safer does
not mean you have to spend a fortune or ruin the
Windows are the next
most vulnerable and likely point of attack.
Good old fashioned wooden shutters provide a modest level
of hardening. Make sure they work, make sure
you can close them from inside, and lock them.
It is harder to make attractive security
enhancements to windows. Bars are an option,
though keep in mind that they also restrict egress
in case of a fire. Having a set of bars in the
basement or shed that you can install once the
balloon goes up is an option. Consider
installing the bars inside the house, so they
can be installed discreetly without exposing
yourself. A simple set of storm windows made
from a modern plastic not only helps your energy
efficiency, but adds a bit of security.
Remember not to go
overboard hardening windows and doors. You can
not prevent LEO from getting in, if they are
determined. You can, at best, slow them down
and make it difficult to shoot tear gas & pepper
through the glass. The average bad guy trying
to break into your home will not want to remain
exposed on your front porch for the time needed to
get through your crossbar...afterall, he's
Knowing that your
front door is the preferred entry point for those
who mean you ill, do consider adding countermeasures
to the front porch or landing. Again, be
creative. If a bad guy, or team of bad guys is
clustered on your front stoop, delayed because you
added a most inconvenient and sturdy crossbar, they
are exposed and vulnerable.
A simple mail slot at
chest level turns into a firing port. Remember
that this works both ways, not the best solution if
your door is very thin.
Of course, such
off-label uses as described below are not going to
pass your local codes, and are offered here for
entertainment purposes only. No one wants the
kids flipping the wrong switch as daddy comes home
from work, just for giggles...
If you look around
your home and at your workbench, I am certain you
can think of a few weekend projects with basic
household items that will help persuade bad guys
lingering on your porch to go away.
Consider an old
propane grill reconfigured beneath the metal steps
at your front door...Flip a switch, distribute a
case of Hero Hotfoot! Parts from an old gas
furnace will accomplish the same task. Do be
careful not to set your house afire.
Do you have metal
steps and/or handrails? Any weekend
house-husband can create many wonderful deterrents
with an extra circuit breaker and a bit of thought.
It must be configured so that there
is no circuit to ground, until completed by Johnny
Bad Guy. Flip a switch, and try to ignore the
yelping. Be creative, adapt to your particular
circumstances. A 115 volt house circuit wired
to a set of steel window bars (that have been
isolated from ground) will discourage any bad guy
who reaches in and completes the circuit. 240
volts is mo bettah!
Fire is a terrifying
and effective Bad Guy repellant. Consider the
horror that could result if a small copper tube were
pointed where an uninvited guest would stand on your
doorstep. If the other end of the tube were
connected to a car fuel pump and a small supply of
gasoline, with the flip of a switch raw fuel spews all over. All that
would be needed is an ignition source, then...crispy critters!
electricity...friends of the man trying to defend
Remember that the
goal is to slow and harass your enemy from entering,
meanwhile leaving them exposed to serious defensive
action. Within your home be sure the family
has a safe place to go that is more more resistant
to bullets and flying shrapnel than drywall.
When you remodel, bolt a few pieces of 1/4 inch
steel beneath the new drywall along the routes of
movement for your family.
If you have a
basement, use steel plates and concrete to create a
safe place. Do you have an attic?
Creating a route for a defender to safely and
quickly reach the attic during an assault by Bad
Guys can give you the high ground, especially if you
have the forethought to pre-position firing ports or
Old fashioned sand
bags have protected many a GI in a pinch. You
do not need to live with sandbags piled beneath the
bay window. Empty bags store away neatly, and
a kids sandbox is never out of place in a back
If you find your
family besieged and outcomes look grim, do you have
a discreet egress for your family, so they can skirt
out of the danger zone while Bad Guys watch the
doors and windows? Be creative, you'll come up
with a solution.
Remember that your
enemies may not ultimately care if you live or die.
They may decide that owning your goodies is too
costly, and spitefully just light a match. If
your home will burn, have a plan. Yes,
Citizen, people are petty, cruel and evil.
Count on it.
One of the most
important factors in determining the outcome of a
confrontation on your home ground is forewarning.
If you live in the woods, you have an advantage over
the average suburbanite and city dweller. Bad
guys must often go out of their way to physically
get to your home. In the suburbs or city, most
homes are fewer than 50 feet from the street.
You need eyes beyond
your perimeter walls.
Today it is very
inexpensive to use a few small cameras secured to
the eaves of your home, and wired to a monitor or
computer so you can watch your fence line or curb
line. Exterior lights with motion activated
switches are cheap security. Dogs are
outstanding security, even if it is just a little
yappy furball that barks at his own shadow.
Be aware: If it is
LEO coming into your home, they will kill
your dog(s). Count on it. They will do
it for tactical reasons, and they will do it for
Do not dismiss
old-fashioned perimeter security along your fence
lines. Thick brush with thorns will slow down
an infiltration. Glass shards along the top of
your fence will surprise and annoy Bad Guys.
Fishing line set out as trip-wires along the base of
your back deck steps will have an effect.
The most important
consideration: If you find yourself in an
environment that calls for any of the measures
above, understand that you are in a fight for your
There are no rules.
Be rid of any moral
considerations: You will live or die. If you
lose your wife and daughters will be at the mercy of
If you lose, it is
All men die.
How we die, matters. You can die on your feet,
or you can die on your knees.
If you are to
die...don't let it be free for the Bad Guys.