Updated: May 20, 2020
My parents always promoted a sense of self and area awareness in my sibs and I, but I think being the oldest daughter of a Law Enforcement Officer, expectations of me in those instances were a bit higher. My dad was so protective of me that to this day, 18 years after his death, he still has his police officers looking out for me. I mean... he wanted to make sure I was so prepared in life's dire situations, that I could even stop an Extraterrestrial Invasion with a single glance if I had to. Annnnnnd... I can... LOL!
He literally trained me to be a little Warrior Princess. I was all the time learning some new method of survival, that at times, I didn't know how to interact normally with my friends without going full on MacGyver in some situations. Duct tape, paper clips, super glue and bobby-pins were a necessity in life, and we had a continuous supply. They were actually a part of our First Aid kits and my dad's tackle box. LOL!
As I got older, I also learned the importance of WD-40, too. It's not just for lubing those squeaky hinges on doors... which I suggest NOT doing. We'll talk more about why in a few.
Around the age of 5, my dad signed me up for Karate (my instructor is part of the Karate Hall Of Fame along with Chuck Norris & Bill SuperFoot Wallace... so... WATCH OUT! LOL!) and it was a long life of Martial Arts classes and training after that. I belted and then went on to train in and study other forms of the arts, not just the East Asian styles. I took my last class around the age of 17, right before I graduated high school. (I still take a class from time to time, now- just to stay in the know.) On top of knowing how to shoot a gun, half of my life was consumed in knowing how to defend myself physically, but in all honesty, it was the little "redneck" lessons my dad taught me, that helped much more than a swift kick to a groin- because they were fundamentally accessible. I feel like, in order to appreciate our 2nd Amendment, we need to understand and know the basics of Self Defense. In this article, I'm going to pass along some Self Defensive Measures ANYONE can do, and all they really require are your 5 most common senses and little goodies around your house.
Let's face it... I can preach about firearms ALL DAY LONG and there will still be some folks who are NOT going to be comfortable rushing out to take a class on firearm ownership, and then purchasing one. It is important that we all realize that IT IS A RIGHT for you to do such, but, baby steps should be taken in some cases. So... let's talk about some really simple things that you can do at home first.
Sweeping (or Clearing):
My dad was very adamant about "Sweeping." Some of you fellow gun nuts will know what that means, but for those of you with a little more Toxic Masculinity... or Femininity, in your system... or completely devoid of the alternative of the term in general... it doesn't mean getting debris off the floor. "Sweeping" a home means to CLEAR each room as safe. Every night, and not always with a firearm, my dad would "Sweep" our home. He would make sure every window/ door was locked. He'd tug on them a little and double check the locks to see if there were any looseness or fault. Then he'd move to the closets, checking behind clothes, in corners. He'd check under beds and even check the attic/ crawl space entries to our home.
As kids, we never had to tell him to check for monsters under the bed, BUT... my dad did this before bed, when he woke up, before he left for the day and when he came home. He was so habitual with it, that in time, it was just part of the norm that we all just kind of started to help.
Not only was it a good way to check for any kind of entry for an intruder, it's also a good way to keep up with any maintenance needed for your home.
** When cordless phones became a thing, he would ALWAYS Sweep the house with the phone in his hand.**
Listening To Your Home:
To teach my sibs and I area awareness, my dad would always tell us to listen... especially to our surroundings. Not to sound but so "mystical," but everything has an energy and a sound that it gives off... even your couch. You can almost feel and hear it if you sit still enough. Its a sense that we don't use too often... but if you read up on how blind people maneuver, you'll find that it's the real deal.
After every "Sweep" of the house, and everyone was asleep, my dad would take a few minutes to Listen To The Home. He'd sit or stand, quietly, with the lights dim or dark, and just listen. He'd listen to all the noises that were common to our area and he'd remember them. He'd listen to how the refrigerator compressor kicked on, how my Ma's old clock ticked, how the A/C unit came on... the crickets that were in the western corner of the basement... the Hoot Owl that hung out in the oak tree across the road... our neighbor coming or going in his big ol transfer truck. These things that were a constant in our home and area, he'd study and remember them, because when they ceased to keep on schedule, he knew there was a glitch in the system.
I've lived in town houses, apartments, a duplex and even in a little rental in "the hood," before my moving to my farm/ country home. Every home has a different language... a different feel. Try Listening To Your Home... you'll see what I mean.
** Memorization is key in Listening To Your Home. Knowing the placement of your furniture and even the distance between is extremely important. I'm sure many of you have seen the movie, Enough with Jennifer Lopez in it. If you haven't, I highly suggest it. (Click here for more info on it) Great movie on a Domestic Violence victim who learns about Listening To Your Home and Memorization. Plus it sends an important message about Domestic Violence. The methods in the movie, as well as what I'm sharing here, are Self Defensive. In the event of a break in, fire, flood, etc... where lighting/ vision is limited, you want to know the direction and location of your belongings, as well as the paths leading to escape. My dad was big on having a plan for all of these things. This was a family education method that we'd sit down at the kitchen table, once a month, and go over. If you haven't already, MAKE A SURVIVAL PLAN FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY! Even if you believe in a Zombie Apocalypse... MAKE THE SURVIVAL PLAN!! **
Under every window, inside and out, there was an obstacle course. If the window to our home were at a level that anyone could look or climb in, my dad made sure that the outside ability was NOT easy. Rose bushes... or some sort of thorny plant was the most ideal, but under every window, even if it had shrubbery, he put loose gravel.
Why not another bush of barbed wired flowers or something with poison, RAWR!?!
Well... loose gravel makes lots of noise!
Ya see... shrubs can be cut, pulled or even covered to avoid pain on the intruder.
Loose gravel makes noise even when you're trying to move it somewhere else to avoid it. Its even better when its got those little shells mixed in it!
And GREAT DAY if your intruder is barefoot! OUCH!!!
Inside, my mother would place furniture arrangements under these windows. Heavy tables with lots of little decorations, that if knocked over, they'd break on the floor and cause lots of disturbance. AND!!! We rarely sprayed squeaky hinges to doors with WD-40. The noise was a mainstay as long as the door worked the way it was supposed to. LOL! You have an intruder sneak into your home by opening a squeaky door in the middle of the night, I can almost guarantee you'll both be ready to leave. LOL!
Now that I have a family of my own and technology is a little more advanced, I have invested in a state of the art home security system, on top of a big scary dog and my firearms. Let's face it, though, there was a time in my life, as many of you probably live now, that I couldn't afford such. When I lived in my little ol house in "the hood," I did well to get by everyday. And yes... it was "the hood." I had to cross railroad tracks, go behind old factories... the works! I actually loved living there, but the crime increase was an issue. One thing I would do, to create a noisy obstacle for any possible intrusion, was I bought jingle bells at the Dollar Store, put them on a string and tied them to windows and hung them on all the door knobs. Simple little methods to alert me and buy me time.
How many of you have ever heard folks say, "Don't put lights around the outside of your house windows or doors, because you don't want intruders to see how to get in?"
Well... they're wrong. Criminals don't want to be caught. That's the reason why most home invasions happen at night. If you have a few bright lights shining on the outside of your home, GOOD! Especially if you're in a neighborhood. The brighter the better! I understand that's not always possible, BUT, the idea is, the more light in public, but the lack of light in private... your chances of deterring an intruder are greater. So, a porch light, deck light or even those flood lights... best if they're motion activated... are easy deterrents for those pesky home invaders.
Bright on the outside. Dark on the inside. Remember that!
I'm not going to put too much on ya, all at once, but these methods are pretty simple, and can go a long way in helping you protect your home, yourself, and family.
Intruders don't care for your safety, but they sure as hell care about theirs. When they find themselves struggling to achieve their plan, their fight or flight reaction will get all discombobulated and they'll go into a panic. This will give you, an unarmed person, enough time to LOCK THE DOOR of the room you're in, and CALL THE COPS. BARRICADE THE DOOR as best you can to create an obstacle. If you're in a room with a closet, GET IN IT. If you're in a room with a window at ground level or fire escape... GO OUT OF IT AND GET TO SAFETY!
Put distance and things between you and the intruder. Never engage an intruder on purpose, especially unarmed.
I hope you found this article informative a