'Make My Day' plus preparation can prevent crime
by Linn and Ari Armstrong
The Carr brothers invade a Wichita home of four men and one woman. After hours of torture, the five are forced to their knees and shot in the head. The woman survives because the bullet bounces off her hair clip. The brothers are found guilty (www.massacre.com). Two cons follow Jennifer Hawke-Petit home from the grocery store, then kill her and her two daughters in their own home (AP).
A friend of ours describes a home invasion before he moved to the Grand Valley: "In 1973, my wife and I were both working in civil service with the U.S. Air Force and were involved in shooting sports and practiced every week on a pistol team. I was out of town on business and my wife was at home alone. She always kept her 1911 Colt .45 target pistol in the nightstand when I was not home. The second night I was away she heard a noise in the living room and decided to investigate.
"Taking her pistol with her she moved slowly down the hall and stepped into the living room. A strange man was going through the drawers in the china closet. She yelled at him and he turned and threatened her with a knife. She shot at him twice and he fell face down. She then went to the phone and called a friend who was a lieutenant with the police department. He came right over and also notified the department. The man was a transient with a record of robberies and was dead when the police arrived. The investigation cleared her as it was determined to be a case of self-defense."
The NRA says in its "Refuse to be a Victim" course that criminal behavior exhibits characteristics such as low self-esteem, viewing niceness as a weakness, constantly seeking criminal opportunities, overconfidence, constantly trying to beat the system, demeaning their victims to increase their sense of self-worth, and masking themselves with a facade of conformity. From your elder author's experience with working with juveniles in lockup, many criminals simply enjoy victimizing others.
How many of us know that our safety begins with our own mental conditioning? Are you going to comply, scream, flee, or fight? Do you role-play what your reaction would be in various situations? Role-play now; you will be too scared to think about how you will react in a real situation.
If you opt to fight a home intruder and wound him, could you be jailed or sued? Our sister and aunt (respectively) Vickie Armstrong, while serving as legislator for the Grand Valley in 1980, helped the citizens of Colorado make sure that wouldn't happen.
The " Make My Day" bill (originally the Home Owner's Protection bill), addressed the concern that if citizens protected themselves against an intruder in their home, they might be prosecuted or sued. The law had allowed them to defend themselves but only to a certain extent. If the intruder did not have a weapon, the homeowner was not to use one either -- as though you'd have the chance to first inspect the criminal in the middle of the night. Even a citizen found not guilty might end up with a harrowing court case and hefty legal fees.
Your home is your castle, so make it difficult to enter. A Department of Justice study shows that you have over a one-in-three chance of becoming a victim of violence if you are home during a burglary. "Harden" your home now to discourage it from being a target to criminals. Start with the doors and locks. Just as importantly, use the locks -- yes, even while at home. Parents need to teach small children not to open doors just because the doorbell rings or someone knocks.
As an NRA instructor, your elder author tells women is that if they are forced into a car, the chance of returning home alive is effectively zero. With this knowledge, your reaction can only be scream, take flight, or fight, but do not get into the vehicle.
But what if the perpetrator follows you home? Are you alert to your surroundings? Do you watch your rearview mirror to see if anyone is following you home? If you suspect that you are being followed, how do you confirm your suspicion? It's just like in the movies. Take several left or right turns and if your rearview mirror shows the same vehicle, somebody may be following or stalking you.
What to do? Cell phones are great; call the police and take their advice. You may want to drive to a police or fire station or to a well-lit location open 24 hours. Do not, we repeat, DO NOT let somebody follow you to your home.
The NRA's "Refuse to be a Victim" student handbook puts it this way: "Stay alert! If you are always aware of your surroundings and the people around you, your chances of successfully avoiding a bad situation are vastly improved... Realize risk cannot be totally eliminated, but you can markedly reduce it."