We tend to be at our most relaxed when we are at home, and while we might sometimes be annoyed at the inconvenience of people knocking on our front door, we seldom stop to consider them as aggressive would-be home invading attackers.
Here’s a recent news story about a man who went to answer his door bell, and saw a youth standing outside who he didn’t recognize. The man assumed the youth was a friend of his similar aged son, and so opened the door.
What happened next was unfortunate. The youth was suddenly joined by two others who had been lurking out of sight, and all three surged into the house, knocking the man down and then charging towards his wife.
Fortunately the man’s son was home. The son retrieved a firearm, and shot at the attackers, killing one and causing the other two to run off.
The first teaching point here is to be cognizant of the potential for additional strangers to be lurking just out of your field of view.
Have a look at the layout of your house – how easy is it for people to hide out of sight of where you’d be, prior to opening your front door, and then to surprise you and burst on in to your house? Many people have their front door set back a bit with corners and angles providing concealment for would-be attackers, and many front doors offer only a very limited degree of vision from inside your residence to see who and what might be outside.
The second teaching point is to be sure you know who it is that you’re opening your door to. Don’t assume a person is who/what they seem to be. If a person is not personally known to you then they are a stranger and could be anyone, good or bad.
This happened to me just a week or two back. My external security system alarmed, but strangely I didn’t hear the front door bell ring. The outside cameras showed two people – youngish men, reasonably well dressed. I went to the front door, and noticed one of them carrying a bible and both with name badges on, so identified them as Mormons (or some other group that goes door to door), and felt myself instinctively relaxing and reflexively unlocking the door to be polite in my dismissal of their ‘safe’ visit.
But then I realized. Anyone can make a name badge, and anyone can buy a bible. Why hadn’t they knocked on the door or rung the doorbell? So instead of allowing my guard to drop, I raised it and spoke to them through the closed/locked door with one hand on my concealed pistol, rather than opening the door and placing myself in danger.
You need to learn to do the same. There’s no law of the land that says you must open your door to strangers.
Note – the same applies to other ‘uniforms’ too. A man with a toolbelt and clipboard, for example. He might be from the utility company, but any one can buy a toolbelt, overalls and clipboard.
If necessary, install an intercom so you can conveniently chat from inside your house to the people at your door – this also has the tactical advantage of not revealing to the people outside exactly where in the house you are while talking to them. It is not unknown for determined attackers to ring the front door bell and then, while the homeowner is distracted at the front door, someone else breaks in through the rear door.
Lastly, don’t fall for the oldest trick in the book. Well, it’s probably not the very oldest, but it is a classic. You open your door to whoever, and they smile at you, say something warm and friendly, and hold out their hand to shake your hand.
If you reach out and shake their hand, what has just happened? The chances are your right hand is your gun hand, and you have allowed a stranger to seize your gun hand. You’re in the mental mindset of a friendly handshake, and they suddenly flip your arm and swivel you around and have you pinned to the side of your house, controlling your gun hand as part of the process.
Not all strangers are ‘friends you’ve yet to meet’. Be alert and wary any time someone comes to your front door.