Burglaries in a neighborhood allow an uneasy fear to slowly creep into our minds. They’re a grim reminder that anyone can be burglarized at any time. Some of us sleep with a baseball bat under our bed while others have gone out and bought a gun for home defense.
My purpose here is to tell you that the fear doesn’t have to control you and you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a gun you don’t need.
Don’t get me wrong; a burglar is a serious threat if they’ve made it into your home. You have no idea if they need money to fuel a drug addiction or if they’re just a kid who needs some guidance in his or her life and has no one to offer it to them. Either way, they’re a danger to you and your family.
The mistake many of us make is thinking that we need to grab our gun/ baseball bat/ knife and take care of the problem Wild West style. Movies and TV make us think that this is some faceless monster that wants nothing more than to take your valuables and possibly murder anyone who gets in their way.
We’re forgetting that this is still a human being, and human beings have fears, emotions, and thoughts.
If you hear or see someone break into your home, don’t confront him head on. Dial 911 immediately and tell him your address first so the police can mobilize as quickly as possible. Next, turn the lights on and yell, “I just called 911, quick grab my gun!” Here’s the trick: Don’t actually pull a loaded gun and start shooting.
Instead, make sure everyone is locked in his or her room away from the burglar. Even if you don’t own a gun and live alone, still yell as if there’s another person in the house who has a gun to hand you.
Like I said before, this is a human who broke into your house. A human knows that there is strength in numbers and that a gun can kill them. This should scare the burglar off, and if it doesn’t, stay locked in your room. The police are on their way and are trained to take care of this sort of situation. No material possession is worth your life, so if he’s tearing your house apart don’t even think about leaving that safe room.
If you assault that burglar with a weapon, you’re already at a disadvantage. The burglar already has adrenaline pumping through his veins from breaking in; you probably just woke up. He can easily wrestle the weapon off of you. Now you’ve just armed the person who broke into your house and he’s mad.
Instead, keep your distance. I’ve taught self-defense from surprise attackers. I’ll keep it honest and simple: Aim for the groin and run. If you can’t hit the groin, aim a kick at the knees. Structurally knees are weak and will crumple, allowing you to run and lock yourself in a room so you can call the police.
I wouldn’t suggest trying to wrestle them to the ground. In a one-on-one fight, the better wrestler will win. I know this from my Brazilian jiu jitsu training. But we have rules when we wrestle, and I can guarantee the burglar won’t follow those rules.
If he has a knife he can stab you while you fight on the ground. So as much as you want to be a hero and take the burglar down to the ground, the smartest and safest thing to do when you’re forced to confront him is to take a cheap shot and run.
I pray none of you reading this ever have to put these tips into action, but if the unthinkable happens I want you to be prepared. Your life isn’t an action movie so there’s no shame in running and hiding. We fund the police so they can train and be ready for this situation.
You don’t need a gun to stop a burglar; you just need a phone and a room to lock yourself in until the police arrive.
Editor's note: The writer is the son of Pine-Richland Patch editor Cindy Cusic Micco.