Are you prepared for when a criminal comes knocking? This family was.

By Jim Irvine

Recently I sat down with a friend who was the target of a home invasion. He lives in a nice neighborhood with his wife and two young kids. In the middle of the night, there was a noise downstairs. “It sounded like the blinds being moved. My first thought was: 'there is somebody in our house.'"

Such a thought can be terrifying. In a "hot burglary" the FBI statistics show that the home-owner is severely injured or killed 30% of the time. Thanks to the passing of SB184, our “Castle Doctrine” law puts the victim on good legal ground, as long as he knows and follows the law. Now is when you find out how good your training and preparation are.

My friend is an NRA certified firearms instructor. He teaches on a regular basis, and continues with his own education. He and his wife had thought about what they would do in such a situation. They had a plan and they implemented it.

"I got the gun and my wife called for police." These are the two critical steps that should be done simultaneously. Have the immediate ability to defend your family and get help on the way.

The most valuable contents of your home are not jewelry or the plasma TV. They're the kids. Where are they? Are they safe? Do I need to move them? Should they stay in their bedrooms? Ranch or colonial? Who is "downrange" if the shooting starts? Think about where your bullets are likely to go, as well as errant shots from the invader. These are all things to consider when you are planning the defense of your home.

In my friend's case, the kids were sleeping in their upstairs bedroom. They were in a safe location. The upstairs was dark. The downstairs was lit. The optimum situation to defend the upstairs. It allows the home owner a good view, while limiting the ability of the criminal to see you.

From the top of the stairs, my friend saw the face of the criminal. The sound he heard was not the window blinds clinking, but rather the criminal tapping on the glass. He was still outside, but looking for a way in.

In your own home, you have no duty to retreat. You are free to go where you want. But just because something is legal, does not make it smart.

"I could see him tapping on the windows looking for a way in. I thought about going down to confront him, but there was no reason put myself or my family in more danger. I was in the dark, and I could watch him. I was in a tactically superior position at the top of the stairs. Why would I give that up? My wife was on the phone with police, my kids were safe and I was a good place to defend us if needed."

I asked if he was scared. "No. I actually thought during the event about how calm I was. My wife and I had discussed this situation and we had a plan and we were doing exactly what we planned. It's very comforting to know you are prepared and making wise decisions together. I knew we were safe. I was not going to go initiate a confrontation, but I had a line that he was not going to cross. There was no need to go downstairs. I knew he was not going to be able to make his way up those stairs to get to my wife and kids. I was prepared."

Police responded in a timely manner and the bad guy ran away and escaped. My friend and his family were safe. The kids slept through the entire encounter.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of good training and a good plan. Being prepared helps you stay calm. Staying calm helps you make good decisions. Good decisions help keep you safe, both from criminals and criminal prosecutions.

If you have not taken an advanced firearms class, summer is a great time to enroll. There are many great classes and no matter what your level of training, or where you live it is always good to review what you know and learn something new. Having a good plan for your home is also a critical step. Criminals plan their attacks. Make sure you have spent enough time planning your defense.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman.

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