It’s too early to measure how much more dangerous the world has become after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, except to say “more dangerous”. Which isn’t much help. Irrespective of what the Taliban are telling us, the best predictor of their future behaviour is their past behaviour.
Since 9/11 we’ve learned that situational awareness can save your life, whether it’s al Qaeda or the neighbourhood drug fiend that’s coming at you. This time, I won’t lead with qualifiers because (just for once) I’m not talking out of my ass.
I’ve spent a quarter-century factoring mitigation strategies into everything I do at work. Minimising risk for the public, for my team, and for myself. Since COVID began, attention shifted from active armed offenders, for example, but ignoring the bad guys doesn’t make them go away.
Danger has increased because morale is rising among bad guys close to home. Afghanistan today emboldens terror abroad tomorrow. We’re relatively safe in Oz until we recommence travelling. Which is good, because we have time to develop habits which may save our life.
Start by tracking your movements for one month.
I guarantee you’ll be shocked at how routine (ie. predictable) you are, especially during COVID. For example, if you (a) live in a house and at 7am (b) drive the same route to (c) the same workplace then at 5pm (d) drive a different route to (e) pick up your kids from childcare, you need five survival strategies.
“A man’s home is his castle” is an ancient maxim of English law that predates even the King’s Bench decision of 1505 which is cited as the earliest-known example. To whit, “the house of one is to him his castle and his defence, and where he properly ought to remain,” and wherein you may slay any who threaten you life, if you cannot otherwise escape.
To avoid any unnecessary slaying, well-prepared perimeter defences give you a bunker in which to safely shelter until the arrival of law enforcement. This is your best bet, so start now. ‘Red team’ your domicile to see what’s needed to make it safer, and note: I said safer, not ‘safe’.
Next, no-brainers steps to take include:
Lock your doors and windows. Seriously, more than a third of all home invaders just walk through an unlocked door.
Remove any plantings or structures that conceal your street-facing doors and windows from public view.
Install a wirelesss driveway alarm (if you have a driveway, obviously).
Install overt (not covert) motion-activated perimeter lighting.
Install overt (not covert) motion-activated security cameras – often come bundled with the lighting.
Install security screens to doors and windows front, back, sides and upstairs.
Install security film on naked glass windows.
Screen all visitors using an audio+video intercom. If you can’t afford that, then at least install a peephole!
Install automatic doors on your garage, reverse in, and make sure it shuts before you get out of the car.
Don’t open the door to just anyone.
If moving into a new home, immediately change all the locks and control key access.
Back-to-base security systems are not necessary, but if you can afford it, get one.
Buy a dog.
There’s nothing rude about talking through a screen door. Ascertain a visitor’s credentials, and beware false emergencies. If an old lady comes to your door saying she’s lost, be suspicious but also remember your civic duty.
Beware Little Red Riding Hoods, because there’s often a wolf. Using an ‘innocent agent’ is a common home-invader tactic.
Once they’re inside, it won’t matter how big your dog is.
COVID makes this especially hazardous, because anyone who comes to your door may be wearing a mask. Who needs a balaclava anymore? That doesn’t mean you’re obliged to let them in before knowing who they are.
Hardening your perimetre will deter 99% of attacks. If they persist, this indicates a targeted attack. You’re now literally fighting for your life. I’m not going to give any advice here, just educate yourself on what you can/cannot do to legally defend yourself at home.
You’ll be horrified.
This is just a taste of what you can do to improve your safety. Your home is your castle, which means you can defend it under siege.
Be prepared, and maybe you won’t die with a confused expression on your face when the bad guys come knocking. And buy a dog. Because even Jean-Claude Van Damme owns a dog.
Next: THE CHARIOT