Before any discussion about defending something, one has to realize that nothing is more precious than a human life. This could be your life, the life of a family member or business associate or even a thief or burglar. With that said, we have to consider the ramifications of lethal intervention or lethal defense.
When someone decides that they want to protect themselves with a firearm or other lethal weapon; they must have the mindset that without hesitation they will use the weapon to maim or kill the intruder. It has been proven that the average citizen does not have the aggressive personality that it takes to use a lethal weapon against another human being. When the weapon is drawn, it must be used immediately without any second thought about the ramifications to follow. If there is hesitation, the intruder will take the weapon and use it against you. The act of simply displaying a weapon will enrage the intruder and could turn a burglar into a murderer.
Law enforcement and military personnel go through months of training to not only use a firearm, but to develop the proper mindset when encountering a “bad guy”. Not only do you train someone to have a mindset to use the weapon, but you must train the person to identify the proper target and not injure another associate, friend or family member. There are far too many incidents each year where one family member has shot another by mistaking them for a criminal.
So how do I protect my family, home or business? To begin this discussion I’ll break it down to two primary categories; people and things. Protecting people is to protect them from harm from a burglar, rapist, unsafe work conditions or harassment. This gives us two categories of defense to look into; self-defense equipment or a video surveillance camera.
There are many different kinds of non-lethal self-defense weapons available to the public. We can begin with pepper sprays and mace. These can be used by anyone and can give the defender from 5 to 15 feet distant from their attacker. They will disable the attacker for up to 20 minutes which is plenty of time to run and seek help. A Taser will also give you 20 to 35 feet of distant, but is more expensive, however if the intruder tries to get up, you can shock them again and keep them subdued until the police are summoned. Finally the Stun Gun is extremely effective, but may require close contact. This is very useful when you are with someone you thought you could trust, but they turn on you. All of these have been proven to have non-fatal or long term effects.
One must remember that the objective is to prevent the crime first and then get away! Unless you are law enforcement or military, don’t hang around. Of course the ultimate goal is to catch the criminal to prevent them for committing another illegal act. Instead take a moment and observe all you can and then run to a safe place or distance and call the police and give them all the information. Whatever you do, do not approach the temporarily disabled criminal and try to empty their pockets for evidence or try to wrestle them for a knife or gun. Partially disabled may not mean fully disabled.
Video surveillance cameras can be used to catch a thief on your property and document it for the authorities. A nanny cam or hidden camera can watch over your baby or children while in the care of others. A security surveillance system can also be used to monitor your home or business for fire, water damage or other damage incurred while you are absent from the property. With today’s video surveillance system you can watch your home or business over the internet with you laptop or smart phone in real-time. There’s another aspect of video surveillance that is often overlooked. You can use video surveillance to watch your business and employees to see if they are in compliance with proper safety techniques and operating efficiently. A business with several locations could have monitors in the main office to watch each location of the business.
Video surveillance can be discretionary or it may be obvious. Personally I believe that video surveillance should be obvious to prevent crime in most cases. Let them know a camera is watching and the crime may not happen and everybody is safer. This is especially true for cameras outside of a location. Repairing a damaged door can be expensive and after the criminal leaves, may let in the rain or snow. There are times when suspicion dictates a hidden camera, such as with a baby sitter or an assist person for an elderly citizen.
Never allow yourself to lose perspective of the importance of a human life. If protecting life means the escape of a criminal, loss of property or property damage, so be it. We can replace property, we cannot replace life.
Doug Harper is the owner of Sharper Safety .