Castle-2

So last week we started looking at the ways and means of defending your castle in a SHTF (stuff hits the fan) situation. But before we get too far along the path today, it would probably be a good idea for me to define a few terms.

When I talk about “home security,” I don’t mean just your residence. If you type that term into a search engine, you’ll find oodles of articles and books that will guide you on the installation of security films on your windows, replacing that glass-faced front door with one made of oak or steel, using extra-long screws in the hinges to reach further into the wall studs, and adding exterior flood and motion detector lights around the house. One of my favorite references in this genre is the Shooter’s Bible Guide to Home Defense: A Comprehensive Handbook on How to Protect Your Property from Intrusion and Invasion.

While this stuff is just great, it’s all within the inner zone of home security, and its ultimate usefulness occurs only when there’s still the high likelihood that a quick phone call will be bringing the police swiftly to your aid in case of a burglary or home invasion. I’m not knocking extra-robust deadbolts or even the now-popular “safe room,” but a safe room is just a tomb if exterior assistance isn’t likely to arrive in a timely fashion (like sometime this week).

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In my lexicon, home security means everything surrounding your home over which you can reasonably exert force. In my case, and just using my actual domicile as a nexus (more on how to expand that distance in a minute), that area extends out about a quarter mile in most directions.

Proper home security is a layered affair with relatively distinct zones. The width of those zones can vary on the basis of your specific conditions (a suburban home would likely have smaller zone widths simply based on the limitations created by other adjacent residences). But wide or narrow, the zones represent inwardly increasing areas of control.

Your outer zone might be strongly passive in nature, such as downed trees across access roads, and areas of heavy brush left in place to either hinder movement or channel it to places more suitable for the projection of longer-range power.

Somewhat closer in, a day’s work with a backhoe can cut a few relatively shallow trenches that would be sufficient to stop a vehicle in its tracks. In a more urban environment, some wrecked cars across a street can block vehicular traffic – or, if placed in a staggered fashion, will slow vehicles entering your security zone, making them much easier to “interact” with.

I’ve recently read an excellent book on my kind of “home security” entitled “Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart” by Joe Nobody.

Mr. Nobody is a author of a number of apocalyptic and dystopian survival novels and self-sufficiency books. The “Holding Your Ground” book blurb on Amazon says, in part:

“Holding Your Ground” is an instructional guide and planning tool that addresses defensive preparation of a location. If the government can no longer protect your home, farm or property, HOLDING will teach you how. HOLDING covers virtually every aspect of protecting you and your family in the event society breaks down. … Covering topics ranging from hiding in plain sight to pre-positioning of supplies, HOLDING uses common sense, military tactics and historical examples that allow you to prepare for defense without affecting your property’s value or appearance.

I highly recommend this book, even though – in my opinion – the author missed or dismissed a couple of extremely important aspects of home security.

In his discussion of who might be the potential enemy, he says “For our purposes, we don’t know very much about who we might have to defend against – because they don’t exist yet.”

That is patently incorrect and a huge strategic and tactical error. An extremely important portion of your pre-lights-out planning must be devoted to intelligence gathering and analysis. For an explanation of why this is so important and a great “how-to” on the subject, I highly recommend “SHTF Intelligence: An Intelligence Analyst’s Guide to Community Security.” In a nut-shell (since this subject will be covered more thoroughly in a separate column), the most likely adversaries you’ll butt heads with are already near you. Gathering data on their strengths, weaknesses and then analyzing their likely courses of actions in a grid-down event is vital to your own survival.

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Another point of contention I have with Mr. Nobody is that he’s pretty dismissive of community; something I consider a grave mistake. Community is only covered in a couple of sections on retreat recruiting and developing multiple angles of fire. In one scenario, he speaks of someone waking at night to the sounds of multiple gunshots at his neighbor’s house. Despite having made an agreement with that neighbor for mutual defense, the individual debates the need to get up, dress, arm up and head to his neighbor’s place. After all, he never thought the need to do so would come at night.

What this should be is an example of what the effects of not having a strong community is all about. I’ll say it again: It is an absolute survival necessity to become a part of a strong organization of people outside of your personal property. That community is a mighty force multiplier. (And that’s another column coming in this series. Stay tuned.)

So after this dissection you’re probably wondering just what it is I do like about “Holding Your Ground”?

It’s an excellent how-to manual for determining the best ways to defend your castle on the basis of the number, skill sets, training and motivations of your home-grown defender group. The author has created a military-style Location Defense Worksheet that will walk you through the process of figuring out your best courses of action and alert you to deficiencies. He also spends a great deal of time on the process for determining force allocation with regards to specifics of fields of fire using easily understood graphics based on a specific compounds.

High rise apartments

He also provides a lot of good suggestions and examples of passive and active measures that should stimulate the reader’s creativity (although a few of them are a bit far-fetched; especially those for making your home look like a wreck).

But one of the major reasons I recommend this book to the new/intermediate prepper is that it presents an air of optimism. He covers security considerations in urban environments with a can-do spirit. While he agrees that bugging out should be a pre-planned tactic for the high-rise dweller, he’s smart enough to know that the option to do so might not be available. He deals with urban/apartment prepping very well, all things considered. And although I’m obviously a country mouse, the prepper saint Ragnar Benson penned a book on urban survival (“Ragnar’s Urban Survival: A Hard-Times Guide To Staying Alive In The City“) that’s a must-read to my city-mouse cousins. And if Saint Ragnar says it can be done, who am I to argue?

Well, that’s it for today. Next week we’ll detail my own zone defense (mostly; I may leave a few things out) as a template for consideration and discussion. Until then, get some books and bone up. And get prepared.

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