Why our home defense plan turned out to be a failure
Thursday, July 09, 2015
As Murphy's law states, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
My wife and I felt secure with our home defense plan. Both of us knew our part and felt confident in executing it. Then, one night several months ago, the home intruder alarm went off around 3 a.m., dragging us both up from sound sleep.
My wife promptly grabbed the cordless handset and retreated to the fortified closet. I grabbed my home defense pistol — A DA-only 9 mm — from the bedside safe and took cover behind the mattress while guarding the bedroom door.
The plan was well executed, until it all went wrong. The bedroom handset was not working, and she could not call out. While I typically leave my cellphone in the closet, this night I had not.
I maintained guard on the bedroom door and deactivated the howling alarm. The alarm company called to check on us, and my wife could not pick up the call from her handset, so they alerted the police.
Not hearing any movement or sound in the house after what I felt was suitable time, I slowly approached the door. The mistake I made is you should never clear a house by yourself. Clearing by yourself is dangerous.
So now I had to make a decision. Check the hallway leading to the other bedrooms and the garage, or check the front of the house. This was my second mistake: Never leave an unchecked room at your back. I was out there alone with no one to watch the other direction. I could see no one in the hall, and I advanced with my first intent being the garage door. If anyone had entered, they may have entered through this door.
Sure enough, it was slightly open and had set the alarm off. I checked the garage, came back inside and slowly worked my way through the rest of the house without finding an intruder. I then reactivated the alarm (another mistake).
I was expecting police might show up, so I put the gun away. I did not want to greet the officers with a gun in my hand. I got dressed and tried calling the alarm company from an operating phone. The alarm company assured me I would be connected to the next available operator and put my call on hold.
The doorbell rang (this was approximately 12 minutes from the time the alarm had started), so I passed the phone over to my wife and went to open the door. Naturally, I had forgotten that I had turned the alarm back on. When the door opened the alarm went off (again), I figured I was not making friends with the old lady who lived next door.
The police seemed visibly concerned. I waved them in and retreated to turn the alarm off. Once I was back and assured the police they had been called on a false alarm, they seemed relieved. I was really thankful I had not opened the door, set the alarm off and also had a gun in my hand.
Approximately 30 minutes after the first alarm, we were able to talk to an operator at the alarm company and provide the safe word. Needless to say I was slightly peeved or concerned as to how busy the alarm company is at 3 a.m.
We have no idea what sprung the garage door open to stimulate the evening's activity. Either the A/C blew it open or a ghost. But our lessons were clear.
No plan ever faces the reality of a real event. No matter how often we discussed our plan or how well drilled we were, the real event showed us our flaws. A drill is not a real event.
Now, I lock the connecting door to the garage every night, and I always make sure my charged cellphone is in the closet at night.
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