Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Twenty-One Days - Day 20: Security

Ah! I can hear some folks saying. It's about time she got to this. Now for the really good stuff ....

Before I go any further on the topic of security, I should reveal that I'm not afraid of guns.

My father comes from a family of hunters, and while I've never known him to hunt, as an officer in the US Army, I know he knew his way around a gun, and there was always a gun (or several) in our house when I was growing up. We never had any lessons on the proper handling of guns, but as far as I know they weren't locked up in a safe out of reach and unloaded. In fact, I don't even recall where he kept them, just that I knew they were in the house and that it was none of my business to be touching them. So, I never did.

When my sister moved to "the big city" and was living alone, her going away present was a shotgun that she kept under her bed (reckon that made for some interesting conversations among her friends :).

When I enlisted in the Army, I became acquainted with the semi-automatic M16-A2 assualt rifle, and I named mine "Mark", saying that he always was ... on his mark ;). It was incredible, and I could feel the awesome power of this weapon with every squeeze of the trigger - inhale, exhale, hold, squeeze ... exhileration! I was a sharpshooter, and my best target was the 300 meter, which means most aggressors don't have much chance of getting close enough to bother me ;).

I'm not afraid of guns. I know how to use them, but I've also been raised with a healthy respect of the fact that guns are not toys, and that one should never become so complacent around guns that one thinks of them as such. They are weapons, and they were designed and created to mete out death.

There are those that are predicting a tumultuous and violent future. Those same people will have a lot of great information about the various weapons one may wish to invest in, and the array of choices is staggering. It is unlikely that I will ever feel comfortable advising others of the type of weapon they may wish to procure, and neither will I say that the best defense is having a gun. Guns are weapons, and they are meant for killing. If I brandish a gun, knowing that I won't be able to pull the trigger, I've made a huge mistake, because whoever or whatever is on the other side of that barrel may not have any reservations.

If one is comfortable, as I am, with guns, then have one - or six, whatever - but just don't disillusion oneself about their purpose. They aren't for "protection." They are for killing.

There are protective measures one can take, and the best has already been covered, only I called it "networking" :). A close second would be to develop a keen awareness of one's surroundings, and then, design one's surroundings with an eye toward security.

In Medieval times, castles had moats. Think of your home as your castle, and while you may not want to dig a pit around the perimeter of your yard, you might want to plant some dense, and, perhaps, thorny, plants around that perimeter. Humans tend to be a lot like water and tend to take the path of least resistance. If it's more difficult to get to you (at least in the beginning), most aggressors will go elsewhere. In the military we used concertina wire around our perimeter. It, maybe, didn't stop aggressors, but definitely slowed them enough to give us a chance to take action. Brambles are a lot nicer looking than concertina wire, but no less slowing ... unless one is Br'er Rabbit ;).

Additionally, depending on the season, anyone who might be considering attacking you for food, will see your berries, and stop there for a snack ... and then, they'll leave you alone, because they'll be full ;).

With that in mind, today's giveaway is a raspberry bramble. Well, not exactly. The giveaway is for a $20 gift certificate to Johnny Seed, and with security in mind, my suggestion would be to spend it on a raspberry plant ;). As usual, if you're interested in the gift cert, please leave a comment.


The winner of the book And the Skylark Sings With Me is Marygee. Congratulations! Please leave a comment with your full name and address. Comments are moderated and I will not publish your information.

The End is Near ... Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps this petty pace until the last syllable of recorded time. Time doesn't really seem to be "creeping", but flying, and we're almost out of it! Be sure to check back every day, and comment, if you would like to be entered that day's drawing.


  1. I am not against guns as security but my first approach would be a good watch dog...we have a Queensland Heeler and I just don't think anyone would get in the house unless they killed her first. They are about as loyal and protecting as they come. My second choice would then be whatever method one feels comfortable with...but like you say you must be prepared to use it.

  2. Mandi from DelawareMarch 29, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    While my husband and I probably own enough firearms to equip a small batallion, I really like that you discuss passive forms of determent. We have started putting raspberries along the chainlink fence (we only have a tenth of an acre) in order to deter jumping the fence. Since we are only scavenging them from friends, we have three plants. Hope I can soon add to the number!

  3. Semi-random thoughts:

    If you have a fence, you might consider painting the inside of it (the house-side) white. It will silhouette anyone who climbs over it in twilight/dim conditions.

    It is as a version of what the IRA would do so that they could snipe at the British Patrols. They would paint the alleyway walls to silhouette the patrol when they walked by. Of course then the British would go out an paint the walls black, and start a mini-painting war.

    Your typical front door is usually very flimsy and easy to kick down. The weakest point is not usually the door but the jam: which can be easily reinforced.

    In general the best defense against guns is distance. Even when people set out with the intention of assassinating someone, very few of them succeed if they cannot get within 20'.

    Getting in and out of your car, and leaving/entering your drive way are very vulnerable points. In dangerous times they are times to be particularly cautious.

  4. I agree with you. Deterrence is always a better option than having to go for the gun. I've been thinking about nettles. Lots and lots of nettles. Though I admit, a dog is a good option too, again for deterrence/warning rather than actual defense.

    I'd love a raspberry bramble. We pulled all ours out as their taste was just insipid. Need to try again with another variety. Thanks for the chance to win!

  5. Defensibility is something that worries me, especially as we live in a city with pretty restrictive rules on fencing. I wonder if we could get away with using plants as barriers instead?

    Interested in the drawing, as always. :)

  6. Here on Planet Georgia, hollys are a great defensive perimeter plant. They're hardy, dense, grow quickly, and have prickly leaves pretty much year-round. Holly berries are pretty toxic though, so you might want to stick with something edible if you have small children to think about.

  7. We'd been talking vaguely about the possibility that one or both of us would need to get trained with gun use and safety if we moved out to where we'd like to be. But I'm still not sure I could ever be comfortable enough to aim it at anyone/thing living for anything other than a dire need for food or euthanasia. So more thinking must be done, I suppose.

    In the meantime, I'll get to work on planning a tricky hedge, because that's a bit more up my alley. :)

  8. thank you for this post- you summarized my own feelings about gun ownership and use.
    Love the idea of being able to help someone desperate enough for food that they would be willing to attack for it, instead of killing them. Ha.
    Please enter me

  9. I'm late to post but wanted to mention what the non gated communities in Vegas did as deterrents. Cacti beneath windows or climbing roses, but usually, cacti.