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Distant Rescuers
by John Glatthar
April 2020

Many years ago, I had a conversation over lunch with a co-worker about gun ownership. From a prior conversation, I knew that he did not own a firearm of any type, and had no intention of ever owning one. To each his own, I thought. To his credit, he was not opposed to the right of other persons to own a gun. That stance would have resulted in a less amiable chat.

To me, not owning a gun for protection in the home is analogous to not keeping a fire extinguisher in case of a fire. Why would a person not have one, I wondered.  Nearly every family member and relative I had met over the years, grandparents and uncles included, had at least one gun in the house. It was such a common practice and such a basic household item that one never questioned “if” grandma or Uncle Will had a gun, but what type?

As an example, my grandmother kept a double barreled, side-by-side shotgun stashed in a nook between the fridge and the wall. I discovered it one day quite by chance. The “cool factor” of this weapon was off the Richter scale, in this young boy’s mind. When I asked her about it, she nonchalantly replied that it was “just for squirrels.” Right. Knowing very little about guns back then, I took her answer at face value. While further snooping about the house (as all kids do) I found a drawer in her pantry containing a stash of cigarettes and several boxes of 20 gauge buckshot shotgun shells. While I surmised that they were for that shotgun by the fridge, it did not occur to me until much later on that this type of ammo was meant for critters much larger and more dangerous than tree squirrels.   

Back to my conversation with my co-worker.  I asked him some hypothetical questions, starting with “what would you do if a bad guy broke into your home with your family inside?” 

He said quite simply (and predictably) “I would call the police.”

This was several years before cell phones became widely available, so I went on.  

“What if he cut your phone line?”  

This is a simple thing to do with a pair of wire cutters or a sharp knife, once you locate the phone connection on the outside of the house.  Countless suspense and horror movies have integrated such a scene to build suspense.  

“I would barricade us all in the master bedroom.”  He said.

Not a terrible plan actually, but that does not solve the problem with the dangerous intruder.

“What would you do if he tried to force his way into the bedroom?”  I asked.

He said that he would yell out that the police are on the way and – hopefully - scare off the intruder.  Ah, that wishful word “hopefully.”

“So, you would bluff?”  I asked. “He just cut your phone line. He knows you have no way to call the police. Again, what would you do stop him from entering the bedroom and terrorizing your family?”

Here is where the conversation got interesting, for he said “I would tell him that I had a gun and would shoot him if he came into the room!”

“So, again you would bluff?” I asked. “You'd gamble with the life of your family using an empty bluff?”

He had no answer. Nothing.  Clearly, he understood on an intellectual level that a gun could stop an intruder.  I did not push him further on the subject for I saw that he grew visibly uncomfortable. That was not my goal; I was trying to understand his reasoning for not having such a basic self-defense tool. This was a young man who was highly mechanically inclined, and yet he refused to own the one tool that could be called upon in a time of dire need to protect his family.

I wondered: was it because of a religious objection? (his dad then was a pastor). Was it adherence to and belief in some other anti-gun propaganda that had been spoon fed to him by the Leftist media or other source?  Was it due to hoplophobia, defined as an irrational fear of weaponry?  Did his wife object to having a gun in the house and he acquiesced to please her? Lastly, was he a felon who could not legally own a gun? The last was extremely likely, for he never would have been hired with the company for which we both worked.  I will never know the answer. 

Now, let us suppose that my gun-avoiding friend did have a cell phone and was able to call the police. How long would it take for them to arrive on the scene, enter the home, secure it, and protect his family?

How much harm could a bad guy (or bad guys) do to an unarmed family while the police are en route?  How long does it take to stab, club, or shoot an unarmed victim?  Less than a minute.

How long does it take to aim a firearm and pull the trigger? Mere seconds. Firearms truly are time-tested force equalizers and have saved countless lives over the centuries. Even today, with incredible technology, nothing surpasses their usefulness in that regard.

One of the most oft-repeated questions I see on the Quora forum is a variation of "what sort of weapon should I use for home defense if I do not wish to own a firearm?” Clearly, many people are concerned with a potential encounter with an intruder in the home. It is a nightmare scenario.  Not wishing to be a smartass, my answer is always: wise up, grow up, get a gun, train up, and become proficient in its use. Unless you can “harden” your dwelling structure to the point that entry is not possible (far too expensive for most of us), nothing – not wasp spray, a baseball bat, a kitchen knife, or even a dog (with some exceptions) – can stop a two-legged predator more reliably than a high velocity projectile delivered from a well-aimed firearm. From a safe distance, I might add.

Why count on distant rescuers when you are already on the scene?

At Semper Firearms Training we encourage you to buy a good firearm, get trained in how to use it, and continue your firearms training as part of a defensive lifestyle.

Please be sure to watch these two important videos and to send the links on to a friend:

Images courtesy of Oleg Volk

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Images courtesy of Oleg Volk