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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Holcomb, Kansas, late 1950s. Two vicious punks named Perry Smith and Richard Hickock invaded the farmhouse of the Clutter family. Minutes later, Herb Clutter and his wife, and their son and daughter, lay dead. In April of 1965, both of the murderers would die at the end of righteously-tightened nooses…but it would not bring back the four innocent lives they had extinguished. The killers, motivated by the erroneous belief that the prosperous farmer had a safe full of cash, left the murder scene with approximately forty dollars.

This mass home invasion murder in a rural home was the focus of Truman Capote’s classic book “In Cold Blood.” I read it as a high school kid when it came out in 1965 or ’66, and reread it over the past few weeks. I was reminded of the same stark lessons I’d seen when I first read it.

The Clutter home was not an unarmed household…but the guns weren’t where any of the victims could reach them in time. Capote wrote that the police “found some shotguns in a closet.” They didn’t do much good there when the murderers, armed with a hunting knife and a Savage 12 gauge shotgun one of the parolees had taken without permission from his parents’ home, caught Herb Clutter alone and unarmed and forced him to lead them to the bedrooms where, one by one, they bound and then murdered his wife and his son and his daughter, and Clutter himself.

A gun you can’t reach in an emergency is useless. When I read that book as a high school kid, it struck me that since I had long possessed guns in my bedroom including a loaded Colt .45 automatic, I would have had a lot more options than Clutter’s son did when the homicidal intruders entered his bedroom…and, knowing my dad, in Herb Clutter’s situation my old man’s regularly-carried Colt Cobra .38 revolver would have probably gone into action long before things got even that far.

In a lifetime among cops since, I’ve noted that investigators who piece together the aftermaths of home invasion murders tend to keep their guns on all the time after that, even when off duty in their own house, and keep them by the bed when they go to sleep.

They have learned from the helplessly-murdered dead.

The rest of us can learn from them in turn.

If an intruder’s footsteps sound outside your bedroom right now, how soon will your hand be able to reach something with which you can defend yourself and your loved ones?


  1. Alex Graham Says:

    Good advise Mas. Here in the Memphis metro area I keep S&W Model loaded with FBI loads on my night stand, a short double barrel 12 gauge loaded with 00 buckshot standing between the night stand and the bed. In the dresser are varioue .38/.357 Smith revolvers. When I leave thr bedroom a 642 witn New York loads goes in my pocket. I have colon cancer and my days of being able to run are over, so stand your ground if necessary.

  2. Rob R. Says:

    I live way out in farm country, and due to this very thing I keep a .38 hidden right next to the bed. For preparedness, I have my Glock 21 where I could grab it if walking out of the bedroom to the south, and my Sig P228 for a north exit. If I can hear them before they get inside (too bad home alarms weren’t around in the 50s) I have a Mossberg 500 and my M1 Carbine accessible.

    Too few people give much thought to a home invasion anymore, and that’s sad. Some may think me paranoid, but not only do I have the strategically places firearms, but I also practice getting them so when the time comes (and it would only need to do so once in a lifetime to be worth it) I can defend myself and my 3 kids against felonious assault. Like many, if they get past me there is nothing to stop them from getting to my kids.

  3. A Critic Says:

    “In April of 1965, both of the murderers would die at the end of righteously-tightened nooses…”

    There are no righteously tightened nooses. Vigilantism, even that done by a bureaucracy pretending to be the instrument of law and order, is always unjust.

  4. Jeff Says:

    I would say about two seconds after awareness kicked in and the house dogs even bark at me if I get out of bed during the night. Living in the country I ALWAYS have a 640 in my pocket and a G19 with W 127 +plus+ next to my bed. My wife prefers an 870. And, yes, we did have a druggie type try to come in on us one night. He left with a deputy. Mas, I pay attention to what you write, except politics. Thanks

  5. Tim from CO Says:

    One step to my carry XD45 and two steps to my SW442. I carry the 442 whenever I can at home but half the time home clothing doesn’t permit it so I do the next best thing and just set it somewhere within reach, when I leave the room, so does the 442. Will be adding a AR-15 to the home security system when funds permit.

    How times have changed… no way would a book like “In Cold Blood” have been allowed in the public education system when I was in school. If it was, the focus of discussion would have been how could we, as members of society, help misguided individuals such as those in the book.

    Thankfully starting around the age of 12 or so I was allowed to keep loaded guns in my possession. Only things I knew were- don’t point the gun at any part of myself and don’t point it at someone unless they really want to hurt you. If someone did want to hurt me, I’d better use my sights and aim for the torso. I’m proud to say even at 12, I knew to lock my guns up whenever I left the house and first thing I did when I got home was to get them back out.

  6. qoholeth Says:

    My jambes have feet and a holster.

  7. Lyle Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for telling this story.

    I recently began carrying my S&W [M&P 40] in my home due to all of the violence that’s occurred in my neighborhood this spring. And, summer doesn’t look like it will be all too good here either.

    I’ve often felt – when putting it on my hip each day, “why am I bothering with this, probably nothing is going to happen.” You know, that funny feeling that all of those, “trendy Liberals,” have helped brainwash everyone with. Nothing’s likely to happen, why own a gun, why carry a gun… they’ve sure done a number on the average citizen to make them think it’s, “bad,” to be armed. It’s “foolish” to practice at the range, and it’s, “silly” to have it in your nature to be ready to defend life of the innocent. I often question their motives for pushing such nonsense.

    However, your post here has cemented WHY I do it. I have a beautiful wife (who is a darn good shot as well), and two lovely little girls, (age 7 & 10), and NOTHING, as long as I can help it, will EVER hurt them. But, if the M&P 40 is locked in the cellar’s gun vault – how can I protect them in the scenario as described above?

    Where I live (would rather not say) we’ve got serious problems with; Crystal Meth. druggies, Gang-Bangers, & “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,” teens. These individuals have zero regard for human life. And, the crimes over the last year have been unbelievable. Not just average crime, but pedophiles after young children as well. It’s just awful.

    Thanks again for this post – it really connected with me,

  8. Marc-Wi Says:

    Keep them close, keep them loaded.

  9. Mike Snodgrass Says:

    Good post. I would also remind readers of the home invasion and murders of the Petit family of Cheshire, Connecticut in July 2007.


  10. Paul Edwards Says:

    Sort of a slightly version of the old saying”

    I would rather be tried by twelve, than carried by six?

    My 12 ga. pump gun, with pistol grips fore and aft, sits right beside my bed, load with six rifled slugs, ready whenever needed.

    I an will make no excuses for being as prepared as possible.

  11. Randall Says:

    I worked Robbery/Homicide for 6 1/2 years of my 25 year police career. I have access to the necessary tools at home. I’ve seen plenty of those who didn’t. Safety begins at home. Thanks, Mr. Ayoob.

  12. Bruce Says:

    Mas, having moved from your neighborhood in Suwannee county , to the more populated area of Indian River county , I have heard of more home invasions than I was use to hearing about “up there” .
    In our house , during the daytime , there is a .380 with a 15 round mag, on the kitchen counter [ under my hat ] and a spare mag along side it .
    I also carry a .25 cal, in my pocket ALL the time .
    Night time , there is the .380 on each side of the bed with spare mags,
    We will NOT go softly into the night !!!!!!!!

    Sure do miss Live Oak & Wellborn though .

  13. Chris - VA Says:

    Pretty darn fast.

  14. Greg Tag Says:


    I long ago figured I was not smart enough or clairvoyant enough to determine whether or not I should be armed at any particular given time.

    I took the easy way out – and wear a holstered sidearm all the time. If I am awake and wearing pants, I am armed. That way I never have to worry about accessing my defensive sidearm. At night, that sidearm is left holstered on the dresser; the Gold Cup “house gun ” is accessible in its storage spot between the mattress and box spring, along with a flashlight and two spare magazines. When I am gardening or digging holes in the landscape, or performing other mundane chores, my lovely 1911 is replaced by a beat up Colt Cobra sitting in my rear pocket, a speedloader is in the front pocket.

    Is this being over cautious?

    Possibly, actually probably, but as the ” In Cold Blood” story illustrates, even though risk of occurrence of such an event is extremely low, if something bad does happen, the cost would be potentially catastrophic. It is easier just to put up with the annoyance of carrying the gun.

    There are sometimes home invasions around here, even in the nice Dallas suburbs- but as a good a Boy Scout, I never forget the motto ” Be Prepared.



  15. Alaska Rod Says:

    Best tip that I have seem all day .thanks!

  16. jackzeller Says:

    To answer your question Mas, in about 1/2 second. And that would be long…

  17. Paladin Says:

    Great column. I don’t know haw many times I have heard so called “experts”, even some with law enforcement or military backgrounds advising gun owners to keep all their firearms unloaded, locked away, ammunition stored separate from the weapon. Preparedness is not paranoia, and the fact is when trouble comes it will usually be unexpected, sudden and possibly violent.

    Will you really have time to get to the gun safe, unlock it, get to your ammo, load and chamber a round before an intruder can engage you or grab a loved one and force you to submit under the threat of harm to them? Yes if you have a large collection or multiple weapons you should keep them secure, but also have a “go to” weapon or two either on you or ready to “grab and go” if a threat presents itself.

    Thanks for giving some good, plain, common sense advice.

  18. James Says:

    I always have my M&P357C on me, or nearby. If not that, then my P238 is within reach… both always with full mags and one in the chamber…. and always holstered. A naked, loaded gun is a recipe for disaster when not meaning to yet be engaged.

    At night, my M&P goes into a retention holster and within reach (so I won’t accidentally be able to draw it while unconscious, but still reachable if awakened). I’d have to dig around for my jeans, where my spare mag resides, but I’d still have 11 rounds of .357sig JHP ready within seconds for anyone intruding. That gun is on me all day while I’m awake, and within a stretched reach’s distance at night.

    The only risk I have to regularly check for is impacted rounds in the magazine. I’ve found them before (twice within the past year… once in the seated mag, once in the secondary mag), where a round for some reason has gotten seated tighter down the neck of the catridge case than it should. Correct me if I’m wrong but that spells overpressure KABOOM if touched off in a defensive situation. So, I make sure to check on a regular basis for such rounds and then dispose/replace immediately.

    And I never clean either at the same time. If I do, I get out my GLOCK 17 and put a full mag and full spare on while my primary EDADC (every day all day carry) and pocket carry are in their non-functional field cleaning state.

    I doubt I’ll ever have to defend from a home intruder, but I also doubt I’ll ever be robbed or my place burned down, but I still pay for insurance coverage which covers more than the items I own are worth. My guns are preservation insurance too.

  19. Roger in NC Says:

    Mas, thanks for the reminder. And by the way…I also pay attention to (and appreciate) what you write, including the politics.

  20. RabidAlien Says:

    Got the XD 9mm in the bedroom (one on each side, loaded and ready, for me or the wife), loaded Mosin-Nagant on the rack behind me in the computer room. Handguns go with us in the vehicles as we head out for our day, and come back in at night (saving up for CHL classes right now). Four-legged furry alarms that go off if a neighbor two blocks away farts in their house. Probably not where we need to be, yet, but a darn sight better than we were this time last year!

  21. Tom606 Says:

    I believe in having more guns readily available than may be needed.

    As I sit in front of my computer now, there’s a Glock 21 SF with Streamlight M3 mounted on it’s rail and a Glock 23 on my desk. Several Remington 870 shotguns in 12 gauge with extended magazines are in various parts of the house and an AR-15 loaded with 30 rounds of 55 grain SP ammo and a vest with six additional magazines are in my bedroom closet. Extra magazines for the Glocks in .40 S&W and .45 ACP are in various drawers. I also keep a set of Peltor Tactical 7 muffs in my nightstand drawer and a level 2
    Second Chance vest in my dresser drawer. The rifle also has a light
    mounted on it’s railed gas block and I keep my old police duty gun
    belt with SIG 220 in it’s Safariland security holster and all related
    equipment, including magazines, flashlight, ASP baton, handcuffs,
    and O.C. spray in my closet so I can quickly put it on and have all
    necessary equipment when I hop out of bed when things go bump
    in the night. The sound amplifying Peltor muffs keep me from being
    deafened if I have to fire guns inside the house and allow me to still
    hear well if there is more than one home invader creeping around.

    I normally carry a Springfield 1911 in .45 ACP with two extra magazines and a Glock 27 while wearing pants, but after taking a shower, I switch to the Glocks as they pack more ammo in them and don’t require me to disengage any safeties before firing. The light on the Glock 21 SF allows me to have a light available at all times and leaves my non-shooting hand to do other things. I also have several Surefire high lumen flashlights in various parts of the house in addition to numerous hidden knives, swords, and axes.

    It’s better to have too much hardware than not enough if very bad guys/gals decide to visit me uninvited. I also have a dog who’s the best alarm system around and the ultimate weapon – a very large, mean wife who can clean out a biker bar by herself in five minutes.

  22. Tom Walls Says:

    We are rural enough that our house is not visible from the nearest road. and the nearest deputy is likely 10-30 minutes away. A handgun is never farther than a few inches, and the nearest backup is in the RedHaired Devil’s similarly accessible holster.
    I’ve seen enough badness as a Reserve cop to know I can’t predict when Evil might come, but I can by thunder be ready if it does.

  23. Tom Young Says:

    “If an intruder’s footsteps sound outside your bedroom right now, how soon will your hand be able to reach something with which you can defend yourself and your loved ones?”

    I can reach my Ruger SP101 from where I am sitting and it sleeps on the nightstand beside us every night. I also have a Moss 500 and a light in the bedroom close by.

  24. clark Says:

    Interesting story, got my heart pumping a bit and caused me to re-evaluate a few things.
    Interesting comments too.
    For some reason the Crystal Meth. druggies, Gang-Bangers, & “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,” teens don’t cause me as much concern as cops do.
    In fact, cops flat out scare me. I certainly don’t feel safe when they are around. Who in their right mind does?

    Will Grigg had some advice, that if you’re in trouble and need help – find a biker – and whatever you do, don’t dial 911.

    Also, three seconds.

  25. revjen45 Says:

    “If an intruder’s footsteps sound outside your bedroom right now, how soon will your hand be able to reach something with which you can defend yourself and your loved ones?”

    As long as it takes to reach over to the stand next to the bed and grasp the 9mm auto on it.

  26. Jack Says:

    This is why my family has always kept something in their master bedroom for protection when I was a child and 40+ years later I continue this practice. In addition I have hardened my home to make it difficult for intruders to enter which has worked out two times over the years, alarmed my home, dogs… I take our personal protection very serious because it is serious business to be all dead from some invaders of your home or an attack on the street.

  27. Jack Says:

    One more not worth mentioning;

    I would highly encourage to all that you teach other members who are members of your house hold be abled to reach a firearm should an home invasion occur and not have them all locked away unloaded.

    Defence of the home should not be left up to just the head of the house hold anymore. Those days were ok when a single prowler showing up and were easily dispaptched with a shotgun, but not anymore. They travel in packs and are heavily armed.
    This is why law enforcement now carry AR’s…

    I am a retired law enforcement officer with 25 years under my belt working the street reponding to these type of calls at the same time, I taught firearms instruction, firearms tactical use and shot in competiton.

  28. ThomasR Says:

    Most people carry a pocket knife all day; do you take your knife out and set it on the table when you get home?
    If you you have a good and comfortable carry weapon, why take off the weapon when you get home? Makes no sense to me; take it off when you go to bed and have it with in reach while you sleep.
    I know I sleep better with that instant insurance at hand.

  29. ThomasR Says:

    Another thought about how evil never sleeps; there’s plenty of stories of home invasions in the mornings and the afternoon as well; if the thought of carrying a larger caliber weapon all day even at home is too much for someone; a Kel-Tec pocket. 380 is cheap, but reliable and is easy to forget you have it until you need it.

  30. JoeFromSidney Says:

    Back in 1962 I awoke one night to find an intruder standing at the foot of my bed. I had my 1911 on the floor beside the bed (out of sight). I grabbed it immediately. However, in the interest of “safety” I had a mag in the mag well, but no round in the chamber. In the time it took me (both hands) to rack the slide, the intruder started running away. I chased him, but he got out the front door before I could get a clear shot at him. In retrospect, probably just as well. His escape saved both of us a lot of trouble.

    Lessons. The next day I got a dog. Today I have a burglar alarm. I’ll never be surprised again. I have guns located in most rooms of the house, all cocked and locked. A one-handed swipe of the safety and I’m in business. I also have deadbolts on both front and back doors, which ought to slow someone down a bit.

    I don’t see the need to wear a gun around the house, given my other preparations. However, I’m seriously considering wearing one when I work in the yard. That’s probably a weakness in my present setup.

  31. Angel Says:

    This is the reason I got myself a pistol license even though I already had a shotgun. Thank you for sharing this story. A reminder for us to be vigilant at all times.

  32. Jacob Morgan Says:

    In these cases how do the thugs tend to try to gain entry to the houses? Knock on the door? Kick in the door? Ambush someone outside (sounds like how the case in question went down). Each scenario seems to call for a specific counter measure.

    As to knocking on the door, it is infuriating when people have good locks, reinforced doors, etc. Then run to unlock the door for anyone who pushes the door bell. A case where good manners could get a house full of people killed.

  33. Bo Says:

    If you keep a gun in another room while you’re sleeping, aren’t you afraid the BG will find it and use it against you?

  34. Dann in Ohio Says:

    Answer for me or the wife: Less than a second…

    Dann in Ohio

  35. Brian K. Anderson Says:

    If I’m awake, it’s a good bet my Smith 642 is holstered somewhere on my person. At night it slips in between mattress and box spring alongside one of my bowie knives. After reading some of these responses I see I’ve neglected a good flashlight. As of tonight that will no longer be the case.

  36. Susan from Wisconsin Says:

    When DON’T I have one on me or near me? Never! I might also be fast asleep at night in a 70 yr. old house that’s about as secure as a pimply teenager but five dogs do a good job of keeping an ear open to unusual sounds. Step onto my property and they will know it and tattle on you!!!

  37. Marc-Wi Says:

    How long? Which one? is the question.

  38. Jack Says:

    Bo, your question is worth a responce and something I considered many years ago. I keep two handguns in other parts of the house other than the master bedroom and both are in Mini Gun Vault boxes that me or any member of my family can get to in seconds but an intruder cannot use them against us shall one get into our house. I do stay armed at all times with a Ruger LCP in my front pants pocket which you never know is there for any suprises as mentioned above even in the day time when walking outside or in the house.

  39. clark Says:

    Bo asked, “If you keep a gun in another room while you’re sleeping, aren’t you afraid the BG will find it and use it against you?”

    No. Maybe for the same reason I don’t hide the kitchen knives and the heavy vase or the dumbell’s and the tools in the garage?

  40. chris Says:

    To answer your question Bo, no I’m not afraid.

  41. Terry Kelly Says:

    I am ALWAYS armed. I have worked cases where a man was killed while sitting on the john, while the family was watching TV, when they were just doing ordinary, everyday things in their houses or on their property.

    I have my 1911 and M-4 readily available at bed. There is always a gun if not on me, in immediate reach ALWAYS.

    I do not live in a “high crime” area. BUT crime DOES occur. And while most homicide victims, at least in my jurisdiction, are generally doing something they shouldn’t be doing, like drug activity, that isn’t always the case.

    And as far as the question as to how the home invaders enter the target house, it varies. Sometimes they just try the door knob…if it’s unlocked…sometimes they knock on the door, pretending to need some kind of assistance…sometimes they just kick the door and storm in, their version of “shock and awe”.

    I have two dogs, who while not mean, durn sure let me know if someone comes in the house. And I don’t have to worry about remembering the secret code to reset them.

  42. Tim from CO Says:

    @Jacob- Good point. My parents and a few others I know will open the door for anyone that knocks.

    My wife and my policy are, if we don’t know you and we’re not expecting you. We’re not opening the door. Nice thing too is with the window layout we can see the side of anyone knocks and if anyone else is hanging back as well.

    Awhile back I heard about a reverse peephole. A small device that lets you see normally through a peephole from the outside. For the past few years I’ve kept a little cover over my peephole so it stays covered when not being used.

  43. William Says:

    1/2 second to reach the Colt 1911 mounted behind the nightstand.

    .357 Magnums with speed loaders in several rooms.

    Son has loaded .22 rifle and loaded .357 in his room.

    Daughters have a .22 and a .44 Special in their room.

    1911 and two extra mags goes on belt when I rise for the day.


    To paraphrase a famous man, “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer, and keep a reliable gun with you at all times.”

  44. Tom from WNY Says:

    Unfortunately, my job prevents me from responsibly owing a dog. Fortunately, most of the time during the day, there’s a Kel-Tec P32 and a spare mag in my pants pocket. Also, my old, well tuned and trusted 1911 with a Streamlight TLR-1 in the nightstand with a few mags of the old Remington 185gr +P HP. If there may be trouble immediatley about, an Ithaca M-37 with OO Buck is brought in for backup duty. for SHTF duty, a Romainian WASR can be at hand. (I like the AK family for reliabiltiy) I also keep a few tactical flashlights about to aid my vision.

    Just recently (within the past month or so), I have found the neighborhood has become somewhat unfriendly and my neighbors (good folk all) no longer seem to mind the sound of my practicing tactical drills in my backyard. Social misfits do not seem to like the sight of “hunam form” targets with large holes in the high center or head box.

  45. ST Says:

    Overseas in Argentina, crime and general lack of security has caused residents to put bars on their windows , add security systems, reinforce their homes against invasion by crooks.

    Criminals being criminals, they adapted a new strategy. Instead of suddenly entering the home as the violent crooks in this story did, they’ll take someone hostage as they walk out the door. It won’t matter what rating the gun safe has for security at this point, as the owner will be the one entering the combination to open it with his family at gunpoint.

    Stories like these are why my 5903 S&W is no farther than a 8″ from my grasp at any time.

  46. Bo Says:

    One poster says “I have guns located in most rooms of the house, all cocked and locked. A one-handed swipe of the safety and I’m in business.” He doesn’t give any indication that he collects/secures them all at the end of the day. That to me seems careless, I’m sure I am reading too much into his statement, my apologies if I am. And chris, I’m not afraid either, dude!

  47. carl Says:

    Great info,but don,t leave a loaded gun in your home if your not home.You may get shot with your own gun.

  48. James Says:

    “As to knocking on the door, it is infuriating when people have good locks, reinforced doors, etc. Then run to unlock the door for anyone who pushes the door bell. A case where good manners could get a house full of people killed.”

    When I visit my parents (who have a doorbell… a reasonably loud one as my father has partial hearing loss from his time in the field artillery back in the 70’s), I ALWAYS have my hand on the butt of my pistol when it rings, unless I can tell from other observable evidence (such as timing, or whose car pulled up outside) that it is someone who is expected.

    At home, I rarely get visits from other folks, so when someone knocks on the screen, I know who it is most of the time. When it isn’t, I’m always bladed, hand on gun, and exposing the least amount of me as I can to observe who is at the door. Usually its the pizza guy, and he announces himself most times too. Though the past 3 times it’s been a total surprise, once it was a FiOS salesman, the Jehovah’s Witnesses another time, and Mormon missionaries the 3rd time. I still never disarmed while they were at the door.

  49. Mark Says:

    It’s good to repeat the most basic of rule: keep it close. An inaccessible gun doesn’t exist and an unloaded gun is a club.

    As a side note, thanks for all the great articles, posts, videos, etc. you’ve given the shooting world over the years. I consider you to be the most informed, reliable, reputable, and practical advisor I’ve ever found.

    Perhaps someday I’ll run into you and tell you in person. 🙂

  50. JSW Says:

    There’s always a loaded weapon on my hip while awake and within inches of my hand at night. If the dogs awaken me, the first move is grab the Smith.
    Not far from my bed is a cabinet litterally filled with armaments and ammo. So I don’t worry much about invaders.
    What I worry a lot about, oddly enough, is those poor people who live in areas where it’s illegal to have a gun near enough and ready for defenseive use. Those who don’t have or want anyone else to have a weapon are the last people I worry about. Like ‘A Critic’, they’ve dug their own holes.

  51. parabararian Says:

    None of my guns are quite fancy enough for a fashion show dialog like those above but, yes, I keep a handgun in my person when at home. There is always another loaded handgun nearby in an unlocked but lockable container. Because I still live in California where law enforcement hates gun in private hands, I lock them up when I leave. I do keep an unloaded gun wit ammunition readily available locked in the car JIC…

  52. Mas Fan Says:

    Great story. I have been following your articles since the early 80s . Keep up the good work !

  53. Bill Meinhardt Says:

    Home invasion is more prevalent now than ever before. When I was an officer I saw the result of violence inflicted on innocent victims to often. When a citizen was able to effectively defend their self from a violent criminal we were very pleased.
    The people who post comments here are more likely to survive a home invasion that the average citizen. I am never far from a weapon at my home.
    However, I would give this advice regarding a home invasion. It is the same advice I have given my own family. The purpose of an armed crew of criminals invading your home is to gain control of you and everyone in the house where they can force you to give up anything you have or have hidden or locked up. If you fail to prevent the initial assault the next best thing you or any member of your family can do is escape. Once a single victim escapes the home the game is over and they have to flee or risk getting caught. The most likely time you or a member of your family will be able to escape is during the initial moments that they enter the home. The windows in your home should afford you the ability to escape from an invader or a fire. If no one is able to escape I would attempt to convince them that a fictional member of the family had gotten away and was at this minute calling for help. The best weapon you have is your brain. It will always work better with a pre- set plan.

  54. Chip Johnson Says:

    As a former officer…county, city, and state, and former deputy coroner…my. 44 Walker Colt is never far from reach, alone with a reworked .22 pocket piece.
    I rejoice that my state (SD) is in process of eliminating carry permits…all citizens may carry w/o 🙂 further documentation. That said, I do have a valid carry permit next to my DL. Mas, I love all of your columns!

  55. Dennis Brown Says:

    I sleep with a loaded handgun under my pillow…and no, I’m not afraid of it going off. That’s someone’s scare tactics. I fought in the infantry in Viet Nam (USMC), sleeping always with a loaded rifle in my arms. Not once did I ever hear of anyone have a gun go off unintentionally in their sleep. If you don’t have the gun real close, you may not get to it in time when you need it. Civilian life is no different. We are at war with the criminal element, be prepared. I also have a permit to carry and where allowed, I do.

  56. Doc Martin Says:

    Hate to say it Mas, but the wide variety of guns and ammo per household listed by many commenters, in my opinion, is asking for trouble. If TSHTF, really, keeping everything straight will consume precious attention, time, and resources.

    I know a pile of Glock 9mm pistols is not very exciting or sexy, but it’s my choice and it’s it’s based on cold, hard practically. I’ve got a stable of other guns for hunting and the range, but for standing my ground, there’s nothing more important than 100% confidence and predictability in what my hand wraps around.

    Actually, Mas, I would love to read your thoughts about gun standardization.

  57. Enjoy Every Sandwich Says:

    I live in a fairly small apartment, so if someone broke in I would have little time to react. Therefore one of my Glock .45s is always on me or close at hand.

  58. Old Cop Says:

    During my 30 year LEO career I survived a protracted gunbattle w/three armed robbers, took out a hostage taker and thought I knew it all. Then I read Stephen Camp’s book on J Frame Smiths (forgot the title). Now, even in retirement, if I’m up my gun is on me.

    I don’t go anywhere looking for trouble and will walk away from it if possible. I will, however, defend myself & loved ones if threatened and there is no avenue of escape.

    Practice with your CCW weapon often, be aware of your surroundings and hope you never have to use your “skills”.

    Be Safe,
    Old Cop
    LEO (Ret.)

  59. William Janry Says:

    In these cases how do the thugs tend to try to gain entry to the houses? Knock on the door? Kick in the door? Ambush someone outside (sounds like how the case in question went down). Each scenario seems to call for a specific counter measure.

    As to knocking on the door, it is infuriating when people have good locks, reinforced doors, etc. Then run to unlock the door for anyone who pushes the door bell. A case where good manners could get a house full of people killed.

    I 100 percent agree. I have had people call me rude and paranoid because I refuse to open the door to anyone who just decides to come up to my door. Whatever they want, I can do without . I never open my door to uninvited people and solicitors. I also don’t carry at my house because it is hardened and would take a few minutes to get into and their are guns within easy reach in different rooms. Don’t open your door and make it easy to kill you!!

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