Protests against the murder of George Floyd have led to protests around the country. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this happen, but it is probably the most widespread and has lasted the longest than ever before. The Black Lives Matter seems to have gained legs and is receiving lots of support from a wide range of places, including many who didn’t support them before.
Unfortunately, there have been many cases in which peaceful protests have been hijacked by bad actors, probably from ANTIFA, who have turned those peaceful protests into riots. A number of different police chiefs have come forth, stating unequivocally that the demonstrators were not the rioters, but rather that the rioters were embedded in with the peaceful demonstrators, using them as camouflage and trying to shift the blame for their bad actions onto those who are just exercising their First Amendment rights.
That camouflage has been largely successful, as many people aren’t seeing the difference between the two groups. Not only that, but the actions started by the agitators has encouraged others to join them, following the psychology of “mob mentality.” This has led to blocking roads, attacking cars, looting and even some deaths.
With all this going on, it’s no wonder that a couple in St. Louis was afraid for their lives when a group of several hundred people broke down the gate of their private community. Dubbed “Ken and Karen” by the media (disparaging terms), they stood in front of their house, armed, guarding it. While the legality of this move has been questioned in some quarters, it appears that they didn’t do anything that breaks the law. Missouri has implemented the “Castle doctrine” allowing them to protect their property.
On the other hand, I’m not sure I can agree with the wisdom of that couple standing in front of their home, armed. Some can claim that their actions were provocative and threatening to the crowd of protesters. While the man held his rifle appropriately across his body, his wife doesn’t appear to know what she is doing and is seen to be pointing her pistol at the crowd, with her finger in the trigger guard.
Personally, if I was guarding my home, I would try to do so without being quite so obvious. While they might have done what they did to be a deterrent, two armed people, with no spare magazines visible, aren’t really that much of a deterrent to 100 people, let alone a few times that number.
With a little preparation, there are a number of things that they could have done or that any of us can do, which will help make our homes more secure from raging mobs, without having to stand outside our homes making targets of ourselves.
We want to be careful about this though. US law does not allow the use of booby traps; or rather, you are liable for any harm that your booby traps cause. So I’m sorry, you’ll have to forget about the caltrops and land mines. That’s too bad, as I’m really fond of caltrops. But, even though they don’t kill, they are intended to injure, which you would be legally liable for.
Lights & Cameras
The first thing that any of us should do is to mount lights and cameras on our home. Outdoor lighting is a good protection against your home being broken into anyway, making it a good idea. While that lighting may not stop a mob going down your street, it will make it easier for cameras to get a good shot of anyone who comes on your property.
Don’t bother trying to hide your cameras; but place them high enough that they can’t get to them. Roof-mounted cameras are hard to get to, and if anyone climbs on your roof to get to them, they’ll be caught on camera, assuming you have your cameras set to ensure that you have full coverage.
By the way, those lights and cameras should be triggered by motion detectors, so that you don’t have to leave them on full-time. They can be connected to your computer, so that you can have a permanent video record of what has happened.
One of my favorite defensive measures for the perimeter of your property is hedges. If you put a fence in front of your home, it’s obvious what it is. Few of them are any problem for that mob, as they can either knock them down or climb over them. About the only fence which will do much good is a tall one with pointy spikes on the top, but that’s rather obvious.
On the other hand, you can plant a hedge around your property line, which, if done properly, is much harder to get through. By “properly” I’m referring to several things:
- Planting the bushes close enough together so that people can’t push between them. No more than two feet apart.
- Make sure that your hedge overlaps any fences or corners of your home, so that there are no gaps there.
- Intertwining the branches of the bushes, so that the top of any one branch might be two or three plants away from its roots.
- Using some sort of bush with sharp thorns. I like bugambilia, which grows very quickly.
- Grow the hedge both high and thick. Four feet high is high enough to be hard to get over and three feet thick makes it very hard to climb over it, especially with the thorns.
No hedge, like no fence, is going to be a perfect barrier, but it is a deterrent. People who really want to get to you will find a way. But if you put a gate at your walkway, they’ll take that. This gives you a way of channeling how they get onto your property, controlling any following confrontation into a position that is favorable for you.
If you have a fence or hedge, you can easily make it an even bigger deterrent by electrifying it. Electric fences are used to control animals on a fairly common basis, giving you a way to explain it away. You can either say that you’ve installed it to keep your dogs in or stray dogs out.
Electrifying your fence doesn’t mean making the whole thing electrified, but rather adding an electric fence element to it. This is usually a single uninsulated wire, mounted to the inside of the fence with standoffs. It provides a non-lethal electric shock to anyone who touches the wire.
I think technically that you are required to post a sign for an electric fence, warning people that it is electrified. That’s fine, the sign serves as a deterrent too. But posting it doesn’t mean that you have to post it every five feet. Find out the minimum requirements for your area, they aren’t real close. For example, Forth Worth, Texas requires posting every 25 feet. So be sure to do that and not allow it to be any farther, so that you are in compliance with the law.
The term “tripwire” can mean a number of different things. Typically, trip wires are connected to alarms of some sort, regardless of whether they are mechanical or electronic tripwires. They can also be connected to a variety of snares and traps, all of which would be of questionable legality.
If you don’t have your lights and cameras set up on a motion detector, I’d recommend an electronic tripwire just inside the borders of your property. These usually use some sort of laser, which unlike the ones they use in Hollywood, are invisible. Properly mounted in hidden locations, they are virtually undetectable and can turn on your lights and cameras.
However, there is another way that I think you can get away with using tripwires on your property and that is to use them to trip people. Running ankle-high wires across your lawn, firmly anchored, so that they won’t pull out, can be an effective way of tripping up anyone who comes onto your property, without permission. You will probably need to grow your grass a bit higher to hide them, but it will be worth it.
Spike strips are one of the few traps which are not illegal. While you can’t use caltrops to puncture tires, you can use spike strips. Go figure. Placed across your driveway or even embedded into it, these can make sure that anyone driving onto your property isn’t going to be driving back off.
Of course, this is only useful if someone is driving onto your property. It’s not going to do you much good against protesters on foot. So this method is of limited utility. Even so, it might be worth doing.
One thing you need to know about this is that while the spike strips are not illegal, you might end up having to pay for people’s tires, even those who enter your property without permission. Taking care of those damaged tires just might be the price to be paid, in order to avoid being charged for some crime.
Dig a Ditch
If you have enough property, one of the best things you can do is to dig a “drainage ditch” at the edge of your property. Dug properly, that ditch can be made easy to get into and out of from the street side but difficult to get out of on your property side. That way, anyone who gets into it, might not get any farther.
If you want to make that even worse, put a barbed wire fence in the bottom of it and throw a bunch of junk in the bottom too. Old rusty junk with sharp edges and corners will make transitioning that ditch even harder, discouraging people from even trying.
Once again, this won’t be perfect, because they can always come in via your driveway. I guess you could turn it into a moat and install a drawbridge, but keeping the crocodiles in the moat might be difficult.
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