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home invasion

WARNING! The video in this posting is graphic and disturbing. Even though it was broadcast on TV, we feel that it is not suitable for young viewers.

I don’t know if you saw this video, but a home in New Jersey was recently invaded by an unarmed assailant in broad daylight. The invasion wasn’t some middle of the night robbery. This happened at 10:30 in the morning. A woman was home with her 3-year-old child, opened the door for a stranger, and was beaten, stomped, choked, and flung down a flight of stairs. It was all captured on a hidden nanny-cam. As I warned, the video is disturbing. The perpetrator of this brutal crime has not, as of this writing, been apprehended.

Home invasions are among the most violent of all crimes. Criminals use the privacy and security of their victims’ home to their advantage. Once the occupants have been subdued, there’s no rush on the part of the criminals to finish their business and leave. They can be leisurely in their commission of the atrocities of assault, robbery, rape, and murder.

Don’t let this happen to you or your loved ones. Don’t be an easy target. Decide in advance not to be a victim.

When anyone rings my doorbell or knocks on my door, they’ve just put me on high alert. My first thought isn’t, “Oh boy! I wonder what the UPS man brought me today!” (OK, that’s my second thought.) My first thought is that an unexpected and uninvited person (or persons) is standing at the threshold of my home with who knows what purpose in mind.

I’m going to let you in on a secret. In my house, the only time I don’t have a loaded gun on me is when I’m taking a shower. And even then, a loaded and chambered gun is just five feet away. When someone comes to my door, I’m already prepared. I’m not going to be taken by surprise. So Lesson #1 is don’t go to the door unprepared. The woman in this video had no time to react after she opened the door. Her assailant was on her instantly. There was no time to retrieve a gun from another room, load it, and be mentally prepared to use it, if need be. Those actions and attitudes have to be in place before the decision is made to answer the door.

If you call me on the phone, I may or may not answer. It’s not that I’m screening my calls. It’s just that I don’t feel an obligation to respond to every unexpected and uninvited ringing bell. The same applies to a knock on my door. If I don’t feel like it, I won’t answer it. So Lesson #2 is that you don’t have to be at anyone’s beck and call. Deal with these unexpected interruptions on your own terms. Don’t be as predictable as Pavlov’s dog. Don’t answer the door if you don’t feel like it, especially if you see someone at the door that you don’t recognize. If the woman in the New Jersey invasion hadn’t opened her door to this stranger, he might have gone on to an easier target.

Whether you open the door or not, don’t assume that the unwanted visitor has actually gone away after you’ve either ignored them or dealt with them. Your failure to answer the door might signal to them that there’s nobody home and the house is available to be broken into. Lesson #3 is to stay on alert after the visitor leaves. If you’re hinky about someone, call the police and report them as a suspicious person. The police will come and check it out for you. Your tax dollars at work.

I don’t want to make you paranoid, but the knock on the door might just be a diversion. The guy at your front door may be posing as a salesman to distract you while his partner sneaks in by another entry point. Lesson #4 is to be alert to the possibility of a diversion or distraction that can give an invader an opportunity.

When I grew up, we didn’t always lock our front door at night. Drivers would leave their keys in the ignition of their car when they went into a store. Those kinds of behaviors are wildly out of place today. Evil is on the rise. Crime is much more prevalent. Despite that, our tendency to trust strangers and to give them unwanted access to our lives hasn’t caught up with the times.

I wish times were like they used to be, but I know in my heart that they’re not. I don’t see things getting any better, either. Trust has to be earned. I don’t trust the stranger at my front door.

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