Saturday, September 10, 2011


Your home is your castle right? This precept of English Common Law came over on the Mayflower and is firmly ensconced in American Jurisprudence. But would it have any relevance in the aftermath of TEOTWAWKI?

Let's face it, the lack of law and order is an integral part of the definition of The End Of The World As We Know It).

In modern America we depend upon the police to defend our homes. You don't see high walls topped with broken glass and barbed wire surrounding inner courtyards in your neighborhood. There are no heavy wood or metal gates barring access to your front door.

Esthetics and cost, not strength and armor plating, likely played a major part in the selection of your front door. So how would your castle fare in the absence of law and order?

Got moat?

Castles in the Middle Ages had loopholes and cleared fields of fire.

Thanks to the greed and avarice of the developer that built your home (or maybe your unwillingness to pay a king's ransom for a five acre spread) there's probably a gap of just a few feet between your castle and the castle next door. Local zoning laws likely determined the limits of your castle's field of fire long before you bought the place.

More to the point, because your castle lacks projecting towers at the corners, once an attacker gets up against the wall of your house it's next to impossible to dislodge him without sticking your own neck (or arm) out a window to get a clear shot at him. If the attacker's accomplice is covering the windows of your wall dislodging the wall hanger becomes dangerous indeed.

Then there's the minor little problem of simultaneous attacks from several sides. How's the modern castle dweller to cope when there are barbarians at the gate in a post TEOTWAWKI world?

First off, keep in mind that the attack will likely develop from a foraging foray by a lone looter or small gang of looters rather than a planned raid by a SWAT team or combat infantry squad.

A looter looking for food, medicine and other valuables will likely stumble upon your stay at home Bug-In-Location by chance. Greed being what it is he probably won't call to his comrades until he's checked things out (and stuffed his pockets) for himself.

He'll consider a locked door a signal that treasure awaits inside. Yet leaving your front door open merely invites surprise attack. You want it plain that the front door is unlocked but not gotten through without a bit of (noisy) effort.

I say "front door" because looters going through a neighborhood will most likely take the route of least resistance. Scaling back alley walls or climbing fences between yards takes a lot more effort than walking up the street checking/kicking in front doors.

Let's do a little channeling. No, I don't mean attempting to contact your long dead great-great-grandmother. In the days when castles were more than tourist attractions castle builders went to great lengths to channel attackers into what we today would call kill zones via exterior constructions called barbicans.

"The Barbican passage contained Murder Holes in the ceiling and arrow slits on either side of the barbican passage. The barbican is also referred to as the Death Trap."

You can build your own interior barbican with little or no effort. In fact you probably already have one. It's called the foyer or vestibule.

If you already have burglar bars on all the windows (you should) and security gates on the side & back door(s) you've likely done a lot more channeling than most of your neighbors.

Now for the barbican.

Remember we're talking about the end of the world as we know it when your life and your family's lives are on the line, not some WTSHTF (When The $#!t Hits The Fan) interlude after a tornado, hurricane or earthquake when law and order will soon be restored because in some jurisdictions under some conditions this could be considered luring the looter.

If your front door is partially open held loosely in place only by one of those stupid chain door guards you've got your noise maker in place. Simply throw a box of books, an easy chair or some other heavy object directly behind the door on the hinge side so that whoever shoulders past the chain guard will find himself further delayed by the door not opening fully.

Filling the foyer or hallway with fluffy stuff (large and medium empty corrugated cardboard boxes, metal buckets, five gallon paint pails, floor and table lamps with shades anything that forces the intruder to pick and choose his steps will further delay him while whoever is on guard takes aim from the other end of the hallway.

Challenge or shoot!
At this point whether you challenge or shoot the intruder will depend on you and your situation. Obviously in a WTSHTF situation you'd want to avoid bloodshed if at all possible. After Armageddon you might have no choice.

Superfluous Survival Tip of the week:

Many people who've only recently begun thinking about how they will get along if the support system we call infrastructure (electricity, water, natural gas, gasoline and communications) ceases to function for a little while (tornado, hurricane, earthquake, etc.) often think in terms of flashlights, spare batteries and cooking on the BBQ for a day or two.

For longer term solutions (and not having to worry about dead batteries & empty bags of briquettes) I suggest solar powered yard lights and solar ovens either (hand made or purchased.

To Comment on this article
(If that link doesn't work for you try sending your comments to me, please put "Blog" in the subject line, thanks, Dave.)
Unless you specifically ask me not to, I'll post your reply here in the blog so everyone can read it. Of course I'll remove your name, email address and any other specific information for privacy purposes.