The Cornered Cat
Wait for backup

On another blog a few days ago, the writer said that he’d come home from work and found his front door open. He went inside and “cleared” his house—that is, he walked around the house, in the dark, with his gun drawn, looking for a bad guy. He did not find a bad guy, just the expected empty house. End of story.

Unfortunately, not all such stories have happy endings. Today, I read in the news about a man who came home from work and found his front door open. He armed himself and went inside to look for a bad guy. He found one, and now he’s dead. (Read the news here:,0,3679823.story.)

I suppose some would say that’s a case of “don’t bring a lead pipe to a gunfight,” and that’s true. But the bigger lesson is, don’t go looking for someone who wants to kill you. Not by yourself, and not without extreme need.

If you are concerned enough to pull your gun out of its holster, you should be concerned enough to pull your phone out of your pocket and call for backup. Except in cases of extreme and immediate need, law enforcement officers won’t try to clear a house by themselves, without backup. Why should you?

5 Responses to Wait for backup

  1. Old NFO says:

    Excellent point Kathy, and not everyone IS trained to actually clear a house. Unless I ‘knew’ my loved ones were in there, I’d cover the entry and call for the cops. Too bad this fellow didn’t do that.

  2. keads says:

    I always say to NEVER hunt around your house to find a bad guy. You will almost always lose. Don’t believe me? Find someone to play hide and seek with you in the dark in your house. You will almost always lose. You give up the tactical advantage always if you are on the move in your house IMHO.

    I would much rather for them to come to me where I know my backstops and fields of fire. I can work the visual angles to my advantage to seek cover and concealment. I also have my phone, reinforced door, additional ammo, and a really great shield. The door of the safe.

  3. momwithagun says:

    I think this is a reminder of something I’ve heard you say before, Kathy: As armed citizens, our job is not to dispense justice or retribution. It’s not our responsibility to apprehend the bad guys. It is our job to secure ourselves and our loved ones, to get to a place of safety, and to wait for law enforcement. Clearing the house is THEIR job, and they’re well-trained and well equipped to do it.

    I went on a ride-along recently with my local sheriff’s department. Long story short, I ended up accompanying the two deputies as they cleared a school playground in which several improvised explosive devices had been planted. (We didn’t discover the true nature of the “loud noises heard” call until it was too late for me to safely return to the squad car alone.) Speaking from firsthand experience, clearing an area in the dark is damned well scary enough, and dangerous enough, when you’re doing it with two body armor-clad, armed, night vision-equipped ex-military Deputy Sheriffs. In fact, at one point one cop asked me (in the dark) where I was, as he’d just located another bomb. “Behind you, trying to keep as many layers of the Kevlar you and your partner are wearing between me and that bomb,” was my response.

    Trying to clear a house yourself, with no idea who might be inside, how we’ll armed they might be, and so on? I hope I’m not being too blunt when I say this strikes me as suicidally foolish. If you’re outside the house, you’re already in a place of relative safety. Retreat to cover and call 9-1-1, and let the cops do the job they’re trained and equipped for. “Amateur room-clearing drills” are fun for IDPA matches, but the real deal should, in my opinion, be left to the professionals.

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