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Old March 29, 2006, 11:55 AM   #1
dragonfire
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My reason for getting a gun

About 6 months ago a man had come into my house while i was at work at around 1a.m. stopped in front of the bedroom door and said hi mommy to my wife,of course hearing this she sprang out of bed as the man was running out the back door.She called 911,after calling she dropped the phone and and ran upstairs to make sure the kids were ok.it took the police an hour and a half to get here and im only 3 blocks away.This was my inspiration for owning a gun for home defense.Since that happened i have purchased 2 handguns,and have talked to the kids and my wife about what they should do in this type of situiation.My wife has shot the guns on a few occasions and has no problem with function and accuracy.The topic is often what to do in a hostage type situation with possibly one of the children,what are some good things to do,besides call 911.There are a lot of factors here but what would be some good advice for me,my wife and the kids.Sorry this is a bit long,thank you in advance for advice.
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Old March 29, 2006, 12:49 PM   #2
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What kind of advice are you looking for? Training tips for you and the family, or preparation tips for the wife and kids?

My first and foremost suggestion would be to install an alarm on the house. I don't activate the alarm on my house when I'm at home, but there IS a chime that goes off whenever any of the doors or windows is opened, and there's a glassbreak sensor. The chime will alert you to an entry, and until that entry is identified - the threat sensor should go up.

Secondly - I don't know how old your kids are, but both you and the wife need to seek some kind of defensive handgun training and find a place to practice practical scenarios. Don't get all crazy with the scenarios....conduct a kind of after-action summary of the real-life experience in your post and identify things that could have been done differently, better, or safer. Identify missed opportunities to stay ahead of the reactionary curve. Talk through them, and then walk through them. Keep doing that until both of you are comfortable and can develop a few standard reaction drills..in fact, just keep doing it, period.

Thirdly - You need to develop plans for (a) when you're available, and (b) when she's alone, and (c) when she's alone with kids. The kids need to know and understand their responsibilities during these drills as well. Whether it's hide in the closet or get their brother/sister out of the window...whatever.

My wife has specific instructions during a 'home-invasion' scenario to hide in the closet with the kids and a cell phone and if any voice except mine appears on the other side of the door then she is to put two shotgun rounds at waist high and call 911. There's a stand-down codeword as well just to make sure all bases are covered.

You have to practice this stuff just like you practice fire drills.

Some of it might seem a bit over-the-top, but I think you can fully appreciate how a little planning could prevent a serious problem.

I'm glad that everything turned out ok on this one, man. It took them AN HOUR AND A HALF TO GET THERE!?!?!?!?!
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Old March 29, 2006, 01:02 PM   #3
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Any advice is helpful,and yes an hour and a half to here from three blocks away.I said boy its a good thing you werent bleeding to death.
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Old March 29, 2006, 01:22 PM   #4
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You're on the right track, and I applaud you for thinking this through in advance.

First, I note that your wife seems to have fired just enough to familiarize herself with the weapons. I'm assuming that you're roughly in the same category. You've elected to tackle a deadly serious subject, with deadly consequences if you make a mistake. Familiarization isn't enough. Both you and your wife need serious training. I see that you live in a large urban area, and there should be several schools close to you. Seek training as soon as you can, for both you and your wife.

Bringing guns into your home presents challenges of a different sort where your kids are concerned. Kids are curious, and guns hold a certain mystique that will draw them like a magnet. Locking the guns away isn't enough. Make shooting a family affair, and train the kids as well.

As to a hostage situation, that is every cop's nightmare, and I can't even imagine it involving the average Joe with a family member held hostage. There is no clear cut answer there, as these situations tend to be fluid and specific, with split second decisions being necessary by cool and well trained heads. No two situations are exactly the same. If you do a search here, you'll find a number of threads dealing with hostage situations, and almost all of them are steeped in debate, even among professional operators.

Again, the answer here is serious, hands on training, and I can't stress that enough.
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Old March 29, 2006, 01:25 PM   #5
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That sounds creepy, the intruder must've had some sort of psychological problem. Since you work late and aren't home to fullfill your duties as the "man of the house" at 1am, your wife should be trained to use a gun and have it in the nightstand. The bedroom door should be locked so that would buy her some time if the guy starts trying to force and kick his way in.
You must get an alarm system as well with visible deterent signs in front and around the house.

And if the guy makes his way in,... BANG
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Old March 29, 2006, 07:47 PM   #6
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and if you don't already have one...

GET A DOG. An alarm system, monitored, is not expensive in comparison to what it can do for you. Seriously good locks and doors are not expensive either: make sure the screws on your doors are a good inch and a half or longer and go deep into studs. NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOORS UNLOCKED. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. If you are going out in the back yard, make sure the front door is locked. If you are going to mow the front yard, make sure the back door is locked. Motion-sensors on your front porch light (you DO have a working front porch light, don't you?) and back porch light (ditto) are a must (we're still lacking these, but they're getting picked up this week or Archerandshooter is gonna be in trouble!)

When you have done all THAT, then get yourself to some training and learn to shoot, learn the laws regarding deadly force in your state, and practice, practice, practice. Have a plan for the kids to escape if necessary (our youngest son, 17, is to bail out of his window and run across the street to our neighbor the constable's house).

You should have so many layers of protection in play that somebody REALLY has to work HARD to get to you, and if they get past all that...the alarm, the dog, the secure doors, then you will know you did everything you could NOT to shoot the intruder, and he chose to take his chances anyway.

Good luck, and get busy!

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Old March 29, 2006, 07:55 PM   #7
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Well said.
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Old March 29, 2006, 08:23 PM   #8
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Springmom, Great post. Many times people fail to do the simple stuff opting for the gun. Well it takes time to access a gun if you have children. The dog and alarm will give the needed advance warning to prepare. The lights and better locks furthur aiding in prevention and early warning. Great post.
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Old March 29, 2006, 08:25 PM   #9
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The military equivalent is called "Defense in depth"
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Old March 29, 2006, 08:43 PM   #10
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Also heard it called layers before.
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Old March 29, 2006, 09:42 PM   #11
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RE: The doors, LONG screws on striker plate and hinges. Had occassion to kick mo-in-law's door several yrs ago (med emergency); dead-bolts, etc. 2nd kick door, frame and all went. And I was 2 steps below the door level!

You're moving in the right direction, excellent advice above!

Stay safe.
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Old March 29, 2006, 11:53 PM   #12
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Thank you for the great advice,im currently renting so as far as door changes and alarms go cant really do it.I have a dog and recently installed a camera system.ive been around guns my whole life and have alot of experience with them.IVe also been put on a different shift so now im home at night.The only question i would have is what to do in a hostage situation with the one of the kids being involved,ages 2,5,8,10.
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Old March 30, 2006, 02:18 AM   #13
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dragonfire-the only thing you need to know about a hostage situation involving your children is to aim high. But god forbid any of us have to go through such an ordeal.

As for why I bought my first gun...Some jack@ss broke into my truck (almost 5 hundred dollars in damage for him to maybe score 50 bux for my stereo), and given the close proximity of my truck to my bedroom window I vowed not to be 'unready' again. Unfortunately now I'm overanxious to catch someone with their head in my ride. (Not following a command to lie on the ground can be construed as posing a threat, right? oh bother.)
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Old March 30, 2006, 05:04 AM   #14
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Ned, Put an alarm on your truck. I use to live in the hood literally. Just blocks away from a major housing projects. Car thefts and burgalaries were common. Never had mine touched. Grandparents had a car stolen and one burguled before putting in an alarm.....problem ended. Cousin had his truck burguled (same area) and we held the burgulars at gun point until cops arrived. He also put an alarm system in and the excitement ended.
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Old March 30, 2006, 10:40 AM   #15
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There are going to be a million ideas for what you should do in a 'hostage-type' situation... the most important thing for you to determine is your (and especially your wife's and kids') level of commitment and comfort. They have to know and understand their roles as surely as you must know how to react.

Remember, though...the idea in a 'hostage' situation is to keep your family members alive - which may or may not be the same thing as "kill the idiot that has them"...

Try establishing a code word that will communicate the need for action - such as your wife dropping like a dead weight (fainting) in order to force the person holding her to work for it. Practice having your kids hide in a closet and assign a chain-of-command... one kid who is responsible for ensuring head-count and calling 911. You could possibly assign the second-oldest to run out of the house to a neighbor's....

The thing about tactics is that your imagination is your only limit....well, that and common sense. Role play - pretend that YOU are the BG and see what YOU would do if YOU had taken someone hostage (the wife). Talk through what makes sense. Look at it through your enemy's eyes... you'll gain a better perspective on what you need to do and what you need to prepare for.

Remember - it's about PROTECTING your family, and there are passive and active measures...learn to use both.

Sorry if that sounds a bit vague...but that's how tactics are!
Good luck!
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Old March 30, 2006, 11:26 AM   #16
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One piece of advice I read on here a while ago regarding hostage situations is to try to de-escalate the situation as much as possible (you want to make the hostage taker and family members as calm as possible) and call in the professionals.
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Old March 30, 2006, 04:00 PM   #17
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alarms and hostages

Sheesh, what a title. I'll have nightmares from my own post!

As for alarms, go to Radio Shack. You will not be able to get a monitored alarm unless your landlord springs for the bucks (and if you're in a complex, that is unlikely, although if you're renting a single family dwelling you might be able to negotiate something). Radio Shack has all kinds of alarms that you can use for a rental situation, including magnetic alarms that will go off if somebody raises a window; motion sensors which, theoretically at least, can be set so that small fry and the dog won't set them off but an intruder will. Go have fun on Saturday and poke around and see if you can't find some stuff that won't be too much money but will increase your security.

Hostage: well, if anyone were to get to the point of holding my kid hostage it would be because he'd already climbed over my dead body and pile of brass to get to him (if I was home). Youngest Son is 17, though, and does sometimes stay home alone, obviously (can you imagine if I tried to get him to accept a baby sitter? only if she looked like Pamela Anderson, LOL) and he has some training from us on what to do if somebody busts in. The operative word is: RUN. He can't even have access legally to our shotguns if we're not home until he's 18, so he has all these swords, knives, etc., (Ninja Boy) but he has been taught to bail out of his window and run to a neighbor's if there's trouble. If the constable across the street is home, that's the best option, obviously.

Your kids, young as they are, can be taught to run to a safe place: the oldest ones are in charge of the younger, whether they have to carry them or whatever. Make arrangements with a neighbor. If you all are on the first floor, they can get out their windows and outside. If you're in an apartment complex or on a second or third floor, you need to make escape arrangements in case of fire as well as your hostage concern. If you're off the first floor, you should have those escape ladders (dk who sells them, but I'll bet your local fire department could tell you) so your kids could escape away from fire if they can't walk through your house. At any rate, the same sort of ladder arrangement can be used to get your kids out in case of a home invasion.

You want to have as many options as possible to get them out safely so there is no chance of a hostage situation occurring. I think that is the key here. ONce your kids are hostage, you had better have the professionals there to negotiate and get them out, because you are probably going to be unglued and NOT be the person to accomplish it. But that's just thinking about how I would be, maybe.

Hope that helps. Do everything on this earth you can to keep it from happening, give them options and train them how to use them, and then you've done all you can.

Springmom
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Old March 30, 2006, 05:11 PM   #18
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preventitive.

A hostage situation....I guess I'd pray.

The best solution to a hostage situation is preparing enough obstacles and defensive tools to pretty much stop it from happening.

I would compare it to having a healthy body. The best way to stay away from the doctor's office is through preventitive health insurance: eating right, exercise, drinking water--etc. Not just taking some pills after the fact.

So, as everyone said, try to protect your castle as well as you can without major alterations.
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Old March 30, 2006, 05:58 PM   #19
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Quote:
The best solution to a hostage situation is preparing enough obstacles and defensive tools to pretty much stop it from happening.
I agree.

Regarding the changing of doors, locks, etc. Since you're in a complex you can't really change the doors or locks (as you mentioned). You CAN in all likelihood get away with changing the screws. Just open your door, take a drill or screwdriver and remove one screw from the frame. Take a look at it. Is it at least 2 to 3 inches long? If not take it to the local hardware store and get some screws of the same style, but longer. Replace the ones in the hinges with the longer ones. Unless your management goes around unscrewing hinges to check everyone's screw length they're never gonna notice the switch, and it's doubtful that anyone's gonna notice you doing the switching for the 30 minutes it may take. If one of your neighbors asks, tell 'em what happened if you feel comfortable doing so and encourage them to take the proper measures to "harden" their place as well. Of course, if management does raise a stink, you could simply point out to them that THEIR poor facility security could have caused you or your loved ones great injury... maybe their lawyer sense will start tingling and they'll stop bugging you about it.

Good luck... let us know how things turn out!
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Old March 30, 2006, 10:04 PM   #20
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Reply to post #1:
Must have been scary as fsck for her. Hope she recovered ok (and by that I mean got a lot of range time).
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Old March 31, 2006, 03:40 AM   #21
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When it comes to security systems, forget the Radio Shack idea. Your money would be better spent gambling in Vegas. Although I don't normally recommend it, you should consider a quality wireless security system since you are renting. No hard wire installation = no hassles with the landlord. If you're going to do this, it must be monitored. Without monitoring all you have is a useless noisemaker. With monitoring it can actually provide you with some protection. It also has to be a perimeter system where every opening is protected which gives you the option of having it armed while you are home. Glass break detection is good too, but probably unnecessary in a home since bad guys usually only break the widow in order to reach in to unlock and open it. Internal motion detection/infrared sensors are standard. Don't go with Brinks or any other nationally recognized and marketing driven "security" company. They are more interested in the check you send them every month for monitoring than they are providing you with the level of protection that you, your loved ones, and property require. I could go on, but I'll stop now.
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Old March 31, 2006, 01:44 PM   #22
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choochboost, no no, keep going. That was an interesting post and informative.

Could you tell us why exactly you say to go monitored over unmonitored? I'm interested and would like some more commentary from you now! Awesome post.
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Old March 31, 2006, 05:04 PM   #23
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This is a long one

In a former life I was a security consultant and these are my thoughts regarding residential security systems.

Why have a monitored system

Monitoring is a good thing because the thought of the police arriving is the thing that motivates the BG to run away. That is exactly what we want. If the police aren’t coming he has nothing to fear, unless of course the homeowner is present and armed. Monitoring assures that this chain reaction is in place and BG's can continue to run for fear of being caught. I have known several cases where the BG initially fled the premises but lingered in the area, and when there is no police response he returned, ignoring the siren, to finish the job. The siren is not for the neighbors, it is for the BG, to tell him his presence has been detected. That's why I don't believe in outside sirens. Internal sirens are the way to go and the more ear-splitting and piercing they are, the better, as it might discourage them from grabbing your stereo on their way out. Unmonitored systems just ring, and that's it. Nobody cares. An outside siren just annoys everyone in the neighborhood. Residential alarms and car alarms go off all the time and nobody pays any attention. Monitored security systems can protect your home while you are away. But even if you don't care about your "stuff", monitored systems also ensure that your unoccupied home is safe for your wife to return to when she comes back from the grocery store. A young mother was recently murdered in my area, where that exact thing happened. She came home, disturbed a burglar in her home, and after he raped her he stabbed her to death.

SOP and false alarms

Different monitoring companies have different standard operating procedures (SOP) and most tailor their SOP to deal with the problem of false alarms. False alarms are the bane of the industry and the reasons why cops are now refusing to respond. The number one cause of false alarms is customer error. In order to deal with this, the industry has adopted something referred to as “alarm verification”, where the monitoring station calls the residence to confirm whether or not this is a real event or just a false alarm. This means that every signal is assumed to be a false alarm and the police are only called when it cannot be confirmed to be false. Something is wrong with that process. Some of these big companies even boast about their SOP and feature them prominently in their national TV advertising. You’ll see commercials where a residential alarm goes off and then the security company calls the residence to verify. This is not providing protection, it's unnecessarily delaying the arrival of assistance. The very first thing the monitoring company should do is call the police without delay. The delay in dispatching police also gives the bad guy several minutes to roam freely throughout your house and take whatever he wants (while the phone rings) knowing the police haven’t even been notified yet. You also want the police dispatched ASAP because the result of any delay could be loss of life. Yours or the BG. You have your firearms to protect you, but you want the police to arrive ASAP so that you don’t have to kill anyone. Just so you know, there are ways to deal with customer caused false alarms where the police are immediately dispatched but then canceled by the user without them even having to pick up the phone. Its safe, much more efficient, and keeps cops happy. I’ll save the details of that for another time. For the record, although the monitoring company initially calls the police, they should still call the residence in attempt to connect with the homeowner. In the event of a actual intrusion the homeowner is connected with the outside world and can provide info to the police.

Perimeter protection

There is no protection without perimeter protection. Perimeter protection means that all accessible (some prefer all) windows and doors are wired. This lets you move about freely in your home with the system armed. Although the technology in motion detectors/passive infrared detectors has improved in recent years with self-verification and the ability to discern the difference between a small pets and a human walking around, they should still be considered a back-up to the primary protection provided by your perimeter protection. After user error, motion detectors are biggest cause of false alarms so should not be counted on as your primary defense. They are also relatively easy to defeat if you know what you're doing. Not only that, but if your entire system is motion detection based, then you have no protection at all when you're at home. Perimeter protection gives you early warning of an intrusion before the BG is in your home. When the system goes off at night waking you up, you can retrieve your firearm and make sure your family is safe and accounted for knowing that there is a good chance the BG is still outside and the police have already been dispatched and are on their way. You cannot control whether the police response will be fast or slow, but at least they have been notified, and you’re already doing your own part to ensure the safety of your family – gun in hand.

What company to deal with

Stay away from any company whose name you recognize such as Brinks, ADT, etc. You might think that national recognition would be a good thing but in most cases its not. The reason why they are nationally known and so large is because they built themselves into the huge corporation that they are on those monthly monitoring contracts. Most of these big companies set up agreements with small companies where the small company becomes the "authorized dealer" of the big company's products. It’s a very symbiotic relationship for them. The small company gets full advertising rights and privileges to use the big company's name and logo which brings in the business, and once the customer signs on the dotted line, the small company sells the contract to the big company. These contracts are usually 2-5 years and provide the big company with the re-occurring revenue generated by the monthly monitoring fees. They might as well be selling cell phones…it’s the same principle. The smaller company is no longer concerned about the customer since they already got what they wanted out of the deal. They are not motivated to provide continued service since there is nothing in it for them. Because it’s all about throwing the system together and getting the contract signed, inferior equipment is often used and poorly installed. A great example of poor quality equipment are the systems that are compromised of all-in-one units, where it is the keypad, control panel (brains), and siren, all in one unit. It’s usually large and ugly and situated right inside the entry way. All the BG has to do is break in and take a hammer to the thing and it is defeated. This not a security system. They install systems like this to save time...and time is money. They get the equipment in ASAP, get the contract signed, sell it to the larger company, and everybody wins...except the customer. They don't care about the product installed, or whether the job was done well, as long as you sign on the dotted line they are happy. Because these companies are getting your money every month, there is no incentive to keep you a happy customer and their customer service may not be so great when you need service work or decide to upgrade to additional protection. For the record, a quality hard-wire installation could take a full day or more depending on the size and construction of the house, and you won't even know its there.

I know this was long, but I hope it was helpful.

Last edited by choochboost; March 31, 2006 at 06:09 PM.
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Old March 31, 2006, 05:36 PM   #24
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chooch,

Insightful, to say the least! Many thanks for a very informative post!
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Old March 31, 2006, 06:34 PM   #25
OneInTheChamber
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Quote:
The only question i would have is what to do in a hostage situation with the one of the kids being involved,ages 2,5,8,10.
As Capt. Charlie said, that's a nightmare. I wouldn't ever feel comfortable shooting in a situation like that; not saying I wouldn't if I had to though, I just would prefer not to get there in the 1st place. However, you need to know:

1. An instant stop shot is going to have to be either the Central Nervous system at the tip of the spine or the spine itself. Both of these are well guarded and small targets. You could very well end up shooting the BG in the head and having dead motor skills make his fingers tighten and fire the weapon (which would be pointed at your hostage's head I assume).

2. With said very difficult shot; add the fact you won't be too close; and will be shaking violently. Not many people are that cool, calm, and collected at 1 AM with a gun to someone's head.

3. It's a debate whether you should ever drop your weapon. Law enforcement has been taught to never; and in 99% cases you shouldn't either. However, if the person is psychologically unstable, he might shoot if you don't. Most BG's realize the minute they shoot the hostage the good guy will open up on them; your BG sounds to be pretty mentally unstable.

It's a good thing you've taken the steps you have; but some things I can think of that will help you yet not violate your deal with your landlord:

Door stop alarms; a wedge that makes the door not easy to open and makes its alarm go off when someone tries to open it. Very cheap, very effective.

If your house doesn't have good locks; make the landlord put them in or atleast allow you to. You shouldn't have to live behind sub-standard locks.

Best of luck!
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