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Old October 6, 2010, 11:41 PM   #1
lArepuS
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Desensitized to Danger?

So, I was having dinner earlier and the dog started barking and I ignored him like I usually do because I figured it was one of my neighbors throwing out the trash again, but this got me to thinking how desensitized I am towards any alarms that may warn me against potential dangers. The dog barking or the side gate banging shut are just normal day sounds that I have tuned out. It got me wondering that if some BGs really did decide to break into my home, I may not be ready for them until it may be too late.

This got me wondering what TFL members do to stay sharp and alert around their home. I know there's one thread going around asking if people carry around the house. This seems like the best solution to staying safe, but is still something I am not comfortable with as I am new to firearms (and my family wouldn't be comfortable with it either).

So what do you all do to stay prepared and alert to any potential dangers? Is there being to0 alert, like becoming paranoid?

Discuss
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Old October 6, 2010, 11:52 PM   #2
AcridSaint
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Clint Smith said something along the lines of "People are going to call you paranoid because you carry a gun. I ask them 'What the hell do I have to be paranoid about? I've got a gun.'"

I don't believe that being alert borders on paranoia, but many of the people around me would say that I'm paranoid for taking precautions that they don't. Take as many as you need to be comfortable. If you think you're too comfortable, take a few more just to be safe.

I'm the guy who carries a flashlight in his pocket, one in the truck and sometimes one in his laptop bag, I'm the guy who locks the bedroom door behind him just like he would the front door. When we go downtown, I'm the one in the group who looks that "that drunk guy talking to us" and knows he could be something else entirely. I just don't trust people I don't know and I don't trust life to make things easy for me, I don't know if you can teach that, most folks think it's a flaw.

Fortunately, I don't usually have to get my tinfoil hat out though, because I use a radio jammer to keep out the mind control transmissions.
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Old October 6, 2010, 11:58 PM   #3
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I should qualify that and say I don't know if you can teach that without the "pain of experience", if you will. Distrust is a learned response, but I don't know if you can learn it in a "sterile" setting.
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Old October 7, 2010, 12:07 AM   #4
Big Bill
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Quote:
This got me wondering what TFL members do to stay sharp and alert around their home.
When I was in the military, pulling guard duty taught me to be alert. I guess those experiences and others in my life have caused me to be situationaly aware at all times. There's enough risk in my life already without my inattention adding to it.
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Old October 7, 2010, 12:59 AM   #5
Eagle0711
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If Taken By Suprise There Are No Techniques

I always have a gun at hand, even one hid on the bathroom sink when taking a shower. No more children in the house so I don't have to be caerful about that.
I have a couple of dogs, and I can trust them to warn me. When they bark, I always check it out.
Folks { sheeple } think that nothing bad can happen to them. On the news there has been the first trial of one of the killers of Dr. Petit's family. Two BGs gained entry into his house and raped, murdered, and burned his family. The Dr. was beat with a ball bat, but survived. What a shame!
If your not AWARE no matter how many guns or what kind of magic bullets you have in them it will do you no good if suprised.
In this unfortunate true example this could have been prevented. A dog, a gun, and a couple of well placed bullets could have ended this horror before it started.
To many have been brainwashed by the media and politicans " those nasty guns are only good for killing"
Always aware and paranoid is what I am. Best Wishes, Lyle
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Old October 7, 2010, 03:49 AM   #6
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The trick seems to be that one can and should be alert in public, and pay attention to warning signs; even at home. But an equally important trick is to not become clinically paranoid. Our society is not as dangerous as many people seem to imagine. Just because citizens can possess and bear arms does not turn everyday life into a hot LZ. If one learns to keep alert in public, danger can be avoided and the possibility of armed confrontation reduced to virtually nil.
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Old October 7, 2010, 05:27 AM   #7
FrankenMauser
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I sleep heavily....

To help me feel safer, should I need to defend myself or my wife, I had an alarm installed.

I still check out anything that grabs my attention (gate slamming, banging in back/front yard, dog/cats showing keen interest in some unseen 'thing').

However, I just try to sleep. Living in fear is no way to live. I hope that I will hear any glass breaking, or the alarm signaling a door opening (should I forget to lock it, so there's no sound of it getting kicking in), but I don't worry about it.

I have firearms available in 3 different parts of the house. No matter what I am doing, or where I am, I can get to one of them in a matter of seconds. My wife has been educated in the use and location of each, as well (with considerable practice with each weapon).

It's not that I'm desensitized; it's that I don't want to live in fear.
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Old October 7, 2010, 07:00 AM   #8
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Certainly I think that a person can be desensitized against danger but the way I think of the expression, I am thinking about a person who is actually around danger a lot. Let's say, a construction worker or a coal miner. They are around danger all the time on the job. But I suppose in that sense it isn't so much desensitized as simply lax about safety. At least that's what the company always says when there's an accident. Funny, my father, who drove a truck, used to comment about how reckless some of the miners were when they drove home after their shift.

While there's no doubt danger lurks around every corner and behind every tree in the woods (and at every traffic light and stop sign), the trick is how to live when you realize that. Most people seem to manage pretty well, although I'm not privy to very many people's personal lives. I don't live by myself and we all seem to keep radically different hours. That means there's always someone roaming around the house at all hours. That sort of eliminates any alarm bells going off because you couldn't hear them in the first place for the noise. I don't know. I've lived in the same house 22 years and I figure something else bad will happen any day now. That's the way the law of averages works, isn't it? Just like in the army, at the end of the month if you hadn't had an alert, it was bound to happen soon.
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Old October 7, 2010, 02:54 PM   #9
Don P
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Goes to show you answered your own question. Pay attention to your surroundings and the alarms that may go off ( dog barking ) and listen to your sixth sense. Ruf, ruf is worth a look better off saying it was nothing instead of why didn't I ..........
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Old October 7, 2010, 04:02 PM   #10
Warhammer
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One night, several years ago, I was awakened by my dog barking. Annoyed, I shushed the "stupid mutt" and went back to sleep. The next morning I went out to my truck and found the window smashed and my stereo missing. It turns out that my mutt wasn't the stupid one! I'll never again dismiss my dog's warnings without checking things out.
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Old October 7, 2010, 05:02 PM   #11
STEINER
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Someone posted "pain of experience" as the lesson in life.
One early morning (3am) our dog went to the front window and started barking. I paid him no mind and sure enough, my mustang was stolen.
We installed video cameras after that.
I don't see this as "desensitized to danger". I wouldn't have ran out there pointing my firearm at them. Some would but I wouldn't have because even tho I hate thieves with a passion, they wern't threatening my life.
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Old October 7, 2010, 06:11 PM   #12
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If the dog barks I check it out. Not always with gun in hand but if its late and dark, 9 out of 10 times I'm armed.

I don't usually walk around the house armed but I typically have pretty easy access to several loaded guns. No kids in the house so the way I look at it is I'd hate to be the dumbass who gets beat to death when he had a house full of unloaded guns.
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Old October 7, 2010, 07:11 PM   #13
Hitthespot
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Quote:
I know there's one thread going around asking if people carry around the house. This seems like the best solution to staying safe, but is still something I am not comfortable with as I am new to firearms (and my family wouldn't be comfortable with it either).
My family may not be necessarily comfortable with me carrying around the house either. But then they are a prime example of the desinsitized your talking about. I can't protect my family every second of the day, especially if i;m not with them. I try to tell them to be careful and very mindfull of their suroundings but sometimes feel like I'm preaching to the wall. When I'm with them I'm usually armed or close to a firearm at home. I do the worrying for them and I'll be the one to protect them if it ever came to that point.

My point is do what YOU think is necessary to protect yourself and your family, and that can include a lot more than just firearms. Dogs, alarms, smoke detectors, first rate locks, and the list goes on and on. Keep going until you make yourself as comfortable as possible or necessary.
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Old October 7, 2010, 08:02 PM   #14
MerleApAmber
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I just wish I could relive the times...

I thought the world was safe and beneficent. Having been schooled in the hallowed halls of "pain of experience" - that is no longer an education I wish to renew through remediation.

When I walk through my kitchen to the inner door of our garage and find my 86 year old father 'entertaining' the UPS man because he was caught in surprise opening the garage door... and the UPS man is now stating to me how he caught my father, shocking him by his presence, inside that given garage... this is but one example of why I shall always watch over my family with a tool near to hand seeking to ensure their continued well being. May God watch over fools and children I cannot.
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Old October 7, 2010, 09:04 PM   #15
rmocarsky
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Warhammer,

Same thing happened to me.

About 3 a.m. dog jumps up on sofa and starts barking furiously out the open window.

I shout him down.

Next morning . . .

Stolen T-tops.

TRUST your dog; they seldom bark for nothing.

Even if it is important only to them.

Rmocarsky
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Old October 7, 2010, 09:38 PM   #16
Mr. James
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Quote:
but [it] is still something I am not comfortable with as I am new to firearms (and my family wouldn't be comfortable with it either).
This is entirely natural and, in fact, healthy. If you are new to firearms, and to carrying firearms (as was I not so awfully long ago), you should feel uncomfortable. Comfort and complacence get us or our loved ones killed. I commend you for your cognizance of this.

As to the family, I have a funny anecdote, which is only an anecdote. I have a sister I love dearly who has a precious daughter. Some years ago, at a family gathering, the daughter wanted one of the helium balloons tethered to a canopy. I pulled a Spyderco knife and cut the string to hand one to the girl. My sister was horrified: "I wouldn't want to live in a world where you needed to carry one of those."

Fast forward eight years, with my sister now working in a rather nasty environment. She's seen some of the dark side. She visited me twice this summer. During these visits, I carried a pistol openly at all times, whether on the street or at home. Sister never said a word.

Point being, people, even family, are teachable.

God bless.

Bob James
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Old October 7, 2010, 09:48 PM   #17
Warhammer
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rmocarsky,

So did you feel guilty for scolding your dog and stupid for not listening to him? I sure did. Now, every time she starts barking about something outside, I check it out and then praise her for her good behavior.
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Old October 7, 2010, 10:25 PM   #18
PzGren
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If you do not pay attention to warning signals, like a dog barking an alarm, you are not desensitized to danger but misinterpret the alarm, I guess. The real danger starts with the invasion of the home.

I used to live in the infamous Thomassin 32 area in Haiti for a number of years and I learnt to read the bark of my dogs. When the whole pack was barking madly, my response was different from just one or two dogs growling.

I never got desensitized to the seemingly everpresent danger of a robbery or home invasion, I did become a little paranoid about it. In the end, our house was the only one in the street that had no successful robbery, burglary, or home invasion.
After we left, the house was robbed at gun point twice within the next six months, despite two Mastiffs.
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Old October 8, 2010, 12:45 AM   #19
Sevenfaces
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I used to also think that I would fall into a "rhythm" and not notice certain constants in my daily routine, but if you practice always being vigilant, I think that you will be receptive to subtle changes that may indicate danger, or atleast warrant further investigation of why fido is barking. I truly believe in the saying "Theres no such thing as too careful"
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Old October 8, 2010, 02:47 AM   #20
lArepuS
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AcridSaint and some others bring out another thought. Does it take "pain of experience" to learn to stay vigilant?

I thought the measures I took before I purchased a gun would keep our home safe (Luckily, nothing bad has happened yet). Now that I own a gun, I guess I've been thinking if these measures are enough.

Great posts.
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Old October 8, 2010, 03:14 AM   #21
BillCA
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Many years ago, when we were kids, we'd always be going in and out through the back yard gate. At one point, my father, after replacing the gate latch, told us that we were to NEVER slam the gate and better yet, to politely go through the house to reach the back yard. When we ended up with a dog, use of the gate diminished greatly.

If your kids are playing and slamming the gate, tell them to stop doing so. If need be, install a simple leash-clip on the gate latch that has to be removed by reaching over first. Especially if you have a dog.

Children should be taught to announce their entry into the home and their departure. "It's me!" is sometimes enough. And they should always announce if they have someone with them, "It's me! And I have Bobby with me!" Or "I'm going out to play". Now you know why the door is being opened. No vocalization means a need to be alert.

I mentioned a dog. We were lucky enough to be adopted by a one-year old Doberman who relished having a back yard instead of an apartment. Quite a good companion animal, loving, smart, alert and assertive in his defense of the home. Not aggressive until or unless it was necessary.


I learned after he weaseled his way into sleeping next to my bed (a week later, in the bed with me) that dogs have a specific communication protocol with their vocalizations.

Woof-GRRrrrrrrr = "What's Thaaat?" I head something...I think.
Woof-GRRRrrrr-Woof-Grrrrrr = "Who's there? What's going on?"
Rapid Barking w/some whining = "You're in my space!" -usually a cat or dog.
GRRRRRRRR (deep growling) = "Something is wrong." Danger lurks out there.
Rapid Barking only - "Who are you?" Challenge to someone/something
Rapid Barking w/some growling = "I see something wrong!" Territorial violation.
Rapid Barking w/snarling growl = "Get Away! Danger!" Intruder seen

Usually, for the first two types, I'd just start back to sleep and figure if he spotted something I'd know soon enough. The bark/whine I learned was usually due to other animals in his "territory".

Rapid barking is a challenge. "Who are you?" and if he's met with a friendly voice and manner and recognizes the neighbor or family friend, all is well. A stranger may be "announced" this way unless the dog senses an evil intent.

But when that deep growl went on for more than a couple of seconds, it meant he heard or sensed danger lurking. He was seldom wrong. When he'd bark at a window and it included growling that meant he spotted something he thought was wrong. Sometimes it was another dog (especially a disliked one) or a passerby late at night or folks leaving a neighbor's house late.

But when you hear that snarling growl between barks, it's time to man up with a weapon and check out what's going on. It could be another animal or and intruder. In any case, he's saying "Get away" or "Beware! I'll attack you!"

Last comment: A dog's nose is sensitive to certain smells. Among these are the "fear stink" some people put off when they get slightly nervous or agitated before committing a crime. No matter how nice, calm or polite they seem, your dog may detect it and give the alarm.

When our Doberman was about 2, Mom opened the door to a knock, holding the dog's collar. Outside was a reasonably well dressed man who smiled and began talking to her about landscaping jobs. Within seconds, the dog's bark-bark ("who are you?") changed to that vicious-sounding Bark-snarl sound. He backed away. Mom apologized and closed the door so he left. Four houses down, about 5 minutes later, he tried to shove his way into a woman's home. Fortunately her 18 year old son and his school chum were both there (and both high-school linebackers) and subdued him.

Listen to your dog. He really is trying to tell your something.
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Old October 8, 2010, 03:25 PM   #22
markj
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My dog went off last night, was only my friend returning to pick up his truck, harvest is on

Last week dog that sleeps beside my bed went off, was 2 people walking up the road at 3am, never seen em before never seen em again. Might have been up to no good or not I dont know. Dog going off means get up out of bed and turn on floods to check it out. Out where I live it is quiet at night.

Out on the deck you can hear my great horned owl, he has lived here longer than I. Night is the best time to sit outside when you live out here.
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Old October 8, 2010, 06:22 PM   #23
labhound
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I live in the country with no other house within 100 yds and that one is separated from our property by woods. When my dogs bark, I pay attention to it post haste. There is no good reason for anyone to be casually around my house or barn.
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Old October 8, 2010, 08:27 PM   #24
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I keep an eye on everyone who comes anywhere near my house. I don't pull a gun on them (Usually) but I always have one on my person and nearby in case the neighborhood meter reader ends up being a parolee that knows how to make a fake I.D. Or the friendly looking kid selling candy turns out to be a distraction for some piece of trash kicking in the back door. You get the idea.

I also got rid of that same back door before I even moved in because it had a lovely windows for looking into the back yard through. The same windows also tend to be good for busting out and unlocking said door with very little noise.

And I investigate every sound that doesn't sound right. Might not have a gun in hand, but there's always one AT hand. Chased off a couple teenagers trying to get into my garage because of that habit not too long agao.

My guard dog is actually my wife's chihuahua that barks at every little noise and I like it that way. My wife, incidentally, always has a gun on her because she's lived with me in most of the countries I've worked in and has no illusions that what we saw on a regular basis there can't happen here.

We are both trained in KravMaga in case we can't get to a weapon for whatever reason and we re-enforce that training twice a week. Beyond that I do the usual, keep the outside well lit, no shrubs or treees covering windows, and an alarm. Also have the sweetest older lady living next door that tells me when anyone's been there when I'm gone.

I might seem a bit paranoid, but I've seen enough ugliness firsthand that I don't put anything past anyone.
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Old October 8, 2010, 08:50 PM   #25
MerleApAmber
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Excellent review

BillCA, of canine vocalizations.
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