We’ve all seen those lists of people’s greatest fears, right? In addition to dying, public speaking is right up there, as is being trapped in a small place. For those of us who have been victims of it, home invasion sure seems a lot more frightening than speaking to a group of people or suffering from claustrophobia. There’s almost nothing scarier than suddenly realizing an intruder is in your house or apartment. You don’t know what this person’s intentions are – theft, rape, kidnapping, murder? – but you know they’re not good.
If someone breaks into your home while you are there, your window of opportunity for reacting effectively to protect yourself and your family will probably be very small. You have to make every second count in this situation, and you will only be able to accomplish this if you are fully prepared.
If you have a gun and can access it quickly, that’s obviously the best answer to a home intruder. But if you don’t own a gun or are unable to get to it swiftly enough, you may find yourself in the position of needing an improvised weapon. This type of object is any device that was not designed to be used as a weapon but can be put to that exact usage in an emergency. Right now you may be thinking of four or five items you have sitting around the house that could double as a weapon if necessary. By the time you finish reading this, your list will have grown to about 40!
Get Out If You Can
It’s possible that your best self-defense weapons against a home invader will be your legs and hands. If there is an escape route, take it. Use your legs to get out as quickly as possible and use your hands to knock things over behind you to slow down or perhaps trip the attacker, especially if it’s dark. Run to a neighbor’s house and call 911. Maybe you’ll have your cell phone in your pocket and be able to place the call even faster. Of course, if you have other people in your home who you need to protect, you’re not going to run away. But if you’re alone, escaping might be the most prudent thing to do. That’s not being a coward. It’s being smart.
Stay Alive in Your Living Room
If you’re sitting in a living room or dining area when an intruder enters, you need to think fast. There should be a number of items you can grab to use as a club, including tall vases, candleholders, statuettes, large bowls or large ashtrays. Tall lamps can also be used as clubs, but they’re more effective as spears, as are fireplace pokers. With a dining room chair in your hands, you can go on the offensive by charging your attacker. Make sure to hold the chair so that the legs are facing him in a diamond shape rather than a square. If you can get it around his neck, a laptop cord could prove very effective in subduing him.
If He Can’t Take the Heat, Stay in the Kitchen
Nobody wants to face a home invader, but if it had to happen, the kitchen would probably be your best bet. Talk about an arsenal. Your first choice would be to grab two sharp knives and start swinging them in the direction of your assailant. Other options are frying pans or rolling pins for bashing, scissors or broken glassware for gouging, and canned goods, plates or a nice, thick tumbler for throwing. A mop or broom handle could also do the job, especially a broken one with a jagged edge. If you keep a can of high-powered wasp killer in your kitchen pantry, you might be able to spray it in his eyes and really ruin his day.
The bathroom would seem like a bad place to be confronted by an intruder, especially if he’s bigger than you are. But you might be able to use a shower curtain rod or a towel rack as a spear, or hairspray to slow him down while you try to escape. A ceramic toilet tank lid could also do some serious damage if you have room to maneuver.
There are probably plenty of other items in various rooms of your house that could be used as weapons, including…
- Fire extinguisher. Spray him with the white stuff and clunk him with the red thing.
- Golf club. Pretend like you’re trying to drive the green on a par 4.
- Baseball bat. We’re looking for the long ball here, not a bunt.
- Long knitting needles. Doctors will need to do considerable stitching to the assailant’s body if you’re able to use these effectively.
- Tools. The sharp edge of a hammer, the point of a screwdriver or a heavy wrench might be enough to make this tool think twice.
In the frenzy of an attack, you’ll want to strike at any exposed area. But if you find that you have some options, go for the eyes, throat and groin. That’s where you are most likely to stop or slow down an attacker rather than just making him angrier. If those areas are too well protected, aim for just below the ribcage with a stabbing weapon pointed upwards, which may enable you to reach the spleen, pancreas, liver or kidneys.
I’ve heard it said that encouraging people to inflict serious injury on an attacker is wrong. Really? Did I ask to be attacked by some scumbag so that I could take pleasure in maiming him? No, but if someone attacks me, I will do whatever is necessary to subdue him. I’m not going to punch this loser and then politely ask if he’s OK. I’m going to try to incapacitate him however I can and as quickly as possible. If I have to choose between the lives of my wife and children, and the physical wellbeing of a home invader, I’m going with the former over the latter
In a confrontation with a home invader, you will probably not be the only one using a weapon. You may have to go on the defensive first. Among the items you could use to fend off attacks until you’re able to take an offensive position are a metal cookie sheet, chopping board, backpack, trashcan lid, briefcase, book, duffel bag and stool. Use whatever you can get your hands on quickly.
What If I’m Outside?
Sometimes an attacker will make his move as you are approaching the front door of your residence. When that happens, you won’t have those household items at your disposal, but you can use whatever you have on your person. A single key, held between your thumb and index finger, can be used to stab and slash. Or hold a ballpoint pen in your fist and strike with a hammer blow. Carrying pepper spray or a pocket knife while walking from your car to your front door is not a bad idea. If you happen to be holding an unbreakable umbrella, it will come in handy. There may be bricks or rocks that you can grab and throw. Finally, loose change flung into the face of an intruder could slow him down enough to enable you to escape.
Being attacked is not something any of us want to think about. But it might happen someday and the better prepared you are, the better the outcome might be. So, think about the items you have around your home that could be used as weapons and work on grabbing them and being ready to use them in an instant. Practice maneuvers such as dropping and rolling under a table and then bolting for the door. Know your best escape path in each room of your home.
Remember that attacks can occur anywhere you are…restaurants, health clubs, banks, even churches. Always be aware of your surroundings, including the people in your vicinity. Wherever you are, look around for improvised weapons before an incident occurs, not afterward. The better prepared you are, the higher your chances for survival.