The 4 Ds of Security: DEFEND

Your mom was never happy with 4 'D' scores on your report card, but if you are serious about
security, you need to consider each of these 4 'D' principles today (and every day !)

1: Deter - Prevent criminal activity
2: Detect - Detection of breaches
3: Delay - Slow down an intrusion
4: Defend - No more Mr Niceguy!

An improvement in any of these 5 areas will make you safer. But if you apply all of these together, you become Fort Knox. Don’t play around with your safety. Clever people apply their sunscreen BEFORE going out fishing. Don’t consider these ideas only AFTER an intrusion which can easily end up in tragedy. Do it now.

In a nutshell:
We try to deter the would-be intruder from even trying. If this does not work, we want to detect his intrusion as soon as possible, allowing us the opportunity to do something about it. After we detect him, it would be great if the intruder can be delayed. We make him cross several obstacles designed to cost him time. Time we can use to make decisions, to flee, to load a firearm, phone someone. We need to Deny him access on multiple levels. Deny him access to the property, to the residence, and to the room. Finally, if all fails, you need to be ready to defend yourself. Don’t be a sitting duck.


It is true that the other D’s should prevent self Defence from ever being needed, but the reality is never so simple... A simple example is if you are not at home, you obviously cannot rely on the D’s you left at home. Defence is your last option and the only one you can have with you at all times.

But wait. Put down your ninja stars and six-guns. Calm down. Let’s rewind and start with a plan...

You should sit and calmly identify which are the likely scenarios you may have to face and have a plan in place for each one. Make sure the entire household understands. This is what military forces do. In an emergency, it helps if you don’t have to spend any time thinking of the most appropriate course of action. Start with the end in mind. What do you want to achieve? For everyone to get out alive and well. That’s it. Forget the rest.

There is more to defence than fighting back. To flee is also a defence and should be your first option if at all possible. Not because you are a wuss, but because it presents the least amount of risk to life. Things can be replaced. It ultimately depends on your situation. If fleeing is not a practical option, then you fight the bastard.

Decide how and where you will flee or fight under which circumstances.
Do you have hiding places?
Who will you phone?
Do you even have an emergency number memorised?
Do you have quick access to your firearms?
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

It helps to stay fit because running can be important, you know. Get some self-defence training.

If you have a firearm, listen closely. It can be an asset or a serious liability to your safety. For it to be effective, you need to consider the following.

  • Practice using it regularly. Shoot the living bananas out of those targets. Make sure you are proficient. Pull a Clint Eastwood face. Enjoy it. Make sure everyone in your household (from about 16 years and up) know how to use it properly.
  • Clean it regularly. A dirty gun is like dirty underwear. Sies man.
  • Have it readily available. A gun safe under your bed with a key in another room is pretty dumb
  • Keep it loaded but on safety. Some people prefer keeping their pistols in the cocked state (with safety on) because the act of cocking can be noisy and thus a problem in certain scenarios.
  • Perhaps not too healthy for the main spring (the part that makes it go bang) but a pretty good idea nonetheless. If you use the weapon regularly, a weakened spring will be detected a LONG time before it becomes a liability. They are easily replaced.
The law
In South Africa you need to be careful. You may only use deadly force if “the life of an individual is in serious and immediate danger”. You cannot shoot the bugger because he stole your TV and is making his way out the driveway. You are supposed to use “reasonable force”.

The principles of “reasonable force” and “serious and immediate danger” are pretty foggy ideas and there exists many grey areas about what it actually means. Luckily there is another foggy principle, called “reasonable person”.

Truth be told, I know very few “reasonable persons”, but that is another story.

The principle basically means that the courts compare your actions to how a “reasonable” person can be expected to act given similar circumstances. For example, if there have recently been 5 homicidal attacks in your area by a band of robbers with red hats, and you are faced with these 5 dudes approaching, you can reasonably be more inclined to use more force, sooner than would be considered “reasonable” if it was 2 guys wearing tiaras.

My two cents (this is just my personal feeling): In the end, my life is more important. If I personally feel my family is in immediate danger, I won’t spend too much time thinking about the precise degree of danger or the possible consequences if I may later struggle to prove it. I will Shoot. A suspended
sentence is much better than dying in a pool of blood.

So on that morbid note, be safe. Flee if you can. Shoot as a last resort.

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