Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Texas SWAT: Defending the retreat…

About 5 young able bodied males in the house and a 21 year old women that literally slept with her .45 strapped on a shoulder holster.
They had a nice weapon battery including ARs, scoped 30-06 rifles, shotguns, more than enough ammo, about 20 handguns spread around the house.
The compound/farm in Austin had the perimeter covered with cameras hidden in the trees, all connected to a big screen TV in the living room.
SWAT nailed them without firing a shot, and even though there were more, I counted only 4 operators entering after ramming down the door…
They were all watching a movie in the family room.

So people, FORGET about you super retreat, at least forget about it being a better defendable alternative. It isn’t.
Unless you have at the very least half a dozen people available for round the clock security you’re a sitting duck, and one lonely duck at that. It doesn’t take SWAT, a bunch of guys with an ounce of brains will get to you, specially if they don’t care about shooting the people inside.
Also, you need a real secured perimeter. Cameras with no one checking them are just a waste of time, at least it represents no real layer of protection.
24/7 guards plus good building design for layered security. If anyone thinks they have a secured or defendable retreat without those they are kidding themselves.



Brian said...

Can you post a link to a news report about this? I'm curious to read it, tried searching for it but came up empty. thanks!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

link to story?

FerFAL said...

Saw it on cable Texas SWAT reality TV thing. Could be over a year old, given that what they air here is usually that old or more. They where dealing and making drugs too.


theotherryan said...

I concur that at the end of the day all but an insane amount of physical hardening doesn't do a whole lot unless someone is alert and paying attention to what is going on outside. Motion lights can help for when it is dark and not much beats a guard dog for warning.

FerFAL said...

You'd be surprised, but criminals here got good at dealing with dogs, drugs, drops or sprays to sedate them. You need several dogs,and train them to not eat food from strangers.


Carrick said...

Cameras seem ridiculous -- they've been around so long, that unless you're a bank, there is going to be some way for them to be manipulated or disabled.
It seems like anyone beyond a burglar (especially any policing agency w/ a laptop), could render cameras useless. If they're transmitting the feed over wifi, that can be hacked, and if its over wire, someone can just cut the neighborhood power (usual enough in a depressed economy), and just plug into, record, and loop video, as the SWAT comes in, while you watch an empty yard on that T.V. That's assuming they, or a common burglar, don't just cut the power and skip to the front door.

Jedi said...

It's from a show called "Texas S.W.A.T." that aired in 2006 on Court TV, which is now TruTV. I tried to find the episode you mentioned, but couldn't.

There's a clip of the show on YouTube where the Austin SWAT team conducts a raid, but it's not the one you mentioned.

It's out there somewhere. Hopefully someone will come up with it and let everyone know.

Anonymous said...

Security complacency is a major problem. I've been on stand in a deer blind and can zone out easily, especially in weather that does not encourage good hunting - it takes effort to maintain your focus. And that only for six hours at a time for a couple of days. Imagine the effort to do this day after day after day . . .

From what I read into this, the big mistake these people did was make themselves a target enough for a group of professional LEOs to get them. The groups habits were probably studied for a period of time, and a plan was formed to hit them when they weren't expecting anyone arriving. These LEOs were likely a team of folks who are trained to invade a home with tactics much like a home invasion committed by gang - but with credentials.

If TSHTF and your site is well lit, delicious smells emanating from the bar-b-que, you will soon attract guests of the unwanted sort. Maintaining a low profile will become paramount is all I'm saying.

Bones said...

Hardening your security to be effective against a professional SWAT team is Bullshyte. Law enforcement has legal access to special equipment, tools and weapons that your average criminal does not. If you need to defend against SWAT you have bigger problems than we can solve here.

The simplest thing you can do is just keep dogs inside AND outside.

Don Williams said...

1) Mel Tappan -- who was one of the FOUNDERS of the modern-day survivalist movement here in the USA in the 1970s -- was an advocate of moving to a retreat at least one tank of gasoline (400 miles) away from major urban cities.

2) But he was also a harsh critic of "playing Batman in the Boondocks" -- of having an isolated cabin in the woods. He noted that it would be impossible to guard such a structure against snipers who could strike at any time --much less to cultivate the land.

3) What he advocated was something like the fortified city states of ancient Greece or the fortified hilltop towns of medieval Italy -- a small, self-sufficent town of 3000-5000 people in a farming area. He noted that such a town would be able to defend itself against any enemies smaller than an army and would also have various specialists (doctors, mechanics, etc.) that a small landholding would not.

4) Mel explained how it is possible to defend yourself against many major disasters --nuclear war, pandemics, economic collapse,etc.

5) In the end, however, he was forced to concede that there is one malign force of nature against which it is impossible to defend: a government bureaucrat who shows up on your doorstep to "help you" -- and to collect taxes to cover the cost of the help.

6) Of course, Mel Tappan's most astute survivalist move was marrying Nancy Mack, heiress to the Mack Truck Fortune.

And his death in 1980 -at age 47 -- was ironic:
"Mr. Tappan himself spent the last years of his own life confined to a wheelchair, after initially incurring a severe foot laceration from a broken drinking glass in his swimming pool and then developing debilitating leg failure, due in part to the obesity developed during his convalescence from the laceration. This eventually led to congestive heart failure. "

7) See Wiki at

8) Mel's book on survival --which has many good ideas -- is now available online for free at

Don Williams said...

1) IF you read ancient histories, some interesting aspects of the Fortified Town become evident.

2) The early founders tended to become the town aristocrats in time -- because they had land holdings just outside the town walls which they could cultivate during the day and then retreat to the security of a house inside the town's wall at night.

3) Latecomers --and the poor --tended to have to take land farther and farther out from the town. They lost a lot of valuable time each day just walking from town to their holding.

4) Eventually, the commute became long enough that they had to move out of town to their remote farm --but this left them highly vulnerable to nighttime raids by murderous bandits.

5) It also left them highly vulnerable to being screwed by the town aristocrats --since they were not present at nighttime town councils when laws were passed, taxes assesssed and decisions were made. They became "outsiders" instead of being part of the "inside" clique.

6) The towns were also where commerce --markets --were conducted. They often were sited near rivers (for water supply) and hence controlled the major corridor for transport of heavy, bulk farm produce.

The Town also controlled the bridge on which roads converged to cross the river.

7) The competitive business advantage of being close to Town was the basis for other sources of power.

8) Accumulated Money was important in itself -- but it also allowed you to own a horse (for fast transport), weapons, and armor -- which ensured you had a leadership position within the military hierarchy of the Town's militia.

And originally, aristocracy was based upon military rank -- which is why aristocracies have many of the values, customs, virtues and shortcomings of the military.

9) To survive long term, you have to rule.

Don Williams said...

In today's world, however, power and wealth is in the cities. In any times other than utter collapse, moving to remote rural towns is taking a voluntary vow of poverty --unless you marry a heiress. That is how Mel Tappan was able to live well in rural Oregon.

But then the wealthy patricians of ancient Rome fled to rural villas in the Alban Hills 20 km south of Rome (a day's journey) whenever things turned to crap inside the city -- civil war, riots, street warfare between factions, epidemics,etc.

But they didn't stay there. Of if they did, they didn't remain patricians.

Life is tough. But escapism is not survivalism --unless you are very wealthy.

Jimmy said...

Don, you can say that the modern Ex-Urb is a re-invention of the city-state. People and commerce gather at a site right outside the city, which develops into a self-sufficient hamlet, yet still close enough to draw shoppers from the suburbs.

Anonymous said...

Don Williams said:

"But then the wealthy patricians of ancient Rome fled to rural villas in the Alban Hills 20 km south of Rome (a day's journey) whenever things turned to crap inside the city -- civil war, riots, street warfare between factions, epidemics,etc."

I found several of your points valuable and particularly this one.
The difference between the agricultural based society and the current needs to be stressed. In the U.S. the food supply has only 8 days worth. In a full scale collapse there will be few with food enough to last. Even during a less severe collapse, food shortages would be chronic and develop overnight. Being isolated during such a period is the key as neighbors who would share in the defense of a community, will also take most of what one has.

The lessons of the past need to be put into the context of our current and dangerously fragile civilization. Hopefully the government remains intact and probably will, yet it could be nearly powerless given the size of the problem.

If one chooses to be apart of a community, be prepared to feed it as well.