Friday, July 25, 2008

Video worth watching: Argentina’s Economic Collapse

More videos of what happened here in 2001.

We’ll have to wait 7 years until someone is allowed to make a video of what’s going on here NOW (which in many ways is more sinister than what happened in 2001) but it’s still a good reminder.

The videos are a bit “lefty” for my taste, but the images are worth more than 1000 words and pretty much everything said is truth, even if a bit biased into making it look like some communist revolt, which isn’t truth.

Enjoy, and try to draw parallelisms of what may or may not happen in your own country one day.


Friday, July 4, 2008

The House next door got burglarized: A few tips

Happened last Sunday but I didn’t get around to write about it until now.

At around 8 PM or so someone called at my door.
I was in bed with fever (flu), so I checked through the window but there was no one at the front gate.( the 7 feet high iron fence where the front garden meets the sidewalk) so I went back to bead.
A minute later someone rings again, but when I look no one is there.
This time my wife tells me she saw through the window, and it was the woman that lives alone next door. She rang and left as if on a hurry.

That caught my attention, so I got out of bed, put on my jeans, shoes and jacket, the Surefire flashlight and holster with the Glock 31 (checked to see that the chamber was loaded)

My wife stayed inside with my son.

When I got out I saw her, and another neighbor of mine looking from the sidewalk towards her place, but from a distance, as if they were scared to get too close.

She explained to me that she just drove back home and found the door opened. She was very nervous and about to cry, and insisted that she was sure she closed the door before leaving.

It was dark but from a distance using the Surefire we could see that the front door was open and the shutter curtain near by was all twisted as if someone tried to brake in through there too, but found the metal bars on the other side.

After it became obvious that someone broke in she started crying, got pretty nervous. She said she had nothing and now this, that she’s alone, (kids moved out a few years ago), and now what’s she going to do.
They already robbed here 4 times, this one being the 5th. One time they stayed inside for 3 hours, she told me they had beaten her up.
She didn’t say, but I also knew that on that incident they had abused her daughters too.

It came to my mind how many times we discuss things like these and often say “what are the odds?”. Well, for this poor woman, it’s 5 times already. Why should it be any different for any of us? Why should we be immune?

Of course, we didn’t risk going in. I told my wife to call the cops, and my neighbor went in for a cup of tea ( it’s winter here) while I kept an eye on things in front of the house and waited for the cops to show up.

After 15-20 minutes a patrol car came by.

My neighbor came out and the two cops asked if there was anyone inside.
We said we didn’t know. The cops asked if there were any family members inside. She didn’t knew how to answer to that, she was almost certain that no, no family member was inside, but how sure can you be about anything?

The cops drew their Hi Powers and went to the door, asked my neighbor to follow and turn the lights on for them.
I’ve already been through something similar at my wife’s factory, and the cops asked me to go in front to turn the lights on. My guess? They want you to go in first, and not exactly because they don’t know how to turn a damn light switch on.

I gave the cop my Surefiire, but he only got through the front door and then again insisted that she should go first to turn the lights on….
I asked the cop for my light and went with her.
To the cops credit, at least they kept their guns close to their bodies and with the barrel pointing down and didn’t cover me with the muzzle at any time.
I didn’t want to draw my gun near the cops but I kept my hand on my Glock’s butt just in case. Even if it was clear that anyone that robbed the place already left, you never know for sure so it’s better to be cautious.

No one was inside and they didn’t take much, but it was pretty sad to hear the woman cry all the time. Everything was upside down, books, cutlery, everything was out of the shelves and drawers. The house was one big mess.

She kept on saying that she had nothing, that they already stole her jewelry and anything of value the previous times.

Turns out they stole a bit o money she had and a small radio/CD player gadget.

The worst thing was her front door.
The solid wooden door was torn up, one of the locks was all bent up but still in place, the other one was destroyed lying the floor.

Cops say they used a sledge hammer, looks to me like they just put a crowbar to good use and tore up the door and locks pretty good.

“How am I going to sleep know, with this door in this condition?” She asked.

All I could think of was to get a ladder so as to block the door from the inside.

I thought about offering her a gun, but I dismissed the thought immediately, since she’s obviously not a gun person and I’m legally responsible for anything that gets done with my guns.

Her son and a friend showed up later, and it turned out, her son got her home ensured without here even knowing, so that was a bit of a good news.

I went back home once I saw she was ok, and my wife hugged me, touching my Glock under the clothes and said “I’m glad you are the way you are” which was a nice thing to hear after all those “you and your guns” naggings.:)

They went to sleep and I stayed talking on the Messenger phone with a friend.
Stayed up late and only slept like 3 or 4 hours, I didn’t feel like sleeping anyway.

One thing that surprised us was how bold the robbers were.
That Sunday we took our son to see the latest “Hulk” movie, ( pretty good by the way) and we left about 3 PM, came back 6.30 PM, give or take.

When leaving we didn’t see anything wrong so they must have robbed while we were out, on broad daylight, probably with a guy on the street in case cops or the house owners came back.

A few things to learn from this:

1) Have a house alarm, and a safe for your valuable stuff.
There’s no excuse for not having an alarm these days, and safes are also pretty cheap.

2) Improve your security as much as possible so that robbers choose other places.
No one managed to get into my house yet, and they did try.
Once with me inside. Pointing a gun through the window sent that guy away in an instant.
Meantime her house got robbed 5 times by now.
Front gates between the sidewalk and your front door provide an invaluable layer of protection. Add an alarm, a dog and a good security door, and robbers will sure find a much easier target to entertain themselves.

3) Cops took 15-20 minutes to get here, and that was pretty fast for local standards. Still, 15 minutes is too long if someone shot you/is choking you to death/raping you or your family just to name a few options. You are your first and last line of defense, make sure you can defend yourself.

4) In spite of every caution, no house is invulnerable. If you can keep some money and emergency gear in a second location in case you loose everything else, at least you wont be starting from zero.

5) Unless you are 5 years old or an 90 year old granny that can’t lift a finger, do everything in your power to be as proficient in defending yourself as possible. And I’m not talking only about guns.
This woman’s house, even though medium size, was designed in such a way that spaces and halls where pretty reduced and it was easy to see how a fight in there, even if you have a firearm, would end up being a hand to hand fight, and I know there are LOTS of small houses or apartments where the same holds truth.
Guns aren’t magic talismans, if quarters are reduced you better have something else to offer than good accuracy.

Every person capable of getting him/herself into fighting shape should do so, and train as much as possible.
Maybe getting into a ring every week isn’t your thing, but at least you can ( you should!) stay in shape, round not being an option.
Those that don’t like to fight can still work out and take at least a couple self defense classes a year so as to have some hand to hand moves to use in an emergency.

6) Make yourself train, work out and shoot even when you don’t feel well.
Last Sunday I was planning on going to the range but I canceled because I wasn’t feeling well. The following day I had no choice but to grab my gun and go out, even with a fever.
It’s better to get used to performing even when not 100%, so that when it happens for real at least you are a bit more used to.
Next time you feel like canceling a trip to the range or gym because you don’t feel well, consider it a training bonus instead. :)

7) Get body armor and use it when you have a chance.
I have mine but didn’t put it on because I didn’t know what was going on. I should have taken a couple extra seconds and put it under my jacket.
Just takes like 5 more seconds ( kept with only one side open) and can truly save your life if things get ugly.

8) Carry you gun always, or at least, leave it in your car if you are going out. An extra flashlight and body armor vest in the vehicle would be perfect too.
It SUCKS, I repeat SUCKS, to get back home, find your front door smashed, and all your cool tactical survival rifles and grenade launchers are nicely tucked in your safe, right next to the burglars, while you are unarmed outside…. And lets not even think about THOSE guns you left in the night table or under the bed for quick access, which are now in the hands of the criminals waiting for you to get in and blow your head off.

Happened to me once, lost my first Glock 31 that way, will never happen again.

9)Have boards and wood around to secure broken doors and windows, it will save you from sleeping completely vulnerable if for any reason your doors or windows get broken.
I had to rush to get materials when our beach house got broken into several years ago and this woman had the same problem.

I wanted to share these thoughts with you people because it’s a pretty typical situation and many can learn from it and maybe save them from learning the hard way.

Take care everyone.