The other night, I climbed up the stairs to crawl into bed. Tate was snoozing away in his crib, and I had decided to sleep in our shared room that evening. I shut the bedroom door, locked it as I always do when we sleep in the same room, and turned on my burglar alarm (there’s a panel in my bedroom as well as on the first floor in the entryway). When we go to sleep I set the alarm to instant, so any breach of the doors or windows causes the alarm to sound immediately instead of waiting the 45 seconds it has when simply set to ‘alarm.’
I climbed into bed and snuggled under the covers. I had gone to bed much later than I had intended, and I was exhausted. My head hit that cool pillow and I exhaled happily.
No more than one minute later, my alarm sounded. Screeching and wailing throughout the house.
I sat straight up in bed absolutely terrified, while Tate simply slept away.
I was shaking with fear.
In those seconds I didn’t know what to do.
Should I leave the room and go see if it was simply a door left ajar? A window loosened by the cat? Wind that shook the house? Should I simply wait for the alarm people to call and cower in my bedroom while the police came?
For reasons I can’t begin to explain, even now, I quietly opened the bedroom door, walked out, shut it behind me and looked over the railing to the second floor with my heart pounding in my chest. I didn’t see anything or anyone with the exception of the cat, who was as frightened as I was. I ventured to the second floor, unarmed and looked around. Nothing.
The first floor lay beneath me awash in darkness. I looked down the stairs to the first floor wiping my hands on my pajama bottoms as they were clammy. I made my way down to the first floor. Nothing out of the ordinary except the door to the garage was slightly ajar.
Had I left it that way? Had someone opened my garage door and tried to come in? It was locked, so certainly they couldn’t have gotten in, right? I looked through my glass front door (note to self get a solid door, though there is a gate barring entry to my door) and the garage door was closed.
I picked up the 12 pound exercise weight I leave by the garage door and made my way into the garage wielding the weight, intent on pounding someone on the head if need be.
All was clear.
I came back in and turned off the alarm, canceling it so the company would not send the police.
Trembling I locked the doors and reset the alarms. I checked every single closet and all was clear.
Back in our bedroom I tried to calm myself and laid back down, sweaty and teary after locking our door again. I lay there for several minutes breathing heavily staring at the door. Scared someone was still going to try to come harm me and my baby. I dragged my incredibly heavy rocking chair over in front of the bedroom door and only then was I able to fall into a fitful sleep.
As I did so I wished I had a gun.
Yes, a gun.
In the midst of all that is going on about gun control in this country today, I wished I had had a gun.
And I would have used it to protect my son. Without a second thought.
This incident occurred several weeks ago.
I feel the exact same way tonight.
I live in a state with extremely liberal gun laws. Half of my female friends know how to shoot a gun. A quarter of them have their concealed hand gun license. The majority of my male friends hunt. One of my dearest friends went to the shooting range just this past Thursday to learn to shoot for the first time after one of her employees was robbed in her office, in the presence of everyone.
Now I’m not going to run out to the shooting range, and I truly have no desire to carry a concealed handgun. That just seems ridiculous to me, carrying a gun in my purse with my hand sanitizer; I’m likely to confuse the two.
But that night, in my own home, what would I have done to protect us? I do know that I am very upset with my alarm company for not calling me within 30 seconds of the alarms going off. I had Brinks for years and they’ve been sold to ADT and service is NOT what it once was. But hell…service? We’re talking about my safety here. I should have waited for them to call and kept them on the phone with me while I ‘investigated’ or better yet I should have just let the police come. I considered calling my awesome male neighbor, but it was 11:15 and I didn’t want to risk HIS life too. I also realize that the alarm going off as loud as it was would have scared off most intruders. But in those 5-8 minutes it would have taken the police to arrive someone could have done real harm to Tate or me if that was their intention.
How does a single woman in a huge city protect herself in her home? I’ve got all the safeguards in place I can think of….the alarm system, a metal gate around the front of my home, a padlocked gate in the back and glass break alarms on the first floor windows. When Tate and I are in the room together on the third floor I lock us in the room. I have my cell phone with me in the room (though I usually set it to airplane mode…I should stop that), and I have a land line in that room.
I also know I should turn the alarm on when we are simply in the house going about our evenings and days on the weekends (obviously not on instant for when I forget and open the door to let the cat out or open a window). However, it should be on.
But if someone came in what would I do?