Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Welcome back everyone!  I have been gone for almost 2 years and there is a reason.  In those two years I have changed careers twice and moved two times.  I am now a law enforcement officer and hopefully for me and the family I should be here for awhile.  This fall I will be on the department for two years and feel as if I'm finally getting the hang of things.  What I would like to do is go back through my older posts and update them, checking the links to see if they are still working and update any content that may have changed.  Once I finish with that I will begin writing newer content.  Thanks for your patience and I hope this blog is still useful to some.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

A "Safe" Decision

You may notice that this blog does not contain any ads.  I do have an amazon link as it is nice to sometimes get an idea of a product that I am referring to, but I will never resort to splashing ads all over my page because the endstate of this project is not to make money.  What I will do is endorse a company or product that I feel strongly about and you will notice that I have done so a few times throughout my blog.  Today I would like to tell you about Authority Safes
Authority Safes is an e-commerce safe supplier based out of Elkhart, Indiana.  They have been in business for only 5 years yet have received numerous awards, including a constant "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for each of the 4 years they have been a member.  Their customer service is impeccable and the level of company transparency they present, especially for being an e-commerce store, is a rarity.  They have a by-name listing of their team,  some with photos, posted on their website as well as a Live Chat option.  The biggest concern I usually have about an e-commerce company is trust, and as with any product or company I mention in this blog, I would not be endorsing them if I didn't trust them.  Their BBB rating, along with their openness and commitment to customer service, has put me at ease.  But what's great customer service without a great product?
Authority Safes has a wide variety of safes for a wide variety of needs, including safes for your home and your business.  If you are in the market for any type of safe begin your search with Authority Safes.

Having said that, lets talk about why we need safes in the first place.
It's pretty obvious that we purchase safes because we want to protect something of value.  And as we know different people consider different things valuable.  It is a subjective term.  So the first question you need to answer is what is it you want to protect?  Do you want to protect your jewelry from theft, or your kids from your firearms?  In staying with the spirit of this blog, I am going to talk about safes and how they relate to personal security.  If you want advice on the different kinds of safes, their ratings, and which one is right for you, contact Authority Safes.

When you have something in your home of value, the first thing you need to know is that it could potentially make you a target.  This is where we digress back into risk mitigation, and this is where safes come into play.  They should be part of your security plan to mitigate the risk of somebody taking, or attempting to take, whatever it is you are trying to protect.
A safe in and of itself is not enough.  If I take a safe, put it outside in an empty lot, it is probably not going to last very long.  Regardless of how heavy it is.  You can Google plenty of videos of people wrapping chains around ATM machines and driving off with them.  Get the thought out of your head that a safe is the end all be all.  You still need to be smart. 
So the next thing you need to be aware of, and try to minimize, is who knows about what you have in your home or office.  Understand that when you wear your collection of Tiffany jewelry, people are going to take notice.  If you host house parties, know who your guests are and be aware of the unaccompanied access they have to your house.  Be aware that some of your guests may have family members or friends that you personally would never let into your home, but because your guest couldn't stop talking about all of the cool guns you had you have now become a target to his drug addicted son.  Once you have begun to implement that simple step, your next step is to choose a safe.
When choosing a safe, you need to identify the personal value of what it is that you are protecting.  This will help you establish the kind of safe you need.  I don't really care about my passports, so I have a relatively cheap fireproof safe that I keep them in.  Now, if one those passports held a memory that I cherished I may want to protect it better.  The value of the item(s) only you can decide.  A professional can help you with finding the right safe in order to properly protect that item(s).
While choosing a home security safe, keep in mind our discussion about minimizing who is aware of what you have.  What I mean by that is the presence of a safe usually signals the presence of something valuable.  If I can see your giant gun safe in your living room from the street you are advertising to everyone who passes by that you probably have some delicious guns in there.  Hide it!  And if you do need a big ol' gun safe, consider spending a little bit more and make a closet type room specifically to hide your safe.  That way, when your kids' friends come over they aren't telling everyone that Jimmy's daddy has a bunch of guns in his huge vault downstairs.  It will just be another room in the house with a locked door. 
Once you have chosen a safe, and if you do not already have one, you should discuss with a security professional on your need for a home security system.  Those passports I spoke of probably do not rate a $50 a month alarm monitoring fee.  But a vault full of guns, that may be a different story.  Every situation is different and each case needs to be looked at individually.  Just ensure that you do at least consider it.
The one thing I will go into a little more detail on right now is the small gun safes designed to be accessed quickly.  These usually hold one pistol, open quickly, and are fairly portable.  If you have kids it's a no brainer.  You need the safe to store your weapon while you sleep.  However, if you plan on putting the gun you are going to use to protect you and your family into a locked box, you need to ensure you keep it near you and that you practice opening it.  And I don't mean while you are watching your favorite t.v. show.  I mean setting an alarm for 0243, and as soon as that alarm goes off you attempt to access your gun as fast as you can.  Do it until it is second nature.  I have three small kids of my own and pretty soon I will need to securely store my loaded firearm at night as well.  I have already begun looking and will be contacting Authority Safes when I feel my current plan is no longer viable.  There is a much higher chance of my kids getting ahold of my gun than someone breaking in to my home.
In conclusion, if you have something you need to protect or secure look into getting a safe.  And when you look into getting a safe, start with Authority Safes.  They are professionals, friendly, and can guide you in the right direction.  They carry a wide variety of brands, including Mesa Safes which is a great manufacturer and has a full line of safes for any need.  Not only does Authority Safes carry over a dozen brands, they are an authorized dealer for each one which means better and faster solutions.  Simple and straight forward. 

If you have any questions or comments, as always, let me know. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Security for Couples/Families

This may seem like an odd topic, but when you are living with another person(s) you should both/all be on the same page when it comes to security.  This is a struggle in my home as there is one certain individual, I won't mention any names, who prefers to believe that bad things do not happen in her world.  I respect her way of thinking and I actually believe that this world needs those kinds of people, but it makes my job a little more difficult.
I will begin with the home environment first. Let's say that you are the husband or wife who chooses to take your families security serious.  You take some self-defense courses, maybe you even send yourself to a high speed shooting school.  You start what-if'ing different scenarios for the home and certain locations around the city you habitually frequent and develop some decent plans in case things go wrong...but then you have to throw the other members of your family into the equation.  I am not going to go into every possible scenario that could happen, there just isn't the time or space.  But you do have to plan for at least the most probable possibilities as you see them.
Some things you need to take into consideration are:
  • Layout of your house and bedroom relative to entry points
  • Layout of your house relative to your bedroom vs. your kids 
  • The age of your kids and their most probable reaction to a home invasion
  • Your spouse's most probable reaction to a home invasion
  • A realistic evaluation of your pet's reaction
  • If possible, learn the appearance of your family members silhouette's
  • Size of your house
  • Chosen personal protection weapon
Layout of your house and bedroom relative to entry points:
You need to be aware of all of your most probably entry points and how you are going to protect your family depending on which one is breached. 

Layout of your house relative to your bedroom vs. your kids:
If you are lucky and all of your bedrooms are upstairs, that's an easy one.  You call the police and defend the stairs.  If your bedrooms are spread throughout the house, or have a kid in the basement or vice versa, you need a different plan.

The age of your kids and their most probable reaction to a home invasion:
If they are young are they going to run out to the noise to see what is going on?  Are they going to scream and cry and run to your room, giving away your position as well as possibly making themselves an easy target by running through an area the intruders are already in?  Are they teenagers.  Did they sneak out and are now sneaking back in?  Will they roam about the house causing you to hesitate if you are utilizing a firearm?

Your spouse's most probable reaction to a home invasion:
Will he/she run to the kids room.  Will he/she wake up and turn on the lights, alerting the bad to your location, letting them know you are awake hence taking away your chance of surprise, and ruining your night vision?

A realistic evaluation to your pet's reaction: 
A short 4 years ago, your dog may have been a formidable opponent when someone came crashing through the door.  Now, maybe she doesn't even get up when someone knocks. 

If possible, learn the appearance of your families silhouette's:
This is accomplished simply by hanging out with your family at night.  After spending enough time with people in the dark, it becomes easy to tell who they are just by their silhouette, which may come in handy in a dark house where you are unsure of your families location. 

Size of your house:
This should be obvious.  A small house and everything is more compact.  You need to react quicker as the baddies can get to you faster.  A big house, and things are more spread out.  You may have more time to react.  However, if you do not have an alarm there may be the possibility that the bad guys can enter your home without you even hearing them. 

Chosen personal protection weapon:
I've covered most of this in my Weapons post, but I want to reiterate that when speaking of firearms, over-penetration is your biggest concern.  Do your research and pick the best weapon/ammunition for your house size and location.  The only weapon I recommend for home protection is a firearm.  If you are not going to use a firearm, spend the money creating a safe room, a citadel, that you and your family can retreat to until the police arrive.

These are just a few of the many things you need to think about when you throw variables (people) into your emergency plan of action.

Outside of the home, there are many scenarios that can play out.  If you are serious about your families security you should be what-if'ing everywhere you go.  I've said it before, but once you get it down it will become natural.  I do it all the time and it doesn't interfere whatsoever.  When walking through the parking garage I what-if.  When my car is warming up in the drive-way I what-if.  When my wife and I are walking through the streets downtown I what-if, even while we are talking.

The biggest take-away from this is to understand you have variables you need to plan as much as possible for.  You need to sit down with your family and talk about the what-ifs as it relates to your home, and even outside of it.  I tell my wife where she should set up and show her why.  I talk to her about the probable reactions of the kids.  Her running into the rooms of the kids will do the opposite of helping.  It can be a hard conversation and my wife cried when I was going over all the possible what-ifs that go through my mind constantly.  It scared her.  But the potential benefits of having the conversation may one day far outweigh the drawbacks of not having it.

As always, any questions please let me know.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Security for the Seasoned Individual

All right, getting back into it.  I have some down time before I head back overseas so lets see if I can knock out a few topics!

Our next item (getting back to the agenda...sort of) deals with the seasoned individual and the challenges they may face.  Now, when I say seasoned I'm talking 50 and above...and before I get a backlash I realize that 50 is not old!  But late 40's and early 50's is when health problems start to manifest themselves for a lot of people so I feel this is where we should start since your health definitely effects the tools you have available with which to protect yourself.  I was originally going to break this up into male and female, but as I started writing I realized there wasn't much difference between the two so I combined them.

First and foremost, be honest with yourself!  What is wrong with you right now that will limit your ability to protect yourself?  (Keep in mind, your answers to this question may also directly relate to your ability to use deadly force.  You are justified to use deadly force when you feel that your life is in danger, and in your 20's, you may have been able to take a beating.  But now, you may have a heart condition or you may be suffering from Osteoporosis which would turn a robbery into a homicide...with YOU being the victim).  If you carry a firearm, are you still able to see the sights of your weapon?  You may have carried it for 40 years but now, due to your need for bifocals, you may need to change the tactics with which you employ your weapon.  Above we mentioned conditions of the body that may increase the effects of a violent assault or an extremely stressful situation.  Some companies and agencies require that a stress test be done on any employees deploying to a high threat environment to ensure that they are not at an elevated risk of a heart attack when placed in an abnormally stressful situation.  Arthritis?  How effective will your struggles be?  Can you manipulate a weapon such as a pistol or knife or even Mace effectively when arthritis has hampered your ability to even make a fist?  Again, be honest.  The tools you used to rely on (strength, weapons, reaction time, quick thinking) may not be as sharp or accessible as they once were and by not admitting it you may be setting yourself up for serious injury or even death.
Another aspect of personal safety that needs to be addressed is accidents.  We spoke of Osteoporosis above.  If you are home alone and fall and are unable to reach a phone, how will you get help?  Joking about old people and breaking hips may seem funny, but a broken hip is no laughing matter.  In the military, a pelvic strike is considered deadly force because of the potential for serious bodily harm and/or death.  A major artery, the femoral, is found on the inside of your thighs about an inch or two above where your leg meets your genital area, if you follow the natural vee.  Sever one of these and you have maybe a few minutes to live.  Not only that, but your hips support your whole body.  We train to shoot the pelvic area in order to cause death and immediate disabling, so you can imagine you won't be doing much walking or even standing with a broken hip.
Hopefully we've got you thinking by now.  There are many more examples of bad things that can happen, whether it be by direct assault or by accident, but lets now focus on how to prevent, avoid, or at least mitigate the effects such an episode will have on you.
By far, the best defense you have against any crime or accident is situational awareness.  Remain cognizant of what is going on around you!  Secondly, have a plan.  I have already gone in depth in previous posts concerning such things as mindset, principles of security, and weapons so if you think that this post is lacking please read back.
Ok, let's talk situational awareness.  If you know that you are at risk for an accident, you must remain aware of your surroundings.  Set yourself up for success.  Make sure that the floor is clear of debris, make sure steps are clearly marked and hand railings have been installed.  Do you have a small dog or cat that runs beneath your feet?  Over time, you may have amassed a little wealth and enjoy nice cars and jewelry.  Realize that a thief may identify you as a soft (easy) target because of your age or your inability to fight back, and giving off the appearance of having money may not be such a wise choice depending upon your environment.  Also, be aware of possible scams.  Door-to-door salesman should be immediately and firmly sent on their way, bearing in mind that you do NOT have to open the door to talk to them.  At best they are selling needless products, at worst, they are criminals casing your house.  This is in no way a complete list, but the point is to get you thinking.  The internet is another area in which you need to be aware.  I strongly suggest you do some major reading, talk to a family member or friend who is active on the internet, or take an internet course (go through a reputable source, such as a tech college or some other accredited organization) because you could compromise a lot of your personal information, as well as others, if you do not adhere to good internet practices and have at least some idea of the threats out there, including internet scams.
Having a plan is essential in order to effectively deal with situations that will inevitably arise.  Earlier, we asked the question of how you would get help if you fell. There are such tools out there like LifeAlert  and ADT's Personal Emergency Response System  that you should consider.  Keep in mind that these tools are not confined to medical emergencies.  If you feel threatened, whether inside or outside of your home, you may utilize these tools.  It may not be the most effective response but at least somebody will be on the way to help you.  Cell phones.  Cell phones these days are almost a necessity.  You don't have to have some fancy phone, just something that you can use anywhere to call for help.  A home security system is always a good idea.  If you can't move very quickly and you have a fire in your house, how will you get out?  Are you on the first or second floor?  Should you install more smoke detectors?  A sprinkler system?  Modify your bedroom window in order to make it easier to get out of?    
The above should be a good start to an effective plan.  I'm going to keep stressing that this post is intended to get you thinking as opposed to cover all contingencies.  As we get older, our bodies do become weaker and we have to accept that and plan for it, regardless of how much it hurts our pride.
I hope this has helped in some way, and as always, if you have any questions do not hesitate!      

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Child Safety

Sorry for the long!
It has recently come to my attention that a friend of mine is having issues with an ex-wife and her new boyfriend and the interaction between her new beau and his little girl.  That story is neither here nor there, but it brought up a situation I'm sure a lot of divorced parents with children have unfortunately experienced.  Picture yourself with kids, boys or girls, it doesn't matter.  Your ex takes the kids for the weekend and takes them to her new boyfriend/girlfriends house.  Being a nasty divorce, the ex is less then forthcoming on any information concerning anything, especially contact information on his/her new fling.  So off they go, your kids going into the unknown.  Are they safe?  Who is this guy?  Where does he live?  Then, to make it worse, your little girl/boy comes home and tells you that mommy/daddy's new boyfriend/girlfriend gives them the creeps.  Unless the new friend has actually done something to the child, there is, unfortunately, little anyone can do.  (I know laws are different in some states concerning who children can spend the night with if they aren't relatives but I'm generalizing.)
One legal thing that you as the parent can do that is totally legal and will also make your child feel a little safer is the Amber Alert GPS.  It does cost a monthly fee, but I believe it is well worth it.  Some of its features are Predator Alert, alerting you when the child is within 500ft of a sex offenders residence.  There is a panic button, speed alert if your child is going too fast, a safe zone you can establish that will alert you if your child leaves the virtual boundary, and also Smart phone tracking among other things.  This is not a cheap piece of gear, but considering what the alternative could be, it may be the best thing you ever bought.
This isn't going to be a long post, I just wanted to throw that out there while I was thinking about it.  I will try to get back on task in a few weeks but we shall see...  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On-Line Predators

If you have read my agenda, you will notice that I am deviating from my intended order a bit simply because I feel that this topic is important and shouldn't wait. 
I will go into computer security (or rather common sense) at a later date, but right now I want to address the issue of on-line predators.  Beginning in 2008, after watching an episode of “To Catch a Predator”, I realized that I had no clue about on-line predators.  I didn’t know who they were, how they chose their victims, how they communicated, where they could be found in the on-line world.  I was dumb to a threat that (with kids) I would need to be wary of in several years’ time.  So, I began researching.  I knew that these guys were finding people in chat rooms, and I had a Yahoo account, so that is where I began.  What I found there were mostly gay men, men looking for girls, and girls pretending to chat with you and then telling you to click on a link…which either they got money for or sent you to a porn website that you had to pay to view.  No “predators” to my knowledge. That’s when I discovered Yahoo! 360.  Yahoo! 360 allowed you to create an on-line profile and basically share anything you wanted to with the world.  I created a profile and began perusing other users.  I started messaging several users who had young sounding names such as “volleyball_16” or “15yrs_amy” and didn’t receive very many responses.  But the responses I did receive and the chats I had turned out to be men pretending to be girls.  It took me quite a while to figure that out but very few 16 year olds I know make small talk and then want a picture of my feet or start talking about how their dad used to molest them and they liked it.  So that is what gave me the idea to create a profile pretending to be a 14 year old girl.  It took maybe a day and I had over 50 requests to be friends, numerous messages on chat, and a bunch of emails.  Most, like me, were guys pretending to be girls but they thought or wanted to believe I was a girl. One of the more sinister chats I had was with a young “girl” who asked me if I thought my parents would let me go to Spain, as the girl said she knew someone who could get me into modeling.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only one “she” had made that offer to.  I then created various profiles of different genders and different ages and by far the most “attractive” profile was the female aged between 13 and 16.  Yahoo! 360 wasn’t the only place I found this kind of thing.  Virtually every social site I went to had some form of predatory aspect to it.  Flickr, Yahoo, Windows Live, Yahoo games, MySpace, Facebook, (though with the right privacy settings Facebook does a good job of protecting its users) and a myriad of other chat rooms and social sites.  I have also seen young teens with their own webcams putting themselves out there voluntarily.  The threat is there, it is real, and it is just a few clicks away.  Regardless of whether they are male or female, as long as you are their legal guardian you NEED TO MONITOR YOUR CHILDREN!  If you are not monitoring what your children are doing on-line you are wrong, plain and simple.  If you need some help on this matter, I will throw out a few tips.  And if you want some more info, by all means message me.  I have spent a lot of late nights researching this and I wouldn’t recommend everyone trying their hand at it, but it is a serious threat that I feel needs to be addressed.  I am confident that I can spot a fake within ten minutes of a conversation and out of the numerous conversations I have had over the past three years with people claiming to be a certain type of person, not one has been real.  Not one!  Which is a good thing and bad.  It’s good because that means there are more fake than legit preteens and teens chatting, but it is bad because I have seen videos and live cams of teens and preteens doing things they shouldn’t which means those kids are out there and they don’t stand a chance against a grown adult who knows how to manipulate a child’s feelings.  Also, there is a whole T.V. show and volunteer group dedicated to catching on-line predators as well so that should give this post some credibility to even the most skeptical. 

I can’t address every situation, but below are a few tips to help keep your kids off pedophiles radar.  Again, if you have a situation you need advice on or just want some more information let me know, I can’t cover everything here.     

Let me start by saying that parents do need to trust their kids, and kids need to make their own mistakes in order to learn.  But the internet is one area where kids MUST be monitored; at least until you as the adult are certain that they are using it responsibly.  One great program to help with this is SniperSpy spyware.  It will record everything they do, it will record their passwords, pictures they post, emails they receive, and you can set times when they can and cannot access the internet (if you’re not home), among a ton of other things.  Are you spying on your kids…yes.  But do you think your kids are really going to give you access to their REAL email or Facebook account, especially if they are doing something they know they shouldn’t?  

Be cognizant of what is in the pictures they post.  It does no good to teach them about not sharing where they live or telephone number or email when they post a public picture of them wearing a school sweatshirt.  All one has to do is Google that school and they will come up with a short list of where that child goes to school.  Or, a person could look at your child’s friend list and even though the predator can’t access their profile, maybe they have an outfit on that proclaims what school they go to and it’s an easy assumption from there that your child goes to the same school.  A lot of kids like to post track/volleyball/baseball pictures showing where they play as well.  Once the predator knows what school your child goes to, it is easy pickings from there.  I’m not saying that this kind of stalking is happening all of the time, but the potential is there and the risks of not mentoring your children far outweigh the hassle it will be to lend a firm, yet guiding hand. 

With the amount of kids with cellphones these days, hardly anyone chats on a messenger service anymore unless the y have friends that live out of the country.  Why would they with the convenience of texting?  So if your child is chatting you need to find out with whom.  Webcams are another issue.  These items should be controlled by the parent and the child should have to ask for it.  And if it’s a weekend and he/she is having a sleepover I wouldn’t recommend letting them play.  Or if you do let them, make sure you monitor it by checking on them and checking what websites they have open, not just what is on the screen.  I have seen that exact scenario play out countless of times on sites like JustinTV and Stickam.  If you don't believe me go to and you won't even have to click on the videos to see what I am talking about.  Not only are the teens usually pushing the decency boundary in a sort of truth-or-dare like way (there is nothing but guys asking the girls to show their bodies or do things with each other), but identifiable information is almost always shown in what they are wearing, in the background, or what they say.  On top of that, there are programs that allow people to record webcams, so even if your child does something inappropriate and gets kicked off the site there is a good chance his/her picture will still wind up on the internet.   

I thought this was going to be a lengthy post but there is not much more to be said.  The internet is like a door to your house, a door that can let any kind of person in the WORLD in.  That kind of access is something that needs to be guarded and no child should have the power to make the decision of who should be let in.  They are too vulnerable and easily manipulated at that age.  Personally, I would talk to my child about internet safety but then secretly monitor them (key word is secret because if they know they are being watched you won’t get an honest assessment) until I am sure they are being responsible.  Some of you will cringe at the thought of spying on your kids but that is the only way to ensure their safety (and yours) without damaging your relationship with them at this sensitive time in their lives by openly invading their privacy.

Best of luck.