Start with locking the door for home security

Last week, I heard about what I thought was a Portsmouth home invasion on Summer Street. I immediately sat down with my wife and told her I think we need more home protection. We have a 12-pound, one-eyed Rat Terrier named Bing, who has admirably served our household each night for the last five years, but is she enough?

I explained shots were raining down on the mean street they call Summer. I was convinced this was the first of many home invasions to sweep the city. My wife told me to calm down, take a spray or two of CBD oil and slow my roll. She then asked if I knew the full account of the Summer Street shootout. She said if I took a minute to read beyond the headline, I might reconsider a trip to Kittery Trading Post to stock up on firearms, grenades, booby traps and a John J. Rambo knife to fend off any pending attacks as they spread north to my neighborhood.

I was too fired up to read the full story, so my wife laid out the details as they were presented by the Portsmouth Police Department. It appears a 17-year-old boy received a text that a party was taking shape at a house on Summer Street. The text was from a young lady who resides at the house. All seems like “summer lovin’” on Summer Street until this Danny Zuko-Sandra Dee Olsson storyline took a wicked turn for the worst.

Nobody informed the adults in the house that Danny was stopping by. So Zuko shows up at 3:30 a.m. and guess what? The front door is unlocked. I’m with Zuko at this point. A text with an address to an unlocked front door only means one thing to me and all other 17-year-old boys. Yeah baby, party time! Whoops, not so fast party-teen, this party is being cut short by a gun-toting, party-pooping grownup. Sleepy grownup gun guy then allegedly pumps six rounds into the kid’s car as the kid speeds off like ramma lamma ding dong.

As a parent of three, this story scares the daylights out of me, but as former non-rule following 17-year-old boy, this story scared the bejesus out of me even more. A 17-year-old doesn’t say “Oh my God, I was almost shot!” No, a 17-year-old says “Dear God, when I get home how am I going to explain six bullet holes in the family truckster?” Nevertheless, that’s a column for another week.

Sticking with home safety, I say to my wife “what am I missing in this story?” She said “The front door was open, moron.” She went on to add if you’re obsessed enough with home safety to buy a gun, wouldn’t you start with locking your door at night? Interesting point by the boss of this house, so I Googled “What’s more important in keeping intruders out of your house, a gun or locking your front door?”

I became frustrated because there were basically no websites devoted to answering this question. I found lots of home security websites that listed locking your doors as a major first step in home security, but none looked into whether it made more sense to allow intruders into a gun owner’s home, or just boringly lock the front door to keep the bad guys out? My next question was, should I chase an intruder out onto the street and start shooting in a densely populated small New Hampshire city neighborhood? Not sure of the answer, I find myself back in front of Google.

Now I’m getting some needed information. It seems to be a fairly overwhelming consensus by experts online that you shouldn’t chase the home invader out to their car. It’s actually recommended you chase them out of the house, lock the door behind them and then call 911. So, after all this, I avert my trip to KTP and I decide to stick with Bing the killer one-eyed Rat Terrier and a cache of other surprises just in case any home invaders are reading my column this week.

However, I did learn two very valuable lessons. Number 1: Lock your doors at night, before you load your firearms. Doing this might keep you from having to discharge several rounds into your heavily populated neighborhood. Number 2: Don’t shoot outside on the street. Following a potential bad guy on to the street is dangerous for you, the bad guy, and potentially for the neighbors you just met at National Night Out.

So much of America’s gun debate is about background checks, gun show loopholes and AR-15s. Those are hot button issues to say the least, but I do think even the most ardent stand-your-ground, home protection, gun owner would agree family protection starts with locking the front door as a solid first line of defense.

If there is anything I missed please feel free to contact me, but before you do you should know I am not anti-Second Amendment, and, yes, I do know what it’s like to have your house broken into with loved ones inside. It’s scary and I like many others am grateful everyone involved in this incident is still with us in our relatively quiet, but always exciting city.

Wayne Barrows is a New Hampshire native and Portsmouth resident.

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