The other night, like really late at night, my doorbell rang. Obviously I wasn’t expecting anybody, but I was still compelled to “check the perimeter”. So, how does one wake themselves out of a dead slumber to go chasing down bumps in the night.
The first question is do you need to check on these bumps in the night. I guess that really depends on the type of person you are and what the disturbance was that stirred you. If you were lucky enough to be stirred awake I would say it deserves some amount of attention. My plan of action is pretty simple, aside from deploying my home defense pistol, I engage all my senses. Luckily for me, I am pretty comfortable in the dark so I don’t mind waiting a bit. Can I make any other target indicators out, before I begin my perimeter check I will allow my senses to full accommodate. That will be different for each person and obviously if you hear screaming, barking or other signs of force entry it is go time, but this wasn’t the case.
Once my sense have acclimated, I will start moving towards the disturbance. In this case, it was the front door so again I had the advantage. My porch is well illuminated with a nearby streetlight so I move to far vantage point and observe what I can. Since I windows up front, I tend to look for movement first, then shadows next. Again, I am in no hurry so patience is a virtue. Damn…if my dad could here me utter that phrase he would fall over laughing since he preached it to me for as long as I could remember.
I like to move off angle to the front door, since that is typically not in a direction an onlooker might be looking. This allows me to get a pretty decent view of the porch from a medium distance away. I will move up to a position that allows me just a little bit more view of the area of concern. How long do I hang out at each of these positions, honestly I don’t know, but long enough. Each of these positions also act as cover/concealment or fall back positions should I have to engage targets that have penetrated my threshold. God forbid the door were to be compromised, but if so I will have the element of surprise since I haven’t turned on any lights, internal or external. I have worked through my house in the shadows, careful not to back light myself and have an intimate understanding of the layout, they do not. If you cannot move through your house without stubbing your toe or breaking the Ming Dynasty, vase good on you.
My final position is right up against the external wall, but away from the door. I am using off angles to gain as much perspective as possible of the area of concern. In this case, I didn’t see any movement or shadows, but that doesn’t mean no one was there. Again, I wait…as long as they are not beating down the door I have all the time in the world. Finally, once I feel there is no threat or I have identified an unknown I will turn on the porch light. It’s nice an bright so it should startle folks as I perform positive target identification.
Remember, there are two types of bumps; the incidental and the purposeful. Both need to be approached with a plan, caution and when necessary violent precision.