Patrick Estebe- There is a very dangerous misconception in many people’s mind. Not sure of its origin; possibly the myths of the conquest of the west when small wooden military forts resisted because of superior fire power the attacks of small bands of Indians armed with bows and arrows. (No disrespect here to the Native Americans whose ancestors certainly deserved to be called braves; just evoking a possible model of the past). Perhaps it is an excess in self confidence brought by success in the dojo or at the gun range. In any case I have heard so many explaining to me how they would defend their dwelling against any intruders excluding any possibility of being overrun that I am truly wondering how to end once and for all this misconception. Many times I have failed to convince real estate owners that no matter how well defended they think their real estate is, and no matter how much firepower they think they have, it is no match against a swarm of attackers. So I am trying again here.
One way could be to simply say:”Remember the Alamo!” but the expression’s has taken another meaning, and few would understand that I am pointing to the fact that in spite of the extraordinary courage and fighting skills of the defenders the place was overrun by a superior numbers. Remember Custer could be closer. History is full of similar facts, and most castles have been taken regularly. No matter how strong the walls were and committed the defenders. The only ones to survive the onslaught were those, when the option was available, who could use a secret passage out and far away from the castle itself.
This author had the opportunity to see firsthand in Haiti the effect of superior numbers against well armed and defended government troops: it is a striking memory. In fact definitely not for the faint hearted, many who have seen it wished they could “un-see” it. The burned bodies of the soldiers and the utter destruction of the place where not a single stone of the walls is left do leave a lasting impression.
Recently we all have seen how the hordes of rebels in Libya and then Syria defeated well armed military position. Since mercy is not the greatest quality of these rebels one can bet that the defenders did their best to avoid being defeated. Please understand that in no way I am suggesting that one cannot defend one’s dwelling; my entire life has been dedicated to security, under one cap or another, and I mean to keep doing just that, effectively and efficiently, and that requires a realistic approach of the available options. My purpose here is to point at an unbiased analysis of one’s defenses and see that while we should all prepare to defend against intruders, there is a point, a critical number of these intruders, beyond which very little can be done save dying with honor, like so many brave soldiers did in so many places they were asked to defend at all cost.
The purpose of security being quite different than that of the military, I would like to point out that the acceptable casualty rate in security is usually zero. A great many people who missed the writing on the wall in African countries, claiming:”Let them come, we can take care of them!” discovered too late that when “they” actually came there was simply too many of “them” and definitely not enough ammunition and gun hands on their side. They either saw their families butchered or got lucky and left in a hurry with the clothes they had on them. The battle of Rorke’s Drift dramatically depicted in the movie “Zulu” illustrates quite well actual the cost of defending with superior firepower against superior numbers. Now imagine that the Zulu had AK47 and we can all see that defending against that is impossible. If one would admit that most normal properties do not have a full infantry company to defend them, one would see that defending against overwhelming numbers can be heroic but is always suicidal.
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