Frozen by Fear: It Could Happen To You

He turned the key in the lock and entered without turning on the light. It was his home for more than a decade and he knew his way around the house. A bit of moonlight filtered through the windows so he could see well enough. It felt comfortable.

His wife and daughters were off on a trip. This was one of those quiet alone times that can either be serenely peaceful, or as was about to happen, extremely terrifying.

He put his briefcase on the kitchen table. Then he felt family’s black cat, aptly named “midnight”, rub against his pant leg. He reached down to pet the soft fur and enjoy the gentle purr it evoked. He never admitted to liking the little creature. But in the dark and alone, he secretly enjoyed her attentions.

Then he heard it – a sound upstairs. It was much louder than a rat or any small animal that might have come in. The man froze.

Again sounds came. A thudded bump – and was that a drawer being opened?

It was definitely wasn’t an animal but a human being moving things around upstairs in his bedroom!

What to do?

There shouldn’t be anyone here.

This wasn’t possible and couldn’t be happening.

The house was down a long dirt road far away from neighbors. There was no way to call for help.

He didn’t have any weapons or guns, and certainly no training. He was a scientist by trade, not a fighter.

What he did next is classic.

He went completely blank.

With a predicament he had never encountered before and absolutely no idea what to do he was immobilized.

I can attest that Daniel (he requested I don’t use his real name) is a very intelligent and capable person. And in his profession he is quite well known and successful. He told me this story with a bit of shame – for what man doesn’t think he couldn’t defend himself in his own home?

But the honest truth was, in a situation he had never conceived of, much less prepared for, he became paralyzed.

His story had me thinking about my own home. What would I have done?

There have been a few times in my life when I’ve been in tight spots. I’ve traveled alone in third world countries and I’ve lived in American ghettos. I currently own several guns and have a bit of training (not enough, but some).

And I know that in that kind of situation – one where someone or a group comes into my home – right now, I am unprepared and they could easily overwhelms me.

I would do the same thing as Daniel.


I don’t like thinking about the possibility of bad things happening. There is that little voice that says “if you think about it, you are likely to draw it to you” and “you create your own reality”.

But I also know that if I have at least thought about some scenarios and have a plan or two, then I am much less likely to freeze if it ever does happen.  And I am quite certain that doing something will be much better than completely freezing up.

I don’t feel any danger or any threat right now. And it hasn’t happened in my neighborhood (yet). So why worry?

Home invasions don’t generally make the National news, but as I’ve traveled around the country and occasionally tapped into the local news stations, I’ve been surprised at the number of home invasion stories I’ve heard.

And while ignorance is bliss, security comes from preparedness.

So I’ve decided to consider the possibility it could happen and am working to setup a few preparations.

Home invasions are different from robberies – which is one thing I have learned from Jeff Anderson (Jeff is the president of CQC (Close Quarters Combatants) Intl. The mindset and motives of the perpetrator are different. Jeff has a package of materials that helps you understand what is going on in the minds of these sick people, and helps you to deal with the possibility that this horrible thing could occur.

Jeff offers almost too many suggestions on how to prevent it – or deal with it if it occurs.

And he understands about the issues of having your family in the home – and having preparations that are ‘kid safe’.

I’ve met Jeff personally and I’ve reviewed his entire course. Over the years, I have been reviewing a lot of different books and videos on home and self defense. By no means am I a Marine or LEO. And for you uber tactical guys who are ready for Armageddon, this material is probably not for you.

But what I can say, is that for someone like me, it really helped me to begin to confront my fears. Of all the materials I’ve reviewed, it is one of the few sets of materials that I do recommend.

Pick up a copy of Jeff’s “Home Defense Tactics” by clicking here.

(Marjory’s note; OK, I got so much response from people wanting to know what finally happened to Daniel – so here it is.  It turned out that Daniels brother-in-law came by to pick up something.  It wasn’t an intruder.  Daniel is infinitely grateful for the experience and considers it a ‘warning shot’ from the universe that he intends to heed.  Daniel wanted me to tell everyone about it to help prevent this from happening – for real – to others.).

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This post was written by Marjory


  • Chrs says:

    Dear Marjory — While I am an advocate of the 2nd Amendment, I really don’t enjoy the latest firearms addition to Grow Your Own Groceries. I used to religiously follow alternative media, such as Alex Jones, with all of the hysterics of survivalism, food hoarding, and being locked-n-loaded. I receive your newsletter because I want tips on growing good organic food. Just my own opinion, but please don’t change the subject matter. It’s your baby and you can write about whatever you want. But as for me, if I keep seeing stuff like this I will cancel my subscription.

    1. Hi Chrs,

      I do appreciate your point of view. I go into defense every now and then because it is important to realize grwoing food is like printing money – really. And defense is very important when you are that rich!

      1. Jason Macek says:

        Agree..it’s important to be well versed in all areas!

  • ol' Lawrence says:

    I live in west Texas and we have a totally different mindset than you people in east Texas. Home invasions are very few and far between here because in 9 out of 10 cases, the victim calls the sheriff to come pick up the dead intruder. They shoot them….ask no questions and expect no explanations. You intrude, you’re dead….that’s all. Everyone out here has guns and know how to use them without hesitation.

    I would suggest you east Texans adopt our sensible approach to home invasions. That’s not to say we west Texans don’t still extend Texas hospitality to others. You break down on the highway….several pickup trucks will stop to help you get going again….no charge. If your car
    totally craps out….someone will pick you up and take you to the next town to get lodging and help. But no one in their right mind intrudes on a west Texan’s property and breaks into his home.

    Without the sheriff department’s help in removing the body…..the rule out here is: shoot, shovel, and shut up!

    1. Hi Lawrence,

      I just drove through West Texas on my way to NM and CO. I really wondered with all those long, long spaces, if anything broke down in our van – what in the heck would we do? No water and hot, hot hot sunlight.
      I suppose East Texans have been infiltrated by northerners and we are softening up! LOL. to a large extent.

  • ja haller says:

    I’m always happy to see GYOG address the issue of personal security. Too many people are willing to prepare for weather disasters and car wrecks and cancer, yet overlook the real threat of criminal violence. Special interest groups are selling the alleged virtues of a Defenseless America, the supposed value of surrender to criminals, and justifications for deliberate helplessness. It takes a “warning shot from the universe” (great metaphor!) to jolt people back to reality, that preparation means being ready for ANYTHING, including violence.

    1. Hi “JA”,

      Yes, this nation was built by people who could handle weapons – for their livelihood (hunting). I’ve gone through quite a transformation myself regarding gun ownership.

      Thanks for commenting.

  • Bryant says:

    Daniel’s brother-in-law is lucky to be alive. If Daniel had not frozen and was prepared to deal with the unknown intruder with deadly force, the BIL could have wound up dead before his identity was known. If you are going to be entering anyone’s house by means other than having the door opened for you by that person, prior arrangements and communication are not only necessary, but could save your life.

  • I’ve been prepping for nearly 5 years now. I garden, make and use extracts, I can foods, have a substantial amount of medical supplies and medicine cupboard supplies, a water filter system and many 5 gal. containers of long term storage water and a catchment system, as well as heirloom seeds. And most importantly the means by which to defend my family and our resources. setting aside everyday crime, if the shtf and you don’t have the means to protect yourself and your loved ones and your supplies you have failed.

  • r says:

    In your newsletters, you often have links that I’m interested in. However, every time I click on one and am directed to the page that your newsletter references, I’m asked to enter my name and email to sign up for your newsletter (which I already get). May I suggest that you just have the link to “growyourowngroceries.org” rather than to the actual article, which is on your home page already?

    Just a thought.


    1. Hi “R”

      We just got that new pop up installed and it is supoed to know if you are a repeat vistior or already signe dup. I’ll check to make sure it is working correctly.

  • His brother-in-law could have gotten himself shot if Daniel had been more prepared. Why didn’t Daniel see BIL’s car outside if the house was too far away for him to have walked over? He needs to be cognizant of what’s around him at all times.

    Also, why didn’t BIL turn on any lights when he came in? From his perspective, he should have made his presence known so he wouldn’t get shot. Daniel should have instantly run outside, gotten in his car if the the coast was clear, and called 911 down the road so he wouldn’t have had to go into the house alone.

    In the place I used to live in South Atlanta, I unfortunately lost count after having my house broken into 14 times. Believe me, I became good at being cognizant of what was around my house. The perpetrators had always walked over from the apartment building across the street, so there were no cars, but once when I came home early because of being sick, they were in the house when I came in. Luckily, they left out the back and I never had any direct encounters with them, but I still felt like my home had been violated.

    Another time when I came home, the door to my house was open and I called the police to come check it out before I went in. As scary as it was, I now know how to be aware of my surroundings. I always knew instantly when something was missing from my house. I had three insurance companies cancel me so there are other ramifications to it too. I sold the house at a loss and got out of there as soon as I could.

    1. Wow, Barbara,
      that is quite amazing, 14 break ins? I am sincerely glad you moved. Some places are just like that.

      when I lived or traveled to tough places, situational awareness kept me safe for the most part. Yup it is a big piece.

  • Kate says:

    If you own a weapon, you must always be prepared, both mentally and physically, to use it should the need arise. You must instantly distinguish threat from friend, or you could accidentally kill your friend or be killed yourself by the threat. In a true emergency situation there is no time to stop and think. Your reaction must be automatic.

    1. Kate, you are right on. The old saying, never show a gun unless you plan on using it.

    2. Alan Bowen says:

      I guess this is where I am so happy I was gifted with being such a fast thinker.
      To illustrate, Several years ago at a job I had I was walking into the shop right behind the manager and as he opened a door he stopped and was looking at a wet line on the floor.
      I came through, saw the line and said, “The pilot is out on the water heater.”
      I had not looked up but I knew that was about the area where the hot water line went to the large humidifier up on the loft. Hot water doesn’t make the pipe sweat but cold water does.
      I saw the water line and saw the whole thing at once. He was blown away by how fast I told him about what he was wondering about.

      1. Wow, what a great story of fast thinking. Yes, hot water lines don’t sweat…

  • TADPrepper says:

    I really appreciate your postings on defense, especially since this is primarily a gardening blog. I feel that you bring a fresh perspective to the topic, and a harsh dose of realism. Gardening and prepping are great, but naive gardening and prepping is foolish and potential dangerous. I start prepping about two years ago. As I was pondering getting started, I talked about it with a co-worker — a nurse whose husband is a policeman. She approved of my prepping decision and said, “If you’re going to begin storing stuff, you need to get a gun to defend it. We have guns in just about every room of our house.” That comment from this shy, quiet Christian lady really got my attention in a way that same remark wouldn’t have if it had come from a “commando.” That’s the same kind of impact that your articles on defense have. Keep ’em coming!

    1. Thanks so much TADPrepper. I do get some comments from people who say “but this is a food growing site – don’t talk about defense’ but there are not that many of them and many more like you, who understand.

      As I’ve come to learn, defense is important for everyone anytime anyway. My chickens are always on alert…

  • Nancy says:

    There might have been another problem if Daniel had secured a gun in his bedside stand upstairs. An intruder may have discovered it and used it when he encountered Daniel downstairs. Thus the notion of “carrying” has been revived, eh?

  • Alan says:


    I truly enjoy those posts you make relating to the content of your website, the one about GROCERIES and GROWING FOOD. However, I have seen a number of “fear-based” posts by you in recent months that have nothing to do with growing foodbut have everything to do with promoting guns and so forth. I am not against guns and am a gun-owner who enjoys hunting, etc. But I am getting a little weary of posts on your food-growing site that try to scare folks into getting guns to defend themselves. Obviously, it’s your site and your prerogative to post what you like, but I would recommend that if you do intend to keep jumping up on the stump for guns and preaching preparedness and fear, then perhaps you should be more up front about that sort of thing in your initial ads seeking subscribers, or at least in your initial emails to new members. Otherwise, you wind up with folks like me who feel a little duped into a quasi-survivalist organization instead of one that is truly focused on teaching folks how to grow their own food.

    Your reply to Chris’s post above goes way out on a limb and compares growing food to having so much $$$ you need to get armed to defend your wealth. Seriously??? That was rather insulting in my opinion and I think that sort of response to a legitimate concern truly undermines your credibility. Thanks.

    1. Alan, well I am sorry you are offended, but yes, I strongly feel I am very wealthy. Not because I have money, but because every night I prepare dinner for my family and there are very few restaurants that offer anything as nutritious, beautiful, or healthy. And most of it came from my backyard.

      To me, clean healthy food is wealth!

      Here is a link to an article I wrote as to why I became so concerned about defense (its a true story, and I was shocked at how common this is)

  • Ronald says:

    If you can’t defend yourself–Nothing else matters!!!

  • KenTex says:

    1) Never ever enter a dark house. 2) Always know from your security system if anyone is in or has been in your house. Hi-Tech = lots of electronics and cameras, Lo-Tech = loud barking dogs. Everyone can afford one of these. My chi-waa-waa-z would have ripped the intruders legs off! ;=)

  • TwoCorOne8b11 says:

    I was thinking about the scenario that was given above, and the ‘what if?’ if it happened to me, but with my house’s layout. My first thought was ‘grab that huge 14″ carving knife’ followed by ‘or, I could sneak through the Jack-n-Jill bathroom to get to my gun’.

    Then I realized, (in the comfort of my office), the correct answer was: leave. The scenario has nothing between me, the door, and my car. Get out now, call the deputy, and let them solve it. Look around for a get-away car and take down a license number if convenient.

    The only things in my house that would be hard to replace have no appeal to a thief – photos. Sure he/she/It might steal that most sought-after, rare and difficult to find & replace item – my .22 ammo – but I could get by if they didn’t catch him. 😉

    Home invasion, well, is a whole different animal, and the more good training, the better.

    1. TwoCorOne

      Really good point – get the heck out. Why even get into it and put yourself in danger?

  • Alan Bowen says:

    I do not go for all that guy’s self defense expensive offers.
    I like the West Texas approach.
    My dog is the first line.
    His only job is to wake me up and I will come out loaded.
    It is 12 gauge magnums 000 buck, slug, 000 buck,,,,,
    I would love to find one of those 12 gauge street sweepers.
    But if they kill my dog I will consider my life threatened and react.
    If they don’t kill my dog he will greatly discourage them.

    1. Hi Alan, I like your synopsis. Simple.

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