Home Defense If You’re Disabled or Have Limited Mobility

By on February 2, 2018

At the Monroeville Gun Show: 5 of the 9 people who bought my book, were 60-75 years of age; a few had mobility issues (2 were wheelchair bound, 1 walked with a cane (great defense tool, btw). Each well understood their vulnerabilities. And that day sought tools to meet their needs for home and self defense based on what they could physically do. That’s a very sound approach.

Not long after that show, I found myself temporarily disabled. My calamity: a backward fall over a cumbersome floor display in a crowded store. Both hands went back to break the fall. Wrists and thumbs were sprained, rotator cuffs were stressed. Compromised hands are great excuses to not clean a house, but before the dust bunnies gathered, I had to adjust my home defense plans.

Before I get there, let me briefly visit 3 basics that are extensively covered in At Home In the Real World.

Calamity May’s 3 Mantras of Home Security & Defense

Many thanks to this couple who purchased my book at the Monroeville Gun Show, Pittsburgh, PA

Whether disabled or able-bodied, when it comes to home defense, you want to have these 3 things in place:

  1. Know when a trespasser is on your property or outside your apartment door. Be alerted by outdoor motion-sensing systems. Put your response plan into place.  (Call your neighbor with whom you have a pre-arranged agreement. He or she may put on their outside lights, or put their dog outside, and/or call the police), while you move into a defensive position.
  2. Have your doors and windows well secured. When your mobility is limited, your exterior doors and windows need to be allies against crime. On all exterior doors, strengthen door hinges, install 1-inch long deadbolts and have ANSI Grade 1 key cylinders in place against lockpicks. It’s critical to keep bad guys out.
  3. If your home is intruded, your self-defense plans must be pre-determined, actionable, and immediate. If you’re in a wheelchair, and a bad guy breaks into your home, lethal self defense may be your only and best option.* If he’s scared off and heads for the door, leave him go. Don’t take your eyes off him until he’s out. Then call the cops. The idea of buying time by using pepper spray or a fire extinguisher (both with temporary effects) will not serve you if there’s not an immediate backup plan after that. [And what would that be if you can’t move well? A net that drops from the ceiling? A trap door in the floor that opens? Doubt it!]
Important Considerations
  • Know that police may not show up immediately after you call 9-1-1. You may wait 5, 15 or 30 minutes or more–it’s highly variable. Yet every second counts in home and self defense.
  • Know your state’s laws on using lethal force inside the home. 30 states have No Duty to Retreat. 13 states have Duty to Retreat before using deadly force. 4 states have Duty to Retreat before using any force. Get crystal clear on what your state allows you to do in a self-defense situation involving lethal force. Research from a disabled person’s perspective. Do the research yourself; or, call a criminal defense attorney who knows self-defense law in your state; or, join a group like U.S. Law Shield who provides insurance for citizens who choose to be armed for home and self defense. Talk to one of their staff attorneys. (Great group, btw).
  • If your defense plan is to use a firearm, (whether you’re disabled or not), practice at home with  a plastic SIRT pistol (identical to certain Glock and S&W M&P models). For those who find it difficult to get to a gun range, I’ll cover several ways to practice, SAFELY, at home in an upcoming blog.
Adjustments I made Recuperating on the Couch….
  1. I re-installed my Dakota Alert Wireless Floor Mat. I had put it away weeks earlier when cleaning off the front porch. This sensor is such a great tool, one of my faves. Read about it here.
  2. I swapped out my defensive tools, and kept one nearby that’s less jarring on the hands.
Be Responsible, Become Informed

*I encourage everyone to be a responsible, informed home defender. Learn about the considerations that go into home security first, defensive tools second, and firearms as a last resort. At Home In the Real World is a culmination of 4.5 years of research, learning, mentoring and practicing. The result: a can-do manual designed to help you make really good decisions.

Suzy Meyer, Author
Pittsburgh, PA

I'm a landscape architect, gardener, and of late, a certified NRA instructor. I enjoy practicing T’ai Chi, playing bocce, and walking through watersheds.. This blog is my journey full of learning curves to calm the chaos.


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