Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Security Part 3 of 3

- from Jeremy

One thing you must understand above all others is that safety is a goal. An ideal. A moving target of a state of being which can elude the most diligent archer. Keeping two Autistic children safe is akin to being hunted by a pack of velociraptors. It's been a long time since humans have been troubled by velociraptors (oh yes, I went there), so I'll refresh your memory. "You stare at him, and he just stares right back. And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side, from the other two 'raptors you didn't even know were there."*

That's how it is with our boys. When you're watching Jay-Jay to make sure he isn't going over the fence, that's when Jo is choking on the bottle cap. And when you're chasing Jo down the store aisle, that's when Jay-Jay is climbing out of the cart to head the other way. Being alone with them in public is tense. And the sure knowledge of what can happen if you let that tension lapse . . . well, it's terrifying. I may write some more about this vigilance in the future, but for now let's finish the security talk with two locks that keep the boys safe from the world and one lock which keeps them safe from me.

Yes, there is a Fort Knox feeling to it. You get accustomed.
The first mechanism I'll detail is one that you've undoubtedly seen before. The simple but effective door chain. In the movies these chains can keep a 200-lb intruder frustrated on the stoop. I don't know if they'd really hold up to that much abuse, but they can keep a wandering, no-talker from wandering to death. And the reason for that isn't necessarily that the chain is strong enough to keep the door from opening at all. It just needs to slow them down. The rattling boom that the doors make when you try to open them with the chain in place is a terrific alarm and a perfect speed bump. The only problem with the chains is that they are manually operated, and therefore subject to crippling by human error.

I'm sure you're wondering what my lawn secret is. Neglect.
Another of our security devices that has been defeated by human inattention (my own, if you must know) is the outside gate lock. Now you might think that securing a drive gate is easy, but you'd be wrong. The dainty little latch that comes standard wouldn't keep a blind cow corralled. That could be hyperbole - I'm not really up on cows. Nonetheless, our boys would lift that latch and be gone in two shakes. So we use the carabiner to make sure the latch can't move. Here comes the tricky part. Because both halves of the gate swing away from the middle, you could easily push the gates apart and open having never touched the latch or carabiner. Wait, you say, does not the rod the drops into the hole in the cement keep this from happening? Only if it's long enough, dear one. The original rod left a foot tall gap between itself and the latch causing a genuine vulnerability. So we got the fence guy to bring out a new rod that can't be extracted from the hole in the cement unless the latch is open. The black part that you see between where the gates meet is the fail-safe. It makes it so you cannot close the gate without locking it. It's obviously redundant and possible unnecessary, but this gate is the most dangerous thing around for our boys. They are constantly looking for ways out, and once they get out they be gone. So better safe and hassled than sorry.

We bought this cabinet pre-abused from Granddaddy's.
As I said, the last security measure that we shall discuss doesn't necessarily protect the boys from harm. It protects some of our more sensitive material possessions from the boys. It's the lock on the entertainment cabinet. Or as my wife calls it, the armwahr, the armwah, or the armoire. Something like that, one of those. Anyway, there's nothing extraordinary in this cabinet. A small television (26" 1080p 60Hz LCD for those who care), a cheap Blu-ray player, what I will refer to as "Jack's" Xbox 360, and a bunch of DVD's and such. It's mostly those DVD's and Blu-ray's that the lock protects. A copy of Beauty and the Beast on Diamond Edition Blu-ray will run you nearly thirty smackers. I didn't pay that much of course, but it's the principal of the thing. And Jo especially is torturous on silicon discs. He bends them and bites them, he throws them and smears things on them, and he sticks them places. He broke the middle out of Cinderella and gouged Lilo & Stitch past playability. On more than one occasion I've seen him using one as a sort of ski on the kitchen tile - silver side down. That just breaks my heart, people.

So there's security. Please let me know if you have any questions, and post any best practices and fresh ideas in the comments below. And if a kid runs past you in Walmart making a funny noise, cover the exit - I'll head him off at the candy aisle.

*The quote is from Jurassic Park, but you knew that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Just use your name, not your email address.