1. Never point a gun at someone—unless you need to kill them. This rule stops your child from shooting anyone who doesn’t need shooting. Which is just as well, given how litigious American society is these days. As for that sneaky little caveat—“unless you need to kill them”—it’s a good idea to keep firearms away from psychopathic progeny (mutilated family pets are a sure warning sign). Instruct your relatively well-adjusted and teenage off-spring that they can’t use deadly force against their playmates unless they (your child) are in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm. REALLY SERIOUS bodily harm (noogies don’t count). Actually, forget it. Just tell them never to point a gun at anyone unless that someone is trying to kill them.
2. If someone points a gun at you, do whatever it takes to get out of the way. Deer aren’t the only animals that freeze when they’re confronted with a big ass stimuli. Kids need to know that guns aren’t all-powerful: the business end of a firearm is the only bit that’s important. They won’t get shot if it’s not pointing at them. Show them that it doesn’t take an adult-strength push to move a muzzle into a non-lethal position. By the same token, they must know to push, run, shout, scream, curse, punch, kick, do anything and everything to make sure they get out of the way of that muzzle. FAST. This rule helps prevent your child from getting shot by a friend OR an attacker.
3. Getting shot is not the worst thing that can happen to you—you can be raped, tortured and murdered. Needless to say, this isn’t a lesson your child’s likely to learn from The Imagination Movers, and you can count on no hands the number of children’s books making this point. Even so, your child needs to undertand that they MUST fight against a stranger with a gun. Passive obedience is not an option. If they believe that it’s better to be shot than get into a car with a stranger, A) they’re right and B) they’re right. Gun or no gun, teach your children to fight for their life as early and as vigorously as possible. No matter what.