I don’t leave my nine-year-old home alone, ever. Not even when I nip out for a gallon of milk or walk the dogs. Be that as it may, if I did leave my daughter in the house all by her lonesome I’d sure as hell make sure she had a realistic self-defense plan—rather than hope she’d find someplace to hide, call 911 and do whatever the emergency operator told her to do. “Can you get out of your house safely?” the op asks Paityn Mock. How the hell would Paityn Mock know that? Equally, silence is golden; crying to someone on the phone is not the best strategy for remaining undetected. This incident highlights a weakness in most Americans’ armed self-defense strategy: children . . .
We’ve already discussed some of the challenges presented by the presence of children. For example, the need to push children away during a gunfight; an armed citizen in the midst of a defensive gun use (DGU) is a bullet magnet. We’ve talked about devising a comprehensive home invasion defense plan. But we haven’t focused on three key child-related issues:
1. Kids are chaos
Training for armed self-defense training is about eliminating variables. You learn how to identify a lethal threat—no matter who’s coming at you, what they’re carrying (as a potential weapon) or where you are. You learn how to bring your gun to bear efficiently and effectively—no matter what you’re wearing or where you’re sitting/standing/or walking.
It’s all good. But add a kid into the melee and the best laid plans of armed mice and gat-carrying men can go seriously awry.
They may be your kids (or they may not), but you have little to no idea how the sprogs will behave when the S hits the F. They could run towards the bad guy. Or the other bad guy. Alternatively, they may freeze and stand between you and the target. Or they might hang all over you, preventing you from drawing your gun.
Oh, did I mention that each additional child represents an exponential increase in the degree of difficulty? Yes, there is that. How do you keep track of a lethal threat or threats and three children with bad shit going down—and worse (e.g., you’ve been stabbed or shot)?
Learn how to shoot one-handed as you move. Practice your command voice. But above all else HAVE A PLAN.
As Billy Wardlaw points out below, you need a coherent kid-aware strategy for armed self-defense. The TTAG commentator reckons an armed parent should decide whether to defend their genetic legacy (by shepherding them to safety) or attack the person putting your genes in danger. It’s something to think about.
And something you should have your children consider. After all . . .
2. Kids need training, too
My daughters live in a world where a kidnapping and rape and murder are a possibility. I can’t tell you exactly when I began making them aware of that fact, but I can say it was a gradual process.
“Never get in a car with someone you don’t know, even if they aim a gun at you or threaten you with a knife. Scream, kick, bite, anything. Just don’t go.” Not exactly “eat your vegetables” is it? (I’ve already told them I’ll pay for their psycho- or hypnotherapy later in life.)
From there, it’s “If I ever gets my gun out in public, move away as quickly as you can” and “If I say XXXX, we leave wherever we are as fast as possible, even if it means not paying our bill.” We’re now on to the difference between cover and concealment and what to do if I’m out-of-action or there’s an active shooter at school.
In terms of home defense, I recommend panic buttons. That way a child doesn’t have to call 911 to sound the alarm. Paityn Mock could’ve alerted the police to her perp problem with a press of a finger, set off an audible alarm (to scare the bad guys away) and kept her presence on the uber-DL.
A panic button also eliminates/augments the frozen, freaked-out baby sitter challenge. It may also be better than a 2am shout-out: “Daddy, someone’s downstairs!” Or it may not, if your child is prone to paranoid flights of imagination (hopefully not inspired by the parental advice described above).
Bottom line: it’s no good having self-defense systems to protect your family—especially a firearm—if you don’t tell your clan how you plan on using it/them. And what role the kids should play, if any, should push come to shove. And it is possible that they will have a major role to play if you . . .
3. Give your kid access to a gun
Is that the sound of Mayor Bloomberg having a coronary? (You might say “what a pity” but I couldn’t possibly comment.) Sorry Mikey, but here in the real world some people are ready to defend their lives with a firearm before they reach the age of majority. Have done. Will do.
Whether and when a given child is ready, willing and able to use a firearm for self-defense is a question only you and any other relevant parent or care-giver can answer. That decision may change over time, and access can be limited to certain times and situations (e.g., Dad’s on a business trip).
Obviously, ALL children should be taught the four rules of gun safety as soon as possible. Hands-on training is a must, as and when. Equally obviously, a loaded gun presents the risk of a child creating a potentially fatal negligent discharge. As it does for you. All I can say about that (and say it I must): void where prohibited by law.
Any parent who wants to protect their child or children should consider exercising their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. If they do, bear them they should. What if Mrs. Mock had walked in on two perps doing unspeakable things? Remember the Petit case?
As always, train as you mean to fight. And when you do, think of the children.