Not to mix a metaphor, but drawing a gun against an attacker is a double-edged sword. On one hand, aiming a firearm at a bad guy (or guys) has been known to have a decidedly demoralizing effect (on the perp). Firing bullets into a person posing an imminent, credible and lethal threat increases that effect, dramatically. On the other hand, guns tend to piss off the bad guy. For some reason, they don’t want to get shot. So, like you, they focus their aggression on the guy with the gun. You. And guess what? First responders with a badge have a similar response. There’s no getting around it: armed civilians are bullet magnets. So the last thing you want . . .
is to be left holding the baby, while holding a gun, in a gunfight.
I know; you don’t know what you’re going to do in a gunfight. Unlike Mssrs. Nugent and Beck, I realize that all violent incidents have their own pace, nature, geography, dangers and opportunities. You can no more predict the exact progress of a violent attack than you can its eventual outcome.
If holding a baby while shooting at a bad guy—with either aimed or suppressive fire—is what needs doing, do it. Perhaps there’s no one else to schlep the sprog and a ballistic offense is the best maybe even only defense. Who knows?
When it comes to a defensive gun use (DGU), you and yours either live or die. Second guessing your gunfighting or GTFO strategy is a luxury best savored alive.
That said, there are certain battle-tested general rules which are worth programming into your subconscious mind. Aim for center mass. Move for cover and/or concealment. Keep fighting. And, most importantly, GTFO. And GTFA (Get the F Away) from your family if you draw your gun.
Mr. Volk’s poster makes at least one excellent point: “if you take a bullet for your children who would safeguard them from then on?” Only that’s an excellent reason NOT to draw your gun, NOT to engage the bad guy/active shooter and NOT to try to be a hero. Remember? Bullet magnet.
[I’m a little confused how an innocent victim of a spree killer is a martyr. Wikipedia tells is that a martyr is “somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.” In fact, you could say that someone who engages in an unnecessary gunfight—who dies as a result—is a martyr. Nothing wrong with that. Just sayin’ . . .]
But if you DO draw your gun it is imperative that you GTFA from your loved ones, lest they become collateral damage. And the best way to make sure that happens is to warn them about the possibility.
I’ve said it to my eight-year-old straight out: “If I ever draw my gun move away from me as fast as you can.” I’ve taught her to go for cover or concealment and the difference between the two. And even before that, she learned the rabbi’s first law of communal situational awareness: “If I say ‘leave now’ we leave now.”
Don’t be fooled by wishful thinking promoted by armchair warriors and pistol-packing pundits. The best you can do: train yourself with some general principles to deal with violent encounters and hope they kick in as and when. But the most important of these is clear: the further away your family gets away from a gunfight, the faster they do so, the better.