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I read your article on training not to shoot. I understand where you are coming from on this one because the recent scenario seems like a no win scenario when you look at it in terms of firearms training. I don’t think this is a good solution to the problem however. If the Kobayashi Maru taught us anything it is that when a scenario looks to be no win you need to consider a reformulation of the problem. A solution in this sad scenario lies not with firearms training, but the distinction between “firearms training” and “self defense training.” What failed in this case was not the firearms training, but the lack of an overall self/family defense strategy the father should have instilled in himself and those he was responsible for . . .

For example, parents are responsible for training kids that “burglars get shot”. Since there are the likely possibilities of daughters sneaking boyfriends, kids sneaking in and out, kids playing “spy”, the parents are really responsible for training kids more generally that “people who look like burglars get shot.” Much in the same way parents train their kids not to play with toy guns around cops for the same reasons. I was drilled on these facts of life as a kid and I expect this is not unique.

I recommend what is likely an automatic instinct for most parents as a formal “step 0” for defense in the context of an adult responsible for a family.  If there is potential danger around your family, locate and secure your children first before doing anything else. Consider it a negative space variation on “know your target and what is beyond.” If you have secured your family then you know a potential target (and what is beyond) is at least not your family.

There are many lessons in self preservation and self defense which go outside of firearms training which need to be taught even more vigorously than shooting skills if we want to be at all serious about self defense or defending our families. As we all know when SHTF you sink to the level of your training, so it should be comprehensive and proportionally representative of the scenarios you are at all likely to be thrust into.

If you are a parent, locating your children when danger is afoot should be as instinctual as locating the trigger. The steps you go through for appraising a family threat scenario should be as thoughtfully considered, formulated, and practiced as the stages of your draw and presentation. It won’t make for a good Sunday afternoon activity at the range or a good timed sport or an adrenaline pumping course to take, but it will go a long way in keeping everyone you care about alive and you from wishing you weren’t.

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  1. “What failed in this case was not the firearms training, but the lack of an overall self/family defense strategy the father should have instilled in himself and those he was responsible for . . .”

    This unfortunate case is a wake-up call to many people to cover the family self-defense response plan. In any case, military and police plans have been known to change once executed. However, I think that it might be jumping to conclusions in judging what this particular step-father (and the teenager’s mother) did or did not do right or wrong unless other actual specific details are known. I’ve not read how long they lived together and how much influence the step-father had with the teen. I’ve also not yet heard any mention of the mother. Then again, I have simply read just two media stories.

    Assuming the teen knew his step-father owned a gun and would use it for home/family defense why was he such an idiot to keep moving towards the adult pretending to be a threat if that is actually what occurred? It is possible that this teen was simply excessively immature, lacked common sense, and liked to push people’s hot buttons.

  2. I think the answer to this is deeper and darker than simple plans and training. Given the brief history of the mother and her drug use and the resulting death of this boy’s sibling I can well picture behaviourel and mental issues with this boy that could have led him down all sorts of scary paths.

    Let this be a heads up to all that attempt to blend a family. Others, even the young need to be vetted for baggage.

  3. Great thought process. One of the few to get out of the “shoot, reload, shoot” solutions. I gave up watching the Outdoor Channel shootem up shows for just this reason. Every show is built around horror and disaster. Every show proposes a solution of kill as many bad guys as you can. Yeah I guess this brings in the 13 to 25 demo but otherwise it is a joke. Plane and simple it is idiotic. And tragically there are lots of gun owners getting their training by watching nothing other than these shows and videos. Remember that you fight as you train. If all you watch show shoot, reload, shoot as your solution then that is exactly what you will do.

    The fact that we are gun owners and believe in the 2A, doesn’t make up for lack of planning, less than moral behavior and creating hideous consequences. Without addressing this specific case, everyone should think about scenarios and NOT SHOOTING as RF has said prior. When required and all the arrows are pointing in the direction of life threat, then yes use force. But first, avoid, avoid, avoid. Call for backup. Consider escalation of force. The sound of breaking glass in the night, screams, and gunshots do NOT require that you jump out of bed, grab a gun and start killing people. You are not a Navy SEAL in the jungles of VietNam. You are not in Astan. You are a civilian living the rather boring life of a civilian. You’ve probably never had nor will have extensive firearms or legal training. So as Swamp Fox used to say, “run away to fight another day” is just fine advice for me.

  4. “Much in the same way parents train their kids not to play with toy guns around cops for the same reasons. I was drilled on these facts of life as a kid and I expect this is not unique.”

    You should also consider drilling your kids that they should STFU when cops are around.

  5. Lawyer For Man Who Killed Teen Son: It Was A “Justifiable Shooting”

    “Giuliano, a popular fifth grade teacher, had adopted Tyler in 2008, when the boy’s grandmother wasn’t able to care for him anymore. His biological mother, Tammy Binnette, spoke to the Post over the weekend and admitted her troubles with drug addiction. She called Giuliano “good people” but added, “Something has to be done about this… I know he loved my son, but he still killed him. He fired [multiple] shots. He didn’t give him a chance. He needs to go to jail.”

    — Friggin creepy story. All of it.

    • I do not know whether or not the step father gave the teen “enough” of a chance or if he should have done something different or could have believing he feared for his life. I do know that Tammy Binnette failed to give her own biological son the chance he needed from her. Perhaps she should be sent to prison.

    • Nice way for her to show gratitude for taking her son in when she failed as a parent. Which lawyer is she hiring to sue him so she can cash in on this situation?

      • Tell me about it. She failed in her responsibility as a parent and now she wants the foster-care or step-father held accountable. She has already judged and believes she knows that the foster-care father did not give the teen a chance. Who is she to unknowingly judge him and to demand that he be held accountable and responsible? I realize she too is probably stressed out, angry, and sad yet I have trouble feeling much pity for her.

        • wow so the biological mom sounds like total scum, her kid got himself killed and she is trying to cash in? smh.

  6. I’m going to save one sentence from your text above.
    “If the Kobayashi Maru taught us anything, it is that when a scenario looks to be no win, you need to consider a reformulation of the problem. ”

    A very succinct way of saying something that is very profound.

  7. So this guy was never married to this boys mother? And adopted him late? This story just gets more unfortunate all the time. I worked for a while for a company called Families First, which was a group home for troubled youth, and as much as it pains me to say this, for alot of these kids by the time they are 8 or 10 it’s already too late. Many of the kids I dealt with at that age already regarded any form of compassion as an exploitable weakness and were master manipulators. Once they realized that you would never raise your hand to them and that there were limits (laughably weak limits in their eyes) to the discipline you could impose it was all over. You just have no authority in their eyes because nothing you are willing to do is worse than they are already inured to. Truly a heart rending realiztion.

  8. If it were a more perfect world (not even a totally perfect world, just a more perfect world) then every DGU could be preceded by a head count of Team Good Guy, which would prevent this kind of thing from happening. If the young man who was shot was supposed to be in his room at the time, then discovering him missing from his room may have caused the shooter to consider the possibility that the person outside his sister’s home may have been his son, but what if the young man was supposed to be at a movie or football practice or somewhere else besides his room? Saying that the shooter failed because he didn’t do a headcount prior to going to investigate the prowler stinks of monday morning quarterbackism and post dated perfection. The bottom line is that it’s a tragedy that couldn’t have been avoided unless the young man had just stayed home or the shooter had gone against good sense and training and held his fire.

  9. It’s pretty simple; the young man would be alive today if he had not chosen to put on a ski mask, pick up a knife and then move towards a man carrying a gun; without identifying himself as this mans son.
    He should either get a Darwins award or he was stopped from committing some potentially violent crime up to and including murder.
    Either way, the onus is on him, not the father.

  10. Been in 3 DGU siuations – all of them happened in inner-Loop Houston in the late 80s, all happened late at night, all involved miscreants on cocaine (legalize weed, but stimulants are another story). In two cases, the sight of a handgun in trained hands stabalized the situation until the cops showed up; in one I had to fire a round into the shubbery next to the driveway (had already “coaxed” the burgalar outside) to prove I was serious. In every case, not going to a grand jury – or the karmic load of shooting someone – was a prime consideration. Having a gun and being willing to use it was all that was needed – caught massive grief from gun-nut friends over passing up a ‘good shooting’ and got kudos from the responding cops for doing so.

  11. So this teen dresses to hide his identity & when challenged pulls a knife.

    Gets himself shot dead by his foster parent in the process.

    Sometimes the genes are just bad to the bone & no amount of caring parenting will fix that problem.

    I guess it’s fortunate he wasn’t old enough to breed.

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