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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.

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  1. “This incident highlights a weakness in most Americans’ armed self-defense strategy: children”. .

    The gun-grabbers solution to the potential children problem is simple: don’t have kids. That way, you won’t have to risk the pain of losing a child to violence and you will help bring the planet’s population down to sustainability levels.

  2. !st, I would never leave a 10 yo home alone. I do grandpa duty with 5, soon to be 6, kids ranging in age from 6 yo down to 4mo and soon newborn. I recognise how difficult, maybe even impossible, it would be for any sort of drilled response from these youngsters in a shtf moment.

    Realistically that leaves me with 2 options. 1. Scoop up the kids and run like a striped assed ape. 2. Like the older gent in the cybercafe, go straight at the threat and get between it and my loved ones.

    As they get older I can school them better, but for now these look like my best real world options.

  3. I have three (boys age 9 and 8, girl age 6) and this kind of thing is not easy to think about, or talk with your spouse about. That said, my kids know that when Daddy uses his “I mean business” voice, it’s usually because he needs them to do what he said RFN. The 9-year-old also knows where to find the 10/22 and how to use it, and the younger two know what “cover your ears” means.

    • Amen!!! My fiancee’s daughter is 11 yrs old and has her own single shot .22LR. That being said she knows how to shoot and load both of my .22mag revolvers, my .25 auto and her moms .22 rifle and 9mm pistol.
      I hope and pray she never ever has to use them but she knows if me and mom are out of action where to hide and to protect herself however possible.
      That being said our neighbor knows that if they hear a lot of gunfire and we haven’t told them we would be out shooting to call the cops and check on the little one.

  4. My advice, should you find yourself in a DGU scenario w/kids – CHOOSE ONE!. That means ignore/forget the kids (I know that sounds horrible) OR engage the threat. Splitting your attention and seconds between the two makes you likely to fail at both.

  5. On another note entirely…Do 911 operators receive any kind of tactics training? I know they have to be trained to deal with distraught callers, but It seems I hear them give a lot of horrible advice in ongoing threat scenarios. Just wondering.

  6. “They could run towards the bad guy.”

    Yup. While hiking we encountered a family of bears. Five-year-old RUNS away from us as fast as he can (away from the bears at least). We taught him bears are not to be messed with, but not instructions on what to do if we saw ’em. We fixed that mighty quick.

  7. “you’re pushing a child (person) towards cover/concealment, while moving? Off-handed? In the dark? Upstairs? While the kid is screaming bloody murder and your significant other is asking you what to do and the telephone is ringing and the alarm is going off and the dogs are going nuts?” OMG this sounds like my house on a regular basis! Well sorta anyway..

    Teaching your kids to just hit the dirt, and stay there might be a simple task, easy to teach. Sure it isn’t run and hide, not detailed plan but if you want to make sure they are not in the way in a DGU that might be the simplest option.

    I have three full time and as many as six or more on weekends. The two oldest are learning firearms. I know I will get in trouble with the law if they ever have to use it, but better they be alive, than me dealing with a funeral.

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