My main objective when developing the Civilian Operator Training curriculum was to give the average joe civilian a practical set of skills that he or she could use to both defend themselves and their loved ones at the same time. Most tactical training that is offered to civilians nowadays centers solely on the individual and does not take into account anybody else who may be with the CO at the time a violent incident occurs ( a wife, girlfriend, child, grandparent, etc.) For those CO’s out there with really young children, you know the reality of having to take your kids everywhere you go; whether that be the grocery store, doctor, bank, etc. Therefore the likelihood of a violent encounter happening while they are with you is that much more real. So looking at all the possible scenarios involving having a loved one with you when a violent attack goes down, undoubtedly the one that comes to mind the most is “What do you do when you are attacked while carrying a child?”
Before we get into the tactics, let’s look at a real world video of such an encounter that happened in Brazil.
Here a off-duty cop is holding his 3 month old daughter with his father-in-law and other daughter while standing outside their home in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The thug can be seen looking around behind him before he closes in for the hold up. According to police records, the robber was concealing a small sub-machine gun with a suppressor in the bag he was holding. When the thug gets within “bad breath distance” he sees the cop’s hand move toward his waistband; immediately the thug grabs the cop’s right hand and jams up his draw. Immediately the cop starts moving toward the street, seeing the thug’s gun is pointed toward his baby’s head, the cop drops the baby and at the same time uses his free hand to push the thug away, creating distance and allowing him to draw his gun and start firing. The thug was wounded in the exchange and was later taken into custody at a local hospital. All involved, including the three month old baby, walked away from this debacle unharmed.
Every time I see a video of raw street violence like this, I am reminded of the old adage “No plan survives CONTACT with the enemy..” or in other words, we can train all we want on “What to do If this happens” but most likely what will REALLY happen when the shit hits the fan is something totally different from what we train for. I mean what loving, caring parent out there would train to DROP their baby on the pavement during an altercation like this? Not many I can tell you, but the reality is, often in these types of fast, violent encounters, we will be faced with only options that SUCK; and to survive the day and at the same time keep our loved ones alive, we must choose the option that SUCKS THE LEAST! In this instance, the father had to choose, since the thug was so close and was pointing the gun directly at the child, to take the chance of the baby being shot or dropping the child on the pavement and then shooting that POS to the ground…as we can see, he chose right and the good guys won.
OK, we all know hindsight is always 20/20 in these cases, but in any event, here are some things to think about.
1. Keeping Distance and Using your Voice
If you are like me, I bet you were saying to yourself: “So what’s going on with the thug just walking right up on the guy?” Being that this dude is a cop, and he has his FAMILY with him, not to mention this is friggin BRAZIL, the virtual WILD WEST of South America, where cops have bounties on their heads, I found the cops lack of security protocol disconcerting to say the least!
Now I have always said that most training concerning keeping a “Reactionary Gap” is bullshit, because most people misconstrue what it means. It DOES NOT mean going around keeping a “mental ruler” on everybody that is around you; that is useless and impractical. It DOES MEAN challenging somebody that intently tries to walk up on you (within bad breath distance) and pose a threat. Southnarc in his “PUC” DVD said it best, “Use your first and primary weapon: YOUR VOICE! Challenge the person!! Let them know you mean business!” And if the situation calls for it, use language that the average “street”person would understand. I mean let’s be honest, would saying something like “Excuse me, Sir, would you mind backing up some, I am feeling a tad crowded here” really make an impact? No, of course not, the dude would probably laugh at you. But if you said something along the lines of “Hey!!! Do you mind!! There is plenty of sidewalk here!!” loudly, with authority and swagger, then they might take notice and think twice. It is all about PRESENCE and letting the other person know you are serious. Being LOUD also serves another purpose in public, in that it draws ATTENTION to the situation; most thugs will abandon their plans when more than one set of eyeballs are on them.
2. Keeping Gun hand Free and Not Telegraphing
Note the cop kept his “gun” hand (right) free while holding his kid. This is really a no-brainer, but always make it a point to NEVER tie up your gun hand when carrying anything, even your kids! Also, as soon as the thug closed distance, the cop started moving his hand toward his waistband..this gave the thug time to jam up his draw. the best rule of thumb is that if you decide to draw your gun, DRAW IT!! Never make movements toward your waistband/gun and not draw it. .
3. Protect and Draw
The mentality you have to take in a situation like this is the same as a PSD team member who is protecting a VIP: BETTER ME THAN THAN MY PRINCIPAL (CHILD) having said that, we have to always position our bodies so that they are between (in this case) the child and the bad guy. So, As soon as the thug breaks “zero barrier” or get’s close enough to go “hands-on”, we need to throw our right hip around so that our body is now between the thug and the child. This will also give you the opportunity to draw your weapon un-impeded, if the draw is done in the same motion as the turn. It is at this point you will have to make the decision to either engage right then or drop the child and engage. If we can all help it, we need to STAY OUT FRONT and keep our PRINCIPALS (Kids and Father-in-Law in this case) to our backs. Remember: BETTER YOU THAN THEM GET HIT!!
Again, one can never really prepare STEP-FOR-STEP for a situation like this, we can only train in generalities. One thing remains certain, as the world becomes more and more violent, we must prepare ourselves to not hesitate when the time comes to have to protect ourselves or our loved ones; we have to be ready to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to keep them safe. If that means dropping a child on the ground so they do not get shot, so be it. If it means biting the nose or an ear off an attacker, so be it. If it means taking a bullet or knife, so my loved ones live another day, so be it.
This is the World We Live In. This is the life we have chosen.
Stay Alert, Stay Real, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!