Scenario: Child Snatcher

This is a discussion on Scenario: Child Snatcher within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This evening, my family and I (wife, 4yr old son & 5mo old daughter - in a stroller the entire time) decided to stop by ...

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Thread: Scenario: Child Snatcher

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    Member Array OperatorJ's Avatar
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    Scenario: Child Snatcher

    This evening, my family and I (wife, 4yr old son & 5mo old daughter - in a stroller the entire time) decided to stop by a local walmart this evening on our way home. My son was rambunctious all day and was playfully jogging up & down the aisles - but always in sight. Down one aisle, he came to the end just as an early-mid 30s guy turned the corner towards. Logan (my son) ran into him, but not hard. The guy grabbed Logan to absorb the impact, but held onto him & picked him up. I immediately went orange, but then caught myself... Could I draw if he decided to take off with my son? He didn't, thankfully., and just put him back down one he realized the childs father was right there. But I found myself in a situation I hadn't mentally prepared myself for as of yet. The guy presented no lethal force (as of yet), but would it be lawful to use my firearm to deter this man from running off with my son? Would it be lawful to release a round (or two) in defense of my son even though he hadn't presented a weapon of his own? If he did decide to attempt a kidnapping right then, I would have no idea what he would intend to do with my son, but I'd be 99.99% sure it wouldn't be good.

    Since I've had a few hours to contemplate the scenario, I think I would draw as a deterrence if it ever happened again. Firing towards my son is not something I'm prepared to do (lightly), but neither is just standing there and watching sone stranger run off with him to do only God knows what with. If I had a good shot & his intentions were clear, I think I'd take it. I think it'd be better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. And I dont know of many juries that are sympathetic to kidnappers / child molesters.

    So what are your thoughts? What would you have done? In the end, the only thing I did was very sternly call out my son's name both to scold him and to let the man know that the child's father was right there. I locked eyes for a second with the guy to let him know I saw the whole thing & that I see him - meaning I could give a description if needed. Anything I could have done better or differently?

    J

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    Of course it's legal to use lethal force to prevent a kidnapping. Kidnapping is a violent felony. (And in this case, you have all the facts. It's your kid, and you'd know if it's a possible "custody battle" domestic situation as opposed to a complete stranger abduction).

    The question is, are you good enough? Mentally, physically, and with your marksmanship to effectively thwart the attempt by unleashing gunfire?
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    VIP Member Array Gene83's Avatar
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    I would have prevented the entire scenario by keeping my son with me instead of letting him playfully jog up and down the aisles. If the person rounding the corner had been elderly and had fallen and broken a hip after colliding with your son, what would your reaction have been then?
    "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come." ~ Confucius

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    Distinguished Member Array Hoganbeg's Avatar
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    Both the points above are very good. How good is good enough? We'll only know in retrospect. It's a good argument for regular training.
    You might also consider that you can probably run faster without your child than he can with your child. Then it could become a physical altercation if you are up for that. That takes the gun out of the equation. All said and done, it turned out well. The verbal approach you took sounds pretty good.
    Be Strong.

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    Senior Member Array Rotorblade's Avatar
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    My first reaction would have been to ask the adult if he was ok while closing the gap to my son. The odds of someone snatching your son in the middle of a Walmart with a male parent in the same aisle and then running through the store and the parking lot seems remote unless you're a high profile Guy like a movie star or you live in Mexico city.

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    Member Array OperatorJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene83 View Post
    I would have prevented the entire scenario by keeping my son with me instead of letting him playfully jog up and down the aisles. If the person rounding the corner had been elderly and had fallen and broken a hip after colliding with your son, what would your reaction have been then?
    A good point. Part of the equation in this is the speed with which the guy came around the corner. I believe a walker would have burned up in the atmosphere had it been moving at that speed... Lol. I joke, but the guy seemed like he was in a hurry and that was definitely a factor. I did ask if he was alright after I had secured my son. And I was walking toward them both when I firmly called out my sons name. Being in a situation I hadn't prepared for mentally prior to occurrance caught me off-guard... Made me hesitate. I try my hardest not to hesitate, we all know what that can do in a life & death situation. Which is why I train monthly, both for marksmanship and for speed / accurracy, double-taps (competitions are great for this). Thanks for the input guys. Like I said last night, I've come to the conclusion that had he started to move with my son in tow and after I had made him aware of my presence, my M&P would have become part of the equation. In retrospect, I'm glad it didn't come to that. We all carry because we want to be prepared - always, in all places. I'm more prepared now than I was yesterday. It's a good day. Thanks gents.

    J

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    VIP Member Array Gene83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OperatorJ View Post
    A good point. Part of the equation in this is the speed with which the guy came around the corner. I believe a walker would have burned up in the atmosphere had it been moving at that speed... Lol. I joke, but the guy seemed like he was in a hurry and that was definitely a factor. I did ask if he was alright after I had secured my son. And I was walking toward them both when I firmly called out my sons name. Being in a situation I hadn't prepared for mentally prior to occurrance caught me off-guard... Made me hesitate. I try my hardest not to hesitate, we all know what that can do in a life & death situation. Which is why I train monthly, both for marksmanship and for speed / accurracy, double-taps (competitions are great for this). Thanks for the input guys. Like I said last night, I've come to the conclusion that had he started to move with my son in tow and after I had made him aware of my presence, my M&P would have become part of the equation. In retrospect, I'm glad it didn't come to that. We all carry because we want to be prepared - always, in all places. I'm more prepared now than I was yesterday. It's a good day. Thanks gents.

    J
    And I understand that children will be children. On another note, you might be surprised at the reaction that yelling "STOP THAT MAN!!! HE JUST GRABBED MY CHILD!!! would get. Plain clothes store security does more than just nab shoplifters and one of them might be right there in the aisle adjacent to you and ordinary shoppers don't always just stand by and let things happen.
    "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come." ~ Confucius

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    VIP Member Array HKinNY's Avatar
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    Walmart, Sears, Target all have a Code ADAM plan. Unlikely that somebody would try a grab and dash with a kid. Inside the store it is fair contained situtation. Store security will step especally you yelling. "Stop that man" or "help somebody grabbed my kid" If the guy happened to make it to the door he is catching rounds in the back. Will take my chances with the 12.

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    I have a 2 1/2 y/o who knows no strangers. We are actively trying to teach him to stay next to mommy and daddy when in stores but it's a little like trying to heard cats at this point. He doesn't just accidentally run into strangers he walks up to them and taps them on the leg or just runs into them on purpose, etc. I scold him. I apologize to whomever. I have had people take him by the hand and look around and then let him go once they see me approaching.

    I have also taken hold of children while looking around to confirm a parents presence because I would want a kindly person to do that for me if my child wandered off.

    Maybe everyone else is a perfect parent or has perfect kids but I have a little Tasmanian Devil and keeping a perfect eye on him is... challenging. I do not fault parents who turn around to get something off the shelf and turn back to find their child half-way across the universe.

    That being said, in order to establish intent you MUST MUST MUST take a verbal approach first. You would never want to shoot or draw a gun on someone who was just try to help a lost child find his parent. Remember that until you identify yourself as the parent the stranger doesn't know you from Adam or that you even are the child's parent.

    I have even heard of some people refusing to give back a child until the child confirms the person asking for him/her is, indeed, Mommy or Daddy. As a parent, I greatly appreciate the people who stop and think and look out for the welfare of the child and confirm that the individual saying s/he is the parent really is. Remember, Jeffrey Dahmer once got one of his escaped victims back by claiming he was a run-away.

    That being said, if someone were to stop my running child in a store, pick him up and start walking away with him, I would run up to that person, identify myself as the parent and if he did not stop leaving with my child THEN we would have problems. It's one thing to stop and say, "Is this really your Mommy?" to the child and then give him back but if you have identified yourself as a parent and they are refusing to yield to that then there is a problem.

    As bark'n said, a kidnapping is a felony and in most cases (as long as you have the facts) you can use your firearm to stop it. But as it's been pointed out, bringing your firearm into a situation with your child in the midst MIGHT NOT be the best course of action.

    While at a recent training my husband was put to the test shooting at a hostage target while going through a shoot house. He managed to actually shoot the BG and miss the hostage but he was one of the few. MANY people who took the shot ended up hitting the hostage. Hostage shots are not as easy as the movies would make them look.

    All that being said... Yes! I would shoot someone fleeing with my child if I believed he would get away otherwise. I would rather risk injury to my child than possibly spend the rest of my life wondering what happened to him. BUT I would try EVERYTHING else first. Even if it was just jumping on his back, pepper spraying him, beating him with my cell phone or whatever. Bringing the firearm into the situation would come absolutely last and only after I was sure I was looking at losing my child vs a kindly citizen trying to help.

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    Member Array Justified's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene83 View Post
    And I understand that children will be children. On another note, you might be surprised at the reaction that yelling "STOP THAT MAN!!! HE JUST GRABBED MY CHILD!!! would get. Plain clothes store security does more than just nab shoplifters and one of them might be right there in the aisle adjacent to you and ordinary shoppers don't always just stand by and let things happen.
    Security is not allowed to actually do anything. I believe Wally World fired a security guard for stopping an armed BG.
    We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us.
    - George Orwell Military

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    Great points. This is a scenerio that I have not thought of. Limatunes has said what I was thinking a whole lot better than I could say it.

    If the situation developed to the point of using force, I'm not sure if I would just give chase or shoot. I think I would give chase believing I can run faster than him with anger in my system. I dont think I would shoot unless that is all that was left and I knew I wouldnt hit my kid. I would be yelling out though. I know if I heard someone yell that, I would try to help. This is a tough one. Thanks for bringing it up.

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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    I'm glad everything worked out, and it turned out not to be a big deal.
    ----------------------------
    Once the threat is identified, yell, scream, and give chase. If you don't believe that you can stop the BG without using your gun, take a 'low risk' shot at the leg or hip if you think you can. You can't run with a .45 slug in your hip. Or having had your knee blown off. But, shooting center mass while the BG is carrying your child might not be such a good idea. Over penetration would be more of a concern in that scenario than in most others.
    "Rock and load, lock and roll... what's it matter? FIRE!!"

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    Senior Member Array adric22's Avatar
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    This is a situation I contemplate every single time I go out somewhere with my 8-year-old daughter. When we are in a store, I am either holding her hand or often I will allow her to ride on the basket.. What I mean by that is she likes to get in between me and the basket I'm pushing and stand on the bottom rack. I realize the baskets have signs showing 40 million incorrect ways to allow your child to ride and I think that is one of them. But she's way to big to sit in the basket and with me being in between her and the basket the whole time I figure very little could go wrong.

    However, should something happen I look at it this way. I'm a very fast runner. I was the fastest one all the way through my school years and I'm still pretty darned fast today. As somebody else pointed out, how fast can a guy run while carrying a heavy child? I should easily be able to outrun him and tackle him. If he presents a weapon, I'll draw mine and possibly shoot at which ever part of him is furthest from my child. For example, if her feet are on the ground, I'll be aiming for his head. If he's holding her up high, I'll be aiming for his feet and lower legs.

    And even if he doesn't have a weapon, this is one of those situations where I'd be very tempted to find some reason for shooting him dead. Reason being there is probably only one reason that a guy would kidnap an 8 year old girl. And by me taking him out I'd probably be saving some other little girl's life in the future. That is because otherwise when he gets out of jail he'll just try again with somebody else's daughter and may succeed.
    "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." -Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by adric22 View Post
    ...
    And even if he doesn't have a weapon, this is one of those situations where I'd be very tempted to find some reason for shooting him dead. Reason being there is probably only one reason that a guy would kidnap an 8 year old girl. And by me taking him out I'd probably be saving some other little girl's life in the future. That is because otherwise when he gets out of jail he'll just try again with somebody else's daughter and may succeed.
    I rarely agree with you adric22, but I think you have a good heart, and I respect that. It's one thing to think something, and another to say it. I'd be careful what you put out in a public forum, as it could come back to bite you, should you be involved in a defensive shooting.
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    VIP Member Array Gene83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justified View Post
    Security is not allowed to actually do anything. I believe Wally World fired a security guard for stopping an armed BG.
    Dang I just accidentally impeded your progress with a shopping cart what with all the yelling and confusion going on. I'm sorry. I hope you're OK. Wait a minute and I'll see if I can locate a manager for you. Is the little boy OK? Maybe we should call 9/11 just to be safe.
    Justified and thephanatik like this.
    "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come." ~ Confucius

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