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Discussion Starter #1
This scenario is based upon a thread on another forum. Since I don't recall a similar situation being discussed here, I'm going to "steal" it.

Now, the original scenario was based on a news report, in which they did some "street theater" to see how people would react. If you read that thread, please refrain from comment, at least until others have had a chance to comment. That is, unless you can "see" it as a "real" situation, not street theater.

This one will not be a "set-up," no surprises, no info withheld only to be added at the last minute. Simply, what would you do, how far would you go, and of course, why?

You are walking down a sidewalk, in a mall or shopping center parking lot. Ahead of you is a little girl, about 10 years old. She seems to be waiting for something.

You observe a man approach her and grab her by the arm. Nothing in his physical appearance or mode of dress indicates there's anything out of the ordinary about him. Just the fact that he grabs her arm.

You hear him say rather harshly, "Come on, we're getting out of here." He starts to pull her in the direction of the parking lot.

She begins to shriek, "Let go of me! Your NOT my father!" She struggles against his grasp.

He seems oblivious to her yelling and her resistance, he just keeps hold of her arm and walks her towards a parked car. She appears terrified. They will reach the car in less than a minute.

And that's all you know about the situation. Remember, this is not a set-up done for the evening news, what is happening is real.

What do you do? What won't you do?

Why?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I forgot to add, I don't claim to have the answer to this one, just how I think I'd react.

I'll not attempt to pass out any "pass" or "fail" judgements, I'm certainly NOT qualified to do that.

I'm just interested in how others would see this situation.

mm
 

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I immediately intervene and attempt to stop the "abduction" as follows:

See if someone nearby can call 911 immediately. If not, do so myself while moving forward to man and girl. I would begin yelling "FIre" as I proceeded towards the man and girl to attract attention. First firmly but very politely "May I help you" "What's going on here?", and attempt to ascertain the facts - is she being illegally abducted. I note a license plate number, make model, year and color of car. I will physically place myself between the man and the car - in front of the door, in the open door - whatever is necessary. I'll probably have OC spray in hand, but shielded from view. I will firmly explain my concern and ask him to define the relationship with the girl. I will attempt separation of man and girl physically - ask him to let go. I would try every stalling technique I could muster - to slow down the event - attempt to take keys under control, keep them from getting in the car if no answers are satifactory.

I would not reveal my gun - would not pull it - he's not threatened my life or hers that I know of.

I would do the above because based on the facts - this is a possible kidnapping. It could be a step-father, mom's boyfriend, an uncle the girls PO'd at, however, and without the facts, I can't justify much more reaction. Based on the given facts, however, there appears to be enough "realness" to react, and react quickly" and intervene, and gather data as a witness if needed.
 

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Observe: Note the suspect's physical description & clothing, the child's physical description & clothing, the make, model, color and license number of the vehicle and the exact location of the incident, including any referencing landmarks, and the direction of travel if the suspect manages to get the child into the car and drives off.

Report: Call 911 on your cell phone which you should always have with you, and remain on the line until instructed otherwise.

Unless I (or the child) was directly threatened with a weapon, I would not draw down on the suspect. Instead, I would focus on being an observant witness.

I might consider getting the suspect's attention in some manner so that he knows his actions are being witnessed.
 

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Hmmm. Interesting situation.

Unless he displays a weapon, mine remains holstered. Probably keep a hand nearby, though.

Dial 911 on the cell phone. Ask for the world.

Approach the subject, ask if everything is OK. Observe his reaction.

If possible, I am going to prevent him leaving, without displaying a weapon. Rationale - if this is a stranger abduction, the chances of the little girl ever being seen alive again is he gets her in the car and drives off are pretty poor.

If he manages to get her in the car, relay plates, color, make, model, etc. to 911.

It is entirely possible that this is innocent - he's the step-father, etc and the child is acting out.

A lot will depend on what the girl does and says. If she makes statements like "I don't know this man, please help me", then the decision gets tougher.

As far as use of force or threat of force goes, kidnapping is a forcible felony in the state of Florida, and reasonable force (up to and including deadly force) may be used to prevent it.

For me, I guess, it depends on what the girl says and does when they are approached.

Matt
 

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That is a good one, my first thought is "stepfather" or possibly the Mothers live in "uncle".

One thing for sure, I'd want to be gathering information so I could be the best witness possible, just in case.
 

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I've heard kids (7-16) yell (scream) at their step dad "you're not my father" more that once, be beligerent kicking, screaming and not want to leave the mall. I would have to go with a combination of all the above, cell to 911, make notes, vehicle, licnese, color of, then get close enough to get their attention while keeping it under wraps but hand to ready JIC.
 

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I agree pretty much with what was said by everyone, I would really have to talk to the guy and see how he reacts. In Idaho kidnapping is a death penalty crime, I might have to find a way to detain the guy until police arrive and take over the situation and check the guy out, better safe than sorry.
 

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Well - already some good thoughts - and for sure I would not be thinking gun at all - other than being prepeared for any escalation aspect.

Main thing would be to call in as quick as possible as a precaution but yes - could be a family snatch - by estranged bio-parent, whatever. main consideration would seem to be lack of voluntary acceptance by child so - something ain't right.

Time is short but if already connected on phone, stay on - challenge the abductee and from that point all will be decided by responses from him - play by ear. Impossible to predict beyond the early phase IMO.
 

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Unless he is one cool customer, I think the moment he realizes someone has noted his actions and intends to report them he'll run like a scared dog. If, however, he acts like a frazzled parent instead, I'll likely limit my intervention. It's all going to be completely dependent on the body language of the people involved and the circumstances of that particular situation. If my gut is telling me this is a real abduction going down right in front of me, I'll do whatever I can to stop it, because as MattLarson said, if it's real and he gets her in the car, she's as good as dead. Calling a false alarm is better than hearing about a dead kid on the evening news and knowing you could have prevented it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Like I said, I don't have any fixed "right answer" in mind. But I'm personally glad that no one jumped straight to the gun as an answer, and that no one opted to do nothing more than observe.

Abductions happen all too frequently, and sad to say, they are often observed by people who fear "getting involved" for one reason or another. But the thing is, in a situation like the one I proposed, you have very little time to react. Once the girl is in the car, it may well be too late.

Yes, it is kind of risky, she could be "acting out" against a stepfather or someone who has a legitimate right to be doing this. But finding a way to delay her from being placed in the car so you can get a more accurate fix on just what is really happening certainly sounds like the way to go.

When out, I do have my cell phone ready to go, and could easily call 911 while walking, talking, and doing whatever. I'd be more comfortable knowing that an LEO was on the way while trying to get a better handle on things.

You can always explain why you place the call to the LEO, even if it turns out to be something other than an abduction. Likewise, you can offer an apology to the man if he turns out to be on the up & up, even though he may be quite resentful at first. I imagine the LEO would be more likely to understand your actions and be inclined to help explain it to a ticked-off step-dad.

Eventually, he would understand why you intervened, if he is the least bit reasonable. After all, you were looking out for his little girl.

Of course, that might take a while if you pepper-sprayed him in the process. . . :biggrin2:

I do understand that such an intervention would be a risk. But next time you exit a WalMart, take a look at all the missing child photos they have on the walls at the store exits.

It's a risk, alright, but an acceptable one to me, to keep one more picture from showing up on that wall.

mm
 

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Most abducted children are killed within 4 hours of the abduction.

If possible I would confront the pair, at a minimum I would get the license plate and make/model/ color of car and call 911. I would follow the car with my vehicle if I could until the police pulled him over.

Whether I would use force to detain the man depends on the vibe I got from him and the girl during the confrontation.

Before anyone mentions it, yes I know I'm not a cop. Performing a citizens arrest for a suspected felony does not open one up to the charge of false arrest/ imprisonment if it turns out you're wrong.

I couldn't live with myself if I found out later she was molested and murdered and I knew I hadn't done everything possible to save her. I'll risk the embarrasment if I have any doubts whatsoever.
 

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tanksoldier said:
Before anyone mentions it, yes I know I'm not a cop. Performing a citizens arrest for a suspected felony does not open one up to the charge of false arrest/ imprisonment if it turns out you're wrong.
A sworn officer may detain "pursuant to ongoing investigation" (as in he's "suspicious"). I haven't delved deeply into this, but what I remember, from CO and TX was that citizens' arrest was legal if the person was in commission of a felony. "Yes, you're right, but no, you're not"- the "reasonable man" test would, as everyone has said, look at the totality of events. If you couldn't directly, distinctly, cite a couple of things that seemed seriously out of place, (I believe) you're seriously pushing the envelope.

And, that is pretty much what I would go with. Assess the scene, respond according to triage. If you feel its hinky, start making your mental checlist for the officers, call, and engage the adult verbally.
 

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Exercise Care

Rock and Glock said:
It could be a step-father, mom's boyfriend, an uncle the girls PO'd at, however, and without the facts, I can't justify much more reaction. Based on the given facts, however, there appears to be enough "realness" to react, and react quickly" and intervene, and gather data as a witness if needed.
Exactly. I'm a step-dad. Although my daughter (I will always think of her as "mine" cause I met her when she was just five and she has nearly always called me "daddy") has never pulled that in public, she did it during a tantrum at home once. She was about six and I'd been married to her mom just about a year. Now, she's almost 25! Wow.

Anyway, I'd have to do the same: Try and ascertain HIS status. If he's the real McCoy he MIGHT be sympathetic to my concern and even grateful. OTOH, if he's well and truely PO'd, he may not be in any mood to listen to reason. The idea in my mind is to delay and get help via 911.
 

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So? How did the news report where the story comes from go?

Come on, man, tell us! :smile:
 

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I'm a step-father as well (1 mine, 2 hers, 1 ours). I claim them all, and consider them all my children. Even though I've been around since the middle two were 1 and 2 years old, I've still heard the 'You're not my father' line once or twice. Luckily, never in public.

If someone were to stop me while I was taking my child to the car, I would stop and explain the situation to the person, make sure he knew the facts, and thank him for looking out for the kids. I would not be upset... after all, if someone _were_ trying to kidnap my daughter, I'd darn sure want someone to stop him!

Knowing this, I'd likely ask the guy what was going on, and use his reaction to determine the rest of my response. At a minimum, I'm going to take down a license plate number. If something doen't feel right, I'm doing everything I can to ensure he doesn't get in the car with that child until the police arrive.
 

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Call the police with discription of vehicle, direction, going, and any other information. I would just stay out of it you never know. This could be the girls step father and she was having a behavior in the mall and he was coming to get her. Imagine pulling your pistol and the long list of mess you just got yourself into....call the cops because this one is too close to call. I also had that my piece is for my family and myself. I hate to be like that but unless I am also in danger no dice, I will call the cops for ya...
 

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Everyone has already layed it out, call 911 get all the info possible to be a good witness. But I would definitely have to get between him and the car and he is not leaving until either the police arrive or he can prove he is some sort of legal guardian of the child. Gun draw doesn't even come into play unless he has threatened my life or the kids life on the spot. After being a witness to this and knowing the chances of this kid living if it is a stranger abduction I just could not let him leave with her.
 
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