It’s a nice day, and you decide to take your baby to the park. Since it’s not far, you walk over, even though you have to go through a non-residential area. With no one else around, a man approaches and asks to see your child. USCCA Training Operations Manager Steve Fischer goes over the options you have in this scary scenario.
Stranger: Hey, man. Can you tell me how to get to Main Street?
Parent: Yeah. It’s just two blocks south.
Stranger: Awesome. Awesome. Hey, that’s a really cute kid. I’m about to be a dad myself. Do you mind if I hold her?
Parent: No, we’re just trying to get to the park really quick.
Stranger: Oh, come on, man. I just want to hold her.
Nowhere to Run
So there’s no one around, no place to hide and no place to run. When someone starts approaching, your pre-threat indicators should start to kick in. Right away, you need to be aware of what you’re going to do if this person decides to act. Well, he DOES act. He starts to walk toward you, asking to look at your baby.
You don’t want some stranger to come over and pick up your baby. You’re not going to grab the baby and run. But you’ve got this situation where a stranger is coming at you. You’ve got a baby to protect. So what to do? Get between the threat and your child. Move in front of that stroller, put the baby behind you and issue commands:
“Stop. Please don’t come any closer. You know, you’re making me a little bit nervous. I don’t know you. It’s really nice that you have an interest in my baby, but you just go your way, I’ll go my way and everything’s going to be just fine.”
When to Use Force
If the person continues to come toward you, now you need to be thinking about the reasons to employ force. Are you worried about your life, your baby’s life or the threat of physical force? In this particular case, the guy’s pushing toward your child, so you’re probably getting close to that.
Can you go anywhere? No, you can’t outrun him. There’s no place to run and hide. Are you agitating him by calling him names and threatening him? Nope. So what level of force is then useful? If that person’s bigger than you, maybe it’s time to go to your gun. Do you know how to do that? How to put a hand up, keep that distance and access your firearm from the concealed position?
Should you reach for your firearm or your pepper spray? With pepper spray, if the wind is blowing a certain way, it might get on you and the baby. Is a knife the right option? Well, when people decide to attack, it takes a lot to stop. That’s why we go to the gun often, right? So if that’s the decision that you’ve made — to go to your firearm — make sure that you did everything you could to de-escalate the situation first.
Before you’ve entered this scenario, you should find a trainer who can teach you how to go to that gun safely and get it employed and on target without jeopardizing your life, the baby’s life or the life of anybody else who might end up on the scene.