We sometimes imagine that family and self-defense are a matter of purchasing the right gun, holster or other defensive gear, installing motion sensors for the house, regularly visiting the range or attending a defensive shoot-and-move class. Many men and women daydream occasionally about heroics — saving themselves and others from bad guys. But those dreams and purchases, while a positive and necessary defensive mindset, are only part of the protection equation.
We Are Not Alone
The best home and family protection scenario involves everyone in the family. Of course, since the idea of family has evolved in the last century, involving everyone will be different for each household. If you are single, effective self-defense ought to involve an intimate group of Second Amendment believers.
There is so much discussion about ballistics and holster styles and tactics that we sometimes overlook the most valuable element of self-defense: the fact that we are not alone. Family members, despite the occasional squabble, are part of a natural team. While it is the adult’s role to provide leadership and direction, a team approach strengthens the effectiveness of any purchase or training. Being part of a family means there are people who have your back.
Your No. 1 partner is, of course, your spouse. He or she will provide backup and watch for essentials that you miss. A partner doubles your options before and during a problematic situation. There is hardly a punk in the world who can overcome the effort of two people who understand their roles and, standing side-by-side, work together.
With your partner, you must plan for (or, at a minimum, discuss) emergency situations. This might include how to react to an active shooter at your children’s school or your workplace. It could be how to respond together to breaking glass and the dog’s late-night barking (the dog being part of the team as well). Think about what needs to go in the car if your home is threatened by a mob or a hurricane. How do you communicate if cellular communications are disrupted?
The Children Too
No, you don’t want a 9-year-old carrying a 9mm to school or church. You do, however, want him or her to understand the responsible use and care of firearms at a young age. You want to start his or her shooting life with a pellet gun and then a .22. Children are clever and quick learners. In an emergency, they may surprise you with a quick grasp of the situation. And there are many cases of young people saving their families with quick thinking.
Your children — especially the surly teens — need to know how to react when you are shouting and seem frantic or frightened. Perhaps they need you to help them learn how to stay calm and function in their own best interest. What do they do if you are separated? Where do they go? Have you initiated discussions with them about survival skills? At a minimum, have you taught them how and when to dial 911 on the smartphone and what to say to the operator?
Young people are natural problem-solvers. Bring them into the defense discussion and you will be rewarded with more than their share of good ideas and attention to the details of staying safe, well and productive in an increasingly violent era.
About Rick Sapp
After his stint in the U.S. Army, including time as an infantry platoon leader and working with West German KRIPO during the 1968 Soviet invasion, Rick Sapp returned home to earn a Ph.D. in social anthropology. Following his education from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Catholic University of America and the University of Florida, he moved to France for a year. Rick worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before turning to journalism and freelance writing, authoring more than 50 books for a variety of publishers.