Prying Eyes, Prying Hands

I used to enjoy Kevin Spacey’s movie and television roles: LA Confidential, The Usual Suspects, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil … and so on. I understood that he was gay, but I really didn’t care; he was a fine actor. His sexuality was his business. I’m way fine if celebrities or neighbors or whomever keep their private lives to themselves.

Turns out, however, that Spacey has a darker side. A side that puts children in the crosshairs of his desire … or so it’s alleged. That’s illegal and it’s immoral. I can put up with a lot, but molesting or harming children in any way makes my skin crawl. So if his flirtation with underage boys is true and sends him away to obscurity, I don’t care. (The Hollywood press calls it a scandal, but it isn’t a scandal; it’s a crime.)

What lengths would you go to if it were necessary to protect your children? Almost any I suppose, which is the way I feel about my daughter.

I remember a man who shot his daughter’s rapist during the guy’s courtroom trial. Must have been ten, twenty years ago. Maybe the rapist died. I don’t recall. I hope he did, and in agony. And I don’t remember what happened to the father. I hope they gave him a medal, but I expect he went to prison.

The moral of the story is to teach your children now. Don’t wait for the predator. Don’t wait for your kids to ask you why you carry a gun. I think they ought to know why you carry … and if not how to take care of themselves, at least how to say, “No!”

Now, most children can’t defend themselves from an adult. Regardless of what judo and jujitsu and krav maga instructors say, the discrepancy in size between a child and an adult male — the element of surprise on the perp’s part and the element of disbelief (“This can’t be happening!”) on the young person’s part — means that our children aren’t going to win or even escape from most confrontations.

We don’t want to scare our kids. We want them to grow up “normally,” whatever that is today, but we have to go beyond the old — “Don’t get into the car with strangers!” — routine. How far should be a matter of parental or family choice, but our kids are growing up in a different world than our cozy suburban communities of the ‘50s and ‘60s, when the only violence they saw was on television and it wasn’t very realistic: “BAM! POW!” Batman.

I enrolled my daughter in a self-defense class taught by the sheriff’s department. She didn’t want to go. Threw a teenage fit. Too bad. She weighed maybe 100 pounds and I wasn’t under any illusion that she could physically defend herself against some adult male attacker, but the idea was that she would become aware (or I hoped that the sheriff could pierce the self-absorbed teenage bubble of texting and hair twirling).

Our kids will, at some point, ask about the handgun we carry and we’ll need to give them an explanation: The world is a dangerous place, we’ll say, and because we’ve protected them, given them a real childhood, they may not understand. Because they’ll still believe in rainbows and unicorns; the left, which preaches that the lion will lie down with the lamb if only … if only we do things their way, will attract them. That’s okay, as long as they accept our point of view as reasonable. Once they begin to be curious, it’ll be time to begin their training. First, what a gun is and how it works with a cartridge, what a bullet is. Then moving on to a small-caliber gun, maybe even a lightweight pellet gun before advancing to a .22 firearm.

I guess my point is that once our kids are in a place — some famous person’s hotel room, for example — the Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and maybe Kevin Spacey approach — it’s already too late. They’ll be too frightened to say, “No!” Too young to carry and perhaps too small to defend themselves. It’s our job to protect them for as long as we can … and then, at some point, it’ll become their responsibility. Between those ends of the spectrum, our job is to teach, to lead from the front, by example. Do that and the parasites of the world will not be able to gratify their appetites at our family table.

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