KR Training 2017-02-04 – Lone Star Medics Dynamic First Aid Quick hits

Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics returned to KR Training on February 4, 2017 to put on his Dynamic First Aid course. I like to describe Dynamic First Aid as “First Aid 102”. That is, First Aid 101 is things like dealing with cuts and Band-Aids and such first-aid fundamentals. Dynamic First Aid continues from there talking about dealing with severe bleeding (tourniquets, pressure dressings), shock, burns, splinting, scene safety, and the like. It’s a great course and I think one everyone should take.

Yes, everyone.

In one of my first interactions with Caleb years ago he made a great point. He asked the class how many people had seen a gunshot in the past year? No hands go up. Then he asked ho many people had seen a car wreck in the past year? Hands go up. Don’t you think that’s a situation that may warrant first aid skills?

And think about simple things like cuts, or nosebleeds – solving those are first aid skills! The preservation of life isn’t just about “self-defense”; first aid is very much a part of that, and essential skills for all people to possess. Because we ALL encounter such issues at some point in our lives.

Something else to think about? There are people that believe when things go pear-shaped they will rise to the occasion. That may happen, but in a first aid situation? Explain to me how you will rise up and suddenly have the knowledge of how to stop severe bleeding? or administer CPR? You won’t. These skills and knowledge will not just come to you: you must have taking the time to acquire them beforehand.

I made it one of my 2017 training priorities to get more non-gun skills, like medical training. But this class became a little different for me: I wanted my family to take it. And yes, Wife, Oldest, Daughter, and Youngest all attended and participated in the class. Yes, Dynamic First Aid is suitable for children, but within reason. For example, part of first aid has realities of body parts; so if there are issues with words like “penis” and “vagina”, they may not be ready for the class. That’s something I admire and respect about Caleb: he called me before class and wanted to check on all of this. His sensitivity towards his students is part of what makes him a great teacher.

Class

Class ran well. A good and motivated group of students. Caleb balances the class well. There’s a time for lecture, a time for demonstration, and then a time to have everyone practice and try it for themselves.

What’s especially good? The class culminates in some scenario training. This is invaluable training, because it not only forces you to put your knowledge to work, but it adds some pressure and realism to make you have to think.

I also find scenario work to be a good source of inoculation, so when problems happen you don’t freak out but instead can handle the situation with some degree of aplomb. For example, in one scenario Wife was a resucer and Youngest was a victim. When Wife saw Youngest, she was truly shocked and broken up at the sight, but went to work because that’s what Momma has to do. Afterwards, Wife told me how it was hard for her to see it, but I told her it was good because now if something does happen to Youngest, instead of emotions taking control of her, she can know that she’s seen it before, that she’s got the skills to address the problem, and she can get to work.

That’s why such training is so important, and I’m so thankful that Caleb puts a high value on scenario training in his classes.

Get out and do it

Get the knowledge, get the skills. You don’t know when you may need first aid, but I feel safe in saying that you will at some point in your life – you just don’t get to choose when, so it’s important to have that knowledge beforehand.

My family is one of the most precious things to me. I’m willing to put their well-being in Caleb’s knowledgable and proficient hands. If you get a chance to train with him, you should.

Thank you for teaching me and my family, Caleb. Drink water.

This is how you keep kids safe around guns

The man said his family was eating at the Mexicasa Restaurant & Grill in Harrisburg Saturday night when the [5-year-old] girl went into the restroom. She came back out and told her mom that there was a gun in the restroom stall.

[…]

“I just knew by the panic in her voice, something was wrong,” Jennifer Sarris said.

The mother told WBTV her family openly talks with their three children about gun safety.

“We make them understand, bad things can happen when you play with it like a toy, because it’s not a toy,” Jennifer Sarris said.

Full story. (h/t Kathy Jackson)

This is fundamental gun safety for children.

You talk with your children about the realities. You don’t leave it up to movies, or political agendas, or people who think they know but truly have no clue (see: political agendas). You talk with your children.

It’s like anything in life: education is key; ignorance is what leads to problems.

This little girl did the right thing:

  1. Stop
  2. Don’t touch
  3. Leave the area
  4. Tell an adult

That’s the mantra of the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program. I don’t know if this family used that program, but in the end the child had the proper education. It’s a shame tho that people refuse to teach that simple mantra to children – perhaps because the program comes from the NRA, and some just think everything the NRA does is evil. It’s a pity their biases keep them – and their children – ignorant.

You are welcome to hate guns all you want. But the simple reality is they exist. Until you’ve succeeded in truly wiping them off the planet, there’s a chance your child could encounter one. Keeping your child ignorant will not keep them safe. Teaching your child a simple 4-step process will.

Lessons in Perseverance and Patience

Youngest and I went deer hunting again.

When we tried about 2 weeks ago, the hunt was not successful. However, a lot of good things came from it. Best of all, it just meant we had to go out to the field again, spend more time with each other again bonding and building memories. Gee, horrible thing. 😉

And so, we set out again.

We started pretty much the same way: waking up at a very early hour, rolling to the property, setting up and sitting down. We set up in the same place as before, because I know deer show up in that area.

Well, they’re supposed to.

The Morning

We spent 4 hours in the stand… with nothing. I mean, it was deader than last time. The most exciting thing was a bird landed on a bush in front of the stand, and we saw it poop. Yeah… that was the highlight of the morning.

After our patience and bladders reached their breaking point, we got out of the stand, headed up to the house, and relaxed a bit. Had made prior arrangements to have lunch with a friend (Deputy Rudolph), so let him know that we were ready to go. Well, since he was on duty and working, I expected a little wait in case he was dealing with something. Sure enough he was. So we waited a bit, then headed up to Elm Creek Cafe, only to find out it was closed on Mondays. Rearranged plans, went into the town of Giddings. Alas, Deputy Rudolph hadn’t even started the work detail he was on, so there was more waiting. Eventually he finished and was on his way, but then got stuck at a railroad crossing. It took him a while before he showed up. Meantime, we sat in the truck, in the parking lot of the restaurant, and watched many people arrive, enter, eat, then leave… while we continued to sit. I’m not mad at things, not his fault for the timing of it all. But… it was just another case of waiting, and waiting. Still, lunch was really good and it was great to see him. We had a long lunch, talking about all manner of things, including Youngest getting to learn a little about the realities of police work.

The Return

After lunch, we headed back to the ranch. Karl had suggested we could pass some time by taking one of his .22’s and going squirrel hunting. I’ve never done that, and Youngest was hip to the idea. But it was pretty clear he was hip to it because 1. we had seen lots of squirrels, 2. it seemed to him like his best chance to get SOMETHING.

But it wasn’t to be.

As soon as we pulled into the ranch, a very nice doe ran literally right in front of my truck in the big pasture. ARGH! I didn’t bring my rifle because I have this thing about leaving valuables in the car, and I didn’t even just leave it in the house… no… I had locked it up in the safe. I ran into the house, opened the safe, grabbed the rifle, then ran back out to the pasture. I figured the doe might slow down once she hit the treeline.

We hoofed it through the double-gates into the pasture. As I reached the end of the first fenceline I looked north to scan down by the fence and treeline there towards the stock tank. Sure enough, I saw her right there at the fence about 200 yards away. I rested the rifle on the big corner fence post and as I was finding her in the scope a huge RUMBLE scared her off. Seems the fence repairs guys were out at the far south end of the property, probably what flushed her out in the first place, and as he started up his truck engine it scared her off. Damnit. We hoofed it through the pasture down to the gate, to circle around the stock tank – maybe she was just inside the woods, maybe at the water. Alas, nothing. We headed back to the house to properly prep. I decided to go ahead and just sit in the stand because hey… deer are there, and we certainly have no chance at one if we’re not in the stand.

The Afternoon

Yes, we got into the stand early, probably earlier than truly needed. But you just can’t know when the deer will be out, and if we’re going to sit around and wait, might as well wait in the stand.

And… the boredom sunk in again. Making it worse, a good lunch digesting, unseasonable warmth (it got into the low 70’s), and facing west with the afternoon sun coming into the blind onto our dark-colored clothing… and yeah, we were both nodding off.

But here’s one change we made.

While sitting in the morning, I kept looking at the lay of the land. We weren’t in the best spot. Yes, it was a good spot from a “being camouflaged and blending in” perspective, but we couldn’t see all that we needed to see.

Here’s a map:

This morning (and all hunts prior), we set up around the the green dot. This was at a high point, altitude-wise, and gave very good sight north and south, which game cameras and observation of deer movement told us this strip was very productive. This was also a nice spot because it was up in a clump of bushes and trees so you blended in pretty well. But notice, all you can really see is north and south.

On prior hunts I had scanned the area looking for other positions, but nothing really gave us as good a vantage point. Sure better camouflage, but worse sight lines. I always looked at it tho from a perspective of “remaining hidden”.

This afternoon tho, I said screw it. Well, I actually said that after we finished up in the morning and before we went to lunch I moved the blind a bit north. The blind was totally out in the open, but we had a MUCH better vantage point on all fronts. To the south, it wasn’t as good as we had before, but it was quite adequate because if a deer was blocked by that tree/bush clump, it would just be a matter of time before they moved out. To the north, we were slightly higher and saw northward much better. But the most significant was to the west, as you can see by the red arrow.

I started to have a feeling that the deer were moving but NOT along the normal trail. Too open? Smelled us? the winds were coming from the south, so any deer to our north (normal movement pattern was starting north and moving south) obviously would smell us. Who knows why, but I just got a feeling that given all things I had observed and considered, they were moving, just behind the trees.

My hunch paid off.

My Mistakes

Around 5 PM I see a doe poke her head out from behind the trees, basically where the red arrow ends. She starts walking right towards us.

Of course, I get all excited! Youngest knew to be still, move slow. He watched over my shoulder (he was sitting behind me in the blind; got to know the back of my head really well). But me? My heart was racing, my breathing was deep, and I was just all worked up. Not even so much because it was a deer and finally our opportunity, but because man… I really wanted this for Youngest.

There is nothing wrong with making a kid learn to wait. But there’s a balance to be had, because if all they ever get is waiting then they may well lose interest and all is lost. I really wanted Youngest to finally have his chance to see how everything goes down. I was really worked up and I guess nervous and stressed that this is it… but we might lose this chance…

And so, I rushed it.

The shot was NOT steady. I knew it wasn’t. But I was too afraid to miss the chance.

Well, I missed the deer.

From how she ran off, the lack of any subsequent noise, I knew I had flat out missed.

And I was angry with myself. Angry because I rushed it. Angry because I risked taking an unethical shot. Angry because I may have lost our sole opportunity. Angry for so many reasons. And I made sure to vocalize it to Youngest, not that it was his fault or anything, but I’ve never been anything but honest with my kids and even them seeing that “even Dad” can screw up, I think is important. That we’re human too, and here’s how to deal with it, y’know?

Still, I told him that we wait, because if she’s dead she’s dead, and if not well… sometimes they come back.

Sure enough, she did. About 5-10 minutes later she poked her head out of the same spot. I got her in my sights, perfect broadside shot. But this time I told myself to take another deep breath and steady myself. As I did that, her head shot up, major alert position, and she bolted. I swear I never have seen a deer turn tail and just sprint away so quickly.

Damnit #2.

It was interesting to show to Youngest how sometimes you have to wait, but if you wait too long, the opportunity could be lost. It’s truly a strange game and balancing act.

I slumped back in my chair.

Then… we heard snorting.

There was another deer stamping feet and snorting hard at us. If you look at the map, there’s a clump of trees/bushes between the red and yellow lines, close to the red dot. The deer was just behind that clump. No ability to get a shot, but you could see the deer easily being mad, snorting, fading back a bit, but not heading off. I figured to bring the rifle up and be ready because if she was there, likely she was going to emerge somewhere. I had Youngest watch her movements to see if he could pick up on direction — he was doing really well tracking her movements through the scrub, so I told him to let me know if she was going north or south.

North.

And then, she stuck her head out from behind the trees, about at the end of the yellow arrow. She was quartering towards me and just standing there. I was steady, slow smooth press, and that was that. Youngest watched the whole thing, saw her jump, reported that her front leg “swung around like Jell-O”, and that was pretty clear that between what I saw in the scope and what he saw, that she was taken cleanly. She ran about 50 yards to the yellow dot, and we found her under a tree.

Biology Lesson

Now began the next phase: cleaning and processing. 🙂

Of course, I did most of the work here, but Youngest helped. He helped me put her on the back of the truck, helped by holding her when it was needed to keep her steady. He’d keep the truck bed lights running and other things I needed.

And he got quite a lesson in how the body works, seeing it all up close. He didn’t want to touch any internals, but he did of course hold the body, feel the warmth, and well… it gains you a big respect for life.

He got to see how the organs are hooked up and how things work. He did also see how the organs can easily be stopped. He saw the entry would, the exit wound, and what a bullet can do. I could tell it was a sobering moment for him, which is good. Respect for such things is important, and Hollywood will never teach you that respect – only direct experience can.

We processed a fair amount of meat. As you can see from the picture, she was a nice-sized Central Texas whitetail doe. I was surprised at the meat I was able to trim off her, because yeah… we waste nothing. All the edible meat I could trim I kept. Everything else was left to feed the coyotes and the vultures, because they need to eat too. The ground was nourished by nutrient-rich blood. Really, it’s how nature works, that whole “circle of life” thing.

Youngest learned a lot.

Lessons Learned

One thing Youngest struggles with is being patient, so I think this whole thing was a big lesson to him about being patient. And how patience will pay off.

It also teaches about perseverance, because we had to keep trying. When he wanted to zone out and stop scanning for deer, I’d tell him to keep working because you never know. One moment you see nothing, then it’s like the deer appears out of nowhere. Sure enough he saw that.

He wanted to rush out and find the deer after my first shot, but I told him not to because they’ll often come back. Sure enough they did, you just had to wait.

Oh, there were so many things learned. Little things, big things. From what might have been an insignificant moment, to the overarching issues of “waiting”. There’s just so much to gain here, I can’t detail it all.

Often times the bigger things you get out of life come from the work, not the end achieved. I will be curious to see how 5-10-20 years from now he will look back on this time and how it perhaps affected him. I hope it will be great things.

For me? I’m still not fully sure all that I was to take from this experience, but I can tell you one thing.

After I missed the shot, then missed the opportunity, I was so down on myself. But then after we took the deer, just before we left the stand Youngest stood up and put his arm around me and said, “See Dad? Don’t be mad at yourself. It all works out.” Yeah… I choked up a bit. That was money, right there. 🙂

We had a great adventure. Oldest and Daughter always have pretty straightforward hunting experiences. This time with Youngest was unique, and even his siblings recognize how cool it was. Even tho he didn’t take the deer, it was still his first time for the experience. I think he’s hooked. I don’t consider this “my deer”, I consider it “our deer”, because I know I couldn’t have done it without him. Thanx, son.

Life’s better, when you focus on the good things

Yesterday I went deer hunting with Youngest. He got to learn why it’s “hunting” not “bagging” because we came home with nothing.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. We came home with a bunch of great experiences and memories.

It wasn’t until maybe a year ago that Youngest expressed any interest in hunting. But since he did, I’ve been trying to make it happen. Finally, thanks to the generosity of a friend, I had an opportunity to take him out. Now, I’m doing the actual hunting and work here as Youngest doesn’t feel ready to do anything other than observe. But he wants to see what it’s all about.

We set off at an early hour. I swear I’ve never seen this kid so happy to wake up, not to mention wake up at 3:30 am! Obviously excited, and we set off. Over the hour drive there was much talking, asking and answering of questions, and getting ready for things. We get there, we set up the blind, and then we sit and wait.

I made it clear that there are no guarantees. That we could sit and wait and be bored out of our skulls, and have nothing to bring home. So he was prepared for that. Still, I really wanted to be able to bag a doe, as it was his first time out; it’d just help him see a lot of it all.

Alas, we saw almost nothing. We saw 3 does when we parked the truck, and we saw a very immature buck. That’s all we saw in our hours sitting out there. We even got tired of sitting and went on a stalk hunt for a while. Alas, nothing. It was very quiet.

But in that is where we were able to experience some neat things.

I told him that it is a little boring, but that’s ok. Take in what’s around you. There will be sounds, there will be things to see. Watching the sun come up itself is really cool. You never know what you might experience.

We saw movement behind some trees and thought “maybe a deer?” No… it wound up being a feral (house)cat. It was rather cute, and actually spotted us and stalked us for a while. 🙂

We got to see a hawk. Numerous other birds. This one squirrel had no idea about us and was hopping straight at us — that was mighty cute.

But the coolest thing?

We heard a woodpecker. We found him atop a telephone/power pole that was maybe 50-60 yards from us. We thought he was rather large, but didn’t think much of it. We watch him for a long time.

Then he took flight.

GEEZ! He was huge! I mean, for a woodpecker. Imagine a really large crow. He was a big dude! We kept watching him when he landed on another tree, then eventually lost track of him. But it was quite cool. We didn’t realize how cool until we got home.

We determined it was a Pileated Woodpecker.

Here’s a video of one, which is a pretty good shot of what they look AND sound like:

What made this extraordinary is they are an East Texas bird. To find them where we were is a rare occurrence!

Frankly, that made our day! 🙂  We’ve spent more time talking and learning about the woodpecker than anything else.

And you see, that’s really what it was all about.

It’s about having time together, building memories, and doing fun things. Heck, the fact we didn’t take a deer? Just means we have to go out again — gee, darn the luck! Which means another opportunity have time together, build more memories, and do more fun things.

So you see, we could focus on what we don’t have – a deer in the freezer. But life is so much better because we focus on what we do have. 🙂

 

Gone Huntin’

hunting-pp

Sign picture found via Google Image Search, from Jackie’s Crafts.

 

Gone hunting with Oldest.

Thanx, Karl.

Facepalm

One of the men lifted his shirt to display a handgun tucked into the waist of his pants, [Lt. James] Espinoza said. Moments later, five or six other men began beating up the 37-year-old coach. One of the men used a set of brass knuckles, Espinoza said.

(full story)

What would a reasonable person conclude?

A group of 6 or so men come up to you, with obvious ill intent (I’m sure they didn’t have smiles and rainbows on their faces, given the backstory). One flashes a gun at you. Then they start beating on you.

I would think any reasonable person would conclude the coach was in grave danger, that his life was at stake. If you wouldn’t reach this same conclusion, please tell me why.

Seeing the attack, the coach’s wife pulled out a gun and fired a warning shot into the air, Burris said.

The coach broke free of his attackers and went to his car for a second gun, which he pointed at various people in the crowd, Espinoza said.

I believe the wife’s response to be reasonable. I don’t think it was tactically sound nor safe (insert discussion of why it’s bad to shoot into the air, why warning shots are a bad idea, why it’s good to receive education in not just marksmanship but also threat management and legal implications of use of force, etc.), but generally speaking her response was reasonable. As well, I believe the coach’s response was reasonable as well. Again, I don’t think it was tactically sound (insert discussion of why it’s important to have gun on person and not stored far away, although in his case he may have had to do it for “youth coaching” reasons). Nevertheless, in the eyes of the law, the response by the man and woman are considered reasonable.

The coach who was involved in the clash and pulled out a gun after being attacked has been relieved of his coaching duties, [Jeremy Burris, director of the Tigers football program] said. His wife was also dismissed from involvement with the team.

“He’s been a great role model” for kids, Burris said of the coach, who has been with the Tigers for a few years and worked in the league for at least 15 years. “He’s really helped.”

Despite that background, Burris said, “you can’t take weapons out around children.”

Facepalm. Major facepalm.

Why can’t you take weapons out around children? Please, Mr. Burris, explain your statement.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in this organization,” said Burris, who said he has been affiliated with the Tigers for 20 years. “We pride ourselves on zero tolerance for anything that goes on.”

Ah, the beloved – and brain-dead – “zero tolerance” policy.

Was either the coach or his wife pointing their guns at the children? Were they threatening the children? Were they endangering the children?

Or have you considered that the coach was getting the living tar beat out of him? Have you considered what would have happened to this man if he and his wife did not take out a weapon around children? Maybe that “great role model” would be in the hospital, or dead. What good would that have done the world, to lose someone that’s contributed to the betterment of our youth for 15 years? Please explain how such a good man becoming crippled or dead would be a better thing.

Have you considered the message your action sends to those very youth?

That defending yourself is a good way to lose your job. Your choice is to lose your job or lose your life.

That hiding behind blind policy is an unthinking and cowardly thing to do. There is no consideration of the man’s years of service and demonstrated commitment. No, because this man was committed to continue living so he could continue to serve your community’s youth for another 15 years, that commitment deserves punishment.

If he’s “really helped”, why don’t you try to help him as a small return for all his years of service.

Is this what our society is coming to?

KR Training 2014-08-30 – DLG-E Quick Hits

This past Saturday was an especially good one for me. KR Training was holding two classes: Defensive Long Gun Essentials and Skill Builder. But it was a slightly different day for me.

I was Dad, in addition to assisting.

Oldest was a student in the DLG-E class. You see, all this summer, Oldest has been “chore boy” at the KR Training ranch, mostly doing a lot of the lawn mowing (it’s a lot of acreage to mow). Karl gave him a slot in the DLG-E class as a bonus for all his hard work this summer (thanx, Karl!). Oldest is just starting down the road of formal firearms education. Sure I’ve showed him things and we go shooting when we can, but I firmly believe in the benefits of formal education and schooling. Plus, sometimes kids listen to others better, or at least differently, than their parents.

How’d he do? Fine. There’s certainly things for him to work on, but it seems he did well in the class. He certainly had a lot of fun and got to experience new things. One of which was going through the shoot house.

I did run the shoot house, and we did something different: we had verbal interactions. Instead of just using visual cues for target discernment, students were encouraged to interact with the photorealistic targets: “Stop!” “Show me your hands!” or whatever command they wanted to try. Then I would react in whatever way was appropriate, to help the student learn about the importance of making decisions.

What came out of this? While “bang bang” is fun, it’s just one — and arguable a minor — skill to master compared to others, such as threat management, or as SouthNarc calls it “Managing Unknown Contacts”.

As coincidence has it, Claude Werner was just on Ballistic Radio talking about this very thing. As I write this, I haven’t listened to that episode yet, but given the write-up, it seems quite relevant.

The other thing I recommend folks look at is anything from Craig “SouthNarc” Douglas regarding the topic of “Managing Unknown Contacts” (MUC). If you don’t get a chance to study with Craig, see if you can find a copy of his “Practical Unarmed Combat” DVD as it covers some basics of MUC. And yes, SouthNarc is coming to KR Training in March 2015 for his ECQC course.

Side note: one student in class (my friend Rog) was running a pump shotgun. He was shooting some Winchester PDX, both their buck and slugs. He had an extremely difficult failure to extract with a slug (probably a combination of a hot slug and dirty chamber — I put the muscles to good use and was able to eventually clear the chamber). The buck claims to have tighter patterns, and it is tighter than cheap buckshot, but it just cannot compete with Federal Premium FLITECONTROL buckshot. I wish Federal was paying me (or giving me free ammo) for all the promotion of their product, but alas they are not — we just have witnessed the performance and nothing can come close. Said it before, say it again: Federal Premium 12 gauge FLITECONTROL 00 buckshot, low recoil (1145 fps, vs 1325 fps)  if you can find it, and 8 (vs. 9) pellet if you can find it.

The weather was great! Things are getting unstable here in Texas, with some rain finally coming down, but the predictions for more changing every hour. The morning looked like it might come down, but it just got better as the day wore on. Couldn’t have asked for a finer day, weather wise.

Plus I got to spend more quality time with my son. He’s not just Oldest, but certainly getting older. Time is precious.

Alas, I didn’t get to stay for the Skill Builder class as Oldest had somewhere to be. But hey… I couldn’t ask for a better day. 🙂

Teach your children these four vital things

Our society puts high value on three things:

  1. Our children
  2. Their education
  3. Their safety

We value our children because we love them, because they are our future (and our legacy), and because they are vulnerable and prone to make mistakes (such is childhood). That’s why we put such high value in their education: they need to not just survive but thrive in their adult life, and education is key towards ensuring a bright future. But since “stuff happens” and “kids can be kids” we value the safety of our children, because want to see grandchildren, because we don’t want to bury our children, because we know that mistakes can be costly, so we’d rather see them be a source for education and growth.

Our children,

Their education.

Their safety.

We value these things so highly.

Because of that, I am dumbfounded when I see people going out of their way to keep their children ignorant. I do not understand why someone would do such a thing. Yes, we homeschool our children, but we refuse to shelter them or only expose them to a single mode of thought. How will that serve our children as they enter the adult world? How will that enable them to seek knowledge and truth? How will that keep them safe?

I keep thinking back to a time when I was putting on the Eddie Eagle GunSafe program. I saw numerous parents make an overt effort to keep their children away and not attend the program.

OK, I do understand why. It’s because it involves “guns” and “the NRA” and is probably just some covert indoctrination into that world of gun-toting, Bible-thumping, Tea Party rednecks, right? People just see trigger-words like “gun” and “NRA” and immediately clam up, putting their fingers in their ears, closing their eyes and refusing to hear what has to be said. OK, I can understand why, but I think it’s doing a grave disservice to your children.

You can hate guns all you want. You can be on the crusade to ban guns and wipe guns and gun-loving-people off the planet. That’s totally fine. But in the meantime, guns are still around, and your children could encounter them.

In July 2008 an Austin Police K-9 unit was at a park. Apparently the dog jumped on his handler, knocking the officer’s gun out of its holster. The gun was found by a mother and her child.

“I know that having a 2-year-old, they’d pick that up without a problem,” Bendt [a frequent park visitor, with her 3 children] said.

In January 2013, a school security guard in Michigan left his handgun in a school bathroom.

Chatfield parent Tris Fritz told mlive.com that the incident was “a big mistake”: “I think that some kid might not think it’s a real gun. They might think it’s a toy. They’re going to be curious, that’s the nature of a child.”

Consider that many who despite and hate guns and want them banned do consider police acceptable people to have guns. But police, like you, are fallible; as you can see, so long as there are guns in this world, there is opportunity for your child to come in contact with one.

So while you crusade for a better tomorrow, you must accept the reality of today: guns exist, and you and/or your child may come in contact with one at some point in their life.

When this contact occurs, will your child know what to do to stay safe?

Are you willing to educate your child on how they can keep themselves and their friends safe?

Or would you rather you and your child remain ignorant, perhaps costing them their life?

It’s your call, but I would hope you’d be willing to swallow your pride and at least teach your child these 4 vital things to do if they ever come in contact with a gun:

  1. STOP!
  2. Don’t touch.
  3. Leave the area.
  4. Tell an adult.

I’m not saying this to shill for the NRA. I’m saying this because I don’t want to see your child become a statistic.

Improvised Weapons, and kids

Of all the presentations at the 2nd annual SDS Conference, the 3 kiddos were unanimous in what their favorite presentation was.

Leslie Buck‘s presentation on improvised weapons. (yeah, it should have been Dad’s presentation, but I’ll let them slide). 😉

Not only was it just a fun presentation, with lots of good video. It was something that was really valuable to the kids.

Because I got to thinking.

The purpose of the presentation was primarily for us adults that probably carry a gun normally, but for some reason cannot. So what else could we have at our disposal.

But think about kids.

Kids are vulnerable. They are generally physically smaller, weaker. When it comes to force disparity, usually kids are going to get the short end of the stick. Weapons are tools designed to help us overcome force disparity.

However, look at how our legal structure denies children the ability to use and possess these tools.

Look at how schools and other groups and places kids go will deny them.

If the mantras are “won’t someone think of the children” and “if it saves just one life, then it’s worth it”, then why are we doing things to make our children even more vulnerable?

And while it wasn’t necessarily a new topic to the kids (given their father), sometimes things make more impact when it comes from another teacher (especially one that isn’t Dad), or due to the presentation. From talking with kiddos afterwards, it sounds like Leslie’s presentation made a lot of positive impact on them and really opened up their minds to the possibilities. Even Wife took something from it.

So, when it comes to your kids, think about how they could use improvised weapons to help them defend themselves. Temper it of course (it’s not license to bash the bully upside the head with hammer), but help them realize there are things they can do when the situation arises and they may need it.

Children learn from our example

“The Angry Coach” at EliteFTS was writing A Sad Commentary on the State of Youth Sports. As I read it, it actually felt like a sad commentary on today’s youth and parenting in general.

He was observing a youth sports practice, and three things stuck out to him:

1. Practice started at 9 AM, but more than half the team showed up at 9 on the dot or later. This kills me. As a coach, 9 does not mean 9. Ideally, it means about 8:30. At a minimum, it means 8:45. When your kid has practice at 9, and you drop him/her off at exactly 9 (or worse, you’re later, which many parents were), what message are you sending? These are not going to be the “first in the weight room, last out” kids, because that concept will always be foreign to them. The good player, when he has practice at 9, shows up 20-30 minutes early, gets his equipment on, then goes out and warms up with his friends, throwing the ball around. He doesn’t show up when practice is supposed to start, stealing everyone’s time while he gets ready. That’s a shitty message to send your kid.

2. I saw multiple parents carrying their kids’ equipment bags across the street for them. I’ve never seen anything like this before, but I guess it’s because I don’t have kids of my own and because I’m not really involved with any youth leagues. For pretty much every other kid on this team, one parent would open the back of the mini-van, take out the kid’s gear bag, and carry it across the street while the kid walked over with his friends. I saw one kid (remember, they were 12, tops) on a cell phone while his mother was carrying his equipment. I don’t think I need to go into great detail on how this will hinder these kids as athletes. What was shocking about it was the number of parents doing it.

3. I saw multiple parents ignoring the one-way signs at the entrance to the parking lot so they could jockey for closer parking spaces. Again, another horrific message to send your kid (and likely one of the reasons why my car insurance payments are so f-ing high). This teaches the young athlete a number of things: 1) Narcissism, i.e., “I’m entitled to a better parking space than all my teammates.” 2) Taking the easy way out. 3) Flouting the rules because “we’re special and they don’t apply to us.” 4) “Nobody else matters but me, and I can do whatever I want no matter how much it inconveniences my team.”

Frankly, I see all three of these things as a more general problem today.

What happened to being early is being on time, and being on time is late? I deal with this every day, where meetings are set for a certain time, and people consider that time to start thinking about coming to the meeting. No, if the meeting starts at 10:00, you are seated and ready to go by 10:00, not that at 10:02 you leave your desk and saunter in delaying everyone until you grace us with your presence. Everyone seems to give service to the notion that time is precious and matters, but yet, actions don’t treat that time as precious.

What happened to kids being kids, and parents being parents, instead of parents being the servants of children? Parents should not be begging their children to undertake some action; the child should be told, the child should do, and if they don’t there are negative consequences. Granted, it’s not always so cut and dry, but the parent is supposed to be the one in charge. Should Mom be stuck unloading the groceries from the car while the kids run into the house and play? Hell no! They should be unloading, putting everything away, and doing their part to help out around the house. They should carry their own bags, their own stuff. Sure, small children are different, but as they get older, they need to start being given more treatment like adults, which includes carrying your own weight.

And #3. Oh, I deal with this one too often. I have nothing more to add above what The Angry Coach wrote.

Really, you want to know why kids are as they are today? Here’s a good starting list. And really, it just leads back to the parents… because they will learn from our example. And if this is the example set, what will their children learn from them?