So Many Variables: Protecting Your [Innocent] Children From an Armed Carjacker

Dear Brendan,

I want to bring your attention to something your father is involved in.  I’m sure you are aware of the Pro Victoria letter your father writes and a series he did about the 5 P’s.  In case you are not familiar with this I have included the video link to "The Protector".  I’m also going to include my notes/thoughts that I wrote to your father after I watched the video about the role as the Protector.  I want to tie this into your training as we continue to add skills, knowledge and tradecraft to your toolbox. 

Here are some of my thoughts and takeaways from the "Protector".

I like that you used real world experiences that you have had.  First hand experiences are great examples to use and give more credibility than using hypothetical what if scenarios.  Again it's all theory unless you can apply it real world when the chips are down.   

Things to consider as the "Protector"

Know yourself, your capabilities, your operating environment/area you live in or travel, be aware of the human networks:  Friendly-Neutral-Threat (criminal, etc.), have a plan - COAs.  A failure to plan is a plan to fail.  There are many variables the "Protector" should consider.  Here are some examples:  Relationships, culture, local influencers, build trust through action, Info Ops/media/open source, gain an understanding of the local populace, know your family’s pattern of life and the patterns of those around you, identify threats in your area, share info with family, have physical security measures in place, pay attention to changes/shifts in the community and warning signs of instability in your area/environment, have supplies for your family in place, be positioned to take targeted/lethal action if needed to protect your family. Discuss what I like to call flexible response options for specific emergencies.  Be proactive!  

I liked your advice/approach to certain aggressive/violent encounters.  You discussed simply being a witness to a husband that was being verbally abusive to his wife and could turn to physical violence in a blink of an eye.  You mentioned a group of disrespectful teens in a fast food restaurant and keeping a watchful eye, calm demeanor and identifying the leader of the pack with eye contact.  You brought up the situation of an active shooter in a movie theater and a possible violent situation inside a gas station/minimart.  All good examples and hopefully men will pause and give some careful thought to all these and consider all the variables.  We as men/protectors need to fight smarter and not harder.  To remember that superior thinking will often times overwhelm and defeat superior force.  But realize that sometimes we as men/protectors will need to confront evil/violence with violence.  There will be consequences whether we act or do not act.  Sometimes failing to act is worse than not acting at all.  We must be not only physically prepared but equally as important is to be mentally and emotionally prepared.  Most of these decisions will need to be made in a short period of time.  It's easy to Monday morning quarterback and second-guess someone’s decisions/actions.  It's another thing entirely when you are on the ground and must make a command decision in a blink of an eye.  You cannot hesitate.  You must trust yourself.

I'll provide one other real world example for men/Protectors to consider.  I'm going to approach this as the dad I am with two daughters.  In this situation I'll discuss variables and courses of action (COA's) if you are ever in your vehicle with your children or other loved ones and someone decides to carjack you.  First there are no cookie cutter answers on what to do. There are numerous variables that will influence what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and how you do it.  

Situation:  You are in your car and your child/children are in the backseat.  Attempted carjacking by a man with a gun.

Variables:  Are you parked in a mall/grocery store parking lot?  Are you at a stop light in traffic?  Is the car running or is the car not running?  Is your car in park or in drive?  Do you have cars in front of you, behind you and or beside you? Do you have your seatbelt on or off?  Is your driver side window up or down?  Do you have a handgun on you?

The above are just some of the many variables you must take into consideration.  Many of these variables will help to dictate what actions you take or do not take.  

First let's be clear-- the carjacker with the gun is in control, so let's not kid ourselves on that first point.  Second I have car insurance so I'd let him have the car or truck.  I'd simply walk away if I feel that is viable and a safe course of action.  A key variable here is that I have my daughters in the car.  I cannot and will not allow him to drive off with my daughters.  Third I recommend you keep your hands down and out of sight.  As the ol' saying goes, know where the hands are because the hands will kill you.  Plus you will need your hands low to do a few things right away.  One - I would take off my seat belt.  Two - I may remove the keys from the ignition and put them on the floor and preferably on the passenger side floorboard.   This way he has to reach inside on the far side to get the keys before he can start the car and drive off.  This gives me time to get my daughters out of the backseat.  I would also unlock the door.  Hey let's be honest, if he wants the car he can have it and I'm going to have to get out of the vehicle.  So I need to remove my seatbelt and unlock the door.  I simply want to make sure he can't just jump in and take off right away with my daughters still in the backseat.  So when I do get out of the car, I'm going to shut the door immediately.  I'm going to verbally tell the gunman that he can have the car, just let me get my kids out of the back first.  I will be talking with my hands so they are up and in a position to act quickly if/when I decide I need to remove the threat of the gun to my daughters and me.  

To do this I would -

1.)  Redirect the gun with one hand  

2.)  Control the gun with the second hand  

3.)  Attack/disarm the carjacker (I know I need to do this in person, Brendan, or on a video… I will see if I can put one together for you).  If you decide this is the best course of action at that moment you must be mindful of where your children are in relation to the barrel of the gun.  As there is a likely hood that a round could go off.       

If the gunman approaches the driver side window from the front by the driver's side door mirror and has the gun pointed at you almost through the window frame you may feel that you must take action immediately based on the gunman's verbals, non verbals/body-language.  

In which case you would -

1.) Redirect the gun  

2.) Control the gun  

3.) Attack/disarm

Another possible COA depending on the situation and variables at the time is you may simply floor the accelerator and drive away quickly. However often times this simply is not a viable option for you to take.  

I hope you found my personal notes to your father to be value added.

Some where out there right now someone is preparing for the day you both shall meet. How prepared will you be?

Your Friend,

-Travis