What comes to mind when I say “The Concealed Carry Parent”? Well, if there was ever a topic that would be hard to fit into a single article, this is it. There are several subjects encompassed under this heading. Literally everything we usually discuss and then some falls under the concealed carry parent. There is one concept in particular that hasn’t been discussed very much if at all. Typically writers concentrate on the individual and the tactics around that. Things change when we’re talking about crowded places and being responsible for our families, not just ourselves. These are situations that are usually reserved for law enforcement, bodyguard, or high threat security training. Well the fact of the matter is, all three of those have a lot in common with the concealed carry parent.
Now I’m not saying that we should all go through bodyguard certification just to be ready to protect our families. As stated before most training sources only take into account the individual taking the course. What to do when we are responsible for others is left out. There is, however, ways to overcome that in our personal training.
Situational training becomes very important. There’s no way we can train for every situation. Keeping an open mind is though. Ask your self a few important questions. Where do you usually take your family, what type of places do you vacation at, and what would you do if something happened while there? These questions seem simple but some of the hardest questions to answer are deceptively simple on the outside. I’m always told, by those that don’t understand this, that I can’t always play “the what if game”. My answer is always that we should do just that.
As an example, a shooting happened here locally a few years ago. At the Trolley Square shopping center, back in February of 2007 a disturbed kid decided to do one of the worst things an individual can choose to do. It started in the parking lot. A father and his son getting out of their car were the first victims. From there this individual went inside. Chaos ensued. This disturbed kid was stopped by an off duty police officer that was having an early Valentines Day dinner with his bride. He was the only one known to be carrying in the whole shopping center. Now, put yourself into that situation. I know I have because my wife and I go there a couple times a year. If the same thing were to happen what would I do to protect my wife. Now, are we merely individuals, or does the concept of a concealed carry parent encompass both the ideas of individual training and those of high threat protection? Train with both in mind.
Situational Awareness is paramount. If the first victims of the Trolley Square incident would have been more aware of their surroundings would they still be alive? No one can answer that. We simply don’t have enough information about the situation. Would the incident have been much less deadly if someone had realized they just heard shotgun blasts in the parking lot and done something to insure themselves and others were aware and protected. I can firmly say yes.
Part of situational awareness and avoidance is paying attention to individuals around us. Our society has gone away from being personal with people. We don’t look anyone in the eye anymore. Instead we let perfect strangers walk right by us without acknowledging they are even there. However, as the saying goes, “the eyes are the gateway to the soul” and it is absolutely true. Never be afraid to look someone in the eye. As a concealed carry parent we can’t afford to be passive. This concept leads into another form of avoidance. It’s something I call having a defensive posture. What I mean by this is the way we carry ourselves in public. Most walk around hunch backed, eyes on the floor, and head slightly bowed. This is the posture of a victim. Evil see a posture like that as a good target. To avoid this you have to be the opposite. Stand tall, head held high, eyes not afraid to look anyone in the eye. Basically, take the stance of an “alpha”. An alpha is someone that can’t be dominated because they are already the dominate person.
Looking a person in the eye gives us another defense mechanism. No one snaps without giving warning signs. Now I know we aren’t looking for the same madmen as a security contractor in the Middle East. We aren’t worried about the same type of threats but many of the signs are similar. No one snaps in the middle of a shopping mall without seeming a little off. Something in the mannerisms and posture that would worry the sane among us. A contractor friend of mine gave me the best advise on this that anyone could hope for. We have to “…have the courage to listen to our gut”. If something just doesn’t seem right about someone or something trust your gut and get out of there. Don’t wait around to see if something starts. Don’t doubt yourselves until it’s too late and we are in the middle of a bad situation. Avoid the situation entirely.
Okay, we trusted our gut. The first thing to do is to try to get away from what’s going on. If you’re in a store, leave. Notice every person on the way out, clothing, mannerisms, the look in their eye, and anything said as you walk by. Why, so you can be a good witness if something does happen. If nothing ends up happening don’t loose heart. Use it as a means to sharpen those senses.
Ok, you were right but didn’t have time to get out, where do you go? This let’s us talk about the concept of the “hard room”. It’s something to keep in mind. Should something horrible happen where do you take your family to avoid chaos? The hard room is somewhere that will hopefully keep you out of sight, out of mind until the police arrive. Perhaps a room that can lock behind you or barricade. Also, if everything else fails, a room you are able to protect. Something like a back room or office. Notice the complete lack of a reference to anything resembling a Hollywood fight scene. We all know that belongs only in Hollywood. This is no time for an ego. It is time to get your family away from potential danger and keep them safe until the Calvary arrives.
All of this comes together with the “what if game” and being aware. Yes, we need to be concerned about our defensive pistol tactics. There’s always the chance that we didn’t catch the signs or our “hard room” is breached and our training has to save our families lives. Being aware will help us to avoid having to use those skills with our families there to be traumatized or injured.
We can’t go around hovering like bodyguards all day. That doesn’t make sense. So how do we find a happy medium? We need to ask ourselves where we are in the “color code” of awareness. The code helps us put a label on our state of mind. Being able to separate these mental conditions helps us keep a handle on what state of mind we should be in at different times. Black and white should be avoided completely. Yellow, depending on where we are, is probably where we should live while being ready to move to upper colors.
Here is the meaning of the color code:
White: Without a care in the world, no situational awareness.
Yellow: Paying attention, aware, but relaxed about it. Mentally prepared to go orange if needed.
Orange: Heightened awareness. Senses tuned and checking out things are you go and ready to go red if
Red: In the fight.
Black: Total panic
All of these things fall into the mindset of the concealed carry parent. Part individual training part family bodyguard can be accomplished without a black suit and sunglasses. In fact, realizing that there is more involved in your concealed carry duty is a big jump towards this goal. While it is impossible to go over every aspect of being a concealed carry parent in one article, I at least have you thinking about it. So learn all you can. Ask your self what you would do in whatever place you may be, have and exit plan, and be safe.