Counter Abduction Principles

You see it on the news…a botched child abduction in a Wal-Mart…your skin crawls and you think to yourself: “Would my kid(s) know what to do if somebody tried that?” The plain truth is that your kids will most likely NOT know what to do if you don’t talk to them about it and teach them frequently. You don’t have to make it scary or weird, just be matter of appreciate honesty and can sniff out BS quicker than you think..atleast mine can. To get a quick snapshot of the situation, in 2011, there were over 58,000 kids abducted by “non-family” members, of these 58,000 only 115 were what the FBI called “sterotypical” kidnappings and/or abductions. So in the big scheme of things, despite what the media scares people to think, abductions are a rare event, but as in all things, “We hope for the best but ALWAYS prepare for the WORST.”

Here is a quick outline you can use to cover the Basics:

  • Practice Avoidance and Deterrence

To put it simply, avoid bad places and bad people. Never leave your children alone in a public place, not even for 10 seconds. Never leave your child alone in a car while you run in to do an errand. Be smart. Think security before convenience. Predators look for people who are distracted with daily life for the advantage. Most non-family abductions occur in public places; there is a reason for this! The majority of abductions that occur in the home are family or acquaintance connected..the reason is simple: You are less distracted at home than in public. Your child must know the rules when out in public..when driving down the road, before you get to that store or the mall, go over the ground rules with your child, remind them and drill on these rules frequently.

The short list would include:

  • Know mommy and daddy’s names and contact info
  • Stay close all the time, do not wander
  • If we get seperated, have a clear plan of kids have cell phones and have the needed phone numbers plugged in, if your kids are too small, ensure they know to find a police officer and tell them they are lost.
  • The Yell, Run and Fight Plan outlined below.
  • Attract Attention (Yell)

Tell them to go nuts..scream “HELP!!!” at the top of their lungs, make them understand the attacker does not want attention brought to him, so that must be their goal. If in a store, tell them to knock items off the shelves by any means they can..make people turn their heads. Understand that this is what saved the little girl in the Georgia Wal-Mart: she made too much of a fuss and the pervert beat feet out of there!

  • Run

Escape..Run away!! Go where the attacker is not. Fortunately, since this is an inate reaction in most human beings when threatened this is not a hard skill to drill on with kids. One thing to teach them is if they are walking and say a car pulls up beside them and the stranger engages them in any way, simply turn around and go the opposite direction..this forces the attacker to turn around and it changes their game plan..this puts the ball in your childs favor and also draws more attention to the attacker and their vehicle, going back to the first fundamental.

  • Fight

If they have done the first two basics and the attacker is still persistent and somehow lays hand on them, now it is time to get nasty. Make them understand it is NEVER OK for any person to lay hands on them. You must also make them understand that they must never stop trying to do the first two basics: their goal is to get somebody to help them by drawing attention to the situation and keep trying to escape. The MO in most abductions is the attacker will try to get the child in a vehicle and out of the public eye as quickly as possible. Typically the vehicle is the type that they can load another person into easily (ie a van or large truck). Make the child understand a few things: (1) Try to stay attached to an object, like a bicycle, if the attacker grabs them. Whatever they can grab..grab it. The attacker will think twice about taking a child attached to something..once again; it interrupts their plan. (2) If the child can stop the vehicle, they can stop the crime. Teaching them to rip out electrical wires under the steering wheel or dash can interrupt the electrical and fuse systems, helping to immobilize the vehicle. In the event the child is put into the trunk, you need to teach kids where the emergency trunk release is located in most vehicles. Also, how to rip out the brake and signal light wiring, causing a huge red flag to draw attention to the vehicle. Remember to keep making noise…draw attention!!

It will always be up to the parent how they want to teach actual self-defense methods. Most folks will choose karate, tae-kwon-do, judo, etc and that is OK to an extent, but I would add the caveat to ensure that the instructor teaches real world fighting and not just “point” scoring for tournaments. Your time and your kids can be spent much more productively. My personal choice is a tailored set of combatives that are simple and easy to remember. Techniques such as the face smash, nut kick and ear slap will yield much more effective results than over complicated katas that sound cool but cannot be replicated on command with street simple effectiveness. You must remember your child will be outmatched in every way in an abduction scenario..sheer brutality will be their only advantage. Of course, when training, safety is paramount..NEVER over do any physical training with young children..their joints, ligaments and bones are still growing and irreparable damage can be done if not careful. Take frequent breaks and make it Fun!!


The Predators Among Us

Predators Among Us

With the recent headlines of Laycee Dugard and the murder and mutilation of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky in Brooklyn, New York in his own neighborhood, I thought it appropriate that we discuss the issue of child predators and the skills we need as parents and our kids need to protect themselves from these animals. Since the mission of HCS is to empower the average civilian to defend himself and their family/loved ones from all types of enemies, for those of us with children, this type of enemy tops the list In My Opinion and must be our top priority.

The bottom line is we cannot be around our kids 24/7, 365 and the training we are going to discuss is going to involve you sitting down with your kids and explaining it to them in a way they can understand. It is also going to involve doing drills a few times a month to drive home the point and keep it fresh in their minds.  There is a lot of talk out there in the mainstream media about not putting “fear” into our children when something like this happens. I have to disagree with this. I think Fear is a healthy, natural instinct that needs to be used in any survival situation. The issue is how we instill it into our children. I think by being brutally honest and not “sugar-coating” the story with your children about what happened to little Leiby and other children who have been kidnapped and murdered, including all the grisly details that you feel comfortable sharing,  that fear will come naturally and your kids will realize that monsters do exist, and they are not living in the closet or under their beds, but are roaming the streets in their own neighborhoods.

The other big argument since all of this happened is “How young is too young for kids to walk home by themselves?” I realize this happened in New York State, but If you look at what Texas State Law states in relation to Child Endangerment or Child Abandonment, 15 years of age  is the “cut off” age in the State of Texas. By “Endangerment” or “Abandonment” the legal definition is “To Leave a child in any place without providing reasonable and necessary care for the child.” (Texas Penal Code 22.041). Granted, I do not think the Kletsky parents were intentionally trying to endanger Leiby, but trying to give him the independence of being a “big boy” that as parents we all want to try to instill in our kids around the ages of 8-10 and allow them to walk home from school or summer camp. Unfortunately, I think the days of letting kids (Under the age of 15) walk home alone and be anywhere in public alone or unsupervised are over. There is no other way around it. Do Kids over the age of 15 get abducted and murdered? Sure, but the statistics are much lower than kids between the ages of 6 and 13 according to the FBI National Database for Missing and Exploited Children.

So let’s get down to the nuts and bolt’s of keeping our kids safe:

  1. Never leave them unattended or alone in a public or other place that you do not trust. There is no grey area here. You are the parent and in charge of keeping your kid’s safe, not your friends or babysitter and certainly not the police.
  2. KNOW your neighbors as much as you can, if  they are “stand-off” type  people, if you can get a name and address, you can get  a history/criminal profile online for $10. It is your right to know who lives around you and your kids. Remember: A Majority of time, it is people who know the child or have interacted with the child that commit these crimes, people who see them every day. Always try to Trust but Always VERIFY.
  3. Stay updated on your states child’s sex offender database, In Texas, it can be located HERE.
  4. Teach your Kids the basics of Avoidance and Awareness. AVOID dangerous places and DANGEROUS people (a good time to discuss choosing their friends wisely), and always be AWARE of their surroundings, wherever they are.
  5. Have regular talks with your kids about strangers and what do IF someone tries to approach them or touch them. Have role playing drills a couple times a month where you play the “bad man or woman”. Make sure they know who to go to in an emergency. Do not be afraid to teach them to be VIOLENT and LOUD (draw attention to the situation) to defend themselves, things that normally would be banned, should be encouraged: Yelling, Biting, Kicking in the genital area, poking in the eyes, etc. Teach them to fight dirty, after all, they are fighting for their lives… I train my kids twice a week in Combatives, which are very simple yet brutal techniques for self-defense. Be cautious of SOME Karate and Tae-Kwon-Do Classes, which mainly do not teach self-defense, but competition sparring for points, which is great for competition, but does little for effective street self-defense. I am a big fan of Krav-Maga, which is a form of Combative “street” self-defense developed by a Jewish man to defend himself against Nazi attacks.
  6. When there is a story on the news about a tragedy such as Leiby Kletsky, use it a tool to teach your kids that there are people out there who DO Hurt and Kill children.

The bottom line is we need to bring this issue to our kid’s attention as often as we can. The world is getting worse, not better, it is just a fact of life that we need to accept. Remember: Preparedness in All Things.