Parents and adults in these situations reacted very differently as well. We observed very protective parents/ adults seemingly put themselves between the threat and the child with little to no regard for their own personal safety. We also observed many instances of the parent /adult completely abandoning the child during a confrontation. Our initial thoughts lead us to believe the parent /adult in that situation believed the attackers would not harm a child therefore the parent /adult in the situation gave little concern to anyone other than their own personal safety. In several research videos we observed the initial attackers return to the child and either harm or take the child to possibly be used as a ransom or other leverage.
Those who cannot protect themselves must be protected by those who are in a position to be their protectors. For parents, we are responsible for protecting our children from mental and physical harm. For bystanders, you are responsible for protecting children who have no one actively protecting them. Allowing a child, no matter who's child-- to be harmed is unacceptable.
Our Defensive Pistol class included shooting positions which addressed providing as much safety and control over a child during a shoot situation as possible. Our very first thought is to grab the child and leave the area as quickly as possible utilizing all forms of available cover and concealment between the threat and the parent /adult carrying the child. If escaping the immediate threat does not work we must immediately addressing the threat with force great enough to eliminate the immediate threat. We will protect our children, we will not abandon them!
Attendees were exposed to the weight and bulk of a child like training aid in their arms. Our methods addressed placing the child as far away from the threat as possible. One example is a one armed hold, the parent / adults body is fully bladed away placing as much of the parents body between the threat and the child. The parent is actively maintaining control over the child while placing accurate one handed shots on the threat. Other drills consisted of using available cover and concealment such as curbs with the parent pinning the child as low as possible next to the curb.
This portion of the training was not enjoyable due to the mental pictures some of the training evoked. These situations will not be easy, therefore addressing them preemptively will assist in immediately taking action should you find yourself in a similar real-life situation.
When people ask me about one hand shooting and if its applicable. I tell them yes, and then we run through these very similar scenarios of being in a public place and having children with you or either rescuing a child and then having to defend yourself and the child from a threat. The drill of being shot in one arm, incapacitating that arm, thus causing you to shoot one handed is a very real, and a needed training response. However I feel training like this is much more of a likely scenario.