Kids, Concealed Carry, and the Message of Self Defense

If you have children, and carry a gun -- even infrequently -- you are sending them a message.  Either directly or indirectly, you're letting them know that you believe in taking personal responsibility for your own safety, and that you feel that fighting back is a viable option.

This, believe it or not, is in direct contrast with what almost everybody else in the media and elsewhere is telling them. I have seen I don't know how many chiefs of police come out and tell potential victims not to resist muggers, just give them what they want, never mind the fact that study after study has shown that you are LESS likely to be injured if you resist. Why would they do this?  Police chiefs are both politicians and cops; politicians always want more control, and many police officers have issues with civilians doing "their job".

We tell our children to never get in a stranger's car, and to run and shout and fight if someone tries to hurt them, why should the rules change when they become adults, or if the aggressors aren't adults?  This ties in to the apparent epidemic of bullying going on in our society, as I can't turn around without seeing some PSA about how to end bullying—but none of them advocate responding with force.  There is one commercial running on the Cartoon Network right now that states that fighting back will only cause more problems. Wrong!

If you carry a concealed weapon, you have reached the point in your life where you realize that your safety, and the safety of those around you, is your responsibility, and sometimes the only thing the bad guys respect is force. No bully, or criminal, or tyrant ever stopped what he was doing because somebody asked him very nicely to stop. Don't let anyone tell you or your kids different.  It's up to us to educate everyone else, not just our children, and change their mindset, not only because they're wrong but because it will make all of us safer.

It was with this in mind that I recently penned the below letter to my 13-year-old son's school, after he came home one day rather upset.

The names have been changed to protect the ignorant.

Dear Administrative Staff:

My son came home from school today and informed me of the announcement the Assistant Principal, Mrs. Stump, made to his class regarding the apparent numerous fights among students that have recently taken place at Cook.  I realize that Cook Middle School is a place of learning and that fights are a disruption of that process, but if my son was accurate in his recollection of Mrs. Stump's comments I have some serious concerns. 

Reportedly she told the students that "self defense" wasn't pertinent in these situations, as self defense is what you do to save your own life, which is not what is happening in these fights.  Self-defense against physical assault, in other words, is not allowed at Cook.  Hearing this upset my son, who actually has never been bullied or accused of bullying.

Apart from seeming to indicate that there is some sort of nobility in being a victim, this policy shows a complete misunderstanding or willful ignorance of the very psychology of bullies. There always have been bullies, and there always will be, until the very nature of man changes. Predators prey on the weak.

As a former police officer I have instructed both of my children to respond to physical attacks in full accordance with Michigan law. You and your staff might want to review those laws if you have some question about how the legal system defines "self defense". If obeying the law gets them in trouble with the school administration, I have assured them that they will not be in trouble with their mother or me.

You also might want to have your policy—as it was stated by Mrs. Stump—reviewed by one of the school district's lawyers.  It seems to me that mandating behavior which almost ensures increased physical injuries among your students is ill-advised.  It's not hard to imagine a lawyer convincing a civil jury that the school district should be liable for any medical bills incurred by the student in such a situation.

If my son misunderstood Cook's policy as it pertains to self-defense please let me know.


Thank you for your time,


James Tarr

I have not heard back from the school.

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