Armed Self-Defense Advice For Kids Comes From An Odd Place

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There are a lot of people who talk about armed self-defense. We do it here and you’ll also see a lot of talk about it at pretty much any other gun website. Our friends over at The Truth About Guns, for example, talk about it all the time. Same as over at Ammoland’s blog. It’s a common topic of interest.

However, sometimes you’ll find it at non-gun sites. Townhall and PJ Media, for example, may occasionally touch on the subject, though they’re likely to hit it from a political perspective (which we do a lot here, too).

Yet I stumbled on this article on The Daily Beast of all places.

There was a stark reality I faced when I first became a father: I’m not able to be with my kids at all times to protect them and keep them safe. Because of this reality, I want to know that I’ve done everything possible to prepare them and teach them so that they have the best chance to avoid danger, survive dangerous scenarios, defend themselves if necessary, and make it back home. As part of this endeavor, I began teaching my kids how to use pocketknives properly when they each turned 5 years old.

I first introduced them to basic pocketknives for kids—“my first Opinel knife” and “my first Victorinox Swiss Army knife,” neither of which has a sharp point, just rounded tips like a butter knife. I taught them how to whittle wood with these knives. Whittling is something most kids love or learn to love if given the opportunity within a safe environment, and if they understand the rules of using a pocketknife.

At first, I started with long thin sticks for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs over the campfire. There’s a certain joy that comes from carving your first of many marshmallow and hot dog sticks.

As my kids grew older, I carefully and strategically introduced them to more complicated and sophisticated knives, as well as the concept that in addition to using a knife as a tool or for survival, it could also be used for self-defense in extreme situations. While at The Farm, the CIA’s covert training facility, I learned the importance of leveling the playing field, and you can do that by carrying a knife.

As parents, we of course hope that our kids would never be put in a situation where the need to defend themselves would ever arise. But the reality is that kids are kidnapped and go missing every day, and some kids unfortunately find themselves in dangerous scenarios that they are unable to avoid. I would rather my kids have a knife with them and not need it, than need one and not have it.

In other words, The Daily Beast ran a story not just about armed self-defense, but about arming children for self-defense.

I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of impressed.

Now, let’s be clear, this isn’t where I’d actually start a child’s journey into self-defense. For that, I’d start with something like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or some other grappling art and a bit of stand-up fighting such as boxing or Muay Thai, if not just straight out MMA. Most threats they’re likely to encounter will be from bullying peers. Knowing how to use their hands would be a more logical place to start.

But it’s not a bad idea to teach a child how to use a knife as a tool and that, in a pinch, it can be used for self-defense.

However, it should also come with a dose of reality. After all, in a knife fight, the winner is likely still going to end up in the emergency room while the loser is in the morgue. That shouldn’t really be anyone’s Plan A.

Still, I can’t help but wonder what has changed in the world where The Daily Beast is giving out advice that boils down to teaching your children how to be deadly to their attackers. It’s a strange, strange world we’re living in, isn’t it?

Oct 24, 2021 2:30 PM ET