A kidnapping attempt in broad daylight – what would YOU have done?

My friend Kathy Jackson of The Cornered Cat has published an excellent analysis of a recent kidnapping attempt in Florida.  Here’s a brief excerpt.

Broad daylight, as far as I can tell. Not an empty back alleyway in the middle of the night. Just inside a dollar store in Florida, with other people around.

Stranger tries to grab a 13 year old and drag her out of the store. The girl’s mom reacts quickly and fights back, eventually throwing her own body on top of her daughter to thwart the assailant, who fled for the exit.

The fleeing criminal was stopped by a good guy with a gun. An off duty cop happened to be pulling up outside the store. He blocked the assailant’s car in the parking lot and held the assailant at gun point until law enforcement arrived to arrest the guy and take him into custody.

Several people have asked me what I thought the mother “should have” done. My answer: exactly what she did! She used the tools and skills she had available to her, without any hesitation at all. Her immediate and full commitment to action almost certainly saved her daughter’s life.

Others have asked a different question: if one of us were in the same situation, would it be legal to shoot the attacker? Is it legal to shoot an assailant who’s trying to kidnap your child, and who appears to be succeeding? Let’s look at that.

There’s much more at the link, including security video footage of the kidnap attempt.

This is a very important lesson taken straight from the headlines.  It’s a danger any of us can face, in this world of unconfined and uncontrolled crazy people.  (Take a guess – how many of the people around you every day, as you shop or go to work or take your kid to school, are on some sort of mood control medication?  And how many of them might ‘snap’ if they fail to take it, or run out?)

Highly recommended reading – and definitely food for thought.  This is the sort of lesson that’s worth discussing with your spouse and children, too;  and if you decide you want training in how to deal with similar situations, find out when Kathy’s teaching schedule will bring her in your direction.  She’s a great instructor, and very good at what she does.  You won’t go wrong taking a class from her.



  1. Something that is legal vs something in which a jury would not convict are two different things. In many states if you shot the perp in those circumstances, you'd probably be headed to the hoosegow yourself. In most states, unless someone's life is in immediate danger, you'd be asking for serious trouble for yourself.

    OTOH, the second the perp saw your piece, he'd be trying to make his way away from the scene as fast as he could make it happen. Just the sight would be enough to end the problem.

  2. How will 9th acct court decision affect your ability to concealed carry and defend against this sort of thing?

  3. Quartermaster:

    Are you willing to bet your life, or your family's lives, that the sight of a gun will cause the bad guy to stop and run? Pay much attention to this subject? Obviously not, with such reliance on a movie/tv trope.

  4. In Illinois this would be a Forcible Felony, and deadly force would be justifiable, but subject to review by authorities. That can vary from county to county. My only criticism is that the mother should have directed her attention to the attacker and not her daughter. Gouging out eyes, closing his throat, would have been possible with her bare hands. A knife or a gun would have been good helpers. Been there. Be prepared. Be ready to go full bore for your loved ones.

  5. Dennis B

    Please do not blame the Mental ill. This person might be mental ill but I think this is another societies problem child's that need to be locked up for a long time. For the record there is only a small percentage of the mental ill that can and are labelled dangerous.

    Why to go to the mother. I believed she did the right thing and paying attention to the kidnapper she might of lost her daughter. (What would have happen if there was a second attacker?)

    Great blog, thank you for writing.

  6. she did what she could and it worked. awesome

    i see that and see a bad guy with his hands full and down; don't you?

    the rest would be a police report explaining how he got killed or broken into such small pieces. good luck ever wiping your own ass again with those elbows/shoulders like that.

    nothing worse than a broke down predator tossed in with other predators…coyotes aren't real kind to broke down coyotes.

  7. "Is it legal to shoot an assailant who’s trying to kidnap your child?"

    My training is over 20 years old, but what I was taught was that lethal force can only be used to defend the life of yourself, a fellow officer, and/or unarmed civilians.

    Given what I have seen of the video, there was reason to believe that the child was in danger, perhaps life threatening danger. Under those circumstance, my answer is Yes. Lethal force is warranted.

    BTW, thanks for the link to Cornered Cat, Peter. I will be checking out her site.

  8. Just a reminder that most people carry defensive "weapons" all the time as a matter of course. That pen or pencil in your pocket can penetrate an attacker like an ice pick. Rat tail comb, the same. A normal comb raked across the assailant's eyes. A bunch of keys spread between your fingers becomes modified brass knuckles. Pick something up from your surrounding and smash the attacker with it. Etc.

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