View Full Version : Playground Strategies

June 16, 1999, 10:00 AM
Here's one for you...

You're at a local city park going for a walk and armed with your usual street kit.

About 50 feet away is a playground with lots of kids playing. You stop and smile, watching the kids play brings back memories of your childhood.

Adjacent to the playground, a pickup truck pulls up in the parking lot, parks, and a man you do not know exits the vehicle. He walks onto the playground and over to a small boy (about 8 years old) playing by himself. The man and the boy quietly exchange words for a few seconds. The man scoops the boy off of the ground and the boy starts to yell and holler unintelligably...squirming to get away from the man.

Looking around, you don't see any parents protesting the man picking the boy up. Yet, the boy is visibly upset and resisting.

The man is now carrying the boy back to his truck.

The clock is ticking...your move...

What would you do?

- Anthony

June 16, 1999, 10:50 AM
Insufficient data.

The scene could very well be a father with an uncooperative child, or a kidnapping.

The fact that the other parents aren't doing anything is irrelevant, as people in general don't mix up in anything that doesn't immediately concern them.

I think I'd approach the man, and politely ask what the problem is. If he gets red-faced and starts yelling, then he's probably the kid's dad, and doesn't appreciate interference from some nosy bastard. If, OTOH, he's a goblin, he'll likely run like hell.


Long Path
June 16, 1999, 10:45 PM
Coinneach's reply is actually pretty good. If you still aren't sure, interrogate the kid: "Who is this man?" As you approach (swiftly, swiftly... every advantage should be yours...), it would be well to get a description of the truck and its LP #.

It's important to begin the contact before the kid is put in the vehicle.

It's important to speak to the child.

It's important to get close enough before beginning the contact. Lots of stuff can be bluffed out from 50 feet away.

Remember that if the man gets himself and the boy in the truck, you're too late.

June 17, 1999, 11:47 PM
I'm learning here:
1) Anybody else in the truck? Any visible weapons, especially firearms?
2) In Texas, deadly force is not authorized to prevent a kidnapping - only aggravated kidnapping. However, the THREAT to use deadly force is NOT the use of deadly force.
3) Most kidnappers, I would presume, would not park in a parking lot if a curbside place was open.
4) Did the man's speed increase when he snatched the kid? Few parents would need to pick up their kid the way you describe. Those who need to do so probably wouldn't take time to chat. They would walk directly to the kid, pick him up, and return to the truck. If the guy had been moving normally (or slowly), talked to the kid for a bit, then suddenly snatched and ran - that would tend to ring more alarm bells.
5) Above all, get a good description of the kid, the man, his truck (& license plate), and anyone else in the truck.
6) I'd be on the cell phone immediately giving that info to 9-1-1 while yelling at the guy to put the kid down.
7) Talking to the kid was an obvious point that I had missed. Thanks, Long Path.

June 18, 1999, 12:53 PM
Dennis has learned well.

Follow Dennis's lead on this one.
Record as much information as you can.

I would intead o fyelling fo rthe guy to put the kid down, act casual.

Ask the guy leading questions like "Son isn't done playing yet, Eh?" Gauge that reaction
then ask the kid "Your Dad wants you to go home for dinner - Aint you hungry?" And gauge that reaction. If the Kid said "this aint Dad" or some thing similar. Shoot the [email protected]

(The man - not the kid)


[This message has been edited by Kodiac (edited June 18, 1999).]

June 19, 1999, 06:05 PM
Get a plate number, description, etc., then call the authorities.

Otherwise, it ain't your problem.

June 28, 1999, 01:33 AM
"not your problem" How could you live with yourself sitting by watching a kid get taken? That dude is getting detained and is going to answer some questions.

Know the law then you never have to brake it.


Long Path
June 30, 1999, 03:39 AM
Trevor, I, too, liked the "S.E.P. Device" in the Douglous Adams novels. (Things become invisible when they're Somebody Else's Problem.)

But really-- the jealous protection of our children is everyone's problem. If there is a breakdown in our society that we can all agree on, I'll wager that one of them is our collective reluctance to take responsibility for the wellfare of our children. While the parent should have an eye on their child, their carelessness doesn't merit the LOSS of their child. You see a threat, it's your duty as an adult, moreover, as a MAN, to check it out. That's what makes us the grown-ups, now.

And sometimes, it's a big ole pain.

June 30, 1999, 05:43 PM
Considering all the evil things I have done to survive, minding my own business is the least of my worries.

Dubitando ad veritatem venimus.

July 1, 1999, 06:50 PM
The first thing to do is not be worried that you're armed. Also we need more info.
If you feel you need to intervene, talk to the boy and the man to get the story. If things don't sound right dial 911 and get the police there.
If it is a perp he will probably run if challenged. If it is the father, better peed off than peed on.

[This message has been edited by General (edited July 01, 1999).]

July 5, 1999, 03:39 AM
A kid's only defense against abduction is screaming and hollering -- all children should be taught to do this if they are in trouble. For practical purposes I would assume this is a BG until proven otherwise. You must try to delay/stop him until his guardianship of the boy can be established. If the man turns out to be the father, you have just done him a huge favor by assisting in the safety of his child.

Kent White
July 24, 1999, 11:31 AM
Having formerly been a single parent, parental abduction has been something I've considered at length. At the time, I was employed first in private security, then with a sheriff's department. I at least knew where the threat might come from, but not when.

Any reasonable parent shouldn't mind someone stepping in to politely attempt to look after the best interests of their child. I sure wouldn't. If the man in the scenario given reacts in a hostile manner (e.g., tells you to mind your own *@# business), you are still in the right to talk to the child to make sure that all is well. Child abduction is too common in this country for any decent person to not intervene.

July 24, 1999, 02:17 PM
I'd have to disagree with Dennis' #4. If the parent has to pick the kid up it's probably because he's talked to him and the kid doesn't want to go. Other than that, I think Kodiac's idea sounds pretty good.

July 29, 1999, 03:16 AM
I'm with Kodiak, but would speak to the kid first. Not sure there's a way to inoffensively get the kid to acknowledge the adult's paternity/maternity (let's not forget the many women who snatch kids, though IIRC, they usually snatch baby-babies).

But then, the world has experienced a lot of trouble because too many people tried to be inoffensive. "Don't worry dear. We'll just wear this yellow star, not cause any trouble, and they'll leave us alone."

Yeah, right. All the way to the ovens.

Who remembers that little diddy which compared Bernie Goetz with Kitty Genovese?

Cheapo the concerned
Who called 911 last week because the screaming, cussing and thumping could be heard from across the street. From behind closed doors and windows.

July 30, 1999, 06:43 PM
I came from a background with some abuse, and hold the protection of children as my responsibility, with certain parameters.

Closing to verbal contact distance would certainly be my first priority, combined with thoughtful intelligence-gathering. Casually finding a way to obstruct the vehicle's escape route in a nonconfrontational way would certainly be another choice I would hope to employ, especially if I were fortunate enough to be with one of my buyu, such as Spartacus. If this is a relative or family friend sent to retrieve the child, I wish no hard feelings generated, and certainly no alarm. I put a lot of stock in gaging people's reactions and demeanor. Placing myself in a position to intervene but not to appear to threaten would be another, important priority. If this is some nutso, I would prefer to be the one threatened. The child should have the rest of his life to get into trouble.