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Intervening With Negligent Parents

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Cosmoline, Jun 24, 2013.

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  1. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I've run into this situation a few times and I've never found the best way to deal with it. It happened again on Saturday. In this situation it was a man in his 40's with a young 12 or 13 year old boy, small in stature. They were sharing a bench. Dad (I assume) was angry and was mostly ignoring the son. The son had a .22LR faux SMG of some kind with a high cap. The dad had a mini-14. He was capping off rounds while his son struggled to hold the .22. He was clearly too weak to lift it reliably, and kept trying to rest the magazine point on the bench where the whole thing wobbled.

    There were so many things being done badly. Under no circumstances should the kid have been that close to the noise and brass from the Mini. He had only plugs in and I can assure you his ears were being damaged. You could see him wince as the .223's went off right next to him. And Dad, in response to the son's struggles, told him "just hold it however you want to." (!!) So the son tried to get a few rounds off, wobbling badly and having no prayer of hitting the 25 yard target. I had stopped my own shooting at this point, stood a few paces back and just watched the proceedings. I was getting ready to step in if he swept the line when the .22 blissfully jammed and Dad, utterly unable to clear the jam, packed the firearm up in a huff.

    This isn't the first time I've seen this kind of nonsense, though it's more frequent on the pistol line.

    The situation is dicey, though. Angry dad clearly is in no mood to discuss his kid, and any attempt to intervene is liable to raise his ire. Even without the anger, you are essentially going to be humiliating the parent in front of the child. And that's a dangerous thing to do when the parent is armed. Is there some phrasing or approach folks have used successfully when dealing with this situation?
     
  2. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Member

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    If you have a rifle with you that's suitable for the kid, you could ask the dad if he would mind if the kid shot your rifle a few times (assuming kid would be interested). You'd then have opportunity to give him some instruction w/o stepping on any toes. Sounds like 'dad' is more interested in his shooting than his son's shooting/safety. Sad, but I've seen it more than once.

    IMHO, better off to pack up and leave than confront the 'dad'.
     
  3. DAP90

    DAP90 Member

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    In a similar situation I’ve offered to let them borrow my more appropriate handgun. Dad had his young son trying to shoot a center fire handgun that had way to much recoil for him to handle. I offered my Buckmark and the kid did a lot better.

    If you had a 22lr without a long mag that the son could have rested on bags you could have tried offering that. Something along the lines of, “Your son’s doing well. How long has he been shooting? Would he like to try using mine? He could rest it on some bags and we’ll see how crack of a shot he is.”

    That let’s dad know the gun he’s using maybe isn’t the best but doesn’t get anyone all riled up. If he says no it’s time to move on. If you don’t have an appropriate firearm then I’m at a loss and probably wouldn’t say anything so long as it wasn’t dangerous.

    Edit: Beaten to it by MtnCreek
     
  4. itsa pain

    itsa pain member

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    yes mind your own business. do you think you will change how he handles his kid for years to come?
     
  5. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I'd be in a foul mood too if I were trying to shoot a mini off a bench for accuracy:rolleyes::neener:
    Joking aside, you are treading on dangerous ground if you attempt to correct bad parenting and adding guns to it is even worse.
    Not an easy answer at all because in his mind what was happening was cool or he would have corrected it himself.
    Having raised 3 kids and seen/heard how some of their piers were raised I have come to the conclusion that confrontations with parents in the presence of their kids would be unadvisable because they really think they are right.
     
  6. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    Offer another gun that is more appropriate. Otherwise unless your the Range officer or owner It would be best to butt out.
     
  7. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Member

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    I would humbly befriend the dad and gently build his trust from there before i even brot the son into it.
     
  8. ShooterMcGavin

    ShooterMcGavin Member

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    It's painful to watch but, in the grand scheme of things, you will not make an impact to the longterm parenting that this child will experience. Your intentions are good, and you should certainly speak up if you see actions that are clearly dangerous to immediate safety. In the end though, the truth is that some children will end up with bad parenting experiences. There is nothing you can do in that situation to really improve the lessons the parent or the child will bring away from the day. IMO, it's not the place to step in and make corrections.

    As others have said, if you have a more appropriate firearm to share, it certainly doesn't hurt to be friendly and offer to share. I would do that for anyone having difficulties at the range though.
     
  9. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I agree. I'm not getting involved one way or the other.
     
  10. Godsgunman

    Godsgunman Member

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    Just another reason I don't often visit public ranges. I probably would have talked to the range officer and had them intervene if he deemed it necessary, which I hope he would. I'm not one to get into how others parent and it's technically the range officer's job to confront safety issues.
     
  11. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    A domestic -- of sorts

    It sounds like a domestic of one sort or another,and as such there is NO way you could have helped at that point.

    And stepping in would be very dangerous with guns AND tempers in attendance.


    Sadly there are TOO many dysfunctional familys that are never going to get the help they desperately need.
     
  12. chrt396

    chrt396 Member

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    I agree in many ways in not interferring.....BUT! If the young boy is having difficulty, then either the Range Officer or whomever is in charge shold be notified of the situation. At our club, any person under the age of 18 must be under direct supervision of the parent. Therefore, the parent should be standing in back of the boy assisting and observing. If not....they are out of there. This is a gun range..not Chucky Cheese. Safety is paramount and visitors and members of the range need to follow procedure for the overall safety of everyone present. I don't worry about a parent or visitor getting riled up. State the issue politely...if there is a negative response, then remind the patron that he is at a range where there are safety rules that must pertain to everyone...if there is a negative response...Ask him to pack up and leave. If there is a negative response...ask again to leave or police will be dispatched. It's hard to be an aggressor at a range when you have 40-50 guns that you could be pointed at you in the rare chance you did something stupid. 95% of the time, a subtle comment to the Dad would be enough...but there are those few that are just beligerant. They don't need to be there in that event!
     
  13. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Our club is private and doesn't have range officers, but I agree that if it did, I would do like you. As it is, I would take down the tag # of the vehicle and shoot one of the officers an email.
     
  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    The indoor range that I frequent the most lets my kids shoot for free, as long as I'm there helping them and not doing any shooting of my own on their lane. A couple of older gentlemen run things and are very helpful and pleasant to deal with.

    Haven't ever come across what the OP experienced in all my years of going to public ranges. Maybe I have just been fortunate with the overall temperments of other shooters around me or else maybe I just missed all those ill-tempered parents when I do get to the range.

    At any rate I would not get involved in the situation as originally posted as it seems like matters could have escalated for the worse if the father was approached by another shooter, even with the best of intentions.
     
  15. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    That's a tough one.

    You want to try to do something to improve the situation, but A) you can't gauge if the dad is just a jerk, B)is having a bad day and might appreciate a little distraction for "junior", or C)just needs a good example.

    Add in the fact that he might take it as a threat to his territory and A could turn truly ugly, B) could turn truly ugly, C) could turn truly ugly.

    If you had a Chipmunk or something equally kid friendly you might ask the pair if Dad minded if his kid could try out the Chipmunk so you could see how your nephew who's about his size might handle it. At worst you might be rebuffed in such a delicate situation.
     
  16. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    I would be torn. My normal rule is to keep my piehole shut unless someone is being unsafe. If I really thought the kid was about to drop it, I might say something.

    The four rules can't correct lousy parenting.
     
  17. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    I would stay away from people like that.
     
  18. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    If something unsafe occurs, call "Ceasefire!" and let the RO deal with it. If there's no RO, by calling the ceasefire you now have everyone's attention and it can be handled by consensus.
     
  19. doc2rn

    doc2rn Member

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    I always take an old Marlin mod 60 to the range when I go for just such emergencies. I often ask the dad if its ok if I let him (jr) try my rifle off the kid station, we have a spot just for kids to shoot. Dad 99.9% of the time says yes, and gets a moment of uninteruption for whatever he is doing. Usually they come over after calming down and I always say something like your child is doing great, he must of had excellent instruction or he is a natural. Usually dad beaming with pride takes a pic or says its time to go.
     
  20. dirtykid

    dirtykid Member

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    Exactly !!

    I cannot believe how many people would be afraid to say anything

    Maybe the guys having a bad day cause he dosent KNOW how to instruct the child properly

    Starting the conversation off by talking about how my kid was first learning to shoot would have been a good start,,if no children of your own, use a niece/nephew/cousin ,, how does he know ??

    Here we are , a bunch of gun enthusiasts constantly singing about how we need to stick-together to keep our rights from being taken away, yet we cannot open our mouths to a stranger to offer assistance ??

    If he told me to pees-off and mind my own business, then fine leave it at that. But for the sake of our sport at least offer...
     
  21. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Member

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    Forget getting involved directly. If kid sweeps the range, get a range master. It's possible the kid has no interest in shooting and that makes dad angry.

    As others have said though, nobody wants to have their parenting critiqued. Angry father will only get angrier. Heck, outside of that, he may be a fine father. He just can't get his son to enjoy the things he does.
     
  22. Geno
    • Contributing Member

    Geno Member

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    If the situation rises to a level that requires intervention, contact the range officer. S/he has the authority to redirect or expell as needed.

    Geno
     
  23. Beentown

    Beentown Member

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    I am a helper, it is natural for me. But I am finding myself less and less likely to help anymore. In this situation I would start up a conversation with Dad and read the situation from there.
     
  24. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Thanks for that input. I like the loaner idea. This also comes up with poor shooters attempting to teach their wives, but an offer to help train her could really be taken in the wrong spirit.

    Well I offer lots of assistance. I've saved a guy from knocking his eye out with a PGO firing slugs, for example. And I'm friendly enough. But this is a man with his son, and the dynamics of correcting him are very different than just helping out an obvious newb. He clearly had no idea what he was doing beyond some very basic knowledge of how to aim and pull the trigger. The poor kid was getting traumatized, and who wouldn't be standing two feet from the suppressor of a tricked out Mini 14? It was a sharp sound for me, and I was ten feet away with double ear protection on. And he wan't paying attention to his son's difficulty controlling the .22. But to jump into that knot is to risk getting tied up in it. Parents aren't always rational creatures.
     
  25. Eb1

    Eb1 Member

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    I had this situation happen with a friend and his daughter. The rifle was to big for her. I had my daughter's T/C Hot Shot. I let her shoot it. Her father wasn't mad or ignoring her, but I was her soccer coach so I asked if I could help. He was fine with that.

    She didn't like my daughter's hot shot rifle. So we went back to her rifle. Instead of shooting the longer heavier rifle standing. I had her sit down and rest it on her knee. She really started to hit her targets, and her mood improved about shooting, and her father was pleased that she didn't loose interest.
    It is the small things, and sometimes as a parent you get a little impatient, or better yet you don't step back to view from the outside what is really going on, and how to convey your message to the child.
    If someone was to ask politely, especially a family friend, I wouldn't mind them correcting my son or daughter if they were polite about it, and didn't make it seem like I was wrong.

    I learned more from my cousins who were 15 years older than me sometimes about hunting and fishing than I did my dad. It just works that way sometimes.
     
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