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The Worst Day of My Life...

August 09, 20218 min read

What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, nobody ever thinks they need a gun until they need a gun. Yesterday in Valrico, literally about a block away from my house, a mother experienced the worst thing that a mother could ever experience. 

Her baby was kidnapped right from her driveway. 

A few hours earlier the mother decided to go grocery shopping with her one year old baby and I'm sure it was just like every other day going to a grocery store. When she arrived home she realized her baby was sound asleep. Every smart parent knows there's one thing you try not to do, and that's wake up a sleeping baby.

So this mother decided to park her vehicle in the driveway, which I'm sure she has done thousands of times. Then she decided to leave the car running with the AC on and let her baby sleep while she unloaded the groceries. I personally don't think this is a very big deal. I'm sure I've done this with my kids. 

As the mother was bringing a load of groceries to the door, some scumbag, who was walking through the neighborhood, saw an easy target and decided to attack. 

The man jumped into the driver's seat, put the vehicle in reverse and backed out of the driveway. Could you imagine being this mother and watching a stranger drive away with your child inside of the vehicle? 

What is this mother legally allowed to do according to Florida concealed carry law? Let's ask ourselves the big questions. 


The Big Questions


How Could this Situation Have Been Avoided? 

The only way I see that this situation could have been avoided would be if the mother would have parked her vehicle and immediately brought her baby inside of the home. I understand that its stressful to have a baby screaming while you're attempting to unload groceries however its a screaming baby is less stressed than a kidnapped child. 


What Self Defense Options Could have been Used? 

If the mother would have been close enough to be car thief I believe she would be well within her rights to physically attempt to stop the man. However you're probably wondering, Is she legally allowed to use a firearm? Let’s find out. 


Does this Scenario Fall Under the Castle Doctrine? 

Florida Statutes 776.013 (4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence. 

Was the attacker entering or attempting to enter an occupied vehicle?
Yes the car thief is attempting to enter an occupied vehicle.

Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter unlawfully?
Yes, the car thief does not have a legal right to enter the vehicle. 

Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter by force?
Yes, that is if the doors to the vehicle are closed. If the vehicle doors were closed than that means the car thief would need to physically open the door and in my opinion this would meet the requirements of entering by force. 

Is the use of deadly force a reasonable response?
In my opinion yes. If anyone is attempting to steal my vehicle with my family inside of it I would turn my neighborhood into Fallujah. Ok maybe that’s an exaggeration. But I definitely would not allow anyone to take my children. 

Does this Scenario Fall Under the Justified Use of Force Statute? 

In the last section I shared my opinion that this situation could meet the requirements for using deadly force under the Florida castle doctrine law. However I also think this situation would meet the requirements for using deadly force under the Florida justified use of force statute, also called Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. Here’s what the law says; 

Florida Statutes 776.012 (2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

Does the mother have a responsible belief of the imminent commission of a forcible felony?
Two forcible felonies jump to the top of my mind, carjacking and kidnapping. 

Carjacking F.S. 812.133(1) means the taking of a motor vehicle which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the motor vehicle, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.

Kidnapping F.S. 787.01 (1)(a) means forcibly, secretly or by threat confining, abducting or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority, with intent to: 1. Hold for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage. 2. Commit or facilitate commission of any felony. 3. Inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the victim or another person. 

In my opinion I think both of these statutes would apply to this situation.

Is the use of deadly force necessary? It depends. If this situation happened to me. As soon as I identified the man attempting to steal my vehicle I would yell the command to stop if the man continued I would pull my firearm clearly tell this scumbag that I was not F&*^ing around. If this is not enough to properly motivate the car thief to leave my family alone then I would shoot. 

Is the mother in a place where she has a right to be?
Yes the mother is at her home and she has a legal right to be there. 

Is the mother engaged in criminal activity?


Where is the Line in the Sand? 

The line in the sand is the point at which the mother has no other option but to pull out her firearm and shoot the attacker. For me the line in the sand would be if the car thief refused to stop even after he was warned. Another line would be as soon as I identified the attacking inside of my vehicle with my child. I know this sounds crazy but I would have zero hesitation opening fire at this man with my child inside of the vehicle. This comes from consistent, deliberate practice over an extended period of time. 


What Would You Do? 

What would you do if some attempted to steal your vehicle with your child inside? Do you carry your firearm 100% of the time you are legally allowed to? Do you train with your firearm enough that you could confidently and accurately engage the threat while keeping your child safe? Where is your line in the sand? 


The Rest of The Story 

I want you to imagine the gut wrenching fear and stress this mother must have been feeling as she watched a strange man drive away with her child. I couldn’t even imagine how scared she must have been. 

I personally don’t believe that the car thief knew there was a child in the vehicle. I think he needed a ride and saw an opportunity so he took it. However even if he didn’t know there was a child inside of the vehicle it doesn’t change the fact that he just kidnapped a child. 

The mother immediately dialed 911 and the Amber Alert was made statewide. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputies searched for the missing vehicle across the country and a few hours later discovered the vehicle abandoned in a parking lot. The baby was found safely returned to the mother with no apparent injuries. 



Nobody thinks they're going to be a victim of rape until somebody tries to rape them. Nobody thinks they're going to be a victim of a home invasion until somebody is kicking in their door. This mother didn’t think her child would ever be kidnapped until her child was kidnapped. 

We never think bad things are going to happen, which is why we have to plan today for what could potentially happen tomorrow. This is why I carry a gun every single day everywhere that I go. I never want to be in a situation were someone is threatening the safety of my family and I do not have the ability to stop them. My life doesn’t matter to me but the life of my family means the world. I refuse to allow anyone to take them from me. 

That's all I have for today. So until next time keep training and stay safe...

Ryan G. Thomas

P.S. You’re one step away from getting your Florida concealed carry permit….FAST & EASY…

And for a limited time you can watch the concealed carry course online for free... Click here to get started...

Baby Kidnapped
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Ryan G. Thomas

Ryan believes a trained and aware citizen is the best way to minimize crime, victims and senseless acts of violence. Ryan is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a father of three beautiful children. Ryan and his wife Tiffany met while doing inner city ministry for Operation Explosion in Tampa 12 years ago. He is passionate about God, his family, and his community. Ryan has a passion for the 2nd amendment and believes all Americans should have the right and ability to protect themselves and their families.

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