Gun writer Duane Thomas is one of my graduates and an old friend.  He has given me permission to share the following story with you:

I am going to share this story, just because I think it’s so cool.

A friend of mine, Rita, has two daughters, the younger is named Cayla. Cayla is petite, fine-boned, blond-haired, gray-eyed, pretty, strong-willed, verbal, and as Rita puts it, “takes no crap from anyone.” At the time the events recounted in this story occurred, Cayla was eight years old.

By the way, Rita has already run Cayla through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test, and Cayla is an ESTP. Each of the 16 MBTI personality types has its own little few-words description. ESTP is the sign of The Athlete. These are people who tend to have naturally good hand-eye coordination; they also tend to be able to learn new physical skills comparatively effortlessly. When Cayla was in martial arts training, she could watch the instructor perform the moves a few times, then instantly perform them flawlessly herself. ESTPs also have such innately good awareness of their surroundings, they’re almost impossible to sneak up on.

I will also mention, Cayla is a budding little gun nut. When her mother brings her guns back from the range and has them spread out over the kitchen table for cleaning, Cayla is FASCINATED. She’s bellied up to the table, leaning over it to get closer, she practically has her little nose stuck inside the gun.

And now, the story.

Rita said to me, “I was going to CVS to drop off a prescription. I took Cayla into the store with me. I was standing there in line. You ever suddenly get that sense someone else is just way too close to you? I looked around and the guy in line behind me was standing WAY too close. Just obviously trying to invade my space and intimidate me.

“There was a sign standing there that said something like RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE’S SPACE DON’T STAND TOO CLOSE. I reached out and tapped it with my fingernail, and actually had my mouth open to tell him to back off when the pharmacist called me up. So I went up to the counter, which entailed turning my back on him. Cayla planted her back against the counter, folded her arms and glared at the guy. There was no way he was sneaking up on her Mommy with Cayla on the job!

“The pharmacist tells me it’s going to be two hours before the prescription is ready to pick up. On the way out of the store, Cayla says, ‘Mommy, that man was creepy.’ I was so proud of her. Eight years old, and she didn’t need to be told there was something off about that guy. She didn’t need to be told he was acting inappropriately. She didn’t need to be told he was creepy. She just knew.

“So we go sit out in the car in the parking lot, run the AC, listen to music, chat, just killing the two hours. But we’re also watching the store entrance, and we don’t see the guy come out. Two hours goes by, I say to Cayla, ‘We have to go in and pick up that prescription now.’

“’Mommy, that creepy man is still in there.’

“’Yes, he is. But we’re not going to not pick up the prescription just because he’s in there. And there’s no way I’m going to leave you out here alone, you’re going to have to come in with me.’

“So we go into the store. And Cayla’s head is on a swivel. Total 360-degree danger scan. We get up to the counter, again she stands with her back against it, looking out into the rest of the store. She doesn’t need to be told to put something solid at her back, she doesn’t need to be told to position herself so that no one can get to her, or me, before she sees them.

“I get the prescription. We’re walking through the store on our way out. Again, Cayla’s head is on a swivel. She says to me, ‘Don’t worry, Mommy. I got your six.‘”


  1. My daughter, now a grandmother herself, had a similar attitude toward life, self-protection, and situational awareness. As a teen, she shot on our mixed gender gallery rifle league and acquitted herself well.

  2. Situational awareness is the key to safety in this World. Heed the words of Sun Tzu:

    “Know the enemy and know yourself and in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.
    When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal.
    If ignorant of both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain to be in peril in every battle…What can you expect if not defeat?”

    Young Cayla instinctively knew the truth of Sun Tzu’s words.

  3. The touchy/feelly mindset would call that paranoid. But, that’s the sort of situational awareness that allowed our ancestors to survive. The young lady is being raised correctly.

    I expect I’m mangling the exact wording, but there’s a Helen Keller quote to the effect that” “Safety is mostly a myth. It does not exist in nature. Nor do the children of man, as a whole, experience it.” A truth that appears to be lost to a vast number of folks.

    • I gather from what is written here that this little gal is NOT paranoid, looking about on high alert everywhere she goes.. which is why this time stands out so well. She’ll likley survive to a ripe old age, still alert and attentive, and all there.

  4. I tried to explain to my ex-girlfriend about this sort of thing, but she told me I was paranoid. She lives in a ritzy suburb of Boston, and thinks that she’s perfectly safe.

    She left because of my political views.

    Some people just don’t have a clue.

  5. That’s great!
    I’ve gotten odd looks for backing into a parking space.
    Forward is much easier on the way out than reverse…

    • I learned that back when I first started drivng big rigs. You DO NOT back out into a street with 45 fet of huge box behind you. Going in, we have control over the space and everything near it. Giong back out, we don’t, so much. Back in while you have control, then you don’t have to back out blind when you don’t. MUCH faster and far safer.. both in the sense of not getting hit by someone focussed on something besides their driving, and in the sense that if someone’s trying to entrap you they can’t, because you’re outta there before they can act.

      Ever notice when a cop has his car parked in his own drive at hom,e its always nose out? Hop in light hit D, the gas, and ou’re on your way.

  6. This young girl should be trained in martial arts, probably get her into the shooting sports, and also into the highest level of the hard sciences, like physics, advanced math, a foreign language, and anything to challenge her. Give her all the options when she grows up, to choose the path that she wishes to follow.

  7. John Correia had a video of some dirtbag trying to steal a car with a little girl of about the same age inside. The girl’s mother was clueless and the poster child for how not to do situational awareness. The little girl, however, was out of the car and running as soon as the perp opened the door. She had to have been watching the guy before he made his move.

Comments are closed.