Author’s Preface Post 7

Discipline and The Rules of Engagement: What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Force

(14) Defensive Force May Follow Threats to Use Force

When Eddie Motley waded in, he shifted the neighborhood brawl into Circle Number 4, where the Rules of Engagement are most definitely codified.  Eddie had witnessed an unlawful attack.  Three people on the ground being kicked and stomped is criminal assault.  Whether or not he heard the young attacker’s threat to blow Gina’s brains out is not pertinent. The situation for the mother and her sons was already potentially lethal.  The attack was on-going, and there was no time to call the police.

There is an expression for this moment in your life.  It roughly translates as “aw, shucks!”  It comes when you yourself and all by yourself have to take on a deadly threat.  Motley played by all the new Rules that entered the fight with him.  The rules governing a lethal fight have been song, legend, and legal code for so long Eddie Motley himself would just have to say he did what he did and he would do it again.[1]


[General] Rules of Engagement in the Use of Lethal Force

1—Be sure you are the defender.  Be sure you have really been threatened.  Know your alternatives. Nobody can make you run, but do you have a way out?  You own the ground or the floor under you, wherever you are, but can you get out of this by getting to someplace else that is safer?  You have to know this for yourself because you are getting ready to trade your life for somebody else’s.  You are the one who has to know that your attacker left you with no other way out.

2—If you are defending someone else, all of the above Rule 1 applies.  Defending someone else will not make you feel any better about yourself if you violate Rule 1.  The only difference defending someone else makes is that you have no option to leave if you cannot take them with you.  And Rule 3 keeps you from leaving them.

3 – Human beings will defend each other as if the other person’s life was their own.

4 – If you are sure death or serious injury is at stake and you have to fight and you cannot wait for reinforcements and you have both the means and the skill to try less than lethal force to stop your attackers, try it.

5—If you are sure death or serious injury is at stake and you do not have the time, the means, or the skill to use less than lethal force, use lethal force to stop the attack.


         In song, story and legend, the four Circles would be enough.  But, oh, no.  The Rules in Concord changed again and again as Individuals with Authority entered the picture.


[1] Neima Abdulahi. March 23, 2015. Concord man strikes teen with metal bat, speaks out.  Accessed Mar 26, 2015 at by FF .

Author’s Preface Post 2

Discipline and The Rules of Engagement: What Every Parent Needs to Know about the Use of Force

  1. Escalation Means the Problems Multiply as Individuals and Groups Wade In

In ten days, a neighborhood fight among three middle school age teenagers escalated to “war.” Undoubtedly more ink will be spilled, news footage shot, and virtual opinion be expressed freely, as more individuals and groups are drawn into the fray.

Monica Bailey has “since retained the help of local civil rights activist John Barnett”[1] and Gina Herring has pulled her children out of school because of threats. Several of her friends have opened a account for Gina Herring and for Eddie Motley to cover their legal expenses. And Gina’s moving costs.[2]

Because we are all human, both mothers, Gina and Monica will be treated with ginger respect for the most part. Because we are human, Eddie Motley will get the raw end of the deal. Because we are human, everyone who can will turn away from the story. Because this is North Carolina, 2015, the story will move swiftly out of sight, relegated to the grinding court system and Facebook threats.

  1. But Suppose This Was a Day in Your Life?

But suppose these boys were yours? Suppose you were their mother, or their father. Suppose your brother were Eddie Motley? Suppose Eddie was your father or your grandfather? Suppose all these people were your cousins? Suppose Gina Herring was your co-worker or your colleague? Suppose Monica Bailey went to your church and Gina Herring taught your children in Sunday School?

Suppose everyone wanted to do whatever had been in the best interests of the middle school students whose behavior set off this neighborhood kid stomping?   No child’s life is improved when their neighborhood fight becomes their parent’s fight.

What would you do to extricate your own family and friends from a similar experience?


[1] Neima Abdulahi. March 23, 2015.  Concord man strikes teen with metal bat, speaks out.  Accessed Mar 26, 2015  at by FF.

[2] Colin Flaherty. March 26, 2015. The Old Man and the Sea of Black Mob Violence.  Accessed March 26, 2015 at…#ixzz3VUuKq1MJ by FF .