Situational Awareness

You can’t kill what you can’t see…

The advent of the smartphone has blessed the masses with computing power greater than that of many of the first spacecraft, and has significantly changed the human landscape in America. While it’s given us access to more information than any civilization previous, we have collectively taken the fire of Prometheus and relegated ourselves to roasting marshmallows. I digress. One of the side effects of perpetual phone usage is an alarming lack of self-preservation and situational awareness among many people. This is not rocket science, people. Fatigue, weather conditions and time of day all factor into the equation, but as the video below shows, often muggings, robberies, and assaults can be difficult to schedule at your convenience. Be aware of your surroundings, know what ‘normal’ looks like where you work, where you live and where you frequent. Be able to see things out of place, strange vehicles, someone loitering, people paying too much attention to you or purposefully not looking at you. Who are they? Fighting age male? Visible tattoos? What kind, service branch, possible gang related, biker, douchebag frat ink? How are they dressed? Baggy clothing that can hide things? Are there bulges anywhere, is anything printing around the waist or back? Footwear?  What are the hands doing?  Are they visible, twitchy, absentmindedly touching a spot on his clothing?

I am no III ninja warrior, but I make a conscious effort to notice as much as I can. Make a game out of it and eventually you start developing an unconscious habit of noticing things. The Woman and I make a habit out of making stories up for people at restaurants. How did they meet, what are they talking about, stupid things like that. It makes both of us look around, notice the diners, who is upset, who is not, who is acting strange, what they look like, where they are sitting and what kind of people you are around. I make a point when I walk in anywhere, as a mental exercise, to pick the one person that is the most dangerous to me. Who is the most physically capable, or potentially armed, and where are they? I doubt if I am right most of the time, but it forces my brain to engage and actually scan the room for threats. After awhile I began doing it automatically. It only takes a second, and you don’t need to have the Jeb Bush ‘dohhhhhhh’ face while you do it. Notice where the entrances and exits are. Do yourself a favor and don’t sit with your back to it. Start being an active participant in life and don’t be the clueless knucklehead who figured out too late that burying your head in the sand is not cover nor concealment. So go out there and use your imaginations, if you had to clear that smoke wagon where would you go, what would you do? The few times I have drawn a firearm or had a hand on it, it was inevitably the worst time. On every occasion I was tired, or in a vehicle, or some other less than optimal situation. Bad things happen at the worst time. Again, I make no claim to be awesome, but I’m a little better today than I was yesterday. The one thing I do know is that no one ever became a master by accident. Think! Look! Listen!



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