Try Not to Be Too Surprised

Everything changes. Experience (and Robert Burns) tells us that the plans we make are often thwarted by unexpected events.

Wise persons will take precautions against unpleasant surprises in their immediate and general vicinities. The first level of defence is “situational awareness.”

First and foremost, it needs to be noted that being aware of one’s surroundings and identifying potential threats and dangerous situations is more of a mindset than a hard skill. Because of this, situational awareness … can be exercised by anyone with the will and the discipline to do so.

An important element of the proper mindset is to first recognize that threats exist. Ignorance or denial of a threat — or completely tuning out one’s surroundings while in a public place — makes a person’s chances of quickly recognizing the threat and avoiding it slim to none. This is why apathy, denial and complacency can be (and often are) deadly. A second important element is understanding the need to take responsibility for one’s own security. The resources of any government are finite and the authorities simply cannot be everywhere and cannot stop every criminal action. The same principle applies to private security at businesses or other institutions, like places of worship. Therefore, people need to look out for themselves and their neighbors.

… People typically operate on five distinct levels of awareness. There are many ways to describe these levels (“Cooper’s colors,” for example, which is a system frequently used in law enforcement and military training), but perhaps the most effective way to illustrate the differences between the levels is to compare them to the different degrees of attention we practice while driving. For our purposes here we will refer to the five levels as “tuned out;” “relaxed awareness;” “focused awareness;” “high alert” and “comatose.”

The first level, tuned out, is like when you are driving in a very familiar environment or are engrossed in thought, a daydream, a song on the radio or even by the kids fighting in the backseat. Increasingly, cell phone calls and texting are also causing people to tune out while they drive. Have you ever gotten into the car and arrived somewhere without even really thinking about your drive there? If so, then you’ve experienced being tuned out.

The second level of awareness, relaxed awareness, is like defensive driving. This is a state in which you are relaxed but you are also watching the other cars on the road and are looking well ahead for potential road hazards. If another driver looks like he may not stop at the intersection ahead, you tap your brakes to slow your car in case he does not. Defensive driving does not make you weary, and you can drive this way for a long time if you have the discipline to keep yourself at this level, but it is very easy to slip into tuned-out mode. If you are practicing defensive driving you can still enjoy the trip, look at the scenery and listen to the radio, but you cannot allow yourself to get so engrossed in those distractions that they exclude everything else. You are relaxed and enjoying your drive, but you are still watching for road hazards, maintaining a safe following distance and keeping an eye on the behavior of the drivers around you.

The next level of awareness, focused awareness, is like driving in hazardous road conditions. You need to practice this level of awareness when you are driving on icy or slushy roads — or the roads infested with potholes and erratic drivers that exist in many third-world countries. When you are driving in such an environment, you need to keep two hands on the wheel at all times and have your attention totally focused on the road and the other drivers. You don’t dare take your eyes off the road or let your attention wander. There is no time for cell phone calls or other distractions. The level of concentration required for this type of driving makes it extremely tiring and stressful. A drive that you normally would not think twice about will totally exhaust you under these conditions because it demands your prolonged and total concentration.

The fourth level of awareness is high alert. This is the level that induces an adrenaline rush, a prayer and a gasp for air all at the same time — “Watch out! There’s a deer in the road! Hit the brakes!” This also happens when that car you are watching doesn’t stop at the stop sign and pulls out right in front of you. High alert can be scary, but at this level you are still able to function. You can hit your brakes and keep your car under control. In fact, the adrenalin rush you get at this stage can sometimes even aid your reflexes. But, the human body can tolerate only short periods of high alert before becoming physically and mentally exhausted.

The last level of awareness, comatose, is what happens when you literally freeze at the wheel and cannot respond to stimuli, either because you have fallen asleep, or, at the other end of the spectrum, because you are petrified from panic. _ More at: Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is important, but it is of limited value if you are not prepared to act when circumstances demand it. Most moderns are living in denial and are likely to freeze in the clinch — which may be just as well, since most people have not taken to time to prepare themselves to act quickly and decisively.

When you are walking in public places, keep your mind on your surroundings. Do not focus on that cell phone, music player, or other trivial diversion. Move your eyes from side to side, take advantage of any reflective surfaces to see behind you and around corners, and anticipate potential surprises from various locations. When moving with a group, try to maintain a “moving perimeter,” with each person responsible for watching a particular direction.

Fighting men are often trained to quickly identify multiple ways of eliminating potential threats as they arise. For example, if that large gentleman approaching from the left were to suddenly move to confront you, what would you do? Would you have identified his companions slipping to either side and behind you in time to act?

Most dangerous situations are best avoided, if possible. If it is not possible to run or reach a defensible location quickly, how many ways can you call for help, create a diversion, or apply deadly or disabling force against the main attack?

Home invasion is becoming much more common in both urban and semi-urban locations. How easy is it for invaders to breach your home defences? Can you quckly move everyone into your household to a defensible location? Do you have a quick rally point and escape plan? Can you shoot your way through a small gang of armed intruders?

Even among modern survivalists, most of the ideas being thrown about in forums and discussion groups are malformed caricatures of bad TV and movie plots. Most of the “survival compounds and retreats” described in the forums would fall quickly to an armed, trained, and determined attack force of squad strength.

In a time of mass anarchy or impending mass anarchy, similar-minded families and groups must learn to act together, if possible, pooling their resources to defend the group. It is important to have planned ahead in terms of training, weapons, tactics and defensible locations. The grand strategy is to survive intact while reducing the size and strength of enemy forces, to improve the chances of reaching a time of relative peace and order on the other side.

Most modern persons of the aware variety will be oriented more toward defence than attack. It is important to understand that limited tactics of attack are often necessary when mounting an effective defence.

More on military topics

Most governments of western countries are creating conditions of increasing danger for ordinary citizens. This is happening because of bad policies, which encourage lawlessness on the part of less productive and more violence-prone groups, and limit the ability of productive and lawful citizens to defend themselves from unwarranted attacks.

Whatever cannot go on indefinitely, will not.

It is never too late to have a dangerous childhood.

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