As we go about our daily lives in today’s world we must strive to stay aware of our surroundings as best we can. As we look at Cooper’s Awareness Scale above, we can quickly deduce that most people we see everyday walk around in Condition White. Although it is unrealistic to think that people can continually walk around in Condition Yellow or Orange, we must STRIVE to constantly “sharpen” the knife of Awareness. This rudimentary skill can often ruin a criminals intentions, because predators are ambush animals and often depend on surprise for their plans to work, by staying aware and staying away from stupid places (places you know are not smart to be), you have greatly increased your odds. Tragically, these rudimentary and simple skill’s are often nullified by two things common to all people, some more than others. These two things can affect and offset a person’s mentality to such a degree, most people never recognize them until it is too late. Let us remember the motto: “Preparation not Paranoia in All Things” as we take stock of ourselves.
Human beings are creatures of habit..no way around it, no matter who you are, chances are you have some type of routine. When we look at what routines are, we find that they are often there because of two big reasons: convenience and comfort. Most people take a lot of comfort in their routines, that is why, most people raise hell when somebody tries to change them! The problem with routines is that for the criminal and opportunist they make you an easy mark. Most criminal’s will hatch their schemes around your routine, knowing exactly, when you leave for work, when you get home, etc. The simple solution to this problem is that dreaded word: CHANGE. By changing our routines at least monthly, we can keep the predators guessing and stay one foot ahead of the opportunist. Also when we stay flexible in our routines, we are taking on a very pro-active, not reactive mindset. When we choose to take the action and not react to somebody’s else’s actions, we are giving ourselves the edge in a defensive situation.
Take a look around when in the parking lot at your local supermarket or in your local coffee shop and you will see this really fast; people “self-absorbed” to such a degree in their own lives, they rarely pay attention to anything around them. Just a few examples are: Talking on a cell phone (or using a laptop) in public or arguing with a spouse/friend in public. I want to center in on the cell phone/laptop, as I feel these are the Number One biggest distraction devices in our society today. I can recall at least half a dozen instances in the nation wide news where somebody was either assaulted or murdered while using these devices in public. The reason: They were not paying attention to their surroundings and were self-absorbed in their own lives to such a degree, a stranger was able to either assault or murder them using surprise tactics, without much dispute. Now I am a realist, and I know people cannot stop just using their cell phones or laptops in public, but they can change HOW they use them. Here are a few tips:
- When taking or receiving a call and you are on the road in a vehicle or in transit on foot, if possible, stop, find a place that is safe and gives you good visibility 360 degrees..if possible, putting your back to a wall if you are on foot, if you are in a vehicle, find a place that is safe and out of traffic, ensuring your doors are locked and keep your head on a swivel..never get so bogged down in a conversation you forget your surroundings!!
- If on a laptop in public, try to face the entrances and keep your back to a wall or fixture. This is a great opportunity to practice your “peripheral” vision while looking at the screen, it would also be wise to take the occasional glance up at the door when somebody comes in or sits down, this ensures people know that you are aware of whats going on and not just another lost zombie in a crowd.
I know these are in no way groundbreaking suggestions, but they are HUGE in regards to effecting your ability to be aware of your surroundings and take action. Take some time to consider them and modify your behavior as needed.