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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Freedom Award Finalist: "Situational Awareness and Your Personal Protection"

by TripodXL, as originally posted to ModernSurvivalBlog

In having a personal protection plan (and you do have one, whether you’ve thought it out or NOT), before you make a personal protection plan you have to ask the following question… “What is a survivalist?”.

Now this will sound obvious after the question, but if you get up and manage to get bathed, fed and make it to work without dying and get home the same way; if you can get up, find breakfast, make it to school and back without dying, are you a survivalist? Of course, you are. You survived! That is the definition of survivalist in its simplest form. So, in essence, everyone is a survivalist to some degree or other and is differentiated only in the degree of survivalism that we embrace.

This would come as a great surprise and shock to those who would claim to not be “one of THOSE survivalist people”. Survival is one of the strongest elements in our human nature and perception of life around us. Some think it barbaric to address such an issue and others will embrace it. I embrace it. The freedom to survive, the RIGHT to survive is, as far as I’m concerned, a God given right, or if you are so inclined, a natural right.

Anyone that stands between you and your survival implies that they don’t care if you live or die, they don’t care what your quality of life is, and you are of no consequence or meaning to them. It becomes a key philosophical mountain that you must climb and conquer conceptually, to have a basic survival MINDSET, with which to use for you and your family’s survival. If you do not come to a point where you think that you have a right AND an obligation to your family and self to survive, then you will probably not survive, except by luck, and if that’s how you manage to survive, you may not be happy with the outcome.

So, what does a personal protection plan encompass? First, have a plan. A proper plan encompasses situational awareness, physical and mental preparation, and proper equipment and execution (tactics). The equipment is easy. All you have to do is buy it after researching what is best for YOUR situation.
Situational awareness is a mindset of just being aware of what is around you and the dynamic circumstances related to you.

Expertise is also something that you can buy, sort of, but will require practice, whether it is a classic martial art or some other training by either getting DVDs, or books and/or professional instruction. You have to have the discipline to accomplish it.

Mental preparation is also something you can get training on, or read books and listen to CDs/DVDs. It is something that takes place inside your head. Your psyche MUST change to the point that you understand (in advance of needing it) and will do whatever it takes to survive and protect you and yours. It will require getting past the lame, egalitarian, sheeple crap that you are taught in school, from liberal academia and society in general, about not hitting, not fighting back and just being a cooperative little sheeple in general.

Execution, both mental and physical requires practice, practice and more practice. Practice your plan mentally and brainstorm scenarios as well as hone the physical skills needed to have reasonable physical prowess and execute the appropriate skill sets successfully.

The number one part of a Personal Protection Plan and probably the most difficult to achieve is situational awareness (SA)? Simply put it’s your situation and your awareness of it. The best way to deal with trouble is to avoid it in the first place, which is the purpose of SA. No trouble, no problem!
Next time you go to Wally World, perform this exercise. Sit way out in the parking lot for a while and watch how insipidly and inanely people do things. They will walk down the middle of the driving lane, talking on their phone, completely oblivious to the 8 cars they are holding up, right behind them, motors running. Or they will just walk out in front of oncoming cars, pedestrians have the right of way don’t they, and just walk on in complete bliss and oblivion. No one will look around and they won’t look behind themselves to get some idea of what their situation is, day or night! They will mosey on and never look back. How dumb.

Here are two real-life examples of SA or the lack of it.

A young Wally World employee was walking out to her car after work, in the dark, and you can see on the parking lot video as she walks along, oblivious to all around her. In the dark a guy runs up behind her as she nears her car and abducts her in her car and as you can probably imagine she was found dead some days later. I’m not blaming this on her, it is solely the killer’s fault for killing her, but she does bear responsibility for her own well being, or lack thereof.

This next one is personal. My wife calls me one morning from work and asks me to go home at lunch and see if her purse is there. I do and it isn’t, the purse is gone. After hindsight and thought, we came to the conclusion that when she dropped off the baby (you park, run in, throw the baby through the window and sign the paper and leave), someone in an adjacent parking lot watched her at daycare and noted she did not have her purse with her, ran over and took it out of the running car. Wow, how much worse could that have been? Less than two minutes.

Some people are nothing but trash and you accommodate them (by being easy prey) at your own peril. Others are very opportunistic and will stab you in the back, literally. You will have to learn to be steely hard and be aware of subterfuge and cunning when dealing with everyone, even a “defenseless” mother and child. Beware, who’s watching you? That’s scary isn’t it?

Don’t just daydream and walk along…quit it! We all do it but when you make an active personal protection plan, your ways of looking at the world change and your mind changes the way it functions. You develop a cognizance of the world around you.

Some of the things you need to think about or be aware just don’t occur to you because you’re not a criminal by trade. I remember someone said something about having their rural house broken into and they performed some serious security upgrades to the house. The next time the crooks just chopped a hole in the roof! I remember thinking to myself, “why would they mess up the roof that way”? Oh, they’re criminals and don’t care about the mess they leave. To deal with the criminal world around you, you have to think like a criminal.

Also, listen to the “inner you”. The INSTANT a thought goes through your mind that, “that doesn’t look right”, it probably isn’t. You should do a 360, both mentally and physically right then, just stop, spin around and reassess your situation (I don’t mean bust a dance move or behave in a manner that would cause stress to people, just stop, look at your watch, dig in your pockets like you’re looking for something ALL the while looking around you and taking it in).

You should look around and watch people. I never park by the door at the big box stores. I need the exercise and it lets me overlook the parking lot and see who’s watching whom. What looks odd, out of place and not right? Be observant, it is a learned habit. It should become second nature to look for oddities in people’s behavior.

Not to be sexist, but women are taught to be nice and tolerant. They will climb into a locked, soundproof, isolated, metal box (elevator) with someone that gives them second thoughts, but they don’t want to be impolite or rude, even though they get bad vibes they do it anyway. Ladies AND gentlemen, quit it! In the military it’s called “watching your six” (your six o’clock position, directly behind you).

Be aware of what and whom is/are around you, with out fail. If it doesn’t look right, feel right or you’re just not sure, then BREAK OFF THE ENGAGEMENT (be impolite) with the situation so you can back up, observe, consider the facts and reassess the situation.

The key to SA is to stop, look, assess and then act on that information. The better you get at this, the more likely you are to ACT in advance of some event, instead of REACT to it as it occurs. Which do you think is to your advantage?

Remember, the best way to use your Personal Protection Plan is to avoid using it with situational awareness.

Help us determine the best survival-related article of 2011 as written for Safecastle's 2011 Freedom Awards contest. See all the finalists in the article and video categories:


Be informed said...

This is insight, this is something that ties all aspects of making through the terrible times, this is the foundation of what everyone is trying to attempt, to survive through disasters and survive through everyday life. This article is simple yet complex. This article if followed can help almost anyone be better off. Definitely one of the top 3 articles if not the best one. Check out some of TripodXL's other posts on Modern Survival Blog as they to are quite excellent.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciated this article. I have had my own wife walk right past me because she believes it is rude to be looking at people. I have had to train her to put her head on a swivel.

I sent her this article to reinforce the previous conversations I have had with her on the subject.

When we first started dating we would go on walks. She commented on how I never stopped moving my head and eyes. I explained that You never know where someone might be waiting to ambush you.

I learned SA in the Marines but not everyone is fortunate enough to have formal training on it.


Maria Stahl said...

I appreciated the practical examples included in this essay and the general tone, which was informative and did not use a lot of in-speak (and those in-speak terms used were defined).