Situational Awareness- What NOT to Do

There is so much to learn and ultimately master to attain strong Situational Awarenss skills since life won’t give us road signs like the one pictured above. Honing your OODA loop is a vast topic in and of itself. However something I have not seen much of in all my own research and learnings on the topic is what not to do. Here are some things everyone should know to avoid when it comes to smart and effective Situational Awareness.

Don’t Ever Stop Observing your Environment

You should Never let yourself be in condition white. Obviously there may be times where you are in a relaxed condiotn yellow- like a Saturday morning spent in your basement in suburbia. Ideally you should never let yourself slip out of observing your environment – and if you’re outside the layered security of your own home you better stay out of at smartphone and keep your attention on your environment.

Don’t Ignore Something That Stands Out

Once you notice someone that stands out, keep an eye on them. Don’t take the sheeple approach of hoping really hard that the creep on the bus wringing his hands and angrily talking to himself gets off at the next stop – be aware of him. How often have we heard victims talk about “having a bad feeling about someone or something but continuing on anyway”? Listen to your instincts – they are typically cueing your mind.

Don’t Be Too Nice

Never be too nice to anyone. It is perfectly fine to be respectful to everyone, but as soon as someone becomes a threat or distracts you from the task at hand, you don’t have to be nice to them. Guard against people getting into your personal space– typically 10 ft if you can maintain that much distance. Being nice to a Bad Guy won’t stop them from trying to harm you or take advantage of you.

Don’t Panic

If a threatening situation does arise, never panic. Your natural response will be to stay in shock and do nothing or to do something stupid in a futile attempt to resolve the situation. Neither of these are responses that put you in control. What does help you gain control? Breathe and focus on OODA – focusing your mind on trained responses can help you overcome panic. Focused and rational actions can  help you survive when seconds count. It only takes one action to disrupt a bad guys plan to attack you- stay calm and work on disrupting the bad guy’s predicted flow of events by not acting like a victim.

Don’t Jump To Conclusions 

If you are not sure about a situation, leave. Getting involved in a situation you happen upon is ALWAYS a bad idea. Let the paid professionals sort out trouble and keep yourself out of legal and physical trouble. You have no way of knowing if the guy in the suit or the guy who looks like a bum is a police officer when you walk into a physical confrontation between the two. As far as I’m concerned my job is to protect myself and my loved ones and to get home safely to them. That’s all- I’m a private citizen, not a deputy.

Don’t try to Intimidate a Threat

Never try to intimidate an attacker or a potential attacker, by drawing your weapon or by any other means. Brandishing a weapon is a crime and can cost you your 2A rights. Why risk it? Also the second you point a gun at someone you have now made yourself the threat- you may get shot by another concealed carrier because you waved a gun around. The only reason you should draw your weapon is if you fear for your life – facing an imminent threat.

 Intimidation is not a defensive tactic- and these days you’re not doing the 2A any favors by being a gun-toting tough guy.

4 thoughts on “Situational Awareness- What NOT to Do

  1. mysticalraven

    Great post! After having traveled the NYC subways for 35 years, at all hours of the day and night, in all areas (good, bad and very bad), I learned these lessons early in life. They saved me from tremendous danger several times over the years and always kept me safe. In “gun-hating” NYC I wasn’t able to carry a concealed firearm (as I do today) but I always had some form of weapon on me and learned how to use many common, seemingly innocuous items found in the immediate environment as effective weapons.


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