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Good Situational Awareness , or Overthinking and Paranoia?

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by Waveski, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    Went to church today with family. I initially selected a pew about 1/4 back from the front , which I consider ideal. A helpful usher motioned us towards a front row seat , and we followed his direction. After a short time it occurred to me that , in the unlikely and God forbid case of an attack by church shooter we would have bare minimal cover and very limited options , assuming the shooter were at the front of the church. I am no tactical expert , but I felt that the location was not good.Thinking through a worst case scenario , if (definitely if) I were to return fire I would want to separate myself from my family before doing so , and that would be very difficult if front and center.

    Now , I did not break a sweat , nor did I decide to move to a different pew , but I did decide that I would locate myself and my family in a different part of the church next time we attend.

    Would this thought process as described constitute reasonable situational awareness , or overactive imagination? Practical and reasonable , or whacky?
     
  2. kalielkslayer
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    kalielkslayer Contributing Member

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    IMHO It’s something you should think about regularly and eventually it’ll become instinctive.

    When my wife and I get seated at a restaurant, one of us will say, “I’ve got the door” and sit facing the entrance.
    After 36 years working in a prison, I don’t think I’ll ever not take situational awareness into consideration.
     
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  3. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I sit in the second to the back row, to the right of the entrance. Unless an attacker pies the door after shooting from just outside the door, they will walk in fast, past me, and I will be in an ideal placement to fire, as engaging fire with someone behind your right side (if right handed) slows one down with a 180 turn either way need to directly engage. I should have time for two shots before they react. Beyond that, well, no plan survives first contact.
    To the best of my knowledge I am the only CCW that carries in church, (it is a subject never brought up there) there is one other, who is female, and does not carry on body.

    Yup, it's funny when my Dad and I get together, or my younger son and I, watching us jockey for the obsevational seat. I let Dad take it, my son lets me. The three of us haven't got together since my son got his CCW; that would be downright comical.....
     
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  4. Izzy77

    Izzy77 Member

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    If your house of worship does not have a "security team" it's time to make one.
     
  5. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Its in the eye of the beholder, as well as which words people decide to use. Mrs. Fl-NC has learned to deal with my "quirks".
     
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  6. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Not if your denomination sidesteps the issue, and if brought up, would probably result in me finding another church.
     
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  7. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I'd avoid the "Go to Heaven. Go Directly to Heaven." seats. Let someone else go.
     
  8. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    While doing basic room scanning for safety purposes... make a point of looking to see exactly how many doors you’re really dealing with... You’re well aware of the normal entry points for worshippers but how about the entrance point for your pastor - or the one for the choir? A problem can come through doors that you wouldn’t expect so add them to your areas of concern...

    In a similar vein, if you’re in a theater or auditorium don’t forget to consider fire doors or other security doors that must be opened from the inside... All it takes is a single accomplice to open the door - or an offender who opens a security door to access weapons stashed just outside that door...

    Times have certainly changed... When I was a young man - there was no such thing as an “active shooter”...
     
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  9. Phaedrus/69

    Phaedrus/69 Member

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    I didn't realize you were so old! Murders with guns go back to at least the 1500s, probably before. The first highly publicized "active shooter" event in the US was probably the one in Texas in '66. In just over an hour and a half 15 people were shot to death.
     
  10. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    I was 18 years old when the "Texas Tower" incident occurred.... What I was referring to are incidents where someone decides to kill a bunch of total strangers - for whatever reason. It's the dark side of our supposedly modern world in my opinion.

    And for those who are (or are becoming...) security conscious - here's a sobering exercise. Take a moment and survey the immediate proximity of the land around your house - then try to determine the fighting positions that are available to you just outside your house (places where you have a good field of fire that also provide both some cover and concealment). Cover, of course, is something or a feature of the land that provides protection from incoming rounds... Once you're satisfied that you know where you might have an advantage, however slight, in an attack scenario.... reverse your thinking and consider where an attacker would have an advantage as they approach your "castle"... Think a bit as well about just what features on both the inside and outside of your house that will stop an incoming bullet (and at what level. handgun, shotgun, or rifle...) that recent FBI incident involved a rifle that was fired through a door into folks that would have been better off behind a wall next to the door if what's been reported about it is accurate....

    I'll always maintain that your actual tactics in any confrontation are far more important than whatever you armed with. 99.9% of us will never need to have such considerations in our daily lives - but if the wolf comes to your door having this kind of knowledge might be a life saver (just as where you sit in your house of worship might one day become very important... ). Paranoia - or prudent planning - you decide.
     
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  11. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I think it’s always good to be thinking. My wife knows when we go out to eat that I never sit with my back to the entrance.
     
  12. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    And every part of that door, i.e., hinges, striker, jamb, etc. should be equipped with at least 3" screws. You'd be amazed how flimsy normal construction parts can be, 1/2" screws aren't unusual.
     
  13. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    Why the front 1/4? I prefer the rear 1/4, just saying. I'd rather have crazed gunman march right past me on his way to the Pastor before he started shooting. Are you right or left handed? Can you pivot to shoot where you are seated? Right handed, I would rather sit on the right side, making it less awkward to shoot from the rear doors, to the front of the church.
    No, this stuff goes through my head as well. "What if" scenarios give you solutions when something goes wrong.
     
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  14. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    And this.
     
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  15. George P

    George P Member

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    I solved this issue by not going any longer................;)
     
  16. Phaedrus/69

    Phaedrus/69 Member

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    That's pretty much what the Tower incident was. But IIRC the biggest mass killing by a civilian in the US is still the Bath school bombing in '27 which killed 44 kids. Guy killed his wife at home first IIRC then blew up the school. Of course, McVeigh killed more but I'm not clear on if he acted alone or if that was a coordinated attack. My intention isn't to create an argument but to point out that the impulse to murder isn't new. History is full of acts of mind boggling savagery, and it was probably vastly worst in the past than it is now. What has changed is technology- now one person can easily kill many people, something that was much more difficult in the past. Guns don't cause crime but the advent of guns like the AR, AK, Galil, etc do make it easier. It was much harder to gun down 20 people by yourself when guns were muzzle loading single shots. I'm not sure where you're drawing the line to a "supposedly modern world" but the impulse to kill many seems to be as old as the human species. We have well documented cases of serial killers dating back several centuries (as serial killing was probably easier than mass killing).
     
  17. Armednfree

    Armednfree Member

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    And people don't understand us. They think we are paranoid (and maybe we are a bit) and overattentive. I've been asked many times why I look at everyone who comes in the room or walks near. Why the head on a swivel.

    Then in fact they think us knowing just how evil people can be is some kind of fantasy. They cannot also believe how fast someone can go from calm to deadly. How they hunt and stalk.

    I sometimes tell people if they came to my world they would adapt and become much like me, or flee.......or die.
     
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  18. entropy

    entropy Member

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    YRW.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Land_fire#:~:text=The Happy Land fire was,Bronx in New York City.

    https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/oklahoma-city-bombing

    I won't include 9-11 because that was a group effort in carying out.

    Which is partly why I sit where I do. Plus, there are 'traditional' seats where certain families have sat for generations. SWMBO's family just happens to sit in the back right hand side.

    But there will be no church-wide discussion. It was brought up once at a Diaconate Meeting, the other member with a CCW said it was covered, and it was never spoken of again. This is the member that purse carries. As a deacon, she is often away from her purse during the service. o_O
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
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  19. Phaedrus/69

    Phaedrus/69 Member

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    I forgot the Happy Land fire! Bad one for sure. The article on the OK bombing didn't have a lot of detail and it's been a while now, but I seem to remember some other guys getting sentenced alongside McVeigh. Again, my memory could be faulty there.
     
  20. Waveski

    Waveski Member

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    I should clarify what I said about that in my initial post : When I referenced sitting 1/4 of the way back as ideal I was thinking in purely "go to church" terms. I did not put that in very clear context. 1/4 back from the front is nice for seeing the details of the Mass , hearing the priest , feeling well connected to the goings on.

    I agree that such a location in the church is not ideal for a worst case scenario the likes of which we are discussing here.
    Thanks for pointing that out.
     
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  21. BLACKHAWKNJ

    BLACKHAWKNJ Member

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    Some call it overthinking and paranoia, this Eagle Scout calls it "Being Prepared!" Or scouting the territory. Or being observant.
     
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  22. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    I have practiced situational awareness for well over 40 years.

    And likely did so without realizing it,LONG before I knew the term.

    You need to talk to your church about security.

    And possibly take the bull by the horns if they ask you to assist.

    I never have to call out my position when I go out with others.

    Unless one of the "others" is a armed person who I know practices S.A.,they know I wont sit in a position of neglect.

    Thanks for posting.
     
  23. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Seating position and situational awareness are not the same thing.

    The former may help facilitate the latter, but the two are not synonymous.

    Sitting in "a pew about 1/4 back from the front" would not help at all if someone came in from the entrance and started shooting.

    We have had a lot of discussions here about where to sit in a restaurant. and that's good, but it can lead to a false sense of security.

    Rob Pincus has demonstrated how a person at a lunch table who believes himself extremely alert and aware can be taken out without warning.

    "You need to ask fo ra braille menu and eat without looking at your food".
     
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  24. upptick

    upptick Member

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    I've noticed some churches have police cars parked right in front of the entrance during church services. That would seem like a no-brainer request for your church to make to the local police who are often quite willing to provide an extra squad car, sans the cop of course....
     
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  25. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    In a small town or out in the countryside that will work just fine.... In, or anywhere near a big city... not so much. Too many churches, cathedrals, synagogues, temples, and other places of worship - not enough cops...

    This from a guy who as a sergeant, then a lieutenant had a detail assigned to our local middle and senior high schools (right next to each other at the rear of a large shopping mall... for years... every afternoon when school got out). It was needed to keep those fine children from shooting or cutting each other (true 'dat...as one of my Jamaican guys would say...) we also had sufficient ethnic gangs that we didn't just have gangs set apart by skin color - we had gangs that used the country they came from as their identity in a mixed up world... And yes, it was just another day in paradise - and just one of the reasons that the very first question asked any young officer candidate... was " What languages can you bring us".... All of this was at least 30 years ago - and I doubt it's improved at all... just north of Miami.
     
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