I recently finished reading a book called Blink by Malcom Gladwell. It explores several ideas behind rapid cognition (or "thin slicing" in Psychology), which is the idea that the human brain can take in a person, situation, song, or THR post and arrive at a set of conclusions about it in approximately two seconds. These conclusions can be right or wrong, and for most people in most cases go unrecognized by the conscious mind; when it's working right though, you might know what's going to happen in the next couple seconds, but you don't know how you know. The book is largely focused on medical and LE events, to include conditioning against the effects of adrenaline dump, and the author interviews Col. Grossman among others for those who may be interested. While most people never notice or think about the idea of rapid cognition, and some get to the point of knowing but not being able to discern how, for people who have more experience and repetition observing and reacting to a series of similar situations, they can often, over time, identify specific signs of impending behavior. From my own personal experience, I recall walking back from lunch with a 15-year state highway LEO in NC a few years ago. A car was fast approaching an intersection where the crossroads were largely shrouded by trees. The car, a late model Mustang, was going to blow his stop sign. About 1.5 seconds before he got T-Boned, the LEO I was with looked up. "MVC!" The acronym (motor vehicle collision), no sooner escaped his lips than we heard the crunch. While we could tell the car was going to run a stop sign, we couldn't see if there was cross traffic due to vegetation lining the road. No one was injured, and when the local authorities showed up, we walked on. The first time I asked him how he knew that, he looked at me and said that he just knew. After asking him to think about it, he zeroed in on what he'd noticed: The head of the driver snapped to the right 1-2 seconds before the collision for a cursory check and it never snapped back to front. Additionally, the driver of the offending car, out of a natural reaction pulled the wheel slightly away from the oncoming car. Keep in mind we were almost a block away, and that the car was going about 40 mph. My friend took less than a half second to see this, process it, and verbalize it. Another example, from the book: A young hoodlum in a major city is running from the cops on foot. He jumps a fence in time to see a cruiser pulling up and two cops getting out. The youth hits the ground, landing on his feet. At the same time, the cops are clearing the doors of their vehicles. The officers see him start reaching for the crotch area of his pants, "as if he was trying to grab something that was falling down his pant leg." The officer interviewed for the book says at this point he starting issuing commands, telling the suspect to stop and telling him not to move. "As I was giving commands, I drew my revolver. When I got about five feet from the guy, he came up with a chrome .25 auto. Then, as soon as his hand reached his center stomach area, he dropped the gun right on the sidewalk." The suspect was taken into custody without incident. Asked why he didn't fire on the suspect, the officer said For the purposes of this thread, let's leave out whether you the audience think he should have shot; from the situation described, there's little doubt he would have been in the right. Instead, I want to focus on how he read and reacted to the situation in a second or two, and ultimately came to the conclusion he did. Again, we're talking about something that took place in maybe 2-3 seconds. My question is this: For those of you who've been in positions where you participated or observed an impending violent encounter, do you recall any of the signs that allowed you to see it coming just before or just as it was starting? I ask with the idea that sharing these experiences might help someone else in the future, and with the idea that if you can't avoid a dangerous situation, a second or two of warning can easily become the defining line between safe/injured or alive/dead. It could even be something minor; a friend of mine with a somewhat shady past always said "if you see a man in public who looks like he's about to cry, something's about to go down."