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Situational Awareness (What Would You Do)

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by Good Ol' Boy, Oct 14, 2022.

  1. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    I'm starting this partially in response to Jeff's thread. Also to show that I'm not in condition red all the time.

    So this morning I'm at a country gas station as I live in the sticks, its maybe 630am, not pitch black but pretty dark. I'm filling my car up when I notice a middle aged guy pushing a wheelchair with older guy in it maybe 100ft away coming off of a main backroad. Closest house had to be at least a couple miles away. You have to understand how not normal this is for this gas station. I fuel up here regularly.

    I go back to watching my inflation, I mean pump. A couple seconds later I realize they're making a straight line towards me so I focus on them. The guy in the chair had a blanket over his legs/mid section. I'm acting normal but alert and ready.

    They stroll up and ask for money. I look them dead in the eye and politely tell them I don't have anything. They move on to the two other cars filling up.

    What was most interesting was watching the other patrons. One was completely oblivious initially and once he did realize what was going on he just tried to ignore them and wouldn't even look at them. The other patron basically did what I did.

    Point being, these days nothing is off the table. Guy in the chair could've had a Uzi under the blanket for all I know. Guy pushing the chair could've been armed. It was a very odd and not normal situation for a place that I frequent.

    But you shouldn't, and I don't, go through life on code red with everyone you come in contact with. Be aware, be alert and be ready, but be civil.
     
  2. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    Twice at walmart someone asked me if i had a few bucks for gas. One guy was awful nervous. I told him no. I use plastic. And said pull up your car and i'll put few gallons in it. He walked to the next customer. So probably looking for drug money. And other time 2 black guys asked me for 5 bucks when i was coming out of the store. Their story was. His buddy just got of jail. And they ran out of gas. Don't know why they felt i needed to know about the jail part. Same thing i told them get your gas can and i'll put gas in it. That was the end of that. I don't have a problem helping someone who really needs help.
     
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  3. film495

    film495 Member

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    There's usually a look people have, when they are up to serious no good - and know it, and trying as hard as possible to look normal, which they don't. If I don't see a weapon, or anyone with this sort of trying too hard to look normal appearance, all clear.
     
  4. DukeConnor

    DukeConnor Member

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    First thing I do is look at their hands. If I feel they are shaky I offer to dial 911 to get them assistance. They usually decline.
     
  5. starnbar

    starnbar Member

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    I live in a small burg and most people know each other or someone knows who they are I hit the burger king up the road a couple times a week for coffee and lately we have had several around the place I wouldn't call em bums they act like tweekers. they all ways want acouple dollars for a burger my come on inside i will buy you a happy meal they usually are on their when I say come on inside
     
  6. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    I am not as nice as you and I would not let them approach to "danger close" if they were observed.

    And I am VERY alert when in or out of my vehicle or house.

    Retired cop here,so I expect the worst = and am THRILLED at those moments when its not a thing.

    Note,I am quick to pass along a buck or grab the grocery bill or restaurant bill of those in obvious need.

    So being a natural curmudgeon it is not easy to judge who gets my help ------- and who does not.

    But no way am I helping the "entitled" of this nation.
     
  7. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    I would have handled the situation exactly like you did. IMO, we’ll all be tested with way more beggars in the near future. I hope I’m wrong but our corrupt world leaders are trying for a system collapse or WWIII. No matter what though, everyone is poorer now than two years ago.
     
  8. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    Only thing I would have done differently was had my hand on my pocket carry. The eye contact is crucial.
     
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  9. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's stay on topic and not drift the thread into a discussion of world affairs which will result in it being closed.
     
  10. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    Me either.

    You see an unknown contact approaching. At some distance that you determine based on the physical environment and your spidey sense you hold up your open hand and say/yell: "Stop! I ain't got nuttin' for ya!"

    The command to "Stop" forces the approaching unknown contact to signal their intent. If they continue to approach, then whatever they have in mind for you probably isn't good. If they are simply panhandlers, or a citizen who wants to ask a legitimate question, they will stop or turn away.

    Getting an unknown contact to tip their hand while you still have time and distance to effectively respond is critical to implementing an effective response.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2022
  11. Jeff62

    Jeff62 Member

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    I’m in agreement with Good Ol Boy. In my twelfth lustrum I crave civility, decency and all that goes with it. However, the other eleven taught me the necessity of watching for the bad ones and how best to deal with them.
    Living in “condition red” is impossible. I’m pretty comfortable with varying shades of amarillo. Civility doesn’t get squeezed out in that processing.
     
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  12. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    This is what I have done in the past. I have told people to stop, while simultaneously placing my hand in my pocket, which coincidentally contains my pocket carry. I have never had anyone continue to approach.
     
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  13. shafter

    shafter Member

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    What happens if they continue to approach but don't make any other apparent threats? What if they have a hand in their pocket and keep approaching?
     
  14. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    If I have a little to spare, I'll usually spot them a couple bucks. I always figure if they're begging and I've got some to give, that's keeping them from stealing it from folks who don't have any to give. I've had a couple that really stuck with me though, and learned from both.

    One caught me completely off guard and nearly got ugly quick. My son was still small enough to ride in the shopping cart seat. I was loading bags in the Jeep and a guy walked up and got between me and the kid. He wasn't there, then he was. Asked for money. I became terrified and enraged at the same time, instantly...but overcame the instinct to try to smash his face through the side glass. Gave him $10 and told him to remember me, and to never approach me again. Lesson, He was between me and the kid. My gun was useless and if the beggar was armed, I was screwed. Kid goes in the vehicle first, but the keys stay in my pocket.

    The other time, at a gas station, I saw the person coming. I had just left work and my work shirts have my name on them. Guy gets about 10 feet away, calls me by name. Dressed fairly well and clean, so I thought it was a sales person. He's asking for money. His card got declined at the pump and inside, needs $10 to get home. Could a been the truth. Sorry, but calling me by name like we know each other ruins any chance you had. Lesson...not everyone that's begging for money looks like a crackhead.
     
  15. Night Rider

    Night Rider Member

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    It would be helpful if you defined "condition red".

    I posted a video here several months ago of Jeff Cooper himself explaining "The Cooper Color Code."

    He described it as

    White: Unaware. Not even a thought that you may have to defend yourself.

    Yellow: General awareness that the world is not necessarily a safe place and you may have cause to defend yourself today.

    Cooper then went on to state very specifically that you can live in "Condition Yellow" for the rest of your life.

    Orange: Specific cause for concern. As Cooper put it "I may have cause to defend myself against that specific person today.

    Red: Definite threat. The threat is engaging you specifically and you're making If/Then decisions. " If the threat crosses this line Then I'm going to draw". Right up to " If the threat crosses this line Then I'm going to shoot.

    Black: I don't know if I ever heard Cooper say "Condition Black" in his video. But that's when all other options have been exhausted and you are engaging with deadly force.

    If we use Cooper's definition (and we should because he's the guy that came up with the Cooper color system) then you're viewing everyone around you is a definite threat and deciding whether or not you're going to shoot them.

    I don't wander around like that either I would hope the very few people do
     
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  16. Night Rider

    Night Rider Member

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    This is one of those write a book or say nothing kind of topics.

    The first thing I'm going to say is that I worked around street people for a long time and my radar is kind of dialed into that. I generally pick up on them before they're a threat.

    The second thing is I seem to have a very unapproachable demeanor, people don't go out of their way to interact with me. So, when somebody is going out of their way to interact with me it triggers alarms.

    The third thing is as long as they're leaving me alone I don't care about their interaction with you. That's none of my business.

    So going by Cooper's definitions, I absolutely am aware that the world is not a safe place and I'm also aware that I may have to defend myself on any given day.

    Covid changed the world. It also changed social mores. Social distancing is a thing and I think it always will be. People don't approach random strangers anymore and start conversations.

    If somebody is trying to approach you, that's outside the bounds of normal behavior in 2022 and it should be on your radar.

    If somebody is acting outside the bounds of normal behavior and you should be sliding into condition Orange which according to Jeff Cooper is a specific cause for concern.

    What I found to work very well when I see somebody who is this specific cause for concerned me is I just square up on them. I turn to face them directly, hold up my hand and say "I got nothing for you."

    If the person is just trying to put the bum on me that usually works. They've got nothing to gain by trying to talk me into giving them money and and they usually just move on to the next easier mark.
     
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  17. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    My new preferred response to anyone approaching me with the obvious intent to solicit financial assistance is to say "Sorry, I don't have any work for you right now." Seems to get the point across that I don't give money away for nothing. Haven't had anyone get aggressive yet, and haven't felt yet that I've been targeted for anything more sinister. Most people who see me in public take me for a current or ex-cop, anyway (and I am the latter.)
     
  18. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    Too many variables to answer. Are they acting in such a way that I feel they intend to do harm? Am I in fear of immediate threat to my life? Am I able to retreat to safety? I think those answers would help determine my next move.

    I do think if you tell someone to stop, and they keep coming, that is a red flag you better be paying attention to.
     
  19. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    For those who listen, I think our brain gives us subconscious clues on when we should up our readiness condition. That certainly improves with training and conditioning. There are plenty of times every day you do something without even realizing that you are processing a visual or audio cue. That same “intuition” exists for danger, but as @Good Ol' Boy noted with the other gas station patrons, most people seem blithely unaware that the signals are even there.

    There are definitely times when I catch myself drifting and have to force myself to concentrate on my surroundings. Not to the point of paranoia, but just to remain vigilant and aware of what’s going on around me.
     
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  20. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Random Guy

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    I live in a poor county, and in the poor part of the county. I’ve been asked for cash hundreds of times. It’s a small town so I at least recognize nearly all of them and generally know them to be…. Well, I’ll just go with nonviolent guys, for the most part.

    In general it doesn’t bother me have someone approach me in public. However, there are times and people that just set the radar off. Not always something I can put my finger own, maybe body language, maybe the tone they are using, it’s not always clear but when something doesn’t “feel” right I definitely pay attention though the situation is always different. To date it’s never been anything other than a feeling, thankfully.

    My wife, they don’t need to get within 20’ of her, whether I’m there or not…. I honestly can’t believe she hasn’t pepper sprayed someone yet… she didn’t grow up in an area where you got propositioned for cash twice a week. If she doesn’t know you she really doesn’t respond well to that type of thing.
     
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  21. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    And what if the guy in the wheelchair has his hands beneath the blanket covering his mid section, as I mentioned in the OP?

    Much like a cop during a routine traffic stop, you can't stand there with your gun in hand because of the possibility of the unknown.

    Which describes being paranormally stuck in condition red.
     
  22. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Among his many quotes, this one by Gen, Mattis may be best for occupying soldiers, not so much in daily life:

    ‘Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.’

     
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  23. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Having that among your papers. or posting it, could led, and has led, to a lt of difficulty--it can be argued that it goes to state of mind.
     
  24. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    It is an amusing quote, but you're right about it not being appropriate for the daily life of non-combatants.
    I'd propose an adaptation for ordinary folk. Something along the line of
    "Be unassuming, be cordial...but have a plan to vacate the immediate area quickly if at all possible "
     
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  25. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    These are important questions, aren't they!

    Each of us has to answer them for our own situations. Fortunately, this isn't too difficult, but it does take some mental effort.

    This process is like driving defensively. For those who went through drivers' ed decades ago, when you drive defensively, you're always looking at the conditions and the drivers around you. Your vision shifts between your mirrors, beside you, and what's ahead. You see stale green lights and red lights far ahead of you. You look at other drivers around you to pick out those who might be engrossed in their cell phones. Or look like they're dozing off. Or who didn't look your direction before pulling into your lane. You ask yourself "If that green Chevy driven by the teenager who is on his phone and didn't look my direction pulls into my lane, how will I respond? Hit the brakes? Is there room too move to the other lane? Should I slow down now a bit to make a possible response easier?" And so on.


    Most of us have routines that we generally slip into. We buy gas at just a handful of stations. We buy food at just a handful of stores. Visit a few restaurants. Generally drive on just a few highways.

    To come up with responses to unknown contacts that work for you, go about your normal routine. But while you do this, don't allow yourself to slip into condition white. Keep your mind active. Be curious. Observe. Think. Ask yourself questions. And evaluate your answers to the questions you ask yourself.

    For example, go to your normal gas station, and drive into the pump that you like to use. Instead of drifting off into condition white, observe which side of your vehicle the fill connection is located on. How close do you park to the pump? Do you leave your driver's door open or close it? Do you lock your door if you close it? Keys in your pocket, or in your hand? Which hand? After you pump your gas, do you go into the store for a soda? Or wash your windshield? Check your oil? Are these answers different when you're alone versus when you have passengers? Etc. Be observant. Notice what you see yourself doing automatically.

    Then ask yourself, "How could I potentially respond if an unknown contact or contacts approached me? For example, I could quickly get back into my vehicle and lock the door. I could walk/shuffle/run in the opposite direction. I could head into the store. I could run around my vehicle to keep it between me and the unknown contact. I could yell for help." Whatever responses you can think up.

    Then evaluate your possible responses. My fill spout is on the driver's side. While I'm pumping gas, I am probably not quick enough to get back in my vehicle before an unknown contact can reach me if he is approaching from the rear of my vehicle. But I might be able to do this if I keep my door open, I see him/them soon enough, I'm parked close enough to the pump, I don't have anything in my hands, and he/they is/are all approaching from the front of my vehicle.

    If I pull up to the pump most distant from the storefront, I'm probably not going to win a race with a bad guy into the store. But I might cross the finish line first if I'm using the pump closest to the front door.

    Then think about what you would do if you see two or more unknowns. What changes if both approach from the front? From the rear? What do I do it one comes from the front and another from the rear?

    And so on. You get the idea. Do this for all your routine activities and locations. And then apply your conclusions to the places and situations you find yourself in less frequently.


    Bottom line, if you have 1) observed beforehand what you do,

    2) thought about how unknown contacts might approach you,

    3) and have evaluated your possible responses beforehand,

    then your responses will likely be quicker, and more effective. If you don't, and you try to wing it in the moment, your chances of success go way down.


    And just like learning to drive defensively, evaluating your routines and possible responses becomes virtually effortless after a while.
     
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