I read a great article shared by Rob Pincus today. I’ve been thinking a lot about the same things written about and thought I’d expand on them a little.
Events like the Boston Bombing forces us all to reflect on what we’re doing with regards to our own safety. It just so happens that I was in the middle of updating our training program when all of this started. So I had safety issues already rolling around my mind.
The first time I was introduced to Situational Awareness was from one of my Gunnies at boot camp. He didn’t label it a such but I know now what he meant. His lesson simple. He had the platoon sit around him in the barracs. He told us about how he conducted himself at the local bars. He related that the first thing he does upon entering the establishment is locate all the exits. This would give him options if things got out of hand. Better to get out of the crowded room when drunken idiots start a brawl.
Next thing he would do is order a beer. This got some muffled cheers from the other recruits. The Gunny quickly added that he didn’t drink. I know now that since he was in California he wouldn’t be carrying a concealed firearm. He told us that the beer was basically a weapon in disguise.
Once those two things were taken care of he would always sit where he could see both the exits and a wide range of the room. This gave him the ability to see a problem before it started.
There’s a series of valuable self defense lesson to be learned from this story.
1. Realize a couple of things. Humans are failable beings. The other is evil exists. If you disregard either one you will set your self up for a surprise attack.
2. Always have a plan. Whether it’s the movies or the grosery store always enter with an idea of what you would do if something goes wrong. Since the situation will very, so should the plan.
3. Should plan “A” fail always have a backup plan. Whether it’s looking like you are there to drink, when you don’t touch the stuff, just to have an improvised weapon or something else…have that decision made ahead of time.
4. Make the decision to remain aware of what’s going on around you. Whether that means you sit with your back to the wall (taking away everyone’s ability to come around behind you), or making sure you have a wide field of view from where you stop in a store is your decision. The main point to make here is to simply be aware of your suroundings. You will never see every situation coming but you can minimalize the shock of it by being aware of what’s going on around you.
Before the Boston Bombing we had what should have been a happy occasion. People were crossing the finish line. It was a chance to celebrate. Not even the most situationally aware could have foreseen a bomb going off, muchless two. I promise you that there were individuals in the crowd that “had their ears to the ground”. The first to rush to the aid of the injured had to have had these lessons in mind, been aware, and was therefore mentally prepared to rush in if the need should arise.
Take the lessons of the heros of the Boston Bombing and that of the Gunny and be better prepared for the worst. My hopes, however, go with you that you will be prepared and find nothing but peace.