Tag Archives: situational awareness


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 situational awarenesstraining 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.

Situational-Awareness1. 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.

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Farnam Quip “New Scam”

13 Sept 10

New scam, from a female friend and student:

“Last Saturday afternoon, I pulled into the parking lot at our local Walmart. As I put my car in park, I looked to my left to see that someone had rushed up to my car and was pounding frantically, with both fists, on my driver’s-side window, which was rolled all the way up.

It took me a second or two for me to understand what was happening. The one doing all the pounding was a brown-eyed, five-year-old girl, so short that she was looking up at me as I sat in my car! An adult male, standing right behind her, was actually pushing her up against my car. As he forcibly jammed her into my door, he was ordering her, in a loud voice, to hit my window. In addition, she was repeating a line the man behind her was instructing her to say.

I then noticed that she was holding an open box of ‘weathered’ candy bars, also jammed against my window, and was whimpering, in broken English, that I needed to buy a candy bar, in order to ‘help pay my bill.’

I foolishly opened my window a crack, and, before I could say anything, the man said, also in broken English, that they needed money to ‘send the girl to school.’ He then demanded that I roll the window down the rest of the way.

I became incensed at this disgusting scam, and, in perfect English, yelled at him to get out of my face! I put my car in drive and slowly rolled forward. The man and the girl moved away quickly.

In retrospect, I did not handle the situation well. I need to realize that there are some people who are sick and desperate enough to place innocent children in harm’s way while committing crimes! I should have disengaged immediately, pulling away slowly while ordering them both to get away, without ever opening the window, even a crack.

I immediately reported the incident to Wal-Mart management, and gave them a detailed description of the man and little girl. I also suggested they call the police. I was assured (amid yawns) that they would ‘look into it.’

We really are ‘on our own!’

I feel sorry for desperate people, but I’m ready to carry a gun now! I
didn’t think I’d ever say that. I was stupid and naive. Not any more!”

My Instructor’s reply:

“… ‘feelings’ could not be more irrelevant! What is important is anechoic mindset, perception that is (1) accurate, (2) sharp, and (3)  emotionless, correct responses (well trained-in and ready to download instantly), combined with weapons, including guns, always carried, that may be needed to successfully disengage from any threat.

Excess emotion is actually a hindrance. My use of force, even deadly force, is never anything personal. No one has a right to employ criminal violence to victimize me, and, when it happens, my response is, for lack of a more polite term, “conditioned.”

I’m surely happy that you were not harmed, nor was anyone else, this time!

Don’t wait too long to take the next step!”


This is a perfect example of why we need to stay on our toes. I’m not talking about acting like we are “manning our post” 24/7. I’m saying we need to be aware of our surroundings. Are there people in the parking lot? Are they around the cars where I intend to park? Just a basic knowledge of what’s around you is enough to keep you from being taken off guard approximately 80% of the time. Now I didn’t give that a full 100% because if someone wants to surprise you they will find a way. There is evil in the world and we need to not let evil take us by surprise.

This is why I think this quip is so significant. We all run to the store and don’t think much about it because it’s a frequent occurrence. Even if it’s just a quick trip to Walmart that still means we need to keep our heads on a swivel and size up people that come inside our bubble. Complacency is something we can’t afford but is something we all slip into from time to time. The important thing is that we recognize that fact and catch ourselves before we get caught in a bad situation.


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