Long View Situational Awareness

When people think of situational awareness what primarily comes to mind is thinking in terms of paying attention in the moment.  In this post I want to take a look at another aspect of situational awareness which takes a long view.  When it comes to violent crime happening in your neck of the woods you have to pay attention to the details.  For instance I’ll give you some great questions to answer relating to local news reports of armed robberies.  Now-a-days the press is often biased in what and how they report crime based upon political correctness.  Here’s what I look for when I see a headline regarding crimes occurring in the areas I patronize.  

  1. Where did this crime occur?  

The press will usually disclose a “hundred block” which is plenty of information.  For cities 100,000 plus population there are more efficient ways to identify geographical high crime dangerous areas with gun violence being the acid test for where I don’t want to take my family.  The efficient way is to do some online research to identify where all of the gun related homicides and shootings are happening.  Collateral damage which happens far more in larger cities is the number one reason I don’t want to take my family into those areas.  Once an untrained and unskilled criminal begins sending rounds downrange I have zero control over where his bullets go.   Also those gun crimes do NOT occur in a vacuum.  Where you have gun related homicides, aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated and reckless discharge of a firearm you’re going to have all the other violent crimes.  So just avoid those geographical areas.  

  1. What time did this crime occur?

In many if not most cases it will be after the sun sets until the sun rises. Don’t take my word for it, look for this fact and then modify your behaviors accordingly.  

  1. Was the armed robbery of a business or to persons?

You can treat the answers like principles.  The more principles you can apply the less of a probability that you’ll become the next victim.  Ninety nine percent of violent encounters can be avoided if you apply common sense principles.  These principles are interconnected and they pervade one another.  So if gas stations on a certain side of town are consistently being robbed after dark, guess where I’m not going to get gas after dark!  

  1. Who is doing all of these armed robberies? 

If it’s a male between 15 and 50 then I’m going to be heads up regarding strange male’s 15-50 approaching me and mine especially in high crime dangerous areas during those bad time periods.

This goes to the dangerous man principle taught at Humilitas First.  I have heard instructors say goofy things like:  You cannot look at someone and tell whether they’re a dangerous person.  I would argue that people often make a statement to the world by their manner of dress and comportment.   Someone who puts on leather vests or jackets with all the appropriate patches designating them as a 1% motorcycle club (of the criminal enterprise variety) are making statements to the world in how they dress or adorn themselves that they are dangerous men.  Common sense suggests you ought not start messing with them lest you get seriously hurt or killed.  Isn’t that kind of the point of all the scary names these clubs use?  So If you want to willingly disregard those non-verbal statements because in the past these outlaw clubs have donated to toys for tots, then I cannot help you and yours.  

One argument you might hear coming from a goofy instructor is the Ted Bundy argument.  Ted Bundy was purportedly charming and used ruses to lure in his victims.  Yes, this is true.  That said, we also have to consider probabilities.  Is it more or less probable that a guy who uses comportment and dress to tell the world he’s dangerous is not actually dangerous?  Another argument is that this guy is just a want to be.  My answer to that argument is a question: What does he want to be?  If you dress like a 1% outlaw motorcycle club member or an inner city gang member what vices do you hold in high esteem?  The difference between a want to be and someone who IS what they hold themselves out to be is time, desire, and a few more bad acts.  Give them enough time and desire and they’ll get there.  Maybe you’re the victim and his act against you confirms him in what he’s wanted to be.  

That’s part of how we identify dangerous men.  Another part is based upon their disposition.  Do they have an angry spirit which we can see when they’re screaming, striking things, or arguing with someone.  Perhaps we hear loud profanities or statements like:  I don’t give no “F”.  Why wouldn’t you believe this guy who’s yelling so that everyone can hear that he doesn’t care what comes next?  I’m going to believe him.  Do they have a lawless spirit which we witness primarily through lawless acts?  Does he have a party spirit?  People who are giddy up on drugs or alcohol often lack the ability to make good rational judgments.  These folks are often up one second and down the next.  They are unpredictable and often involved in misunderstandings that lead to anger, lawlessness, and violence.  I’m giving them a wide berth.  Lastly, does this man have an unclean spirit or spirit of madnessThese are terms used in the Old Testament.  Today we might use terms like psychotic.  Folks who appear to be hallucinating or otherwise seriously mentally ill are unpredictable and potentially highly dangerous.  Again, that guy gets a wide berth. 

  1. How many robbers are involved?

Why does this matter?  Singleton armed robbers are more likely to demand your money or material goods and have you hand it over to them.  Why?  They don’t have back up robbers if things start to go sideways.  When you get a pair of armed robbers it could go either way.  Maybe one holds the gun initiating and maintaining the deadly threat while the other robber collects your material goods.  Or maybe the contact robber decides to search your pockets and pats you down for additional goods.  That kind of robbery is a major concern for concealed carry guys and gals.  When it comes to complying with an armed robber or vigorously defending oneself this is a judgment call.  In the United States I’m not aware of any state that requires you to gamble even one one hundredth of a percent with your life or the lives of your family.  When an unjust criminal aggressor initiates and maintains an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm you and I have the right to defend ourselves.  That word “defend” throughout antiquity, now, and forever means: to strike.  It did not and does not mean: to block.  Might there be situations where I would hand over my wallet, phone, and keys?  Yes.  Likewise, there are most definitely situations where I recommend defending oneself with surprise, speed, and violence of action.  If I find myself in a large city where news reports consistently show two, three, or more armed robbery crews working the streets and “searching” or “patting down” their victims that type of armed robbery is the type that I may immediately choose to defend myself.  Why? Personally I don’t want to gamble on what the criminal is going to do when he realizes I have a firearm in my waistline. Maybe he finds it easier to just shoot me and take my firearm rather than himself gambling if I might continue to comply or immediately begin resisting or fighting back.  

Some large cities are constantly in the news even providing CCTV videos of crews of armed robbers.  Part of the way to avoid becoming a victim is to adopt sound principles.  To take the long view means you exercise a kind of situational awareness that has that long view.  Identify high crime dangerous areas to avoid.  Identify time periods that are worse than others and avoid transit during those time periods.  This could change so you have to continue to pay attention to crime trends. Often the change is worse.  How many bad guys are acting to initiate and maintain deadly force threats until they get what they want?  Lastly, if you must transit into or through high crime dangerous areas learn how to be efficient so that you’re not loitering in those areas of vulnerability.  An old pithy saying applies:  Out of sight out of mind.