American Patriots Unsung Magazine Issue 6 - Page 112

ACCESS 112 Trust your gut and any premonition that something’s wrong – your gut, and that little voice you often ignore, normally proves itself true. Standing on a beach while on a vacation, you see the sea drawing away from shore. Combined with the agitation of animals and birds, this could be a signal of a tsunami. A man on a warm day – a person wearing a long coat, jacket, or clothing – might signal a concealed weapon or explosive. Like “defensive driving” in a car, survival assessment and situational awareness requires us to anticipate problems at all times. I am not advocating that people live in a constant state of paranoia. Rational thoughts of self-preservation is not a psychotic break from reality, it’s the reality that “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” The vigilant walk into a restaurant, night club, hotel, or supermarket always looking for things out of the ordinary. Notice the closest exits, items, backpacks, and packages left unattended and the odd behavior of anyone around you that seems off or makes them stand out. Situational awareness notices nervous behavior, profuse sweating, and the over-dressed. Ignore the temptation to fall into the trap that profiling and stereotyping are wrong. It’s perfectly normal to notice the fully clothed person approaching on the beach of scantily clad beachgoers. As a SERE Specialist, I can’t walk through the woods without seeing sources of food, fire, water, and shelter. If I pass a great source of pitch wood or clump of tree lichen early on the trail I always stop to collect a little. Better to have and not need than to need and not have. Later, a thousand feet above the tree line, you might be glad you did. Assess every environment and update that assessment often. A survival or evasion plan of action should begin long before you’re in it. > for your life, fight for it with everything at your disposal including your vehicle. The old adage, “I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six,” applies. A perfect example of situational awareness is parking during a large sporting event. Often you must park blocks away from the stadium. First thoughts are often on betting as close to the event as possible. Going into the stadium, it’s normally light outside and people are focused on getting in before things get started. As you leave an event it may be dark and fans can be moody or rowdy based on the outcome. More often than not, fans exiting an event are liquored up, intoxicated, and even belligerent. That spot you parked in before the game to save a few precious steps now, in hindsight, may have been a bad idea. Situational awareness and preemptive assessment looks for street lighting, open public spaces, and plenty of exits should things go sideways. That seemingly nice alley in daylight now dark can be a choke point and invitation to robbery and attack. Those six P’s of survival should never be far from your mind: Prior- Preparation-Prevents-Piss-Poor-Performance. > Your situational awareness and attention to detail is of little value if you fail to adjust. Driving down the freeway you see a truck in front of you with a precarious load. You can follow behind thinking the guy’s an idiot for not properly securing the load or you can change lanes and pass to make sure you’re not the victim of his stupidity. Seating, your position in line, your location on the trail, or even your place in an elevator should be assessed and adjusted as situations dictate. Exits, lighting, means of cover or concealment, and even angles for closing ground between you and an aggressor may warrant an adjustment to be less vulnerable. Sometimes the adjustment is attitude, other times the adjustment is physical, but don’t become paralyzed by things unfolding before you. During some rioting and protest marches I watched people sitting in their cars surrounded by an angry mob. Even as protestors began breaking their windows and pulling drivers from their cars I saw others sitting frozen, as if awaiting their turn. Your responsibility is for yourself and family. Self-preservation and the security of yourself, family, and others should demand action in you. If you fear 113 ADJUST