Put your phone down and increase your situational awareness.
Constant situational awareness is an exhausting habit but very necessary none the less. In the recent years, as everyone else, I have seen a rise in targeted violence against our law enforcement officers and even randomly targeted Individuals. It truly breaks my heart when I hear about one of our brothers in blue being ambushed and murdered but being one to learn from my mistakes I can’t help wonder that had they been more situationally aware would the outcome of being different.
In the Marine Corps I was taught something called the cycle of an Infantryman, specifically on patrol, and it has stuck with me even outside the military. It goes something like this, scan near, scan far, locate the Marine in front of you, locate the Marine behind you. The point is to be constantly scanning your surroundings and processing possible threats.
The key here is constant scanning and assessing. while there are other things you can ultimately do to improve your survivability like carrying and training with a weapon, picking the best place to sit in a restaurant, and being proficient in first aid, being aware of what’s going on around you is easily the most important in my opinion. One key indicator is something called an atmospheric shift. This is any time you notice a change in behavior when a specific event takes place or someone new enters the room. An example of this is if you were in a classroom and someone important walks in everyone stops talking. You can gather from the change in behavior that the person that entered is someone of importance or authority.
Another term I want you all to be familiar with is proxemic push, which is when a person or group comes into an area and drives the movement of individuals that were already in the area away from them. Usually this is a sign that the people who entered isn’t popular in that area, or could even be a dangerous person. Imagine if you were at a community park with your children and a group of gang members were to enter. This would likely push the families to another area of the park if not to leave the park altogether. The reverse effect of this is a proxemic pull that shows individuals being drawn to or having a comfort with a person entering an area.
Being able to understand and apply a few of these things both at work and in your off time will greatly decrease your chances of being caught off guard. Constantly be on your toes and do your best to assess potential threats and run through a quick deconfliction plan in your head. Your brain is your greatest weapon so use it to its full attention. Be on the lookout for anomalies in the baseline around you. With practice you can begin to pickup on keys and foresee situations before they occur.
*Photo courtesy of Fox News