Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bikers, Police Protection, and Your Security

I went to a Panda Express the other day. My daughter really loves their food and wanted to go. As my wife and I were in line my daughter and son went to sit down. I wanted them to sit on a side of the table that would position their backs to the door. I wanted to sit facing the door. They didn’t hear and so while they were getting drinks I sat in their seat. My daughter was wondering why I took her seat. I told her I wanted to see the door. I had done this many times but I guess this time it was obvious that I wanted a particular seat. I told her I wanted to face the door. She asked why. So I discreetly told her “You want the person who’s armed to have a clear view of the doors and the room.” My daughter is young but not unacquainted with her Father’s quirks. She understood even though she made a face…
By now, you’ve probably heard about the biker gang fight and shootout that happened in Waco, Texas Sunday night. An argument in the bathroom turned into a brawl, which turned into a knife fight, which turned into a gun fight that has left 9 dead, so far, and 18 hospitalized, almost 200 in jail, and more than 100 “weapons” confiscated so far.
One of the crazy things is that there was more than a dozen uniformed law enforcement on the scene BEFORE the fight happened. The bikers just didn’t care.
A few days ago, if I would have told you that it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open for random shootouts between rival biker gangs, you might have thought I was crazy. And, to keep things in perspective, they’re incredibly rare. So are shootouts between rival drug gangs. So are riots after national championships. So are Islamic extremist shootings and bombings. So are riots after shootings and verdicts like Furguson and Baltimore. But what you need to remember is, if you find yourself in one of these situations, or something similar, the odds don’t matter anymore…because for you, the odds are 100%.
Situational awareness these days is not just for us nuts. It’s something everyone, husbands, wives, children, EVERYONE should practice.
(See Blogs Developing Situational Awareness Parts 1, 2, 3/4/2015 & 3 on 3/6/2015)
Staying ahead of possibilities is imperative. It could save your life or the lives of those you love. There is nothing wrong with leaving a restaurant, or an area, or a park, or a store, if you have a bad feeling about an individual or situation. Don’t hesitate. The worst that can happen is that you leave someplace before you intended to. The problem with being armed is you must access situations and remember that a riot or a group of scared people are a different kind of threat. Presenting your firearm because 10 people are running toward you is really not the appropriate response unless they have weapons and there is a clear and present danger. Responding to a mob is different to responding to a credible threat.
“Be aware of possible protected areas en route, such as secure business compounds.
If you are faced with a major civil disturbance or riot:
Avoid high-traffic city areas. Avoid major roads, city center parks, squares, and other high-traffic areas that are likely to attract rioters. If possible, move on less-traveled side streets to avoid crowds.
Stay calm and keep your emotions in check. Riots coincide with intense emotions that boil to the surface, but if you want to survive one you would be better off keeping your own emotions in check. In the heat of the moment, your adrenaline and survival instincts will kick in, but try to think rationally and pursue safety in a methodical manner.
Avoid confrontation. Keep your head up and on a swivel, while at the same time looking for safe exit.
Stay on the sidelines. If you’re caught up in a riot, don’t take sides. Try to look as inconspicuous as possible, and slowly and carefully move to the outside of the mob. Stay close to walls or other protective barriers if possible but try to avoid bottlenecks. These are areas where the crowd can be squashed into a tight place, such as tunnels, pillars, high fences and walls that go on for a long distance.
Walk. Don’t run. Don’t stop. If you run or go too quickly, you might attract unwanted attention.
Don’t fight the flow. Riots are intense, with mob mentality causing normally peaceful people to abandon rational behavior. If you find yourself in the midst of an aggressive crowd, it could be hazardous to move against the flow, so go with it and slowly and cautiously move to the outside of the mob until it is possible to extract yourself by moving into a side street, or doorway.
Get inside and stay there. Typically riots happen in the streets, or somewhere outside. Being inside, especially in a large and sturdy structure, can be good protection to wait it out.
Keep your doors and windows locked. Don’t watch the riot from windows or porches. Move to inside rooms, where the danger of being hit by stones, bullets, or other is minimized. Try to find at least two possible exits in case you need to evacuate the building in a hurry.
If you’re caught up in a car, stay calm. Remain inside the car unless your car becomes a focus for the riot, in which case it risks being torched, smashed or rolled over. Calmly and swiftly leave it behind and get to safety if that happens. If people seem to block your escape route; honk your horn, and carefully drive through or around them at a moderate speed, and they should get out of the way. Try not to stop. Driving towards police lines can be interpreted by the police as a preparation to use the car as a weapon against them. DON’T DO IT.
Move away from the riot. The more time you spend in the midst of a riot, the greater your chance of being injured or killed. That said, in most circumstances it’s better to move out of a riot slowly. It can also be dangerous to move against a crowd, so go with the flow until you are able to escape into a doorway or up a side street or alley. Think of crowd movement like currents in the ocean. In a large riot, the crowd in the middle will be moving faster than the people on the perimeters. As such, if you find yourself in the middle, you should not try to move in a different direction, but follow the flow and slowly make your way to the outside. This requires patience in order to work properly.
Watch your footing in a mob situation. If you stumble and fall to the ground you’re likely to be trampled. This is especially dangerous in stadiums and other enclosed areas, where many unfortunate victims have been crushed to death. If you fall down, pull yourself up into a ball. Protect your face, ears and internal organs. In this position you are a smaller object that can be avoided. You will receive less damage if you are stepped on. If others trip on you they will help create a larger “pile” that rioters will avoid.”
This last information is from an article on this Blog titled: Riot Security and Safety 4/29/2015.
“Have a Plan of Action Based on What You Observe
You visit your favorite coffee shop and a bad guy with a gun decides to drop in as well. But because you’ve followed the principles above, you’re the first to see him as a threat. Great. But what are you going to do about it? Seconds matter here. You don’t have time to formulate a well-thought-out plan. What’s more, the stress of the event will muddle your thinking and decision-making.
In addition to asking yourself the baseline and anomaly questions every time you enter an environment, ask yourself a third question: “What would I do if I saw an anomaly?” In other words, come up with an action plan.
So let’s go back to the coffee shop example. Let’s say the anomaly for which you want to create an action plan is “guy comes in with a gun.” The best course of action in this scenario depends on a few things. And knowing what those few things are requires you to be situationally aware. If the robber came in from the front door and you’re near the rear exit, your best action would be to book it out the back door right away. On the other hand, if he entered through the back exit near you, according to the Department of Homeland Security, your best action would be to immediately close the gap between him and you and incapacitate him.
Establish baselines. Look for anomalies. Have a plan. That’s what situational awareness comes down to. This awareness can be used as a preventive tactic. Animals are creatures of opportunity. They’ll typically only attack another creature if they look vulnerable. Lions will go after younger, sicker, or older gazelles because they’re easier to catch. The same goes with humans. Criminals are typically going to go after a person who looks vulnerable, whether the victim is physically weaker or will simply be easy to catch off guard.
Practicing situational awareness goes a long way in keeping you from appearing like an easy target. When you’re out and about, look alert. Get your nose out of your smartphone. When you’re walking back to your car at night, have your keys at the ready and constantly scan your surroundings. The less vulnerable you look, the less likely someone is going to mess with you.
Always carry a tactical flashlight and use it at nighttime. Having a light allows you to better observe in the darkness, but it can also act as a deterrent to would-be bad guys. Because law enforcement officers are usually the only ones shining flashlights down alleys and under cars, if you’re shining your light as you walk to your destination or back to your car, the bad guys are probably going to think you’re a cop and will likely just leave you alone. If worst comes to worst and you do end up getting jumped, you can use the tactical flashlight as a defensive tool by blinding your would-be attacker with the bright beam or even hitting him with the beveled edge that’s often built into the handle.
Situational awareness is a mindset that you have to purposefully cultivate. You want to get to the point that it’s just something you do without having to think about it. To get to that point, you have to practice it regularly. Starting today, consciously remind yourself to look for entry/exit points whenever you enter a new building. Start observing people and establishing baselines and generating possible anomalies while you’re at work, at the gym, or at the mall. And then start coming up with action plans on what you would do in that specific situation if you see a possible threat. Don’t be paranoid, just mindful. Do that day in and day out, and situational awareness won’t be something you have to intentionally think about, just something you do naturally. Keep your head on a swivel, check your six, and keep your back to the wall.”
This is from an article on this Blog titled: Developing Situational Awareness Part 3, 3/6/2015.
I know, it’s a little crazy to quote yourself. Forgive me. I write a lot about this because I am passionate about trying to keep my family and I, and you, safe and secure. You can not depend on the police to keep you secure. You must take your safety and security into your own hands. It's our responsibility to Preside, Provide, and Protect for our families.
I was visiting my brother in another state the other day. He and his good wife took myself and my wife out to dinner. I noticed my brother was fighting me for the “gunfighter” seat. When I asked him about it he told me that working for the police department as long as he had (he works for the city now) taught him to take certain precautions. I like that.
Times have drastically changed from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Even from the 1990’s. Life is more dangerous out there even in this great country. Don’t fall victim to terrorism, crime, or accident. Be aware.
Semper Paratus
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