Monday, July 27, 2015

Color Code: Always Stay In Yellow

Each of us lives in different places with different environments. I live outside a small town that isn’t really known for crime, although there is some. I have a friend who lives in a metropolitan city with lots of crime. Each of you should do an honest assessment of where you live and work. I used to live in Arizona and lived outside of Phoenix. I worked in a few places on the South side of Phoenix which, at that time, was pretty rough. I knew that I did not stop unless I had to. I would generally not be there after the sun went down and even in daytime I’d stick to the main roads. I knew the convenience stores that would be prone to being robbed and those that were not. I’d go to work and then hit the freeway and get out of there as expeditiously as possible. I’d make sure my tires were good and my gas tank was full because I didn’t want to stop for anything.
If you know any law enforcement in the area you could ask them where you should and should not go, especially after dark. Or you could just stop a police officer that you see and ask him about the area. Tell him or her where you work and about the neighborhood. Law enforcement can tell you the troubled spots, stores, parks, and other areas you should stay away from.
More than good intel, you need to have your head on a swivel at all times. Be aware of what is going on around you. Practice good situational awareness. Keep your nose out of your cell phone or tablet. Watch people and constantly be going through the OODA loop.
This is what we do all the time whether we know it or not. The most important parts of the OODA Loop is Observe and Act. If you are observing, you’re practicing good situational awareness. (see blog Situational Awareness: The OODA Loop in Action, 1/27/2015 and The OODA Loop-Combat Concept, 3/20/2014)
In review the Cooper Color Code is:
Condition White
You feel secure, whether or not you are actually safe.
Condition Yellow
You are cautious. You should spend most of the time in this state.
You have a 360-degree peripheral awareness of such environmental danger spots as secluded doorways, entries, and alleys.
Condition Orange
You are in danger. You are aware of a potential threat.
Specific alert. A possible target has been identified. A particular situation that has drawn your attention and could present a major problem. Someone may be giving oral indicators such as direct threats or using suspicious language. Focus on the potential attacker.
Condition Red
You are in conflict.
Fight or flight. Flee, defend, or attack. You have evaluated the situation, and if there is a threat, you prepare to fight or run.
In this day and age in the United States of America I believe all people should be in Condition Yellow. It’s not a state of paranoia, but a state of awareness and readiness. If more people were in this state, there may be less crime. Or at least they would better off.
Most criminals have patterns as do most humans. Criminals will do what has worked before. But if you appear alert and aware of them they will probably alter their target selection. Why go after someone who sees you coming when you can have surprise on your side. Most criminals don’t put much into their “plan” to rob. If you see them down the road and divert your path or at the very least watch them closely as you get closer, this gives you time to prepare rather than just react. If you feel threatened and you are armed, you can have your hand on your weapon. Just remember that often distance is your friend.
Situational awareness is also effective for terrorist attacks. If you are aware of your environment it easier to see things that are wrong. Or you may see something coming.
At the least situational awareness could help you to see and avoid, an accident.
Being in Yellow will become a mindset and an everyday thing as you practice it and help others to look for it too. My family are so tired of me switching seats with them at a restaurant so that I can see the door. When they call me on it I always say, “You want the one who’s armed to be able to see the front door and as many exits as possible, don’t you?” I think sometimes it’s a game that they play with me just to see if I’ll do it every time. I didn’t pick that seat one time and my wife called me on it. I told her, “Well you are armed tonight aren’t you?” I noticed she wore her weapon that night, she doesn’t always. She said, “Yes”. I said, “Then tonight you have that responsibility of being aware.” She said later that by pointing out that she was armed and in the right position, this made her more aware of every one coming in the restaurant.
Being in Yellow means you watch as you are approaching a store of who is “lurking” outside. It means you scan the convenience store to see what it looks like before you go in. It means you take note of the parking lot of that same convenience store as you go in so you know what’s different when you come out. It means that you don’t let anyone in your home door if you aren’t expecting them or don’t know them. It means you’re careful about what you put on the internet. It means you know where your children are and who they are with at all times. It means that you avoid dark alleys and deserted parking lots. You use common sense and you are scanning and assessing all the time. It’s not an obsession, but a mindset.
Really the only time you are in White is when you are asleep and even then you are only unaware.
I sincerely hope no one ever need use this state of awareness to fight or flight, but if you did need it, I would be glad you decided to practice Always In Yellow!

Semper Paratus
Check 6