Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Seeing And Hearing An Attack

What does an attack sound and look like?
"I was in the zone," Jon Alamo recalled. "I wasn't even paying attention — just dancing."
The 22-year-old clothing store sales clerk had arrived at the club “Pulse” at 10:30 p.m. Saturday. About three and a half hours later, the gunshots began and the first of at least 50 people began to die.
Residents of the Delaney Court condos next door to Pulse first heard the shooting about 2:03 a.m. Marlon Massey was watching the movie "Creed" when he heard "pop, pop, pop!" He checked his phone for the time: The shots went on until 2:05 a.m.
A uniformed Orlando Police officer working at the club off-duty had heard gunshots himself and spotted Omar Mateen outside the club. He fired his gun at the 29-year-old one-time security guard from Port St. Lucie, Florida, and two other officers quickly joined in. Mateen was not armed lightly: Police said he had an AR-15 rifle, a handgun and an explosive device.
Undeterred, he re-entered the club.
Inside, those on the dance floor weren't sure if what they heard was just part of the DJ's set.
"Everyone was getting on the floor. ... I thought it was just part of the music, until I saw fire coming out of his gun," patron Rose Feba explained to the Orlando Sentinel.
This is a portion of an article by AP on the Orlando shooting. What can be learned from this and other descriptions of events?
One. In certain situations many people are in condition White. Unaware. Oblivious to what is going on around them. Situational awareness, zero. They were “In the zone”.
I’ve read many articles and books on security. I’ve been through countless government briefings where security is emphasized. None of them talk about being asleep like many of these people were. Read other witnesses of other shootings, such as the Ataturk airport in Turkey yesterday. They all are similar.
I’ve also read some articles that tell us it is impossible and silly to stay in condition Yellow. It’s paranoid and unrealistic.
I was in a grocery store one time when I heard a “pop, pop, pop” sound that caught the attention of everyone in the store. I know what gunfire sounds like. I know it very well. This sounded very much like gunfire but was a little different. I took no chances. I already had been moving toward an exit facing the sound. Then I realized that some pressurized cables had just been popped off of a pressurized soda fountain. There were only 3 hoses and 3 pops. As I was moving toward an exit I had my hand on my concealed weapon waiting for more intell.
When people recognized what the problem was they were visibly relieved. I slipped back into my place in line and no one even noticed I had moved. They were all still standing where they were when the popping went off!
It is possible to stay in Yellow and to move to Orange and back to Yellow again in matter of moments. I experienced it. I wasn’t scarred, or scared, or fearing for my life. I had a plan to get myself out of the kill zone and to defend myself if needed. Once I realized what had actually happened I was able to shelf that plan and go back to Yellow.
Again here are those Cooper Color Conditions:
Condition White
UNAWARE AND UNPREPARED. This is a condition you should try to avoid, as it means you will probably lose a fight. The only time that you’re in condition white is when you’re asleep. And even then, you wouldn’t consider yourself unprepared; you’re just unaware.
If attacked in Condition White, the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy or ineptitude of your attacker. When confronted by something nasty, your reaction will probably be “Oh my! This can’t be happening to me.”
Most sheeple-people spend much of their lives in this state of mind.
Condition Yellow
RELAXED ALERT Yellow means you are aware of what is happening around you, but you do not perceive a potential threat. Your mindset should be prepared to defend yourself if the need arises. Everywhere you go, you should be in Condition Yellow. You should keep a pretty good watch on the people around you, and continuously rate each person’s danger level in your mind.
There is no specific threat situation. Your mindset is that “today could be the day I may have to defend myself”. You are simply aware that the world is a potentially unfriendly place and that you are prepared to defend yourself, if necessary.
You use your eyes and ears. You don’t have to be armed in this state, but if you are armed you should be in Condition Yellow.
You should always be in Yellow whenever you are in unfamiliar surroundings or among people you don’t know.
You can remain in Yellow for long periods, as long as you are able to “Watch your six.” (In aviation 12 o’clock refers to the direction in front of the aircraft’s nose. Six o’clock is the blind spot behind the pilot.)
In Yellow, you are “taking in” surrounding information in a relaxed but alert manner, like a continuous 360 degree radar sweep. As Cooper put it, “I might have to shoot.”
Condition Orange
SPECIFIC ALERT It means that there is a potential threat that has gotten your attention. This can be almost anything and usually results in nothing, at which time you go back to yellow. An example of Condition Orange could be when you spot a firearm under that bulky coat… Instantly, you determine what you’re going to do if he reaches for that gun.
Something is not quite right and has your attention. Your radar has picked up a specific alert. You shift your primary focus to determine if there is a threat (but you do not drop your six). Your mindset shifts to “I may have to shoot that person today”, focusing on the specific target which has caused the escalation in alert status.
In Condition Orange, you set a mental trigger: “If that person does “X”, I will need to stop them”. Your pistol usually remains holstered in this state. Staying in Orange can be a bit of a mental strain, but you can stay in it for as long as you need to. If the threat proves to be nothing, you shift back to Condition Yellow.
Condition Red
FIGHT It means that you are in a lethal mode of mindset and will fight if the circumstances are warranted. In the make-believe scenario, Bulky Coat draws a gun from under his coat. At this point, you implement your action plan that was determined during Condition Orange. This doesn’t always mean fight. If there are too many innocents around or you don’t have the means, your best plan might be to wait and see what happens or even retreat and call the police.
Your mental trigger (established back in Condition Orange) has been tripped. “If ‘X’ happens I will shoot that person”. In short, the Color Code helps you “think” in a fight. As the level of danger increases, your willingness to take certain actions increases.
If you ever do go to Condition Red, the decision to use lethal force has already been made (your “mental trigger” has been tripped).
Some think you can’t stay in Yellow. I know from experience that it’s not that hard. I’ve caught myself in White and mentally slap myself and move immediately into Yellow. It is possible to go from one condition to another in a matter of seconds, but you have to be aware.
Learn what gunfire sounds like. Don’t damage your hearing but go to an outside range and remove your hearing protection for a moment. Listen to the shooting from other bays. Be careful not to do this in a confined space or an indoor range. Gunfire in a building doesn’t always sound the same as an outdoor shooting range. Make sure your children know. Know what people mean when they say that “pop, pop” noise. Most of the time it is rationalized to “fireworks” or “popping bags or bubble wrap”. Don’t be stupid. I’m not saying jump at every book that falls on the floor, but be realistic and assume the worst while hoping for the best. Usually it ends up being the best. But in having a plan and a defense, you lessen the chance that you’ll be a victim. Believe me, no one will notice. Many years ago in Jr. High I had a teacher who had seen a lot of combat in Viet Nam. Kids would drop books on the floor just to see him hit the deck. He was conditioned that way to save his life. I loved that old veteran.
I think a more controlled conditioning is what being in Yellow can be. We are not in a combat zone but at any time we can be in a kill zone.
Two. We must come to grips that active shooters can happen anywhere at any time. Be very careful about wearing headphones in public. I just would not do it. Not just for the active shooter scenario but for safety. Not being able hear a car coming up on you can get you killed. If you feel you just have to be listening to something then perhaps only one side in one ear so that you can still hear. I think it’s best to just not use headphones in public.
Do you remember the video of those running from the collapse of the World Trade Centers on 9-11? Do you remember the look on their faces and the look in their eyes? That was fear. Fear is not our enemy.
Gavin De Becker wrote an important book titled: “The Gift of Fear” (I highly recommend!)
He talks about fear in a real sense. He treats fear as a survival signal.
“When you accept the survival signal as a welcome message and quickly evaluate the environment or situation, fear stops in an instant. Thus, trusting intuition is the exact opposite of living in fear…While few would argue that extended, unanswered fear is destructive, millions choose to stay there. They may have forgotten or never learned that fear is not an emotion like sadness or happiness, either of which might last a long while. It is not a state, like anxiety. True fear is a survival signal that sounds only in the presence of danger, yet unwarranted fear has assumed a power over us that it holds over no other creature on earth.”
Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things, also known as the fight-or-flight response.
De Becker lists two rules about fear that if you accept them, they can improve your use of fear, reduce its frequency and transform your experience of life.
Rule #1. The very fact you fear something is solid evidence that it is not happening.
Rule #2. What you fear is rarely what you think you fear, it is what you link to fear.
Rule #1 is quite true. How many times have you lied there in bed thinking about what would happen if someone was standing over your bed right now with a gun. Guess what, the thought is precisely all the evidence you need to know that very thing you fear is NOT happening.
The second rule is one that needs explanation. His example is the fear of getting up and addressing five hundred people at an annual convention. The fear is not just the fear of embarrassment, it’s linked to the fear of being perceived as incompetent, which is linked to the fear of loss of employment, loss of home, loss of family, your ability to contribute to society, your value, in short, your identity and your life.
When you truly analyze what it is you fear, it can help alleviate that fear or let you know exactly what you need to change to alleviate it.
Being prepared is using fear to your advantage. It’s also planning for what might happen, but probably won’t.
Situational awareness is something I’ve written about for many years. It’s always pertinent information that each of us can learn, and teach to our families.
The mass shootings and bombings are evidence that this should be learned and used to prevent death and injury. These same events are also evidence that we need to defend ourselves and no agency, police department, or laws will keep us safe. We must provide our own safety.
Semper Paratus
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