Monday, December 19, 2016

Europe Being Attacked: What's It To You?

This year I have written a lot about situational awareness. I talk about it a lot. When I was in the military as a weapons instructor we were training not only shooting, but being aware of what’s going on around you. A battle field is a dangerous place but not knowing what’s going on can actually get you killed with friendly fire.
Today was a night of terror in Europe. A Truck plowed into a crowd of shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany. The Russian Ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, in Zurich, Switzerland a gunman shot several people in a Mosque.
I’m willing to bet this is linked to causes connected to terrorism or in retaliation for terrorism.
When are we as a world going to acknowledge that Muslim extremists are terrorists? I know that “progressives” won’t even say the words. President Obama refers to ISIS as ISIL, an insult to Israel, and a deflection of the Muslim extremism that is ISIS and terrorism.
Situational Awareness is having your head up, recognizing what could turn into a terrorist attack and to avoid it. The Department of State issued a warning for problems in Europe during the holiday season. It said in part:
“The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season. U.S. citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets.”
Wow that was pretty specific. This warning was posted November 21, 2016.
If I had to be in Europe during this time I would have been hyper vigilant and would have spent as little time in Europe as possible.

We plan for a lot of things in our lives. But most of us don’t think about being secure in public. We live in a great country that normally is safe and secure. We also have the best law enforcement in the world so threats are not always there. We can get complacent. Laws and law enforcement do make a difference. But they can’t be everywhere at all times. Planning includes little things that may seem insignificant such as the route you travel, the time of day you travel, the crime in your area, and current events that may increase the threat in the area. Political rallies, patriotic events, and really any large crowds increase that threat. I’m not saying never go to another Basketball or Football game, but when you do, be aware of things. Do you ever avoid an area because of road construction or certain times of day because of traffic? Then you are planning already. Just do this every day. Look at people around you or vehicles around you with a critical eye. You do not have to be extreme in this and become paranoid, but be aware.
Being prepared.
Carrying a gun is obviously something I would recommend. But at a minimum, carry a cell phone, a flashlight, and some type of weapon.
A knife, pepper spray, kubotan, tactical pen, stun gun, or defensive wand would all be good choices if you don’t want to carry a gun. Get training on whichever you choose. Don’t just assume a You Tube video will teach you everything you need to know. Also know the legality of these weapons where you live.
I carry a gun, a tactical flashlight, a tactical pen, a knife and multi-tool, a cell phone, and several little items I think are important. You have to decide what you want to be prepared for but I believe there is a minimum.
Something as seemingly silly as knowing the weather you are going out into is important.
Being trained in basic medical procedures like First Aid, CPR, and AED are important skills that may save your loved ones as well as someone else.
Learn about Cooper’s Colors
In condition White, you are relaxed and unaware of what is going on around you. Ideally, a police officer is only in white when asleep, but realistically we often drop our guard when we are at home or in some other environment we assume to be safe, like maybe at church. Since even police stations have been attacked, it is better to be more alert even when you are in your “lair.” You simply cannot be on white very often.
In condition yellow, you remain relaxed, but are aware of who and what is around you. This merely means that you are paying attention to the sights and sounds that surround you whether you are at home or moving in society. Condition yellow DOES NOT equate with paranoia or any other irrational fear of persons or places. Instead, you simply have moved your alertness to a level of attention that will prevent you from being totally surprised by the actions of another person.
While walking through an area you will loosely keep track of anyone behind you. When choosing a seat in a restaurant, you will position yourself to see the entrance or to minimize the number of people who might be behind you.
You don’t need to insist on securing the “gunfighter seat” which will put your back to a dead corner and your face to the entrance, because you are not anticipating a threat, you are merely conducting an inventory of your surroundings and the other people around you. You will also be running a cursory “what if” mental visualization of where a threat could appear and what your reaction(s) should be.
If you are attacked in condition yellow, it should not come as a total surprise. Your response to a threat should have been pre-planned to some extent, allowing you to simply run an existing plan rather than having to make one up quickly while under fire.
In condition orange, you have identified something of interest that may or may not prove to be a threat. Until you determine the true nature of whatever has piqued your interest, your “radar” is narrowed to concentrate on the possible threat and will remain so focused until you are satisfied no threat exists.
If the focus of your attention in condition orange does something you find threatening, you will shift to condition red.
Notice here that condition Red IS NOT the firing stroke, as some instructors have misconstrued from Cooper’s teachings. Instead, condition red simply changes the focus of your attention from a potential threat to a potential target. You will draw your weapon, or move still further to sight acquisition, only if the potential target’s actions dictate such a response. Once you’ve shifted to condition red, you cannot be surprised by your primary adversary and you are fully prepared to repel boarders should he push the incident that far. But, your intense concentration on a forward threat will lessen your ability to maintain some degree of 360-degree awareness for unknown threats that may come from other directions. Effective training under high-stress conditions will help you avoid the tunnel vision that some describe as “akin to looking through a toilet paper tube.”
If possible, in both conditions orange and red, move to a position that will give you a tactical advantage. Ideally, you want a wall or previously cleared area behind you and some sort of solid cover you can move behind should shooting break out.
If you are attacked in red, you should be fully prepared to defend yourself. Whether or not you have a gun in hand or on target will depend on the circumstances, but mentally, you are already ahead of the game.
Some insist you cannot go through life using this system without becoming a paranoid person who is dangerous. I believe well-adjusted and trained people can run through the color code dozens of times every day and be no worse for wear. Most experienced law enforcement or military who learn the color code realize they have been taking these steps on their own all along.
Like most great training ideas, this four-step process merely codifies what many have done on their own. By teaching people this life-saving system for situational awareness, we can start them out with the knowledge others have gained through a lifetime of survival.
It’s not enough to train and practice these things only in your home, you must be constantly and with practice in everyday living.
Would some of this made any difference in a crowded outdoor market in Berlin? It may have.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Here are some of my previous articles on the subject:
Pearl Harbor and Situational Awareness 12/7/2016
Happy Situational Awareness Day! 9/26/2016
Situational Awareness...Again 8/2/2016
Seeing And Hearing An Attack 6/29/2016
Learning From San Bernardino and Terrorist Attacks 6/10/2016
Vigilance and "Some Sort of War" 8/6/2016