Letter Re: Self-Defense and Stress: You are Your Own Last Line of Defense, by Jessica B.

Jessica B wrote a good article entitled “Self Defense and Stress” and to add to what she wrote about the lack of articles on “…that moment that you find yourself in a stressful, self-defense situation and how to overcome it,” Col. Cooper’s “Four Conditions” immediately came to mind. That great man not only gave use the “Four Rules” for firearms, but the “Four Conditions” for mental preparedness for self-defense, both of which are as perfect as simplifying the complex can be. I assume they have been discussed before, but are worth repeating. From Father Frog’s web site, a good place for all thing Jeff Cooper, The Color Code:

White – Relaxed, unaware, and unprepared.  If attacked in this state the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy and ineptitude of your attacker.  When confronted by something nasty your reaction will probably be, “Oh my God!  This can’t be happening to me.”

Yellow – Relaxed alertness.  No specific threat situation.  Your mindset is that “today could be the day I may have to defend myself.”  There is no specific threat but you are aware that the world is an unfriendly place and that you are prepared to do something if necessary.  You use your eyes and ears, and your carriage says “I am alert.”   You don’t have to be armed in this state but if you are armed you must be in yellow.  When confronted by something nasty your reaction will probably be, “I thought this might happen some day.”  You can live in this state indefinitely.

Orange – Specific alert.  Something not quite right has gotten your attention and you shift your primary focus to that thing.  Something is “wrong” with a person or object.  Something may happen.  Your mindset is that “I may have to shoot that person.”  Your pistol is usually holstered in this state.  You can maintain this state for several hours with ease, or a day or so with effort.

Red – Fight trigger.  This is your mental trigger.  “If that person does “x” I will shoot them.”  Your pistol may, but not necessarily, be in your hand.

Col. Cooper described himself as always in Condition Yellow – plus- as long as he was awake. I need to zone out, i.e. Condition White every day if possible so I can “smell the roses,” so fences, hardened barriers, dogs, lights, alarms, a loaded gun within reach,etc, all help in this regard.
God Bless and thanks for all your hard work in this worthy cause. – John M.