Back in 1986, I was living in a ground floor condo in a large complex where I thought I was safe. My apartment opened onto a grassy common area, which several buildings faced at differing angles, as it was not geometrical. While I was playing on my patio with my one year child, I heard a women yell “help me, somebody help me”. Unfortunately, her voice was faint and the buildings caused a slight echo, so I could not pinpoint the exact building or condo. As I searched the area, the voice abruptly stopped. Was she gagged? Beaten? It was not a prank. I called the police, who just did a cursory look, asked only a few questions, and then left. There was not much I could tell them. I wonder if a women died that day.
This experience taught me that the police are limited in their ability to prevent crimes. Maybe they don’t really care after being hardened by years of police work. Or maybe they cannot do more, frustrated by protocols, reports, superiors, or adverse news.
As I age, I fully understand the need for situational awareness and preparation. Below is a mental exercise or awareness process that we should consider doing every day.
Ask yourself some questions.
What Do I Actually Know?
Think, what do I actually know about (based on factual evidence):
- This person
- This group of people
- This company
- This place
- This situation
How Do I Know?
As yourself, how do I know what I know?
- What is my source of information – friends, news media, experience, other
- What presumptions have I made based on what I think I know
- Are there presumptions I have made based on what I have heard
- What presumptions have I made based on social norms and customs
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said, “There are:
- Known knowns – demonstrated facts and evidence (e.g. someone’s job, address, et cetera),
- Known unknowns – known gaps in knowledge based on missing evidence (i.e. someone’s intentions and motives),
- Unknown unknowns – complete blanks/surprises (e.g. someone’s hidden, secret vices)
Where Am I Vulnerable?
Ask yourself, where or how am I vulnerable? What might I be up against?
- Area. Is is known for crimes? What’s the area profile?
- Place – Restaurant? A theater? A home?
- Event – Who to expect? Who will I know?
Strengths and Avoidance Strategies
Ask yourself, what are my strengths, and what are my avoidance strategies?
- “What ifs” – Be realistic, but think through possible scenarios.
- Tools/cash/clothes for weather conditions that might be useful.
What Looking For
Think to yourself, what should I be looking for?
- Signs that something might be wrong
Based Off Past Experiences
As I said, this is based off my past experiences, such as the women mentioned above. There have been other experiences with people or with situations that have influenced my thinking. I also borrow heavily on reading books, such as Left of Bang , The Gift of Fear , et cetera as well as incorporating Col. Jeff Cooper’s Color Code, which was something I did not read about or understand until the early 2000s.
One More Experience
One more experience that I would like to highlight. Several years ago, I was taking a bus from New York City to Washington DC. I had traveled this route many times. We were nearing the end of the New Jersey Turnpike. The traffic was congested, but I had seen much worse. Suddenly the bus exited at the second to last exit on the Turnpike. It was late evening and most people were sleeping or playing on their iPhones. I doubt they were aware of the detour.
I was not concerned either but was curious why the driver took this exit, but I did not know where the road went or how we were going to get back to the highway. And, I was not too alarmed, however I started thinking. How do I know the driver’s intentions? Who cleared this driver? Where was he going? Was the bus company able to track us? What signs or indications should alert me to problems? Are there options? What did I have on me?
Never Think You Are Safe
In this age of terrorism, car bombings, kidnappings, serial killers, violent political/social activism that happen every day around the world, including in the USA or Europe (both assumed to be safe areas), we have seen brutal and very public attacks. Never think you are safe!
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 76 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest . The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator  from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses , excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper . These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees  in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product  from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses .
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 76 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail  us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.