Sunday, January 2, 2011

Situational Awareness


This has to be ONE OF THE BEST, IF NOT THE BEST article on the subject of being aware of your surroundings AT ALL TIMES.    I KNOW YOU KNOW IT, BUT EVERYONE ELSE NEEDS TO TAKE THIS TO HEART. 

This guy covers almost everything.  I saw it and I KNEW you would want a copy.  This IS one of the better explanations I've seen in a LONG time.

Freedom From Fear: Spotting Trouble Before it Happens

By Kelly McCann aka "Jim Grover"
From Guns and Ammo

One of the most-asked questions during my street survival training is, "What am I going to see right before an attack?" That's a good question. It tells me the student is concerned about avoiding the situation altogether, and wants as much time as possible to maximize his chances of survival.

Those things you are most likely to see before an attack are called "pre-incident indicators." They are peculiar things you will recognize if you know what to look for. Any one of them alone is probably not enough to call out the cavalry, but when two or more appear, there is need for concern. If you pick up two or more of these indicators, take immediate steps to get out of the situation, place or activity in which you're involved.

The first indicator is unnatural impediment to your movement. It doesn't matter whether this is while you are walking, in your car or on a bicycle. When something stops you or causes you to go well out of your line of travel...beware.

Next is correlation of someone's movement to your own. When you first notice someone is keeping pace with you, it should alarm you. You stop, they stop. You speed up but the distance doesn't increase between you. The slim chance of two strangers regulating their pace so precisely is minuscule. Cross the street or go into a store. If the person stays with you, there may be something wrong.

Any sudden changes in status of a person(s) near you should make you think twice. For example, if you are walking along a city street and pass by two young adults who are leaning against a wall and they suddenly stop loitering and become pedestrians behind you, ask yourself why. What was it that made them decide to fall into step behind you? Regulate your pace differently and see if they are correlating to your movement. If they are, that's two indicators and a strong possibility exists that they have something much more dubious in store for you.

If you have been stopped unnaturally in your movement, or if you are standing somewhere and you notice predatory movements, immediately take some kind of action to extricate yourself. Predatory movements include circling, two people moving in opposite directions around you, or one or more people moving around or away from you and another moving at you.

A verbal exchange initiated by a stranger is unique enough today to make you take pause. People are much less apt to ask a stranger anything anymore. Attacks can sometimes be predicated on things such as, "Got a dollar?," "Do you know where. . ." or "What time is it?" Obviously, don't be ready to launch into the offensive when this occurs. Simply take a step back away from the person addressing you and look to the sides quickly. It is doubtful the person talking is the attacker; usually the attack is coming from the side.

Target glancing or avenue-of-escape glancing is a fairly reliable indicator that something is about to happen. This furtive glancing indicates the criminal is sizing you up, identifying escape routes, confirming there are no police in the area and so forth. This is noticeable when you see a person glancing in your direction several times, then glancing away.

If a person is approaching on an oblique path that will intersect with your own, you should beware. This is commonly used as an access route to the target because it keeps the attacker in a blind spot the longest.

Whenever an approaching person has his hand hidden, causing unnatural movement, keep an eye on him until either the hand comes clear of the cover or the person passes. Felons typically have their gun, knife or club already out when they approach their victim. To conceal it as long as possible on their approach, they hold it discreetly behind their arm or leg or inside their coat.

Any bump, shove or push should alarm you. It may be a pick-pocket attempt, it may be a setup, it may be just an impatient person. Whatever the case, if this occurs you need to be alert.

The relative absence of other people and authorities provides the criminal an excellent time to attack. Singularly, this indicator is not necessarily a big deal. When coupled with one or two other indicators it has enormous implications. Remember, an attacker strikes when it is least advantageous for you.

As you walk along there is another indicator of which you should be aware. Since the advent of drive-by shootings, most people notice cars that pull alongside them in traffic. As you're walking along, any automobile stopping alongside, slightly to the front or to the rear of you serves as ample warning to keep your eyes open. Any second pass of the same vehicle should likewise cause some concern.

You should also be wary of any obviously intoxicated person or group.

Have you ever noticed glances between strangers as they approach, impede, hail or otherwise interact with you? This occurs when criminals are just shy of launching their attack. They're looking at each other to ensure each is ready, taking one last quick look for cops, and glancing at the escape route to make sure it is clear. If the criminal is alone, it will look the same.

Any time you are confronted by more than one person and the first is in your face, keep your eyes not only on him but on the calmest appearing individual in a verbal altercation. Keep looking at the whole picture until you have to strike, then pick one target and strike.

Obvious attempts at baiting you are conducted only to cause a confrontation. Don't take the bait. Stay calm, keep your hands up and ready to strike or block, and keep moving. If there are other people in the area, move toward them and gain their attention.

Well, there you have it--some views of that picture seconds before something bad happens. As I said, any one of these things alone is probably not cause for concern; two or three of them should make you twinge with anticipation. If you wait any longer to act you'll be down to split seconds, and the chances of avoiding or surviving are exponentially decreased.


Unnatural impediment to your movement

Correlation of someone's movement to your own.

Any sudden change in a person's status as you get near or pass them.

Predatory movements (circling, two or more people moving in opposite directions, etc.)

Any verbal exchange initiated by a stranger

Target glancing

Persons closing on you from an oblique angle that intersects with your path.

A hand hidden that causes unnatural movement by someone as they walk toward you.

Bumps, shoves, pushes or grabs

Relative absence of other people or authorities

Automobiles stopping alongside you or slightly to the front or rear as you walk along

Any obvious intoxicated person

Any second pass of a vehicle

Obvious attempts at baiting you

Glances between strangers as they approach, impede, hail or otherwise interact with you

The calmest-appearing individual in a verbal altercation; not always the guy in your face

(Kelly McCann has a series of DVDs called "Combatives for Street Survival" )
Combatives for Street Survival V.1: Index Positions, The Guard and Combative Strikes


Anna said...

Off topic:

Instapundit has a huge Survival prep post up today:

Hullo, freaking Instapundit is into Prepping now? He gets like eleventy zillion pageviews per day.

Anna said...

HA HA HA - another off topic: Amazon.com has a "Safety and Security" category on its page of New Year's deals:

Sheesh, this stuff is popping up everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Excellent information!
Here are some other articles on the same topic,

Five Stages of Violent Crime

Physical Body Language Indicators of Imminent Violence

Happy new year! Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

The article gives good advice about situational awareness but there are many moving parts to keep track off. Too complex for me I'm afraid.

Something far simpler in my experience is to quickly scan peoples faces for people looking back at you. The bad guys are looking for marks and thus you can spot them very quickly and easily. This is because 99.9% of the rest of the population is preoccupied or zoned out or texting. Maybe the odd person is looking for a friend or a taxi but those cases are easy to figure out.

I can't remember where I first heard about this method -- think it is how Secret Service scans large crowds on presidential detail. But it any case, I tried it and it works great!

Anonymous said...

Excellent article, however the auther left out one of the most.obvious indictors of whether a suspicous person will be a probable threat to you, and that is how they are dressed.

Yes. I know there are all kinds of execptions to this rule, and we're not supposed to form opinions on a persons appearance, etc,etc, but I can't remember the the last time I've read a story where someone was mugged by a well groomed guy who was wearing a three-piece suit and tie.

I'm not sure why this wasn't covered in the article - trying to be a little PC maybe, but speaking for myself, I know I would feel a lot safer walking into a dark alley ( if I had to ) and finding myself in the middle of a group of guys wearing polo shirts and dockers rather than with one that's sporting piercings and tattoos and wearing shabby clothes.

Like it or not, more often it's the truth of the matter.

Anonymous said...

When I walk down the street I keep my head level and on a swivel, observing and watching for ambush points, also I look everyone in the face, not in a challenging way but in a more-or-less acknowledging and assessing manner while also observing them in case I need to describe them. Whenever someone that might even remotely pose a threat passes me on the sidewalk or street I observe their shadow on the sidewalk or reflection in a store window as we pass, so that I can counter-act a strike if they turn to attack me as we pass each other. I also maintain a readiness to side-step in order to gain distance if there's two or more trying to do a pincher movement. I also watch for the person to transmit attack signals, i.e., clenching fists, straining neck muscles, things like that.

To anon @ 10:38pm, it sounds more complicated than it actually is, after a while it becomes habit or 2nd nature.

In all honesty I am not as razor-sharp or as strong as I was in my 20's back in Flint, but here in small-town USA I'm more about awareness, vigilance and avoidance. A nice peaceful boring life!
Eric in Michigan

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:38PM has it right, just look for the non-zombies.

Are you going to be a survivalism consultant when you move to the US? Wish I lived in Texas, I'd come see ya.

Wabano said...

Got rolled in Santiago...

"They" asked me for the time three times.

Instinctively, you touch your wallet, which tell "them" where it is.

Felt a hand in my pocket, grabbed the gypsie thief by his blond "afro" and punched away.

A "compere" kept squatting behind me as I was pushed, but I kept jumping over as I kept punching the thief.

Finally, I had to let go and they took off with me right behind...
Someone was constantly trying to trip me as I was running...

Suddenly, I remembered that I had only twenty dollars in my wallet and
no, my USA green card was NOT there anymore, I had returned it when I got my US citizenship and passport. So I veered toward my hotel, (I had lost the room key)
where I canceled the credit cards and switched room.

I figure I was lucky not to get knifed but imagine their deception finding only twenty bucks after that severe frenzied beating!