Depending on where you live, no doubt on any or every given morning you can wake to the doldrums of newscast reporting on the crimes against everyday people that have taken place in the last few hours.
They run the gamut with 5-10 second blurbs about a deadly assault, robbery, rape, and murder at such a pace that not only are we (purposely) constantly desensitized to the plight of others and the state of affairs around us, we are also somewhat unknowingly reduced to a quick reaction to match the quick reporting.
Leaving most of us with a response something like “Those poor people”, or “Isn’t that sad”.
But how we react and view these types of stories can and should be used as a training tool for our minds and our families as well. I am blessed with a large family, married and 4 children of various ages. I never, ever, want to see any of them victimized, and I never want to be a victim myself, for many obvious reasons, but the one reason that many of us do not consider is at the top of my list. If I am a victim, it either limits or ends my capacity to serve and protect my family.
Before going any further I want to be clear that everything from this point on does not mean that I am insensitive to the plight of others, it simply means that I have chosen to go beyond the human emotion of a news story and look for ways to apply it to the lives of my circle of influence for the greater good.
So let’s get into it……….
Are you aware?
You’re on the way home from work and need to pick up something from the store. You whip into the place of business, run into the store at breakneck speed, find your item, proceed to the cashier to wait in line while staring at your cell phone screen checking texts or updating your facebook status, pay for your item, rush to the car and back into traffic.
This is normal everyday life for millions of people, and it takes place all day every day over most of the civilized world. But in that 5-10 minute stop, how many people did you pass or even come close enough to brush shoulders with? How many different actions did you go through while being completely oblivious to what was going on around you?
Or what about this one? Your on your way to wherever, you need fuel and a pit stop, whip into the “convenience” store, swipe a card on the reader, stare at the gas pump screen, (many of which are now going to pumps with music and TV screens to further distract us), start your fueling, run into the store for a restroom break and a drink, run back to the car, hang up the pump, jump in and drive away.
In both of these instances, and so many more like them involving everyday life, you are a potential victim! Let me say that a different way, YOU ARE A POTENTIAL VICTIM!!! The reason is glaringly simple. Being constantly unaware of your surroundings and the people in them make you just the type of target that attackers look for, and let me be ultra-clear at this point.
I know we use resources like this site with preparing for future survival in mind, BUT, changing your way of thinking now, and preparing your mind a little each day, can and will make the difference between having a supply cache at home, and actually being there to use it!
What about the poor lady on the news who was beaten at the gas pump then her purse and car stolen? It’s in the news every day, some of the time the person even has pepper spray in their purse. So how did it happen? Most of the time it simply comes down to an attacker who is waiting for a person completely unaware of their surroundings and they can be on top of the person giving them no chance to react and fight back.
Men are certainly not excluded from this fact either, and probably the least aware group of all, is our teens and young adults, who like many of their adult counterparts are so absorbed with the digital world (or completely self-absorbed like much of the population) that they go through life without ever seeing the flowers, much less stopping to smell them.
I must interject a point here that many Americans take offense to; many live in middle class to affluent areas and live with the belief that we work hard to live in safe neighborhoods and shop in safe areas. I work extra hard to provide our family with the same, however, we must begin to shift our thinking because crime is now beginning to target those very areas, they are usually soft targets for criminals, and there is usually more to gain from their point of view. But you cannot lock yourself in and never go out as a way of staying safe, remember, if your life is driven by fear rather than wisdom, you are already a victim.
By this point, you should be considering where the holes are in your armor, and thinking about how you can apply simple changes to your everyday routines to take yourself out of the victim pool. Two things should be made very clear, 1. You will not become Jason Bourne overnight, or ever!! 2. You cannot now or ever control every parameter and scenario in life, a belief that you can will lead to things we don’t want to discuss here.
This article and the personal training with it are meant to raise your alertness and give you the ability to avoid potential danger or provide the precious milliseconds of reaction time that make the difference if you are in danger.
How do you start?
Exercise 1 – if you are gifted with good memory then great, if not put a post-it note on your steering wheel and start here…the next time you pull in for gas at the pump, before you put the car in park and go diving out hurriedly….
- Put the car in park, before opening the door, check your rear and both side view mirrors. Is anyone approaching? If so, then check them out for a second, let them pass by if they are close, if they keep lingering and looking in your direction, then there could be cause for concern.
- Once you have exited the vehicle, again, look around, check your surroundings, and check the people around you at the other pumps, check for potential threats or suspicious activity. Once you start pumping fuel into your vehicle, rather than being glued to a cell phone screen waiting on the fuel to finish, just look around you every few seconds and be alert.
- When you’re finished fueling and reenter your car, stay alert, enter the car, close the door and lock them while you get situated to drive, keep a check on your mirrors until you are safely moving down the road.
- If you enter the store, be alert going and coming, when you step inside, check the surroundings, who is in there, is there any cause for fear or suspicion, if so should I exit the building and wait or proceed?
I hope by now you are getting the picture, more could be said here about preparing yourself for possible scenarios inside such as robbers entering the building but that’s a lot more instruction for another time. And this same exercise applies to the mall, grocery store, bank, everywhere!
This is not living in fear, not only are you training your mind and subsequently your body to be prepared and react if needed, but you might actually get to enjoy some scenery for a change. And I meet a lot of great American people almost every day by just making eye contact (a lost art in our society) and saying hello.
The key is to practice and make this a way of everyday life without being obvious. If you are ducking behind your shopping cart to check your six every time you enter a new aisle at Walmart, not only are you going to draw unwanted attention, you will likely end up on YouTube under the heading “funny surveillance video”.
Practicing this way of thinking may be foreign to some at first, but in short, order will become second nature and only take milliseconds to perform while you are in public, and one day those milliseconds may add years to your life.