OK, folks. What I’m talking about here is the frame of mind necessary to make the decision to survive. To outwit, outplay, to WIN!
Let me say from the first that no one in their right mind would wish to harm another person. Those morons with the “I’d have shot him” bravado are silly children that have never truly considered the consequences of harming or killing another human being. That being said, if you go out into this nasty, corrupt, dangerous world we live in, you may have to make the decision to ‘fight fire with fire.’ If you arm yourself, you had better put some thought into this. As a LEO and a Christian believer, I had to come to grips with the possibility. At this time, the Lord has been merciful to me and I have never had to take a life. I’ve had to apply force, but never deadly force, and for that I am thankful. A believer must put his trust in God first and his weapons second. Know where the REAL power lies.
Now, does that mean I won’t shoot a person? No, it means that I don’t want to. But given the choice between defending the innocent or myself against an attack by a dangerous individual, I’m going to do my utmost to put that wolf out of my misery. Most mothers I know have a deep and abiding love for their children and desire that their lives are filled with peace. Most do not consider acting as a sheepdog, but friend, don’t come between a mama bear and her cubs. Even unarmed, a mother will fight with every ounce of strength to her death to defend her child.
A good sheepdog not only watches over the sheep, but they arm themselves with tools and skills to defend those sheep.
So, you want to be a sheepdog? Start today. The first thing that separates a sheepdog from the sheep is situational awareness.
This simply means that you are aware of what is going on around you. Sort of like watching out for the other drivers on the road. No white-knuckle gripping of the wheel, just a relaxed but constant awareness of where others are and what they are doing.
Situational Awareness has been broken down and codified so it is easy to learn and practice. There are two systems that work together and are almost the same thing. First is the color system:
White – this is daydreaming, diddybopping (old ‘Nam term) or zombie walking. Today many walk around with their heads down to look at their ‘smart’ phones, just like a zombie. People actually run into parking meters and sign posts because they are electronically handicapped. This is just plain stupid. Being in Condition White makes you a target. Wolves recognize people in a white mindset as potential victims. Not to say that predators don’t attack more alert prey, but they are by nature cowards and prefer easy victims.
Yellow – Condition Yellow is typified by an easy, relaxed awareness. You see what is happening in front of you, take the time for a glance in other directions, and assess your situation constantly. This is not a hyper-vigilant state that frays your nerves and wears you down. It is a RELAXED awareness. If a wolf sees someone furtively looking over their shoulder, this makes the potential victim look fearful. Look around with smooth, relaxed motions. See everything, make eye contact, let people know you are aware of your surroundings.
Teach your kids while you’re teaching yourself. Ask questions like “how many people are wearing baseball caps?” and “What color is the cap?” How many people do you see with beards, how many people have a blue t-shirt? That sort of game is fun for you and the family and teaches situational awareness. And for you ladies, this is the perfect excuse for a trip to the mall: “Honey, the kids and I are going out to practice Condition Yellow.”
Orange – Condition Orange means that you have spotted something that MIGHT be a problem. A gut feeling about that group of people coming down the street toward you. THIS IS A DECISION STAGE. This is where you plan avoidance, retreat, attack, etc. Israeli Krav Maga (IDF martial art) teaches avoidance as the first choice, and I agree with that. Why fight if you don’t have to. Get your mind right! You DON’T want to fight. Even if you win you may be injured or possibly die, or even worse, be charged with a violent crime just for defending yourself. AVOIDANCE! is number 1.
Red – Condition Red means that you are making your move. This could be as simple as returning to your car in the parking lot to avoid the group of dirtbags by the stairs. It could be crossing the street after seeing a group or individual that makes you uncomfortable. But do it now! Action taken sooner than later is safer action. Going into a business or crossing the street when a perceived possible problem is a block away is smarter than waiting until the perceived threat is too close to avoid without looking like you are scared. Condition red may also mean that you have placed your hand on your weapon (you are carrying one, right?) and preparing for the worst. Depending on the threat, this may be the time to draw your gun. But NOT your knife (more on that another time)
Black – Condition Black is where you NEVER want to be. It is a state of being overwhelmed and unable to act. Think Catatonic. The mind just can’t cope with what is happening. Normally, when one practices condition yellow, orange, and red, you never get to black. Black is usually entered directly from Condition White, because one is blindsided due to inattention. So stay out of White and you’ll stay out of Black.
THE OODA LOOP
Say what? OODA, what’s that? Again, a quite simple way to determine actions to be taken, like the color conditions, but a little different in application.
O – OBSERVE – Like Condition Yellow, this means that one observes their surroundings. Yep, Situational Awareness all over again.
O – ORIENT – Similar to condition Orange, this is where you orient yourself to react to what you have Observed. This is when you get ready both mentally, geographically, and situationally. Orient yourself for Avoidance or Contact.
D – DECIDE – The decision time when you choose a course of action based on what you have Observed and Oriented yourself to do. You may have observed something that just doesn’t seem right, and oriented yourself to deal with it. NOW you DECIDE to carry out or abandon the plans you have made.
A – ACT – NOW YOU ACT! Put your plan into action, whether it is offensive or defensive.
The OODA loop is like shampoo: Lather, rinse, repeat. In other words, you continually go back to the observation phase, repeatedly orienting yourself in relation to the developing situation, and preparing to act again.
So, the Awareness Color Code is a mindset, the OODA loop is about putting it into action. Learn and use BOTH.
VERY good advice – so simple too – yet we hadn’t put it into exact words until our daughter was going off to college. At that time her dad decided she needed some “tools” to stay safe, & signed her up for a one-day class on that topic. This is what the instructor taught, & she practices it consistently, & so far has been safe in her (now) 4 years away from home. This works!
You did the right thing. She’ll be way ahead of her friends. It is simple, but seldom practiced. Usually because of denial: “This is a nice neighborhood/area/ etc. Nothing bad can happen here.”
Excellent post/article. That should be in a book somewhere or magazine especially around the holidays for everyone. Too many as you say walk guided by their cell phone.