Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In Mass Attacks, Public Now Advised to Take Action - Be part of your own security

In Mass Attacks, Public Now Advised to Take Action - NYTimes.com

This has always been true, but now Police and Government Agencies are also promoting that people need to be actively involved in their own security.  It does not mean to become a vigilante, it can mean to have a weapon to defend your self at least at home.  But even if you have a weapon, your first moves should be to avoid a situation where you may get hurt.  Professional Police Officers, are often injured by criminals that are far less trained than they.

Awareness of what is going on around you is the key factor for our safety, this takes on everything from knowing what threats are out there that could effect us, to knowing how secure our home, office, and vehicles are, to learning to stay calm, breathe deeply,and see all that is moving around us.

Threats, are the biggest problem, if a crazy person gets out of a car with a weapon and walks into a restaurant we are sitting at, we really have no control of the person's actions, nor know in advance what may happen.  But remember threats are just one part of the equation.

Awareness, is the key part of the equation, can we be aware of ourselves and our surroundings enough to provide even a second of warning that things are not going right here.  I tweet out a lot that you always want a straight line or path to get out of a situation.  When something starts to happen, we want to be moving out of the danger zone, even a few feet can make a big difference.

First we need to be able to see, feel, hear, smell, sense what is going on around us.  I normally start with a persons breathing, then move to their sight, and on to hearing, and then using all the senses to work together to give us warnings of problems around us.    We as cave people only had our senses to warn us of danger,  the senses are still there, we just tend to ignore them or  even filter them so much we miss a lot of warning signs.

The reason I start with breathing in my classes is to get us into a calmer state of mind.  There is so much going on in our minds, we tend to often miss important things that could warn us to an oncoming danger.  I will not get you into a deep meditative state in a short training course, but lets focus on if there are a millions thoughts running through your mind right now, we get it down to a thousand or so.  We can do this by just concentrating on our breathing for a few counts or moments.  Anything that helps you cut through the millions of thoughts for a few moments.

I then move to seeing, unless your blind,then move on to hearing.  You would have to read and study a lot of literature to understand that we filter out a lot of what we see.  But take my word for it just for a little while.  I am not sure what the reason is but we tend to focus in small areas, sort of like we are watching a TV screen, or computer screen, so the first thing we want to do is open that focus up a bit, actually quite a bit.

After you have taken a few deep breaths, gently close your eyes, gently.  Now take a few more deep smooth even breaths, and listen to what is going on around your, feel the wind or fan or vibrations in the floor of the air conditioner running.   Once you have done that for a few seconds, think about a movie theater, one with a big screen, and you have ended up in the first row of the theater.  You want to see all that is going on in that big screen, so when you open your eyes, you want to see at the same time everything you can from as high as you can see, to as low and from side to side.  Don't worry to much about focusing on anything or ability to do that is working perhaps to well.  We want to see all of it, so when you gently open your eyes, think of the movie theater and see everything.

You may have to try this a few times gently closing and opening your eyes.  But practice.  When your mind takes in what you see, it will automatically tell you to focus on anything it feel you need to be aware of.  Close your eyes again and open them, anything you looked at is now in the mind as a possible threat, or no threat, or a run like hell threat.  But any changes will register on the mind as you look at everything out there.  Then your mind will focus on the change.  This takes practice, but after a while you will trust your mind to pull you into focus anything you need to know.

Then lets move to hearing, we are taught to not listen into conversations that are not associated with us.  We also teach ourselves to filter in and out what we think is important to us.  One this is just common courtesy to focus on what someone we are talking to is saying.  But we tend to let these filters get in the way of noticing things that maybe of danger to us.  What we want to do is like we did with seeing, open up our hearing again, to hear more of what is going on around you.

This also takes practice, close your eyes take some deep smooth rhythmic breaths, to calm our mind down a bit.  Now listen hear what is going on around you, if you are in a somewhat quiet place, try and place where the sound is coming from.  As a child we actually were very good at this, and got better with age, now we tend to have lost a lot of that.  Once again if your study a lot of literature, there is a lot of science behind what we do and do not hear, and why.

If you can pin point one sound and think you know where it is coming from open your eyes see everything but then let your mind focus your vision on the source of the sound.  If you have it now close your eyes again, take the deep breaths to help center us again, and now move your whole body to another direction till you perceive the sound coming from another direction.  Now open your eyes, see everything, but then let the mind focus on the sound source again, aligning your eyes and ears to the sound source.  As you practice you will find you do not have to turn your body much at all to perceive the sound coming from another direction.  Make sure you try it with the sound behind you as well.  When ever you get a chance practice this, it is often said blind people hear much better than a seeing person, yet all the scientific tests prove this wrong, they just practice understanding the sounds more that you.

We next move on to the sense of smell, and the sense of touch or wind on our skin, as we practice these, we then find that we have a much better sense of what is going on around us. Scientific American did an article on  what we often call the 6th sense, and science has brought it down to for most part, it is all our senses working together to tell us things we are not getting from the use of just one or two senses.  I can buy into this, but also have no problem with thinking some of us do seem to have an extra 6th sense, and that it also can be honed to a finer point as well.

One of my class field trips is often to a bar or other social gathering place, although bars seem to work best.  I ask the student to get a feel for what is going on in the bar, breath, close the eyes the whole thing.  Then I ask them to take a long trip to the lavatory, and to sense what is going on at different tables as they do.  With a little practice, then can pick up on tension at some tables, more than others, even couples having a spat vs them really getting into each other.  The guy that is not getting along with his friends, or co workers.  Some is pretty easy to work out.

If you study body langues most will come to you as you look around, but even people that have not studied body language seem to sense the different moods going on in the bar.  Have you ever gone home even as a child and as you walked in the door you felt that there was tension in the air, it is the same sense perceptions, you are using in the bar.  To some it comes from smell to them, they can't explain it often but they can sense a different smell between different tension levels.  Others it is an inherent ability to read body langue.  Others hear levels and tension in voices, and in all of us it is a bit of all of it  We just need to work and practice to make it helpful to us.

Ok, how does this help make us safer, well in the office you hear, smell, feel vibrations of what is going on around you all the time.  You see things going on around you all the time, but with practice you also will notice tensions going up by all of those senses when a problem shows up, like a person that does not belong in your office shows up, even before the weapon appears, something tells you things are not right here.

I often tweet that is like when you hear music you enjoy, and the tempo or chord is not right, you may not know what exactly was wrong with the music, but you know something is not right.  When you throw a pebble into a quiet pond and watch the ripples fan out, you can see when something has effected them, you can not see under the surface, but you can see there has been a change to the ripple pattern, and that something is not the same.  As you walk to your car, you notice that something does not feel right, perhaps not what it is exactly but something.   So you now actively go through your senses to figure it out, but as you are doing so, you make sure you have the keys in your hand, keys to go back into the house or office, or store you just left, or to get into your car and lock the doors quickly.

We can look at the lock on our front door, and if needed get someone to tell us it will hold for a certain period of time, or we need to replace the door, and or the lock.  In most cases this is one of those times where the TV and movies have it right, most doors with the best lock will not stand up to a well place kick, so adjust our security in our house to deal with it.  Have a plan to move to a bed room or other room, have a plan to escape the home altogether.   Remember Police response is usually at best 5 minutes, out, and that 5 minutes does not even start until someone tells the police there is a problem.

So we get a weapon, train with it, and study how we would use it in our home.  We decide to call the police, keep the phone on speaker, and let them know the situation, as we move to a place to hide that we can shoot from that will protect us from the bad guy's shots.  We make sure everyone else in the home is in a safe place. We announce that we have a weapon and that the police have been called, in most cases that will be the end of it, we just need to wait for the police to arrive, the 911 dispatcher on the speaker phone can keep us up to date on that.  If the would be attackers say they are the police, have them call in, and let the dispatcher tell us they are valid.

Be ready to move to another location in the home if you have too, and have a place you can hide again and be safe to shoot around.  Often this is a good place to have more ammunition if your first warning calls them did not stop the situation.

In any case do not try and go confront someone that is beating on your door, or has made it into the home, get to safe place and wait for them to come to you.  It is your home or office, you know the turf better than anyone, so wait them out.  Once a dispatcher has heard what you are preparing to do, they will get the Police moving quickly.

In an office having a weapon is often not an option, so find places to escape to, with leaving the office the first thought.  Get on the phone tell the police as soon as it is safe to do so, but be moving to safety the whole time.  

In a restaurant or movie theater, be moving away as soon as you feel in danger.  You can say you are sorry  later, then key is to get moving to safety.  It is unfortunate, but the more people you put between you and the bad guy, the better your chance at surviving.

We have covered a lot of things here, but some of it you can find on different CTI youtube videos, others on this blog it different spots.

The whole reason for this writing is to help you take more control of your safety, and not rely on police to be your first line of defense.  I give lectures and talks all over the world on how to make yourself safer, call or write CTI if we can support you or your group in some way.

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