The sixtieth capacity that I introduce in my eBook is that you must [be able to] recognize potential threats, including con artists, thugs, looters, and so on. In it I state that:
You must “Recognize potential threats, including con-artists, thugs, looters, and so on. This is really where the aforementioned situational awareness comes into play. Don’t just go through life oblivious to your surroundings. Learn to recognize what’s out of place. Simple actions such as not opening your front door to strangers regardless of their supposed identity (e.g., a delivery man) could prove to be a life-saving action. Talk to your spouse and kids and get a response together.”
I’ll be honest, I’m not paranoid enough to NOT open my door if the UPS guy is standing there… not even when I can’t remember if I ordered something. That said, we do keep the doors locked when we’re home but even that’s not very easy with kids coming and going. What I’m trying to say is that there’s a very grey line between being/feeling very secure and actually letting life happen. That said, I’m not oblivious either.
Other simple actions such as keeping doors and windows closed in rooms that you’re not actively using–in order to avoid surprise intruders–would be a good idea. Even a basic heavy-duty door latch on your front door is useful to delay surprise “rush” attacks. I know this post isn’t about home security but more about your actions, such as that of actually using the door latch when home.
Equally important, are you paying attention when you come home? Are the lights off when they’re supposed to be on (or vice-versa)? Is the door ajar and that NEVER happens? Did you notice a broken window or maybe one that’s cracked open? What’s not normal?
When we’re out and about my “trouble radar” is usually ON, though, I have admitted in the past how it’s easy to turn OFF too. In this case, it’s simple things like keeping your head up, eyes open, and ears perked when in public. This is quite contrary to the common behavior of head down, face in an iPhone, and earphones in blaring away the latest top 100 billboard songs. It still amazes me as to how oblivious most people seem to be. (My personal pet peeve is how willing people are to assume you’re going to stop your car as they aimlessly walk in front of you in a parking lot… it’s even worse when they pay no attention to their young kids trailing ten feet behing them… who’s to say I would have stopped my car?)
That’s just the obvious basics. Situational awareness can go well beyond just paying attention. For example, when you’re at a restaurant (or any public place for that matter) do you sit with your back to the front door and the majority of the crowd? Do you know where the nearest exits are? Have you considered what could be used as cover or concealment if needed? Who looks like they’re having a really bad day? Granted, these considerations could be for reasons besides an active shooter incident, such as the need to escape a fire, earthquake, or who knows what else.
Equally important to your ability to be aware of your surroundings: what about your family’s ability? Especially the kids!? I’m not saying I have a great answer but I, for example, won’t allow my kids to use their ipods in public because I don’t want them to be the oblivious kids that almost get run over in the parking lot because they have their face glued to a game. Heck, I still ask them to check for cars before we cross the street together. Do they on their own? Probably not always but I figure it will sink in eventually.