E039 - Read The Room with Situational Awareness

This time on Across The Peak Rich and I tell you how to get your head out of your ass and read the room like a pro with situational awareness!

Intro Stuff

What Are You Drinking?

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What Did You Do This Week?

The Show

Situational Awareness Defined:

The perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their future status.

Jeff Cooper’s Awareness Color Code System for Situational Awareness

Cooper’s Color Code System consists of four "conditions” of readiness to take life: White (non-alert), Yellow (unspecific, general alert and the state most of us should be in, most of the time), Orange (focused alert), and Red (intense focus on a specific target while taking action to mitigate the threat)

Claude Werner’s article on the bastardization of Cooper’s Color Codes

Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense, and an excellent book to help you foster your situational awareness. Unfortunately this work seems to be out of print.

 Fostering Situational Awareness

1. Develop a cultural baseline

- Think of making a mental Terry Stop & Frisk

- What do average people wear?

- How do average people communicate?

- How do average people stand?

- Learn what is "normal" in your culture or community

2. Read Body Language

- What is Body language? Body language is the nonverbal communication in which physical behaviors are used to convey information.

A. Examples of Body Language that should command your attention:

- Hyper-vigilance

- Witness glance

- Facial wipe

- Targeted glance

- Moving fast

- Concealing Hands (in a way that is not "normal")  

- Openly carrying weapons

- Sweating at strange times

- Open mouth breathing

- Inappropriate touching

- Inappropriate smiling! Like they are aware of something you aren't

- Removing articles of clothing

- Feet never kill anyone, watch the hands...

- Bladed body

- Head unnatural positioning

 3. Develop Micro-Level Situational Awareness

A. Get your damn head out of the damn phone

- You can't observe the cultural baseline

- If you must be on the phone, follow the 50% rule

- You can't see the curb you're about to step off of

- You can't see the attacker, and he identifies you as a distracted/easy target

 B. Be especially alert in areas of transition

 - Moving inside to outside

 - Areas of light to dark (i.e. from inside a store to walking outside)

 - Before getting out of or into your car

 C. Listen to auditory clues

 - Raised voices in a restaurant

 - Metallic Sounds: blade opening, hammer cocking, metal scraping or clanging

 - People whispering...

 D. Be aware of normalcy bias

 - It can’t happen to me? Or can it?

 - It’s not always strangers we must be wary of

 - Fireworks or Gunshots?

 E. Listen to your internal voice

- Trust your gut

- When it's time to leave, it's time to fucking leave

 F. You are at a greater risk when you are physically compromised

    - When you are distracted by things in your hands

    - When you are impaired by spirits or narcotics in a public space

    - When you are injured

4. Macro Level SA

A. Keep an eye on the local news

    - Know if there is going to be protest/demonstration/gathering

    - Be aware of expected weather events in your area

    - Know your area (i.e. where traffic chokes up)

    - Know what is "normal" and "abnormal" for an area.

    - If there are gangs what do they look like, where are they, how do they dress and communicate?

B. Know trends/pre-incident indicators

Additional Reading:

Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life - Paul Ekman

What Every "Body" is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed Reading People - Joe Navarro

Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life - Patrick Van Horne & Jason A. Riley

Book of the Week

The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence by Gavin de Becker

Civility Rule of the Week

4th - In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.

From George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company & Conversation

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Justin Carroll