Situational Awareness zones


I thought this was a great read. I hope this isn't duplicated elsewhere.


Personal Survival Strategy

By James R. Jarrett

The subject of personal protective strategies is broad enough to write books, not merely chapters, about. There are currently a number of books on the matter available, so this chapter will discuss only some broad generalities of protective techniques with a detailed analysis of training requirements and courses. Protective measures are, for the most part, simple, common sense actions most people simply do not think about. The low-profile image is the most basic and quite effective. Low profile simply means not flaunting status. Status is recognized by such obvious criteria as location of residence, type of vehicle driven, clothing worn, personal possessions and lifestyle, such as entertainment activities, travel, social circles, and amount of publicity. Among those things not so often associated with vulnerability reduction are inclusion in social registers, reserved parking spaces, regularly reserved or frequented tables at restaurants, seasonal box seats at theatrical and sporting events, personalized license plates, memberships in exclusive clubs, and a well-ordered and regulated existence.

The basis for any deliberate act of violence directed against a specific individual is intelligence. Intelligence is simply information about an intended or potential target. Therefore, a necessary integral component of any protective program must be effective counterintelligence procedures. The object of counter-intelligence is to deny information or to provide disinformation. In other words, information about a principal and his family should be available strictly on a need-to-know basis. This is not as an involved or secretive business as might be expected. It is mainly a matter of identifying who needs to know what and developing procedures for verifying requests for information.

A basic concept in formulating a security plan is to realize that most of us lead lives that have patterns. Those patterns begin and end at home. Hence, information about the residence should be closely monitored. The use of unpublished phone numbers, post office boxes, last names with initial identifiers are among the simple, passive measures that can be adopted. This does not mean the information is not obtainable. These measures merely provide inhibiting barriers, making attempts to acquire specific information more noticeable, thus providing a potential alert mechanism. The low-profile image extends to clothing, as designer fashions and personally tailored clothes are earmarks of status. This consideration is more important when attempting to counter target-of-opportunity criminal acts and has little to do with sophisticated acts of criminal or terrorist violence.

The selection of a vehicle is extremely important because, as generally recognized, the most vulnerable exposure time is during travel, especially by private vehicle. One can purchase fully armored vehicles or an easily accessible sports car. Without a doubt, the worst possible choice of a vehicle is a convertible. For most purposes, though, some general guidelines for selecting a vehicle include vehicles with good road clearance and internal climate control, such as heat and air conditioning. Whatever vehicle is chosen, doors should be kept locked and windows kept up at all times. Accessories should include inside hood releases and locking gas caps, as well as puncture- and blowout-resistant tires. Antitamper devices should also be considered as minimum equipment.

All of us live in a threatening environment. The degree of threat we may be under is the product of a number of factors. Our occupation, where we live and work, what we do and where we go all contribute to the potential hazards we face. We can reduce the risks we face by altering our lifestyles and adopting security strategies, while at the same time avoiding a condition that can be referred to as security paralysis. This phenomenon can occur in a paranoid, overprotective environment where fear creates a dysfunctional atmosphere. It is interesting to note that this dysfunction is one of the aims of terrorism.

The Passive/Soft Versus Active/Hard Alternatives

The success of personal survival is the product of two variables. The first is perceptual, and the second comprises conditioning or training. Let us examine the perceptual issue first. If the principal does not or refuses to recognize the fact that he is under threat, personal survival becomes a matter of luck. On the other hand, if the principal recognizes that he does exist in a potentially hostile environment, the first order of business is to ascertain how serious the threat is. The next step is to develop procedures for dealing with it. The philosophical makeup of the principal becomes of the utmost importance in dealing with threat perception. For instance, a personality that tends to be of a liberal political persuasion with a Lockean viewpoint of his fellow man is far less likely to view life as hazardous, and when such a personality does recognize the world as a dangerous place, the party is inclined to avoid the utilization of force in dealing with threat. Hence, a program for this type of personality is normally very passive and consists almost solely of avoidance and access denial, with hard option responses seldom considered. Rarely is such a viewpoint converted to aggressive security unless an unfortunate incident strikes the individual or someone close to him.

The antithesis to this viewpoint is the aggressive, Hobbesian personality. This kind of personality often enthusiastically seeks sophisticated force response training in addition to the passive/denial techniques. This type of individual is far more likely to view immediate security as a personal responsibility and is consequently far more active in acquiring alternative methods of assuring survival in the face of violence.

As indicated earlier, there is ample material on personal survival available for both passive/soft and active/hard alternatives. It is the contention of this author that there is no such thing as too much training; therefore, the following discussion focuses on the consideration of the hard option and the requisite training for the effective utilization of counterforce. By way of an introductory, cautionary note, the following recommendations are offered. First, in developing a hard option response, do-it-yourself programs should be avoided. The complexities of responding to violent confrontation are enormous and response methods should be taught by personnel well versed in the alternatives available and with the capability of creating an illusory environment designed to teach specific skills and evaluate student responses. Second, there are few, if any, absolutes either in perception techniques or tactics. Beware of dogmatic approaches. Training must be designed to accommodate a wide divergence in physiological and psychological profiles.

Force-Response Training Principles

With the above thoughts in mind, let us proceed to the consideration of force-response training principles. Awareness and alertness are the first principles. Jeff Cooper the founder of the Gunsight training facility, Arizona, designed a color scheme to assist in identifying the various levels of awareness; white, yellow, orange, red. Most people today live in the category identified as Condition White. This is exemplified by the person so involved in his own world that he is totally unaware of his surroundings. If you want a classic example, watch the other drivers on the highway and note how few of them will make eye contact with you.

In the lifestyle alterations required for successful survival preparation, the subject must enter into an awareness level known as Condition Yellow, which means knowing what is going on around you. For instance, be aware of strange vehicles parked on your street, watch your mirrors as you drive to detect surveillance, know where the exits are in an establishment, choose a table at a restaurant where attacks can only come from the front. This care is not paranoia; it is a common sense approach that will in fact enhance your life by causing you to see and hear more of what goes on around you. Condition Orange symbolizes a perception of threat when defensive tactics are being considered. The operative word is perceived, but the threat does not, in fact, have to materialize. Assume a strange noise is heard in the residence at night and the subject elects to investigate. The Condition Orange response would include taking a weapon during the investigation. If the threat turns out to be unfounded, the weapon can always be returned and its immediate availability has caused no harm. However, if a defensive attitude is not adopted and the threat materializes, the absence of adequate response alternatives ensures the probability of victimization.

Condition Red involves identifying a threat and reacting to neutralize it. The reaction can be anything from running away to engaging the threat with deadly force. Within each of these conditions — including an additional condition added by this author and denoted as Condition Blue, which is the traumatic postincident phase — there are an enormous number of tactical preventative and reactive measures that can be employed. The acquisition of defensive skills is accomplished only through professional, structured, and intensive training.

Preventative protective technology such as electronic intrusion denial and detection are a must. The protective services of a bodyguard should also be considered; however, it is imperative to realize that any protective resource, be it structural, vehicular, electronic, animal, or human, can be breached or compromised. Hence, the ultimate responsibility for the defense of life must fall on the intended target. Based on the perceived threat level the target may be subject to, the time and capital investment needed to learn appropriate threat response alternatives will vary. For the principal selecting hard-option training, the training will be similar, if not identical, to that of a professional protective service agent.

The most critical issue associated with force-response techniques is the employment of arms. It is the opinion of this author that weapons are mandated. Firepower, quite simply, is the definitive solution. Therefore, firepower is a necessary option. The use of firearms is not always necessary, but having the option is quite often the only guarantor of effective resistance. Knowledgeable resistance is effective in over 90 percent of attempted assaults.

Such odds are sufficient justification for the mere presence of arms, which is a tremendous deterrent. Rhetoric aside, few of Hacker's Crusaders, Criminals, or Crazies are willing to actually die in the furtherance of their goals. Also, the psychological security provided by weapon availability is of significant benefit. The decision to be armed is critical and influenced by a number of variables. Arms are not for everyone and the decision, regardless of the risk level, is highly personalized.

Domestically, the right to keep and bear arms, especially concealed, is shrinking rapidly. (The propriety of this sociopolitical trend is beyond the scope of this work.) If a decision is made to be armed, the first step is to acquire the necessary training to effectively utilize the weapon. Such training must be geared to the utilization potential of the client. In other words, for the principal acquiring the necessary skills to employ deadly force in response to an assault, National Rifle Association Hunter Safety or Marksmanship classes are totally inadequate, and, in fact, may be deadly to the user. Defensive combat shooting is a science quite divorced from the traditional skills of hunting and target marksmanship.

Three probable sources for training remain: local programs sponsored by the police, private individuals, and commercial combat shooting schools. Programs sponsored by the police are fine for the average citizen desiring to use a weapon in his home. The courses, due to their short duration, are primarily geared to safety and basic marksmanship. Their greatest values are in the publicity generated by their presentation, the accident risk reduction, and the psychological and emotional security attendant on completion. For the executive client, such courses are of little value. Instruction from friends or private individuals may be a blessing or an invitation to disaster. The qualifications to teach such a vital and sensitive subject are rare. A common misconception is that police or military personnel, active or retired, are sufficiently qualified. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Few police and fewer military personnel are proficient in precise and selective armed survival skills, and the ability to teach the subject is even less common.

This leaves the commercial combat shooting schools. A number of these training centers are springing up around the country. Many are run by Walter Mittys or others with little, if any, legitimate experience or professional credentials. Several schools are run by current or past competitive combat shooting champions. These schools generally teach excellent reaction shooting skills but are often, though not always, poor in tactics. They have the tendency to teach shooting methods that are successful in competition. In real life, a firefight does not involve points and gamesmanship. Some of the schools are geared toward the survivalist crowd with emphasis upon militaristic type training and integrated family or group operations. This slant can be a plus depending on the qualifications of the instructors. A deficiency noted in these schools is that most of the training is geared toward a rural environment. Today's reality indicates that urban operations are a more likely probability. While no endorsement is offered here of any particular school, a strong theoretical and applied science approach is suggested. Caution is indicated if a school stresses only the mechanics of confrontation management. Also beware of a mercenary approach: Legal and moral considerations on the use of deadly force should be an integral part of any program.

In assessing the qualifications of the instructors, the following criteria is recommended for consideration. Instructors should have ground combat military experience, civilian law enforcement experience, preferably, street experience in a major city, a college background, martial arts training, teaching experience, and be articulate and professional in approach. The teaching philosophy should be one that stresses confrontation avoidance and places a premium on graduated response alternatives with situation control rather than suspect annihilation as the preferred modus operandi. However, the techniques and attitude in the employment of deadly force should be firm and presented in a noncompromising format. The instructors, in addition to having the requisite armed and defensive skills, should be politically and socially astute and possess strong intellectual abilities.

A serious recurring question in any discussion of personal weapon acquisition is one of legality. As alluded to earlier, the right to carry arms is rapidly shrinking throughout the United States. In foreign countries, the situation is far more restrictive. The following observations are made for consideration only, not as an urging to violate the law. Using the United States as a starting point, the carrying of concealed weapons is prohibited nearly everywhere. However, in some locations, concealed weapons permits are available. As a first order of business, an attempt should be made to acquire a weapons permit. If a permit is not available from local authorities, a search of other in-state or extra-state locations may reveal a more sympathetic agency. Use the corporate or personal attorney to assist in this matter. Even if the attorney does not agree with this step, survival is the more important consideration and the attorney works for you. The existence of a permit, even if from another state, may be an aid in the event of discovery by a police officer. There is no guarantee a discovery of such a violation will not result in serious legal difficulties. The circumstances of the discovery, the attitude of the officer, and the attitude and behavior of the principal will all have a bearing on the outcome. If a permit is not available, an individual is faced with the decision whether to carry a firearm illegally or surrender the option to use armed resistance. An examination of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report reveals the appalling probabilities of falling victim to a crime of violence. Add to this the increasing activity of terrorist groups and one can show even through the most optimistic and conservative estimates an unacceptable risk factor. Contrast these probabilities with the chances of being stopped and physically searched by a police officer.

By way of a subjective judgment, it is better to be alive and in violation of the law then dead and legal. An evaluation on this issue is perceptual: no attempt should be made to coerce such a perspective on an unwilling candidate. The police and legislators are fond of saying that the province of protection is the exclusive domain of the police. In application, police rarely protect anyone; rather they are a reactive force that arrives postincident, takes a report, and then attempts to apprehend the perpetrator. This reactive, legal response does nothing to alleviate or negate the suffering or death sustained by the victim. The morality of the right to adequately defend oneself or the lives of loved ones and associates supersedes the legalities imposed by well-intentioned but unrealistic legislation. Thus, when deciding whether to be armed, the risks from both the criminal/terrorist element and the members of the various components of the judicial establishment must be juxtaposed.

The subjective personal decision arrived at must also bear the concomitant acceptance of both the positive and negative ramifications any such decision will have. The difficulties encountered in carrying weapons outside of the United States is quantumly greater than within the domestic territorial borders. Unless travelling by private air or water craft, a person should not carry weapons. Any weapons that are carried in a foreign country should be kept there. The ideal system for weapons procurement and use is through liaison with the host country's police, military, or intelligence services.

The selection of weapons for personal defense is an area deserving of a treatise in and of itself. The decision should be based on the following criteria: the physiological and psychological makeup of the user, the degree of concealability desired, where the weapon will be employed (for instance, the weaponry chosen for defensive purposes on a yacht or aircraft would differ from that chosen to be worn at the office), the cost of the armament, the aesthetic appeal of the weapon, and the firepower deemed necessary. No attempt is made in this chapter to recommend a caliber of weapon or resolve the revolver versus semi-automatic pistol debate. Each weapon has distinct advantages as well as disadvantages, and the school of training chosen will usually influence a person's choice in these matters. Pursuant to the criteria above, the selection process will reflect the priorities assigned by the user.

Training is the key to survival. ... (See the website for the last paragraph. It won't fit here.)

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