What is your SA color?

This is a discussion on What is your SA color? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Sorry this is a little long. I have read several threads with people discussing their SA position, and some making rather opinionated responses to other's ...

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Thread: What is your SA color?

  1. #1
    Member Array tomtsr's Avatar
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    What is your SA color?

    Sorry this is a little long.

    I have read several threads with people discussing their SA position, and some making rather opinionated responses to other's posts. I understand that this is an opinion forum and that is your prerogative. I am looking for some honest responses to the question.

    Col. Jeff Cooper provided a color code of awareness that I will share at the bottom of this post.

    The question is: When, other than being asleep do you allow yourself to exist in condition white?

    I will start with myself. I personally find it difficult to reside in condition white. I have had multiple homes broken into more than once. On another occasion I lived in a rural setting and my next door neighbor was killed by an intruder in the middle of the night. Still at another location the neighbor across the street go into a shootout with the police.

    Don't get me wrong, I do not live in paranoia or fear for my life constantly. I just find it difficult to be unaware of what is around me.

    This is taken from the web and is not a direct quote form Col. Cooper. http://www.selfdefenseresource.com/g...olor-codes.php

    Code White
    You feel secure, whether or not you are actually safe.
    Awareness is switched off.
    You are unaware of your environment, its inhabitants, and their rituals of attack.

    Code Yellow
    You are cautious. You should spend most of the time in this state.
    Awareness is switched on.
    State of threat awareness and relaxed alertness.
    You have a 360-degree peripheral awareness of such environmental danger spots as secluded doorways, entries, and alleys, as well as such psychological triggers as adrenal dump and attacker ruses. Be aware of people, vehicles, behind large objects, dark areas, etc.

    Code Orange
    You are in danger. You are aware of a potential threat.
    State of threat evaluation.
    Specific alert. A possible target has been identified. A particular situation that has drawn your attention and could present a major problem. Someone may be giving oral indicators such as direct threats or using suspicious language. Focus on the potential attacker.
    Check to see if there is an avenue of escape, potential weapons available, and if others around you are friend or foe.
    Decision is made to take action.

    Code Red
    You are in conflict.
    State of threat avoidance.
    Fight or flight. Flee, defend, or attack. You have evaluated the situation, and if there is a threat, you prepare to fight or run.
    Never stand or fight if there is a possibility of fleeing.
    Carry out decision to act made in Code Orange. You don't have to think; no indecision on the course of action; you are prepared.
    If use of physical self-defense techniques is necessary, use the level of force appropriate to the threat. E.g., don't treat someone who pushes you because he is rude like someone who is trying to stab you with a knife.
    Train like your life depends on it, because it does.

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  3. #2
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    I am not sure how you could get to Code White (being unaware of your environment ...) while being awake and sober (I don't drink, but I do sleep). I am normally in Code Yellow. I have occassionally been to Code Orange, but never Code Red, at least with a firearm.
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    VIP Member Array Hiram25's Avatar
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    I have never been in Code White, I have been through all of the other levels numerous times both as Military Police and State Trooper.
    Hiram25
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    Member Array chivvalry's Avatar
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    I get pretty relaxed in the sauna and on the massage table... right or wrong.

    Anyway, these "codes" are kinda too cut and dry... awareness and reaction is a spectrum not a 4 level measurement. I mean the only way you actually get to 'code white' is if you are asleep... and even then there are degrees of how deeply asleep you are.
    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
    You are not paranoid if They are actually out to get you, however, They probably are not and you probably are.

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    Senior Member Array KoriBustard's Avatar
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    I am never in code white, but often not quite in code yellow either. When I feel comfortable in my surroundings (such as at home), I remain very aware, alert, but relaxed. Further, I don't assume that every noise I hear is an intruder or a threat. I generally assume that most "disturbances" are from a non-threatening source. It's not like every time I hear hoof beats I think "zebras!" I don't know how I would live if I was always in yellow/orange...like my neighbor's jack russel terrier :)

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Chivvalry,
    One does not have to look for to see some in today's world who are completely in "code white". They are not difficult to spot, usually wearing ear plugs to a device and texting or similar activity. Their awareness is closer to one dead than asleep.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  8. #7
    Member Array jwarren's Avatar
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    I have lived my life pretty much in Yellow and have been in all colors at one time or another.

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    In the shower/bath I'm pretty white... while swimming... sorry, but no matter how "alert" you are, when you're doing laps and pushing yourself through water you are concerned with form and getting your next breath, not whether or not someone is going to snipe you from the bleachers.. even if you COULD see through the water splashing in your face you aren't going to get much information before your head is under water again. In the sauna after a good swim.. that's the time to let your muscles relax and to relax yourself. When I hear that door open I get back into yellow but for the times I go swimming it's at off times and I've never shared the sauna with other patrons so I feel free to white out.

    Yoga.. I white myself out in Yoga as well. I listen to the instructor and most of the class is spent with my eyes closed, concentrating on my breath and my muscles and my body and everything else I'm feeling while I move through different poses. There are total classes when the most I see is a very unfocused floor board or two... and when I'm in shavasana (final relaxation) I go so deep I often almost fall asleep (and HAVE fallen asleep on a few occasions).

    There are ques (like I said, a door opening to the sauna) or if someone were to come in to a Yoga class in the middle of class, that would bring me back to Yellow very quickly because they are unusual and in need of recognition but there are certain things in life that are so very ritualistic and normal there's really no need to be on alert when doing them unless something unusual occurs.

    It's considered very bad form to come in in the middle of a Yoga class or even to leave during final relaxation so the opening and closing of the door during class would be something to note.. it's just not done... the people in the class are all doing exactly what I'm doing and if they get up and start moving around the complete silence of the room makes their movements as loud as if they were driving a truck through it.. it would alert me instantly. It's also considered very rude to enter someone's space or to touch their mat without permission so personal space is greatly respected in Yoga classes. I can safely tune out as long as no one or nothing changes from usual practice.

    While swimming I don't hear anything and usually can't even if I try. Short of someone shooting me from the side of the pool if they wanted me they would have to come into the water and get me and I am a darned FINE swimmer.. and I would certainly notice someone standing at the edge of the pool waiting for me... again.. no need to be alerted unless there's something different about a routine.

    The same goes for the sauna. I have never had to share it with another person because of the time I go and when the door opened I would hear it and be alerted to that person's presence and if they weren't in a bathing suit or towel I would instantly know that something was amiss.

    In short, again, I think there are times and places, even in public, where certain patterns of behavior, ritual and practice are so common that the only time you need to alert yourself is if those behaviors or patterns change. It's safe (or safer) to relax and accept the pattern.

    The real danger is that some people get SO comfortable with the pattern that even when something odd DOES occur instead of accepting it and responding to it they continue on in condition white denying what is actually changing and happening. The error is not being in condition white in the first place but rather allowing condition white to rule when it's time to up the alertness level.

    I think it's important to relax and regroup, even (maybe even especially) when you are conscious.

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    Member Array chivvalry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    Chivvalry,
    One does not have to look for to see some in today's world who are completely in "code white". They are not difficult to spot, usually wearing ear plugs to a device and texting or similar activity. Their awareness is closer to one dead than asleep.
    Hmm... good point. I just flashed to my teenagers zoning on tunes and texting at the same time. Yep.... "dead to the world" applies there. I still say four "codes" aren't sufficient to describe the spectrum of awareness though.

    Lima:
    You're not describing "code white" as it is defined... you are still aware enough of your environment to pick up on cues that might be a harbinger of danger and so adjust your awareness as necessary.
    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
    You are not paranoid if They are actually out to get you, however, They probably are not and you probably are.

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    Member Array tomtsr's Avatar
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    Chivvalry,

    I totally agree that the color codes do not sufficiently describe the spectrum of awareness. I use them to make reference to something that most shooters have heard.

    I am just curoius how aware people are of their surroundings.

    I am working with my wife to help her discover how unaware she is of her surroundings and how important it is to be more cognizent.
    Last edited by tomtsr; February 14th, 2011 at 04:12 PM. Reason: Spelling error
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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Even if one accepts the rigidity of the color codes, which I do not and agree with Chivvalry on various shades of the colors, I think that for many there are frequent shifts back and forth, sometimes within seconds, rather than a sole position or state for any length of time
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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    Quote Originally Posted by chivvalry View Post
    Lima:
    You're not describing "code white" as it is defined... you are still aware enough of your environment to pick up on cues that might be a harbinger of danger and so adjust your awareness as necessary.
    Well, it's kind of like you said before.. there is a spectrum and it's not so black and white, or in this case, white, yellow, orange and red.

    You say I'm not describing "code white" but to some that's exactly what code white is. I'm shutting down my senses to the normal, tuning out those around me who are doing the same as I am or not deviating from what is considered normal and only acknowledging the abnormal or unusual if/when it may occur.. which in most cases means only alerting to sound ques like door opening or someone approaching. But to everyone in the room I am oblivious because they are keeping their distance and continuing in a normal routine.

    To some that is horrifying because I can't tell you the color of everyone's outfits or tell you what kind of bags they were carrying or I might not even notice if someone gets a little too close to me or looks at me funny because my eyes are closed and I'm not paying attention to them.

    In all honesty, the guy next to me in Yoga class could be undressing me with his eyes and planning on following me out to my car and violently raping me and I would be none the wiser because I'm in my own little world with my eyes closed just breathing away.. of course I usually have some defensive tool hidden in my Yoga clothes and once I leave the studio I'm back to a normal state of alertness but for those moments when I feel safe in a routine I don't see an overwhelming need to pay strict attention to everything around me unless someone changes that routine.. and then it's game on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    I think that for many there are frequent shifts back and forth, sometimes within seconds, rather than a sole position or state for any length of time
    Agreed... Things are constantly changing and alertness is constantly fluctuating.

    In the evening I could be in condition white while singing away to my favorite song putting a pizza in the oven. I see a shadow, fly to yellow or orange until I recognize it as my husband coming home from work.. then my alertness goes back down.

    I'm sitting at a table reading a book.... I see a reflection of something approaching my table. I up my alertness to yellow and look until I realize it's the waiter bringing my drink or a friend coming to say hello because they spotted me.

    I notice things. I stay alert. I look for the unusual or the suspect. I'm aware of people in my proximity who I haven't identified, but I'm okay with relaxing with those I have identified.

  15. #14
    Member Array chivvalry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    Even if one accepts the rigidity of the color codes, which I do not and agree with Chivvalry on various shades of the colors, I think that for many there are frequent shifts back and forth, sometimes within seconds, rather than a sole position or state for any length of time
    Completely concur... and that was my point with Limatunes as well. It is a spectrum vs. a single state... and I think most people (discounting the zombified teenager with ipod and cell phone) flux up and down that spectrum rapidly depending on the situation around them.

    limatunes is actually describing quite an aware state... she is cognizant of the appropriate sounds, smells, air movements, etc. for that situation and is consciously or unconsciously monitoring them for indicators that fall out of the expected norm. Is she in a "safe" place? Yes, based on routine and expectations... but she is still aware and alert enough to rouse herself to assess a change for danger. The teenager who is willfully deafened with tunnel vision on the cell phone is much further down the spectrum.
    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
    You are not paranoid if They are actually out to get you, however, They probably are not and you probably are.

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    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    What color is this? >>> That's where I'm at all the time!

    Not.

    My SA is based on my environs... I'll be near "white" some of the time... But some times I approach yellow/orange... and rarely I've gotten to just a hair short of red. Couple of times I've been bright red, gun exposed.

    Most of the time, I'm really low yellow. I am fast to adapt as needed.
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

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