Live to Live
This is not about health foods and regular medical checkups, although those things are important. It is about living our lives in a self-defense mode that not only protects our lives, but our lifestyles as well. It is not going to be about how and when to present a gun in a confrontation or how many shots to fire, or how much spare ammo to carry. Although such things are important, they’ve been discussed thoroughly and in depth many times. So what is this about then? It is about how we live our lives each day and how to avoid traps that could bring quick disaster before we know it.
So the theme here is not how to survive a gunfight, it’s about how to not get into one in the first place. More than that it’s about protection from many aspects. It’s about number one, protecting you and yours from getting into a situation that could bring harm and to avoid needless exposure of your home and lifestyle.
It boils down to the three ‘E’s – Evade, Escape, Engage. And they are listed in the correct order. Here’s a defining example of Evade, which is the focal point of this:
Let’s say you’ve been to an indoor range and had a great time shooting. You come out to your car, still pumped and blabbering away to your buddy about how you just couldn’t miss today. You get in your car and drive off. What could possibly be wrong with that? Well, here’s what’s wrong with that. It is a known technique for thieves to wait for guys to come out of a shooting range carrying ‘gear’. Their plan is to follow the person home, determine a time when nobody is home and break in. After all where there’s a shooter (as identified at the range) there are guns in his home and other ‘goodies’ as well. Did anyone follow you?
Speaking of being followed, cell phones have made following someone most difficult to detect. Let’s say we have three guys, each in a separate vehicle. They all three start out at the range. One follows you but not too close. You make a normal turn on your way home and the second guy now takes the lead behind you – a different car. They can coordinate over cell phones so it would be very difficult to detect. So again, did anyone follow you today?
Here’s an example that happened to me not too long ago. I parked my car in the Walmart parking lot and was walking toward the store. A guy was coming toward me and asked me a question. My first ‘E’ kicked in immediately. Is he trying to subtly manipulate himself or me in to a particular position, perhaps lining me up for a rear approach by a buddy? So I maintain a reasonable distance, walk past him while all the time scanning for somebody nearby that could be an accomplice. I have now positioned myself behind him, except of course he has turned to face me. My theory was that he wanted to stop me and talk to give his buddy a chance to approach from the rear. By circling around him, I circumvented that and could see what would have been at my rear. It ended and I watched him walk off a ways and then I walked off still scanning and glancing rearward to get another look at him. Did I avoid/evade anything? Well, nothing happened. Isn’t that the goal?
Another time, a car pulled up with the driver’s window down and the driver asked me if I could help them find something and held up a map. NEVER, NEVER, approach a car under those conditions if you don’t know the occupants. You know why you shouldn’t? You don’t know the occupants! I thought I just said that! Do you trust your life to every car load of people that asks you for help?
Well, I did approach the car, but to the rear of the driver and I took a good look at the back seat and floor as I approached. The as I moved forward, I first looked at his hands, his lap, the seat beside him and then the passenger. What if there had been someone in the back? Simple, I would not have approached the car.
I know we want to help people; I’m not saying we shouldn’t, I’m saying help safely. For example, in the above example what if there had been somebody in the back seat - do we not help good people because there are bad people out there somewhere? No, I’m not saying don’t help good people. I’m saying one, we often can’t tell the difference, and two, if we do decide to help, do it smartly and safely. So how would you safely handle the back seat problem – one, just forget it and walk up to the car or two, help but be smart about it. Ask the driver or passenger to lay the map out on the hood so you can show him. If he doesn’t want to do that, you don’t want to walk any closer to the car – well, I don’t anyway.
And, if you’re walking down the sidewalk and a stranger walks up and introduces himself and extends his hand to shake hands – DON’T GIVE HIM YOUR RIGHT HAND! That’s crazy! You don’t know this guy, why do I care if it bothers him that I won’t shake hands with him? So what would I do? I would immediately check his background, there’s two reasons for that. First, I’m looking for a buddy, and two, I’m about to circle this guy while maintaining a reasonable distance. Why? Because by circling him I can see what was taking place behind me in my previous position. Why not just glance over your shoulder? You just took your eyes off the primary threat – that’s why.
A friend of my wife and myself was visiting with us. She was sitting outside on the porch and my wife and I were inside the house. She came running in and said, “There’s a big guy walking down your driveway.” I think most people would go outside to see what he was about, and that’s what I did. The difference is I’m assuming he’s there to do me and mine harm of some sort. By the time I got outside he was near the back of my house. I had gone out the front door instead of the back to see if there was a ‘tailgunner’ – ALWAYS assume there’s another guy somewhere. I actually pied the corner of my house (no gun drawn) until I could see him. He appeared to be alone and had no visible means of transportation. He was every bit as big as our friend declared him to be!
My next move was to approach him to conversation distance – loud conversation, not whisper range. As I approached him I was looking for three things, one, what he was doing with his hands, two, to see if he would subtly try to maneuver me and/or himself into a particular position, perhaps advantageous to his undisclosed buddy. And, three, I was still looking for his buddy. He didn’t try to manipulate me, so I moved to a position where the sun would be behind me and in his face. This fortunately put me facing the opposite direction so that would mess up a sneak attack from a buddy.
As he said he was lost, his hands went out of sight behind him. Simultaneously, my right hand grasped my gun under my cover garment. I simply said, “I need to see your hands.” He complied. The talk with him made little sense, but we offered him some breakfast which he accepted. I’m still on full alert, still looking for the arrival of an accomplice.
He claimed to be hitchhiking to Knoxville, but further discussion revealed he didn’t know how to hitchhike??? Where did he come from and how did he get two miles off I-75 and wind up in my driveway?
We wound up driving him to I-75. My wife drove – he sat in the front passenger seat, I sat in the back seat on the driver’s side. We let him out, I gave him a little money, and we drove home. I have no idea what became of him.
But, did my precautionary actions prevent something that he had planned from happening? I’ll never know, and don’t know that I care what was supposed to happen – what matters is, nothing happened.
My wife and I were driving that same friend that warned us of the big guy in the driveway back to Knoxville. We stopped at a Burger King to get rid of the first cup of coffee and get some more. Tangle, my dog, was in the car, and she is NEVER left unattended. So, we took turns going in, making sure one person had eyes on the car and Tangle. A bit much you’re thinking? Well, there are 'lost dog' posters up in my neighborhood for a dog that was left alone in a van just long enough for its owner to duck into the Dollar Store and come right back. The dog was stolen in mere minutes. Remember me saying this is also about protecting lifestyle and property? You think her lifestyle changed when she lost her dog?
Anyway, I’m coming out of Burger King focused on Tangle and all the stuff I had to do when I got to Knoxville. Then somebody spoke to me from behind - it was our friend. She had been standing at the corner of the Burger King building just out of sight, when I walked by WITHOUT checking the corner. She had me! If she had been a bad guy, he had me. I was totally unaware.
BTW, the last time you walked out of a restaurant, fast food, stop n go, office, grocery, etc. did you scan outside BEFORE you opened the door? When you did open the door and step out, did you scan again? You know new area is opened up with every step! Were people standing around, etc.?
I did learn a lesson from the Burger King experience – maybe one of those ‘best things that ever happened to me’. I began to notice other things I was missing. The last time you got in your car, did you carefully check the back seat and floor BEFORE you opened the door?
When you approached your car the last time at night, even in a lighted parking lot, how many cars were around your car and were there people sitting in them? Were there people standing around near your car? How many? Did you approach your car so you could check all sides of it before you got too close?
While we can’t live in complete paranoia, I’ve found I can come pretty close.
I was awakened one night, actually about 2:30am in the morning, by a pounding on my front door. I thought, hmmm, somebody is here to kill me. So I don pants, which of course has a holster already mounted so I go to the door to see who is trying to kill me this early in the morning. Now, from what I've observed, most people would stand in front of the door and open it wide open. Not me! I stand to the side of the door where all those 2x4s that form the door facing are to get as much protection as I can.
So, I crack open the door and expose one eye to see the person. It's a woman, claiming there's been an accident in front of my house. Well, a woman in need is about the oldest trick in the book! I'm supposed to go dashing outside to 'rescue' her so the guy hiding in the bushes can shoot me. Well, she asks if I could call the police. Hmmm, haven't seen this twist before??? So I say yes, and she heads back toward the street and it all becomes clear. The police call thing is to get me to let my guard down and she reinforces it by moving back toward the road while her accomplice hidden in the bushes crouches to pounce on me when I come out. Weeeeell, two can play this game! I called the police and went out the back door - she could really need help you know. Boy, if I had just had my night vision then! I do now - it head mounts too! My Kimber Warrior or TLE/RL is about to have a UniMax IR laser to match the night vision too. OK, OK, I'm pure paranoid - I'll probably live longer than most!
So I tactically move around and clear of my house and sure enough there is a car in my ditch! Some will go to all kinds of length to sell the ruse! I guess I'm supposed to go up to the car, open the door to 'help' the injured person and he shoots me. Ha! I'm on to that! Well, here's the police so I'm off the hook.
Well, ok, this time is was an actual need and wreck. The problem is how do you know?
Most would grasp the concept that we need to live our lives in a way that helps us stay alive. But this concept goes beyond just dead or alive. What I’m talking with regard to “Live to Live” is about living one’s life in a protective way that not only guards life, our quality of life, and lifestyle, but that also avoids unpleasant, dangerous, harmful, and expensive outcomes.
And of course, this just scratches the surface of things we need to incorporate into our lives to Evade possible traps.
I only made it through Chapter 4. I will read the rest later.
Nah, good post.
Hmmm, chapters! Why didn't I think of that!
Originally Posted by Brad426
Yeah, it is a bit long; but as far as I'm concerned, you're worth every word and effort of it!
Aww, I feel all warm and fuzzy. Could be the residual effects of the bourbon, but still.
Originally Posted by Tangle
Originally Posted by Brad426
I read the book from cover to cover. Lots of good common sense there. :smile:
Originally Posted by Tangle
Common Sense...I think that says it all. If one maintains SA (Situational Awareness) AND utilizes Common Sense, then they go a long way toward enhancing their own safety as well as the safety of their loved ones.
Originally Posted by wmhawth
Thanks for the post Tangle!
Good food for thought. Let me add the drink.
If you are truly concerned about personal safety, stay away from bars, and places where alcohol induced people drink too much. If you like to have a drink, stay home and do it!
Tangle highlights aspects of the "Use of Force Continuum": Avoid - Evade - Counter. The first two steps give the last a much better chance.
There's no excuse for not scanning. I live in a downtown village with restored 30's buildings with recessed doors or without windows on both sides of the door. I don't care what people think if I hesitate at the angle of "pie" at the funnel of death.
For newbies, "pie" (as a verb) is approaching a blind corner moving sideways bit by bit (Each new arc view is a slice of "pie"). Awareness of level of potential danger minimizes exposure to that potential danger. If there is danger, pieing gives options that you don't have walking into it blindly.
I like how Tangle doesn't let his need for safety totally squelch his charitable human response.
I used to work in a field where situational awareness was a serious issue and we trained heavily so we maintained that awareness. I'm 71 now, and I still have many of those techniques ingrained in my every lifestyle. It's hard to shake that paranoia even during those moonlight walks on the beach...
"An ounce of prevention is worth pound of cure!"
All is not what it seems, good thoughts to live by.
IMO, you were far to kind and compliant with the transient! I would have NEVER let him in my car or taken him anywhere. I would have asked him to leave my driveway and kept an eye on him as he wandered away and had my gun and 9-1-1 at the ready. But that's just me.
It sucks that we have to live like this, but it seems that scams, cons and robberies are getting more common, more elaborate and more violent. There is a fine like between being too paranoid and becoming a victim.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
You should really stop reading Mack Bolen.:badguy:
Just kidding...... Good post.