Like Tom Cruise in "Collateral."
What do we look for?
Successful fighter pilots use a decision making process called the OODA loop. The anachronism stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. The goal is to spin the loop fast enough to penetrate the OODA loop of the adversary and win. Training can expedite the observation and orientation. Experience is a key to fast decision making. Effective action requires skill. It can be essential to find the right compromise between deadly hesitation and the speedy action of reckless abandon. Perseverance prevails, sometimes with the help of blind luck.
Observation begins with the scan. Most sheeple in condition white have a 90 degree cone of awareness in front of them, if they are not preoccupied. Sometimes they glance ahead, but they don’t observe. On the other hand, secret service agents are in condition orange and observe their complete sphere with hard scans that would be seen as “over the top” in a convenience store setting.
Avoid staring or undue eye contact which may cause confrontation. Rather use unobtrusive scanning to cover the full circle around you in random cycles. Observe static points of interest quickly and then monitor dynamic changes for things that seem unusual, illogical, or out of place. The static environment assessment looks for avenues of possible attack or escape, obstacles, concealment, and cover. The constant dynamic assessment catalogues moving objects and all individuals. Among people near you, estimate who would be a likely subject of attack and from where it would originate. Note backgrounds that would preclude a shot.
As you assess others, look for their hands and eyes. If you can’t see them, they should be a priority concern. While an angry or troubled person will telegraph his anxiety and assault intent through body language, the danger signs of a stalking predator aren’t as obvious.
Watch for thoracic breathing, especially with an open mouth. Watch for the white of the eye showing above the lower eyelid and a slouched or unkempt appearance. Notice hesitant but unabated movement toward a command position or a victim. Watch for controlled, mechanical, or jerky gestures, especially patting, securing, or protecting hidden objects on their body. Note darting eyes and rearward glances, or frequent eye contact with accomplices or a stationed lookout. Beware anyone who creates a distraction or initiates a conversation with a stranger while approaching them. Steer clear of self-involved but idle groups that just appear to be hanging out.
When waiting in lines, angle your strong side toward the space you leave to the back of the person in front of you. Eye contact with the person behind you should be enough to keep them at a distance.
In public restrooms, always use a locking stall, but the clatter of guns and ammo on the tile is unprofessional. Don’t try to catch a falling gun. Secure it in the cradle of your trousers or on your handbag in front of you, out of sight. Be careful of loose speed loaders or magazines, and remember to take everything with you when you exit.
While brief, initial eye contact will indicate others who are also aware, you still can’t trust even the most well dressed or innocent looking not to be a psychopathic killer. Awareness serves as a beacon to ward off common predators who are assessing you, too. Keep your head up and turning with the nonchalance of calm vigilance. Keep good posture, poise, and balance. Keep your strong hand free and be ready to drop everything if you have to duck for cover. A confident demeanor and purposeful stride will likely keep the bad guys looking to surprise an easier victim.
What are other things we should watch for, and how can we pick out the "normal looking" BG?