This is a discussion on Observation Thread within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Since many of us have, or carry guns, for defensive purposes I'm putting this here.
Anyone familiar with the OODA Loop knows that you have ...
September 1st, 2010 07:48 PM
Since many of us have, or carry guns, for defensive purposes I'm putting this here.
Anyone familiar with the OODA Loop knows that you have to observe the situation, then orient to it. I'm sure that many of us have thought of situations that could've happened, did happen, or likely will happen. My question to you all is:
How well do you observe what is going on around you, and what of the people around you? Who is out of place? Who isn't dressed right? Where is a car parked where it normally isn't? Where is the best lighting on the path you walk to the Supermarket with the fewest doors for a badguy to hide in?
These are all questions we should, in my opinion be asking ourselves if we carry a gun for defensive purposes. 99% of the time, when our "spidey sense" tingles it most often will be nothing. It's that other 1% that we should be preparing for.
What brought about this line of questioning was someone posting that they thought the hostage taker in MD was a cop at first due to the way he was dressed. How well do you know the uniforms and vehicles of all the emergency responders in your area? Do you make it a practice to observe what the emergency personnel in other areas wear and drive if you travel frequently?
What's going on in the lobby of the bank as you enter through the door? How about the Stop and Rob? Can you see the clerk, and do they look like they are in distress? Why is that car parked in the alley with the lights out and engine running?
There is more to safety and defense than just having a gun. We will all miss things at times, as we are after all, human. The gun is just one of the tools we have, and most likely not the most often needed or appropriate tool for the job, but when it is, nothing else will suffice.
September 1st, 2010 08:13 PM
I tend to watch my surrounding alot more than the average person and one thing I do that drive most people crazy is to only shake hands with my left (I am right handed ) as it leaves my strong side hand open and if need be leaves me open to defend myself , I had an incident a couple years ago that taught me that one the hard way .
September 1st, 2010 08:18 PM
Like everyone else I have my off days, but I tend to be more aware than most. I would not normally recommend following advice from a TV show, but there is a line from an NYPD episode where Andy is instructing his son who is about to enter the academy. It goes as follows:
The things people do, the places they do them, and the times they do them. Solid advice.
September 1st, 2010 08:24 PM
When I lived in NYC I was always acutely aware of everything--- matter of self protection in the era when crime was sky high there. My situational awareness took a huge dive down when I began living in Iowa, Minnesota, and small town Texas.
Now, my small town isn't so small. We have drugs, gangs, armed robberies, murders, and a small amount of thankfully rare street crime. So, I'm starting to build those old habits back up. But, truthfully, after record heat this August, I'm almost ready for Hayfield, MN again.
I try, but no one can be on high alert 100%. For that you need a seeing eye dog trained for double duty in security.
September 1st, 2010 08:28 PM
ctr, you nailed it bro'.
The things people do, the places they do them, and the times they do them.
September 1st, 2010 08:34 PM
I try to keep track of everything I can in my vacinity. I'm well aquainted with emergency personnel in my area as I used to be one (firefighter). Even in the car I maintain track of whos around me. Case in point, on my way home from work one day, some woman weaving in lane, driving slow. I hit the section where it becomes 2 lanes and go around her, she's looking at something in her lap. As I get past her she moves over into my lane, approaching a red stoplight I move over to the other lane to get from in front of her, and she promptly rear ends the car in front of her stopped at the light.
September 1st, 2010 08:37 PM
In other words, you're talking about situational awareness (SA).
When it comes to good SA, the skills you need are subtle. Focus or concentrate too hard, you'll miss the small cues. Focus too little, you'll miss the important things. This is why I'm still working on a definition of SA that makes sense. It's very hard to describe because it encompasses a wide set of concepts. In loose terms, it demands that you know what "normal" is in a given situation.
"It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."
September 1st, 2010 08:40 PM
There is good situational awareness...and overthinking things which borders on paranoia for some. Be aware, be smart, observe the actions of those around you...but don't let it consume your every thought.
If you're spending every waking moment worrying about trying to stay alive, then you're not living.
Speak softly, and carry a big stick.
September 1st, 2010 08:47 PM
Here is something I wrote in another thread. I think it is a workable model that can be individually tailored.
September 1st, 2010 09:22 PM
Good read! I think it pretty well sums up SA.
Originally Posted by Guantes
September 1st, 2010 09:25 PM
Your description in the other thread is apt.
Having been a VFR private pilot, and a motorcycle rider.. one learns to scan, and determine a course of action based on what one sees... The same applies for the sesne of hearing... I work in a plant where things are in process all the time.... I can hear the untoward noise, and the ones that happen all the time that are "shocking" to rookies.
Sometimes, you can decide your course of action erroniously, as happened to me on a motorcycle... I decided a course of action based on the behavior of another driver that I thought was prudent... It turned out to be too aggressive... nearly cost me a leg. So, now my reactions will tend to be more "defensive" (not to say they aren't proactive, just that they tend to be more, I dunno, "retreat oriented."
While that is the case in most instances, and I make certain I have SEVERAL "outs" if possible. I know I can act decisively and aggressively if need be. Carrying a weapon does not mean always killing 'em all and letting the great spirit sort 'em out. It doesn't mean run and hide either.
There's a balance... If you're always yellow bordering on orange.. You ain't living, as was said. I consider myself extremely observant. It's a natural curiosity. I love to watch people in crowd situations.. the mall, wally world, the fair, the theater, the restaurant... whatever.
I'm always "watching the horizon." If anything is odd on that horizon... I'll focus on it to determine what it is... how it may affect me, If it's off in the distance, and will not intersect with me, okay... back to scanning. Otherwise, I "process the bogie" What is it, how will it affect me, what can I do to avoid it if necessary, how can I control the interaction. This applies to "Joe" as well as "Mack the knife."
It could be worse!
September 1st, 2010 09:31 PM
I have been on liberty in the orient. I have worked in Washington D.C. in the bad crime districts. Old habits don't die. SA has kept me alive and healthy!
September 1st, 2010 09:50 PM
I point things out to my wife when we are out. People or things out of place, cars positioned in an unnatural way, people acting in an unnatural manner. She thinks I'm too observant. I've studied human behavior for many years. I'm way more interested in why people do things than what they are actually doing (motivation for actions). Something as simple as a person backing their car into a space when it would have been much easier to pull in straight...why would they do that? Then observe to see if you can determine the why. Why they did it may be much more important than the fact that they did it.
Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
No Guns, No Safety, No Peace.
September 1st, 2010 11:49 PM
An excellent observation. I believe that if you can determine the motive, beforehand, then you've got a good chance of seeing the future, so to speak.
Originally Posted by BugDude
Trust in God and keep your powder dry
"A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source
September 2nd, 2010 12:32 AM
I tend to think I have decent observation skills/SA, I ran point for my squad for 7 months in a combat zone, and everyone came back with all of their fingers and toes. Really one thing I learned is that you need to be able to establish normal behavior, and usually any threat will not be conforming to what is normal, so it sticks out. The more you train your mind to pick out the thing that doesn't fit, the better off you will be. Of course American towns tend not to have IED's and suicide bombers and stuff, but the same principles still apply.
It is pretty much impossible to stay in a really high state of alert all the time, the body mind and eyes need time to rest (YMMVV), but I know that I found about 50-55 minutes straight of foot patrol is about the time when I would start losing my concentration and my mind would start wandering. So we would stop for 10-15 minutes out of every hour, conduct security and still maintain awareness, but allow people to rest slightly, as it is easier to pay attention when you are stationary.
Fortes Fortuna Juvat
Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor
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