Very good information!
This is a discussion on Layers of response: within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 19 Mar 03 John Farnam's Quips - 19Mar03.html Layers of response: Years ago, Jeff Cooper delineated the "Color Code" and the "Principles of Personal Defense" ...
19 Mar 03
John Farnam's Quips - 19Mar03.html
Layers of response:
Years ago, Jeff Cooper delineated the "Color Code" and the "Principles of Personal Defense" in an effort to provide us with a logical model for one's thinking on the subject of mental preparedness. I'd like now to go to the next step and apply the same logic to the issue of personal appearance and demeanor, as we all agree that, in the domestic defensive environment, avoiding a fight is preferable to winning one.
Layer One: Nonattendance. The best way to handle any potentially injurious encounter is: Don't be there. Arrange to be somewhere else. Don't go to stupid places. Don't associate with stupid people. Don't do stupid things. This is the advice I give to all students of defensive firearms. Winning a gunfight, or any other potentially injurious encounter, is financially and emotionally burdensome. The aftermath will become your full-time job for weeks or months afterward, and you will quickly grow weary of writing checks to lawyer(s). It is, of course, better than being dead or suffering a permanently disfiguring or disabling injury, but the "penalty" for successfully fighting for your life is still formidable.
Crowds of any kind, particularly those with an agenda, such as political rallies, demonstrations, picket lines, etc are good examples of "stupid places." Any crowd with a high collective energy level harbors potential catastrophe. To a lesser degree, bank buildings, hospital emergency rooms, airports, government buildings, and bars (particularly crowded ones) fall into the same category. All should be avoided. When they can't be avoided, we should make it a practice to spend only the minimum time necessary there and then quickly get out.
"A superior gunman is best defined as one who uses his superior judgment in order to keep himself out of situations that would require the use of his superior skills."
Layer Two: Functional invisibility. We all need to practice to art of "being invisible." It is in our best interest to go our way unnoticed, both by potential predators and by the criminal justice system alike.
Whenever I travel, particularly to foreign countries, I endeavor to be the one that no one notices; no one recalls; no one remembers. I silently slip through the radar, leaving no trace, a nameless, faceless tourist. When in any public place, I try to be clean and well groomed, but I never wear bright colors, any kind of jewelry, or anything shiny. I smile a lot, but talk softly and as little as possible. As we say in the law enforcement business, "Courteous to everyone. Friendly to no one."
Loud talking, bright colors, Rolex watches, etc will consistently accumulate unwanted attention. On the other end of the spectrum, tattoos, poor grooming, loud and offensive language, a slovenly appearance, etc will also garner unwelcome notice.
Layer Three: Deselection. Any successful predator has the ability to quickly screen potential victims, focusing in on the ones who look as if they will make good victims and rejecting those who either (1) look too strong for expedient victimization or (2) don't conveniently fall into any particular category.
When invisibility fails, we need endeavor to be consistently deselected for victimization. We do this by making it a habit to appear alert, uninviting, self-confident, and strong. At the same time, we never loiter or appear indecisive. We are always in motion.
"Weakness perceived is weakness exploited!"
Layer Four: Disengagement: Our best interests are not served by any kind of engagement with potential predators. Successful disengagement involves posturing, bearing, verbalizations, and movement. It is in our best interest to disengage at the lowest reasonable force level, but we must simultaneously be prepared to instantly respond to unlawful force with superior force.
Potential predators, as they attempt verbal engagement, should be politely dismissed. Bearing and eye contact should always project strength and confidence. We should continuously be moving off the "line of force." We should be observant in every direction, giving potential predator duos and trios the distinct impression that they will not be able to sneak up on us.
When predators are confused, they are unable to focus sufficiently to carry off their victimization. Therefore, never let a potential predator seize the agenda. Don't answer his questions, and don't stay in any one place very long.
Disengagement, separation, and exit are our immediate goals when we have been selected or are being seriously evaluated by predators. However, if there is to be a fight, the best one is a short one. If a predator menaces me with a gun or a knife, I know that, before it is all over, there is a good chance that I will be shot or cut. However, within that prison of circumstance, I also know that the faster I can end the fight, the less hurt I'm going to get! If there must be a fight, I must explode into action, moving smoothly and quickly, in an effort to confuse and overwhelm my opponent before he has a chance to process all the information I'm throwing at him.
Ultimately, we must "have a plan." Potentially dangerous encounters must be thought about in advance. Decisions must be made. Skills must be practiced. Confusion, hesitation, and vacillation will always attract the attention of predators and simultaneously stimulate predator behavior.
Very good information!
You can educate ignorance, you can't fix stupid
Retired DE Trooper, SA XD40 SC, S&W 2" Airweight
dukalmighty & Pure Kustom Black Ops Pro "Trooper" Holsters, DE CCDW and LEOSA Permits, Vietnam Vet 68-69 Pleiku
I wish I could press the "like" button a thousand times for that post!
I enjoy reading John's quips, and this is a good one. Since you've posted it here for our consideration I'd like to add some thoughts:
(1) In the "disengagement" layer a key point is that predators will try to manipulate us into a vulnerable position by relying upon our social conditioning. They will say things ("Hey, can you help me with this?") that for a normally socialized person require certain responses ("Uh, what do you need?") that keep us engaged and allow them to close the gap between us. It's key for us to realize that this is a time to *not* follow our social programming and to break the rules that normally apply: to be unequivocally rude, abrupt, unhelpful (whatever you want to call it) as needed to break away.
(2) I suggest that there is a fourth layer that John describes to but doesn't explicitly label: "Decisive Engagement". If all your attempts to prevent and avoid an engagement have failed then there's no longer time to temporize or vacillate: It's time to switch gears and change your mindset into full engagement, and to do it on your terms. It's time to seize the initiative, cheat, fight dirty, and end it before he/she ends you.
In the heat of the moment, what matters is what your body knows -- not what your mind knows.
Thanks Mitchell, for posting that.
It could be worse!
If you are not an avid reader of John Farnam's Quips, you are living under a rock.
I met him at Tactical Response in Camden, TN. He had just conducted a class and was leaving, I was coming in for the next one. His post-class session was great.
(The Tactical Response post class dinners and after class sessions were equally as great, especially as for classes in Camden, TN you can stay at James Yeager's house in his very well furnished 1st floor - but this is about John Farnam, so I'll leave the descriptions of how Tactical Response makes people feel at home when you aren't getting pushed to your limits during training...)
He is an incredible instructor, and I would drive another 1,100 miles for the opportunity to hang out with him, let alone train with him. Time and money are interfering; however...
Farnam's opinions sometimes sound uncompromising and harsh to people, especially new people. Well, his calling is to give you the tools you need to make sure you are around to provide for your family in the event someone tries to take you from them. If you can't handle what he says without getting defensive, then maybe you need to reconsider your committment to the safety of your family.
If you've been considering training, here's his schedule. John Farnam's Schedule
I guess I've been living under a rock!
I've never heard of him until now. But, I have been spouting things similar to that quip since the 1970's.
Last edited by atctimmy; March 16th, 2011 at 11:08 PM.
I American and I Ameriwill!