We pound the drum for awareness constantly at Active Self Protection, because as this video shows awareness gives you the time to respond to threats! This off duty officer’s awareness might have saves his life.
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Original video of the attackers being run off is available in our Instructor Development Portal.
What does this defensive encounter teach us about protecting ourselves against an armed attacker?
- Situational awareness is your best friend. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private.
- It’s dark for half the day, and bad guys of all kinds love to launch ambushes from the dark. That means, as a self-defender, that part of having good situational awareness involves keeping a flashlight on your person. (in this instance the headlights worked wonderfully; in many cases it won’t) That flashlight doesn’t have to be crazy tacticool and shouldn’t be firearm-mounted, because its purpose is to help you see at night to give you better awareness of any potential threats far before they can hurt you. A VERY compact option that runs on AAs is this Streamlight: http://amzn.to/1U9S39H and I carry this 1000 lumen Fenix: http://amzn.to/1S73jjb which is rechargeable and has multiple modes of brightness. A middle ground that I have used very effectively is this Olight: http://amzn.to/29htS3q. I highly recommend a flashlight for everyone, simply as an awareness tool at night.
- Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. Awareness in transitional spaces somewhat nullifies the advantage that attackers have in them, so use it well.
- As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from danger. As the old adage says, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” You—and ONLY you—can protect yourself from danger when it comes upon you. A police response time of 5 minutes is considered perfectly acceptable in most suburban departments, and times upwards of 30 minutes can be the norm in rural areas! You need to have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from harm because the police simply can’t.
- In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. The way to be better at decision making in the heat of the moment is training, specifically scenario training and force-on-force training that is designed to work on decision-making skills under stress. It’s offered all over the country, so get training!
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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