By Ed Santos, The Shooting Channel
Most street crimes are driven by the pursuit of power. We often fail to recognize this by focusing on the balance of the headline. “Man Robs Liquor Store” or “Bank Robbed At Gunpoint” statements such as these seem to imply that robbery is the key element to focus on. But a more comprehensive analysis will often lead to the power element. All of us seek power in one form or another.
The problem is power can be used responsibly or irresponsibly. Criminals crave power and will do virtually anything to have it. They believe other people and their property exists for their benefit. The guy who today sticks a knife in your face and demands money is the same guy that stole your milk, or your lunch money back in grade school. Most crimes of violence are crimes of opportunity. I want you to limit those opportunities.
Criminals Use Weapons Of Many Forms
The criminal will often use deception to catch people off guard. His secrecy gives him a great advantage and provides him a sense of power. Intimidation is another often used weapon by the criminal. His domineering manner may be so menacing that he need never utter a threat, raise his voice, or clench his fist. Other times, a display of anger accomplishes his purpose. The outburst is usually carefully orchestrated, expertly timed and displayed dramatically.
Dominating the victim is the primary objective of the criminal and they will often resort to violence as a last resort. With self-image at stake predictability is a serious issue as you decide on a course of action.
Be aware of all things around you so that you don’t allow yourself to be surprised. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.
Criminals expect you to comply with their commands. So, he gives you an order – Give Me Your Wallet – and he expects and waits for you to comply. If he wanted to hurt you, he would simply walk up to you and attack you without warning. But this is typically not what happens.
Raise Your Level of Awareness
I believe that raising your level of awareness is the single most effective way to keep yourself and those around you safe. Col. Jeff Cooper developed the Combat Mindset Color Code System. Although others have added colors and applied additional theories to Col. Cooper’s original 4 color format, I believe in keeping it simple. If four colors were good enough for Cooper, they are good enough for me. Take a second to note the colors and associated mind set listed below.
White – Unaware and unprepared
Yellow – Relaxed alert. No specific threat situation
Orange – Specific alert. Something is not quite right and has gotten your attention
Red – Fight Mode. Your mental trigger has been tripped (established back in Condition Orange). You take appropriate action.
Ideally, you should go about your day in Condition Yellow. Being alert gives you the edge. As we have said time after time, “Action beats Reaction every time.” I don’t care how fast you are with whatever weapon system you choose. If your first indication you are in trouble is the contact with the criminal on his terms, you have an uphill battle ahead.
Train yourself to trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t blow it off. In the past few months we have had two female students in a 3 week period who had to draw their CCW in order to stop a would be attacker. Both incidents happened in a shopping parking lot between 9 and 10 pm. Neither woman had to fire a shot in fact one student was able to divert the attacker when the attackers accomplice realized the student was prepared for the attack.
The accomplice recognized that the student had retrieved some sort of weapon so he yelled at the would-be attacker “Leave the B _ _ _ h alone.” I believe these women would never have been able to retrieve their firearms had they not been aware enough to recognize an attack was imminent.
When you observe criminal behavior or a perceived threat, get away or avoid it if you can. If that doesn’t work and you are victimized, a plan of action and speed in execution may be your salvation. When he says, “This is a stick up” he must wait for you to comply.
It is during this critical time that you must act. If you are going to run, run. If you are willing and able to fight, fight and WIN….
Ed Santos is author of the books “Rule the Night Win the Fight” published 2008 and his latest “Low-Light Combatives” published 2013. He is the Owner/Founder of Center Target Sports, Inc. and Tactical Services Group. He teaches advanced firearm skills and Low-light training around the world and can be reached at email@example.com. Ed publishes at The Shooting Channel – click here to visit The Shooting Channel online.