Wednesday, March 07, 2007

When it's time to move - MOVE!

To paraphrase a line from Blackhawk Down, most of us live dull, uninteresting lives. We are not normally confronted with crises or emergencies. This is probably a good thing. But we do live in a changing and increasingly dangerous world. We may be confronted with extreme situations at some point in the future - situations that will require us to take immediate and appropriate actions if we intend to survive.

I have been in such situations. Many times. Sometimes I was with people like me – people ready, trained, and capable of immediate, and at times – extreme, action. Other times I was surrounded by sheeple. The differences are startling.

You may be familiar with the phrase, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way!” That really sums up some of these situations. You may also be familiar with the term “slack jawed idiot.” Well most of the time, the people caught up in emergencies are not idiots – but it is amazing (to me) the number who truly do become “slack jawed”. There is undoubtedly a physiological reason for this – but I digress. The point is, when something happens – you don’t want to be one of those.

Rhetorical questions:

What would you do if you were stuck in traffic and you saw in your side mirror a man with a rifle walking towards you up the line of stopped cars, shooting drivers?

What would you do if you were walking down a crowded, busy street and an airplane crashed into the skyscraper to your front?

What would you do if a car crashed through the plate glass window of the store in which you were shopping?

What would you do if you were attending a ball and someone walked into the room and said, “we have just received a bomb threat”?

What would you do if, while watching a sporting event, a vicious fight broke out in the bleachers to your front?

All of these happened. Some folks took appropriate action. Most did not. The time could come when failure to take immediate and appropriate action – in a strange situation – could mean your death or the death of your loved ones.

What can one do?

Some occupations lend themselves to developing the ability to make these instantaneous life-or-death (yours is the one we are discussing) decisions. These jobs are often stressful and those that perform them learn to adapt to the stress and to a degree, they become inoculated to it. Of course, some also suffer from PTSD...

These jobs would include some military specialties, fire-fighters, emergency room personnel and some (by no means all) law enforcement officers. There are other jobs as well but I’m sure you take the point.

But what is the stay-at-home Mom, computer programmer, office worker to do? How can they better prepare to very rapidly assess a strange and dangerous situation, and then take immediate and appropriate action?

Here are some ideas:

  • War-game scenarios - Ask "what if?" questions and develop answers. This is probably the most important step one can take. Take time to really think about potential scenarios and your desired responses. Play these mental games whenever you are out and about. If you cannot come up with a quick and good answer then assign yourself homework. Research, think, plan, assess and finally – decide.

  • Practice/train - Practice key steps in your various “response options”. You will have identified these steps by going through the war gaming process above. After you identify the tasks, you will need to assess your ability to perform them. If you need practice or training – get it. Maybe this is a practice load up of the car for a bug out situation. Perhaps it entails taking that first aid course at the local community college. You could sign up for handgun classes and obtain a CCW. It could be as simple as taking the decision to become more physically fit.

  • Adopt an inner aggressive attitude - You can keep it covered over in polite company - but develop and maintain that aggressiveness. Many of you may have to develop it by getting involved in sports or martial arts. I teach women's self-defense and it takes awhile for some women to "release their inner warrior". It's there in all of us - it's just covered over by layers of politeness and "civilization". This serves us well until we are thrust back into a more primitive situation. Such situations can involve fighting off an attacker - but they can also involve having to take action while surrounded by a bunch of your normal "polite society" peers, associates and fellow citizens (in a college class, in a board meeting, at the doctor's office, etc.)

  • Generate self-worth - Another thing I teach my students is this phrase, "No one is more important than me or my children". Easy to say - but they need to think it through and BELIEVE it. I tell them that instead of fear, when confronted with violence, they must become filled with righteous indignation. I tell them they are all children of God and have a right to Be. Now this is for a self-defense class but the principles apply. See, we are conditioned to the point where we “don’t make waves”, “don’t act rude”, “don’t be loud.” Most of us are very slow to take hyper-aggressive or violent action. Most of the time, this serves us well. Sometimes it can get us killed.

When it's time to act - ACT.

When it’s time to move – MOVE!

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them. If they really interest me, I may even post them. You can reach me at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America


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