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In the book, "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker, he calls them "PINs" (Pre-incident indicators).

And Bob's #1 item, "Verbalization," is referred to as "The Interview" in DeBecker's book... Do you have the time? Do you have a cigarette? Got any spare change? Can you tell me how to get to _______? These are designed to gain your trust (through seemingly innocent questions) and close the distance / get closer to you.

Great book!

And excellent post by Bob. Much more succinct! :clap
Totally agree! Great post, Bob and I'm looking forward to my first ! :2thumsup

Another book that goes into this subject in great detail is Left of Bang - How the Marine Corps Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley. However, reading about it is one thing, an actual course of instruction is quite another and I'm hoping soon to be a veteran of Bob's Defensive Pistol, Carbine, and Shotgun courses!
 

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Bump for an old thread with new relevance. . .

With virtually everyone wearing face masks in public to comply with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, have you considered how that may deprive you of some of the TELLS that Bob lists in the OP, particularly #7, #11, and #16?
 

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I honestly had not given that a thought, which in retrospect seems unbelievable!

My only “save” on this is that over the last few years, I’ve become very twitchy about anyone I don’t know getting fairly close to me. I generally do whatever it takes (including being rude) to keep people from getting uncomfortably (to me) close.

When I’m out, my head continually swivels, even when I’m just pumping gas. You’d probably laugh if you saw me at the ATM...
 

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