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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For those of you new to carrying...this is a must read!

Col. Jeff Coopers "States of Awareness". (in Summary)
Most people stumble through life, blissfully unaware of the world around them. They remain preoccupied with thoughts of work, or personal problems, or how to get a date, or other trivialities, with no thought to their immediate environment. By not paying attention to their surroundings, they place themselves in needless jeopardy.....

If you should find yourself faced with a life-threatening attack by a criminal, as a typical normal person, you will be faced by three enormous difficulties. They are:

1. Recognizing the presence of the predator in time;
2. Realizing, internalizing, and accepting that THAT MAN, RIGHT THERE, is about to kill you for reasons you do not understand; if you don't stop him; and
3. Overcoming your reluctance to do lethal violence against a fellow human being.
..............

CONDITION WHITE- White is the lowest level on the escalator. In Condition White one is unaware, not alert, oblivious. This state can be characterized as "daydreaming" or "preoccupied". People in White tend to walk around with their heads down, as if watching their own feet. They do not notice the impending danger until it literally has them by the throat.

You see examples of this frequently. When was the last time you saw someone in traffic roll right up to a barricade or stalled vehicle, then expect you to stop and let them into your lane? They're operating their vehicle in Condition White. When a motorist runs over a motorcyclist and kills him, what are the first words out of their mouth? "I didn't see him." They're not lying. They were so inattentive and complacent that they did not notice a 200-pound man on a four hundred pound machine right in front of them. When this same guy runs past a stop sign and broadsides your car, killing your child, he will say, "I didn't see it.".

These same guys will be the victims of violent crime, because the criminal targets the inattentive, the complacent, the lazy, the distracted, the preoccupied. Why? Because the criminal wants to get to him, get what he wants from him, and get away from him, without being hurt or caught. Who would be the easiest person to do that to? Someone in Condition White. I'm sure you've seen or read about the Miranda card police officers carry. From it they read off a suspect's rights before questioning him. Dedicated victims carry a similar card in their pockets. If they are still alive when the police arrive, they take this card out of their pockets and read from it, as follows:
" Geez, it all happened so fast.
He materialized right next to me.
I never saw him.".

So, when would it be acceptable to be in Condition White? When in your own home, with the doors locked, the alarm system on, and your dog at your feet. Then, you can turn off your mind, if you wish, because you have sufficient layers of protection and warning to enable you to get up, get your gear, and get your head running. If you leave your home, you leave Condition White behind. The instant you leave your home, you escalate one level, to Condition Yellow.

CONDITION YELLOW- This is a relaxed state of general alertness, with no specific focal point. You are not looking for anything or anyone in particular; you simply have your head up and your eyes open. You are alert and aware of your surroundings. You are difficult to surprise, therefore, you are difficult to harm. You do not expect to be attacked today. You simply recognize the possibility.

Here's an excellent analogy. You are on a small naval patrol vessel in the middle of the Mediterranean. You are not at war with anyone today, so you do not expect to be attacked. You do, however, recognize the possibility, so you have your radar on twenty-four hours a day, making a continuous 360 degree sweep of the area, looking for potential problems. Suddenly, there is a blip on your radar screen. You cannot tell by looking at the small, greenish-yellow dot on the screen whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, so you ask a fighter plane to intercept the blip and check it out. If it is an Al Italia airliner a hundred miles off course, the fighter pilot will wave at it. If it's a Libyan MIG headed toward your boat, he will shoot it down. He won't know whether to wave or shoot until he first assesses the blip as a threat. This is exactly the same process you go through on the ground. When you leave home you turn on your radar, and it continually sweeps the area around you for potential hazards. When something catches your attention, you assess it. If it's not a threat, dismiss it. If it is a threat, start getting ready mentally to deal with it.

Anything or anyone in your immediate vicinity that is unusual, out of place, or out of context, should be viewed as potentially dangerous, until you have had a chance to assess it. Someone who looks out of place, or someone engaged in activity that has no obvious legitimate purpose, should be looked over carefully. When your mental radar picks up on a blip, you immediately escalate one level on the scale, to Condition Orange.
More below or at the following link...

http://www.teddytactical.com/SharpenBladeArticle/4_States of Awareness.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
continued...

CONDITION ORANGE- This is a heightened state of alertness, with a specific focal point. The entire difference between Yellow and Orange is this specific target for your attention. Your focal point is the person who is doing whatever drew your attention to him. It might be the fact that he is wearing a field jacket in August. It might be that he's standing by a column in the parking garage, instead of going into the building, or getting in a car and leaving. It might be that you have been in five stores at the mall, and saw this same guy in every one of them. His actions have caused you to take note of him, so you must assess him as a potential threat, just as the fighter pilot assessed the blip earlier.

How do you assess someone as a threat? You have to take into account the totality of the cues available to you. His clothing, appearance, demeanor, actions, anything he says to you, are all cues. The single most important cue is body language. About 80% of human communication is through body language. Predators display subtle pre-aggression indicators, which are obvious once you learn to look for them.

When you shift upward to Orange, you begin to focus your attention on this individual that caught your eye, but do not drop your general over-view. You don't want to be blind-sided by his associates. You begin to watch him and assess his intentions, again looking at all of the cues available to you. Nine times out of ten, after a few seconds of observation, you will be able to see an innocuous reason for his behavior and then dismiss him. Once you figure out he's not a threat, dismiss him and de-escalate right back down to Yellow. Who is the tenth one? He is the predator, who would have got you if you had been inattentive. Now that you are aware of him, you are in far less danger.

As you assess this individual, and you see things that convince you he has evil intent, you start to play the "What if…." game in your mind, to begin formulating a basic plan. This is how we get ahead of the power curve. If he acts suddenly, we must have at least a rudimentary plan for dealing with him already in place, so that we can react swiftly enough. By saying to yourself, "That guy looks like he is about to stick me up, what am I going to do about it?", you begin the mental preparation vital to winning the conflict. With even a simple plan already in place, your physical reaction is both assured and immediate, if the bad guy presses his intentions. If, after assessing him, you believe he is an actual threat, you then escalate to the highest level, Condition Red.



CONDITION RED- In Red, you are ready to fight! You may, or may not, actually be fighting, but you are MENTALLY PREPARED to fight. In many, or perhaps even most, circumstances where you have gone fully to Red, you will not actually physically do anything at all. The entire process of escalating from Yellow, to Orange, to Red, then de-escalating right back down the scale as the situation is resolved, occurs without any actual physical activity on your part. The key is that you were mentally prepared for a conflict, and thus could physically act if the situation demanded.

When you believe a threat is real, and you have escalated to Red, you are waiting on the Mental Trigger, which is a specific, pre-determined action on his part that will result in an immediate, positive, aggressive, defensive reaction from you. This is how you achieve the speed necessary to win. By having a "pre-made decision" already set up in your mind, you can move physically fast enough to deal with the problem. Without that pre-made decision, the precious time in which you could have acted was wasted on trying to decide what to do after he starts his attack.

The Mental Trigger will differ depending upon the circumstances. It could be, "If he swings that gun in my direction I will shoot him", for instance. It could be, " I have told him to stop, if he takes one more step toward me with that (knife/tire iron/screwdriver) in his hand, I'll shoot him". Whatever trigger is selected, it is a button that, once pushed, results in immediate action on your part.

Your main enemy is reaction time. If you are not aware of your surroundings, and fail to see the suspicious character, he may overwhelm you before you can marshal an effective defense. On the other hand, if you are thinking to yourself, "I may have to hurt that guy if he doesn't wise up"; you've probably already won that fight, because you have a better understanding of what is transpiring than he does! The best fight is over before the loser fully understands what just happened. If you're caught in Condition White, you will need five to six seconds to realize what is happening, get your wits together, and respond. You simply don't have that much time.

There are a couple of mental tricks you can use in the early phases of your training to assist you in this. Remember that one of the three problems I mentioned earlier in this chapter will be actually "doing it", actually employing lethal force when required. To help with this, each morning when you put your gun on, remind yourself, "I may have to use my gun today". This plants in your subconscious mind (which drives 90% of your life) that there is a reason we wear these guns-we may actually need them to save our lives! When you pick up on that potential threat and escalate to Condition Orange, tell yourself, "I may have to shoot him today!". Believe me, if you have internalized that a specific person is an actual threat to your life, but that you have the means to stop him if need be, it gets easier to mentally deal with the situation.

Let's work through a scenario to illustrate these principles. Let's say you are working in a jewelry store today, a small storefront shop in a strip mall in suburbia. All of the other employees went to lunch and left you here alone. There are not even any customers in the store at the moment, you're alone. What mental state are you in? (Yellow. You are not ensconced in your home; you're out in the real world.) So you keep your head up, and occasionally you scan out through the glass storefront and check out the parking lot. Since there is no one else in the store, any problem will have to come from outside. You want to know about a problem while it's out there, not when it's standing across the counter from you.

As you glance through the glass, you see two men in their early 20's back up an old car to your store, get out in identical jogging suits, enter your door, and split up. Immediately, you go to Orange. They have done nothing illegal, and nothing aggressive, but they are out of place, out of the ordinary, so you escalate your mental state, and begin to think. "This looks like a hold-up in the making. I may have to hurt these guys. What should I do know? If things go bad, I'll drop behind this safe and I can shoot into that wall without endangering anyone on the parking lot. I have a plan." At this point you watch them, and continue to monitor their movements. If they leave, you de-escalate to Yellow once they are gone.

If they stay, they will probably get together on the far side of the store and briefly discuss what they have seen. They will then move toward your position at the counter, and after trying to distract you (Can I see that ring back there?) pull their guns and announce a stick-up. If you have been using the system, you went from Yellow to Orange when they came in, and went to Red as they approach your counter. You are ready. Because criminals have to be adept at reading body language (their lives depend upon this skill), they will see that you are prepared and simply leave. About nine out of ten pairs will leave at this point, without a confrontation. As they drive away, de-escalate from Red, to Orange, to Yellow.

What about the tenth pair? They are drugged, drunk, or both, and failed to recognize your level of readiness. They may go ahead foolishly with their hold-up. According to FBI studies, probably 80% of the ones you will actually have to fight will be under the influence of drugs/alcohol/drugs and alcohol at the time. What's the good news? They're drunk and/or drugged, which plays Hell with their reflexes, reaction time, and motor coordination. They'll be relatively easy to deal with, IF you are mentally prepared (Condition Red) and have done your homework.

If they come in, and upon observing them you go to Orange, then as they approach, to Red, but then they leave, and you de-escalate, you will have gone all of the way up the scale without even reaching for your gun, which is very common. The point is, you would have been ready to reach for your gun if necessary. This is how you win fights, by being mentally prepared to win.
 

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Thank you Singlestack45 for posting this article. This is definately a must read for everyone especially those new to concealed carry or even people who have been carrying for awhile but who may have forget this important defense awareness. I will make this a sticky for all to see. Thanks.
 

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After reading that I realize there is more to this than just learning to shoot and handle a weapon safely. It's a mindset thing. Are we ready to shoot someone without hesitating if it ever comes to it? From now on I have to tell myself that if I feel the need to draw then the shooting should follow without hesitation.
 

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Even if your not carrying, any time you leave your house you should not be in Condition White. Way too many people are totally oblivious to the world around them. Women are especially at risk. Loading the kids in the car in the parking lot of the mall and not even aware of who is walking by. Right now there is some nut job walking around in S. Fla malls looking for victims of this kind. He has struck already and will strike again. Hopefully he will get lead poisoning soon.

Very good read.
 

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I read this article three times and although I knew about the states of awareness this just solidifies what I need to remember when I carry. Practice makes perfect. Dont be a sheep. Be the shepard.
 

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I taught a self defense class for a couple of years to women and young adults only. It was fun and rewarding however the hardest thing to train is the mental aspect of constant awareness. The moves were easy to teach. Not to complicated and simple enough to learn in a few hours but the awareness aspect always needed reinforced.
 

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I need some help here....my other half thinks I am way too paranoid when I am at home and out and about. She believes that nothing bad will ever happen around her, that stuff is only on tv. I have tried to get her to go shoot with me and I am always hit with "why"...I have thought many times that she just needs a good "close call" to shift her opinion, but I don't want to put her at risk just to prove my point. Is there some secret method to convince an invincable woman that "stuff really does happen" to real people. Any advise from anyone would be very helpful and I would be greatful to try it out. I always follow the above rules...it is just second nature to me. I have 9 yrs as a USMC Military Police and another 9 in private security. I suspect most everyone is capable of anything at any time. I don't even like telling people that I know what kind or amount of things that I have because they can talk to this person who talks to that person and next thing you know you are a victom because you talked too much. Maybe I am too paranoid, but I am ok with it.
 

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I've never given any thought to naming what "condition" I'm in. I've just always made it a point to practice situational awareness.

It's funny...people at work try to scare me frequently. They never can. Really ticks them off, too.

-JT
 

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I need some help here....my other half thinks I am way too paranoid when I am at home and out and about. She believes that nothing bad will ever happen around her, that stuff is only on tv. I have tried to get her to go shoot with me and I am always hit with "why"...I have thought many times that she just needs a good "close call" to shift her opinion, but I don't want to put her at risk just to prove my point. Is there some secret method to convince an invincable woman that "stuff really does happen" to real people. Any advise from anyone would be very helpful and I would be greatful to try it out. I always follow the above rules...it is just second nature to me. I have 9 yrs as a USMC Military Police and another 9 in private security. I suspect most everyone is capable of anything at any time. I don't even like telling people that I know what kind or amount of things that I have because they can talk to this person who talks to that person and next thing you know you are a victom because you talked too much. Maybe I am too paranoid, but I am ok with it.
Hey sgtlogan, your question would make a good thread all on it's own. Can you make a new thread and repost your question. Thanks.
 

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I need some help here....my other half thinks I am way too paranoid when I am at home and out and about. She believes that nothing bad will ever happen around her, that stuff is only on tv. I have tried to get her to go shoot with me and I am always hit with "why"...I have thought many times that she just needs a good "close call" to shift her opinion, but I don't want to put her at risk just to prove my point. Is there some secret method to convince an invincible woman that "stuff really does happen" to real people. Any advise from anyone would be very helpful and I would be grateful to try it out.
sgtlogan,

Speaking as a woman I can only say that the more you 'warn' her of the dangers outside of her bubble the better off she will be. I'm finding that almost every woman I speak with does not think anything will ever happen to them. I won't repeat my story but something did happen to me (it's somewhere in one of these posts) but suffice to say I was alert but was still attacked nonetheless. I suppose had I not been as aware of my surroundings as I was it could have been worse. I did fight back and I did get away. So, yes, it can happen to someone you know [as well as you can 'know' someone over the internet.]

I would like to share a story about my lovely niece though. She just turned 28 and lives on her own and works in therapy with autism kids up in Alabama. She is quite the professional, single young adult just living life. Back in April of this year she arrived home from work and towards the end of the evening her little doggie needed to go outside for a potty break. She lived in an apartment complex at the time . She lived there for quite some time and was comfortable with her housing situation. When she opened the back door to let her dog out like she had done many a night before out of nowhere a man forced his way inside. He had on a ski mask and had a knife. She was literally ambushed and pushed back inside of her home. She did fight back and at one point was able to grab the knife out of his hand. Then the beating started. He beat her beyond recognition and had her face down just pummeling the crap out of her head. He then cut her jeans off of her and fully intended on r*ping her the very next act. It was an amazing intervention when her guy friend just happened to drop by and noticed something wasn't right. The dog was acting strange and the door was left open. He barged in literally right before the monster was about to r*pe her. He pulled the man off of my niece and they then went at it. The man ran away with my niece's friend chasing after him. He did manage to throw a lawn chair at him but he still got away. He then took my niece to the emergency room and now months later she is still recovering from the physical beating but the emotional scar will remain with her the rest of her life.

There are two things that stick out in my mind (in retrospect, of course). Did my niece let her guard down by feeling too safe in her apartment? She always let her dog out at night and nothing had happened to her before so she was not alert that anything could happen. Turns out that the man was stalking her and watching her moves and was waiting on her to open the door for her dog. She remembered hearing noises a few nights before but disregarded them. Her dog barked but she didn't think anything of it. The police told her they have been searching for a serial r*pist in the area and we've since heard that the man has now escalated to using a gun because during the fight between the men he left behind his ski mask and knife. Secondly, the male friend who rescued her was also not prepared to fight with anyone but the situation was forced upon him. He is still kicking himself that he couldn't take the BG down and he got away. He is carrying around guilt and is blaming himself that he failed. We, of course, see him as a hero because although my niece was beaten black and blue he saved her from being r*ped and probably from being murdered as well.

Tell your wife that it can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, some women will still not take action or even be a bit more alert after hearing a personal testimony from someone else. Sadly, some must go through something personally to learn and only then they become the biggest advocates for self defense. I pray that your wife will listen to your words of instruction and know that you care for her safety and well being. You simply can't be there for her at all times. At some point she must take personal responsibility for her own safety.

MamaBear
 

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sgtlogan,

Speaking as a woman I can only say that the more you 'warn' her of the dangers outside of her bubble the better off she will be. I'm finding that almost every woman I speak with does not think anything will ever happen to them. I won't repeat my story but something did happen to me (it's somewhere in one of these posts) but suffice to say I was alert but was still attacked nonetheless. I suppose had I not been as aware of my surroundings as I was it could have been worse. I did fight back and I did get away. So, yes, it can happen to someone you know [as well as you can 'know' someone over the internet.]

I would like to share a story about my lovely niece though. She just turned 28 and lives on her own and works in therapy with autism kids up in Alabama. She is quite the professional, single young adult just living life. Back in April of this year she arrived home from work and towards the end of the evening her little doggie needed to go outside for a potty break. She lived in an apartment complex at the time . She lived there for quite some time and was comfortable with her housing situation. When she opened the back door to let her dog out like she had done many a night before out of nowhere a man forced his way inside. He had on a ski mask and had a knife. She was literally ambushed and pushed back inside of her home. She did fight back and at one point was able to grab the knife out of his hand. Then the beating started. He beat her beyond recognition and had her face down just pummeling the crap out of her head. He then cut her jeans off of her and fully intended on r*ping her the very next act. It was an amazing intervention when her guy friend just happened to drop by and noticed something wasn't right. The dog was acting strange and the door was left open. He barged in literally right before the monster was about to r*pe her. He pulled the man off of my niece and they then went at it. The man ran away with my niece's friend chasing after him. He did manage to throw a lawn chair at him but he still got away. He then took my niece to the emergency room and now months later she is still recovering from the physical beating but the emotional scar will remain with her the rest of her life.

There are two things that stick out in my mind (in retrospect, of course). Did my niece let her guard down by feeling too safe in her apartment? She always let her dog out at night and nothing had happened to her before so she was not alert that anything could happen. Turns out that the man was stalking her and watching her moves and was waiting on her to open the door for her dog. She remembered hearing noises a few nights before but disregarded them. Her dog barked but she didn't think anything of it. The police told her they have been searching for a serial r*pist in the area and we've since heard that the man has now escalated to using a gun because during the fight between the men he left behind his ski mask and knife. Secondly, the male friend who rescued her was also not prepared to fight with anyone but the situation was forced upon him. He is still kicking himself that he couldn't take the BG down and he got away. He is carrying around guilt and is blaming himself that he failed. We, of course, see him as a hero because although my niece was beaten black and blue he saved her from being r*ped and probably from being murdered as well.

Tell your wife that it can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, some women will still not take action or even be a bit more alert after hearing a personal testimony from someone else. Sadly, some must go through something personally to learn and only then they become the biggest advocates for self defense. I pray that your wife will listen to your words of instruction and know that you care for her safety and well being. You simply can't be there for her at all times. At some point she must take personal responsibility for her own safety.

MamaBear
If you haven't read it already, "The Gift of Fear" is a very good book on these warning signs you mention that she noticed in hindsight, and how people often avoid or rationalize these instinctual warnings away.

The author, Gavin de Becker, is fairly anti-gun (and a bit hypocritical), so ignore any of the anti-gun rhetoric he spouts. Except for that, the material in the book is VERY good.

-JT
 

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Anyone that has ever been in fight for their lives and says they were not scared......would lead me to believe they are abnormal or were in fact NOT in a fight for their lives!

Fear is a natural response to life threats, how it effects the body varies from person to person and situation to situation. Put the same guy in a life and death situation twice and you might just get 2 different responses.

I think the trick is to work WITH the fear, not to overcome it, but to work with / through the fear to WIN!
 

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I think awareness is vital no matter what color conditions you wish to use however the reality is nobody is 100 aware or vigilant all the time. Many highly trained shooters and combatants are better than the average Joe, but I personally don't believe you can maintain the required level of awareness all the time. For me at least all I can do is try real hard to stay aware of my surroundings. I doubt there is a forum member out there that hasn't at one time or another found themself at a destination after driving a car and not remembering how they got there. We go on auto pilot and are mind wanders. That said it is an outstanding concept and should be worked at.
 

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Anyone that has ever been in fight for their lives and says they were not scared......would lead me to believe they are abnormal or were in fact NOT in a fight for their lives!

Fear is a natural response to life threats, how it effects the body varies from person to person and situation to situation. Put the same guy in a life and death situation twice and you might just get 2 different responses.

I think the trick is to work WITH the fear, not to overcome it, but to work with / through the fear to WIN!
Fear is of course a natural response. To say anyone that doesn't feel it is abnormal is a bit harsh. Its when they feel the fear that is important. Is it before? Like your spidey senses going off? Is it during because you haven't prepared yourself and therefore have a "fear" of the unknown? Is it after when its all over and you fear the consequences or fear what you have done?

Fear is a response to the unknown.

The unknown can be overcome by situational training and awareness.

Situational training and awareness can be taught in everyday circumstances.

Everyday circumstances have the opportunity for the unknown to occur.

Look at that, a big circle. LOL

Put your self in mental and physical opportunities to face fear and it can be over come. But not over night.

Take care guys and gals!

XSOG
 

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After reading that I realize there is more to this than just learning to shoot and handle a weapon safely. It's a mindset thing. Are we ready to shoot someone without hesitating if it ever comes to it? From now on I have to tell myself that if I feel the need to draw then the shooting should follow without hesitation.
Mindset is paramount.

My students are REQUIRED to read "Principles of Self Defense" by Jeff Cooper.
The book revolves around the mindset !

Thanks to the OP for that post; I have read the color codes many times, I really this one, with the examples.
 
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