General

Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes

orange clown hunting permit

It seems there is a new threat facing Americans. I am not sure if it is up to the level of the presidential race or violence on the streets of Chicago, Detroit, or a handful of other major cities. It does not equal the threat posed by terrorists or the Iran nuclear deal. However, it does rank somewhere around the threat we face on a daily basis from the common street criminal—clowns.

orange clown hunting permit
Of course this graphic is meant to be humorous, but situational awareness is no laughing matter. That being said, do not fall victim to social media hype. Most of all, understand the difference between a prank and a real threat!
It seems there is a rash of what is most likely teens, possibly a bit older who think it is hilarious to dress up as a scary clown and run around popping out of a wooded area or parking garage trying to scare people. I must admit, the first few videos I watched on social media were quite funny.

However, funny has a cost. Running through a parking garage dressed as a clown with a huge hammer and making someone wet themself is one thing. Coming up against someone with a gun is quite another. What happens when a masked person with a large mallet confronts an innocent citizen legally carrying a firearm? Someone is going to win a stupid prize, most likely ranging somewhere between 115 and 230 grains of stupid prize.

This is doubly dangerous because we are only a few weeks away from Halloween, which brings us to the main point of this article—situational awareness. We can expect people to be dressed as a whole host of characters over the coming weeks. Masks, makeup, fake hair, you name it and they will be wearing it—which is a criminal’s dream. Everyone is in a costume, and the chance of visually identifying the criminal is almost nil.

But, there in lies the danger too. Situational awareness goes out the window. Whether it is a clown in the bushes, a swashbuckling bronzed Adonis with washboard abs, or a maiden in trashy lingerie, your environment is drastically altered making it all that much harder to determine whether it is a friend or foe approaching, an innocent 14 year old who stands 6 foot in a Halloween costume, or someone with real intent to do you harm. Here are few to tips for situational awareness.

Quick Tips to Stay Aware

Monitor Your Environment

This takes practice and a conscious effort at first. In time, you will learn to do this automatically. You need to be aware of your environment, that means 360 degrees at all times. Where are your exits or hard cover? Could danger already be lurking there?

Fight the Tendency to Ignore the Normal

As we get used to our surroundings, the normalcy or familiarity allows us to relax. Sitting at your desk, walking to your parking spot, waiting in line to pick up the kids from school; these are all examples of routine chores that will quickly become normal. You’ll need to resist this temptation. At times, it is desirable to be viewed as paranoid or jumpy, but alive and well, versus complacent and a victim.

Avoid Becoming Distracted in Common or Unknown Areas

Don’t text while walking in public or standing in line at the convenience store. Wait until you are sitting in your bathroom at home like a normal person! In all seriousness, situational awareness is, by definition, Developing situational awareness is a skill. Initially, it will feel awkward. However, in a short amount of time, it will become your new normal and your perform these these tasks as easily as your drive to work or a trip to the coffee pot. Develop your “rings of consciousness” and treat them like a radar where a potential threat is recognized at your outter most reaches and self-conscious, but with practice, it will become seamless and subconscious. You will start to pick up on more and more subtle rings of disturbance and more complex stimuli. Eventually, people may think you are psychic as they notice how you seem to sense events before they unfold.

These are just a few tips for situational awareness and whether you face clowns or something much more sinister, situational awareness is critical to your safety. Building on these tips, what can you share with other readers? Put your top tips in the comment section.

[dave]

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Comments (15)

  1. One more thing people need to understand is this whole “scary clown” issue is messing with the livelihoods of real, hard-working Americans. Under that grease paint, wig and funny clothing are people trying hard to make a living by bringing joy into other peoples lives. This is having a very real and negative impact on them.

    Good write-up, Dave!

  2. Always look at all approaching persons hands first to see what they might be carrying. Innocent objects can also be used as weapons. Watch for movement toward you. Then look for crazy eyes. Stay cautious, stay safe.

  3. Thanks for making us aware of this silly fad. It might just keep someone from being injured or killed over a misunderstanding. Thats why we have to stay aware when we carry…good article, thanks again.

  4. It might be worth a discussion and plan with a significant other. I had a situation with a partner at work where I was trying to be subtle and point out a potential danger without drawing attention. Because we were not regularly partnered he missed my subtle clues and I was forced to break “protocol” and grab his arm and tell him in not uncertain terms to, “GET IN THE #*%•ing TRUCK”. Point being that my wife and my partner at work know when I say “get the red bag for me” it means to bug out because of danger. (Only works if you don’t have a red bag, so pick an appropriate color). Too many stories from coworkers about almost having to leave their partner behind because they were oblivious to an unfolding situation. Work it out in advance, takes two minutes and may save years of life.

  5. Good article, I’m a 69yr old ‘Nam ERA Vet and a retired NRA Instructor. I’ve carried concealed for over 30yrs without incident so far. I’ve always kept aware of my surroundings, it’s a habit. My wife knows to let me have the seat facing the entrance when ever we go out to eat. I like my back to the wall whenever possible. I keep my head on a swivel but not so much as to be noticed by others. I’ve worked in Philly where this is all more necessary than in the suburbs. Better safe than sorry!

    1. Thank you for your service. We are a like in many way’s. I too have been CC since my service day’s. Both legally an illegally, illegal because of the states I lived in (Ca.). My eye’s and mind where opened after serving.And like you my head is always on a swivel no matter where I am at. Night or day. I always place myself to face the area I am in, my back is never to an open area, by back is to the wall or a least likely access point. I always access the people around me, to see who could be a likely threat to me or my family or the people I am with.
      My kids think I am weird in that way. But,they also like the fact that
      I can take of business when and if necessary.

      SF

    2. Grew up in Detroit. Face the entrance whenever I can. Approach the car from behind, look in the car before I open the door and look around while getting in. Reach inside the house to turn the light on before entering (and always enter ahead of my wife) and look, listen and smell for intruders as I enter. Make note of the bushes near the house as I drive up (learned that delivering pizza!) and try to park in parking lots a little away from other cars. Close the blinds behind me.

      Oh, and if I’m dressed, I’m armed.

      It all adds up. I turned 64 last spring: looking forward to turning 65 next spring.

  6. A few years ago I was over security at a mega church. At one point the ‘management’ had poured whiskey over a deacon after dressing the man in old clothes to see how my guards treated bums or the homeless. Our IT guy loved to play with doors and unlock doors and blame it on my staff. I told him that if he wanted to see the deacon cold cocked just send him to me. The foolishness stopped.
    In sc some moron dressed in white range when running through a mall throwing white flour and yelling ANTHRAX. He was arrested and probably did not get the time he deserved.

    As always, good read Dave!

  7. The late gunners’ guru Jeff Cooper, promulgated a four level color coded system of situational awareness that I have found pretty useful. The code is as follows: White – Unaware & Oblivious Yellow – Watchful of Surroundings Orange – Potential Threat Detected Red – Attack Likely. When I am out and about I routinely am in Code Yellow, and I am amazed that so many people routinely operate in Code White…..with their attention on their smart phone or tablet or focused on something they might be reading as they move about, completely ignoring what is going on around them.

    1. I am in Code White when it is safe to be … makes reading a book and having dinner at home more enjoyable.

      But there are places and times for that … out and about or greeting a stranger at the door, is neither the time nor the place. When a stranger comes to the door after dark, I will probably still answer (I am neither overly paranoid nor heartless) … but not before putting a loaded pistol in a hidden hand.

    2. For what it might be worth, when I took the Front Sight defense class a few years back, the instructors all advised that we should always have a handgun on our person at all times. I have adopted that mode of readiness so that when I am at home or when I am out and about I always have a piece on my strong side hip. Since I am an old retired guy, my shirt tails are always outside my waistband, so the handgun is always covered. This way, I am always prepared for exigent circumstances whether I am at home or away from home.

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