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. 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.