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Situational Awareness is something we need for Survival

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To begin:
Let me share my real world experience with Situational Awareness.
I've worked overseas quite a lot over my 40+ years as an electrician.
No matter what company I was working for, there was always a training class in Situational Awareness.
The goal was to keep employees safe with less chance of kidnapping for ransom or acts of terrorism.'
All of us has this talent inside us but we often only use it when traveling in a bad part of town or
traveling to a new and/or exotic vacation destination.

We will tend to avoid beggars, people trying to sell stuff, even crowds of drunks,
all the things that tend to make us nervous in a new and strange place.
This is all Situational Awareness, we just don't think of it that way.

Where Situational Awareness training comes into play is learning what to look for which might otherwise seem normal.

One part of any Situational Awareness training is noticing people that seem to appear in your view often.
You're practicing Situational Awareness every time you're shopping and notice the woman wearing the vivid colored skirt.
From that point on you can't help but see her when she's in view.
In a survival or disaster situation it won't be that easy.

The bad guys won't stand out and that's the point. They don't want you to notice them.
If you are actually aware, you will notice little things about everyone.
They look normal but why do you keep seeing them?
In the training your course leader will have like 4 people shadow you while you just do a normal tour of the area.
You're told to just scan where you are at the moment.
Actually "seeing" the people as opposed to just walking around, head down, ignoring the world around you.
Is someone walking near you, or on the other side of the street, and you keep noticing them.
In some ways women are better at this for obvious reasons.
Do they seem to end up at the same store or restaurant as you? etc. etc.

What steps you take next depends on the situation but at least you know the possible threats.
At the very least, do not lead them back to where you live.

At some point your instructor will ask you if you noticed anything out of place or someone you keep seeing often.
Chances are he won't tell you anything until the day is over when you actually meet the stalkers.
He may also be testing his own people as to how well they are concealed.
If they are spotted quickly, you can bet they will change that the next time. And yes, criminals do train.
He's trying to see what you've noticed so far and compare it at the end.
But the test doesn't even end then. You'll probably be sitting in a restuant at the end of the day and he'll ask,
do you see anyone you recognize?
There were 4 that I recognized at a couple of tables. I named a 5th but wasn't sure about that one and told him so.
I passed 100% even with the uncertain naming of the 5th which was wrong.
Seems he was one of the instructors I had met way earlier and was not part of the test.

You can actually practice making yourself more Situationally Aware even at the local Mall.
As you walk around actually look at people. What they're wearing, who are they with.
Anything unusual about them at all?
Over time you'll find you see people in more detail than you ever thought you could.
The reality is, you are more Situationally Aware than you know. You just don't practice it.

Fake Friends during SHTF and Disasters

If someone takes an interest in you and seems overly chatty, start playing close attention.
If somehow he/she also brings a friend into the conversation, raise your threat level up a notch.
If a suggestion is made to go somewhere else with them, go on high alert.
If they want to know more about where you live etc etc. Get up and leave quickly.
In our normal world, this is sometimes very normal but in a disaster or SHTF event,
people are not going to be acting this way. Trust your gut.
If you're traveling in a foreign country there is no way you'd leave with a stranger without backup.
In a disaster or shtf type world, this is a foreign country.

But what else does this training teach us?
Think of it this way for a moment.
When on vacation you've all noticed the guy wearing flip flops with socks.
The fat guy in the speedo.
The loud screaming kid with his mom or dad.
The tourist who takes photo constantly probably wearing colorful shorts.
In your Mall training there were people that just stood out from the crowd.
Don't be one of them. Be one of the people you didn't notice. The Gray Man as it's known.

I'll pause for just a moment to reflect on a serious flaw with some online prepper experts.
A disaster or shtf event has happened. It is no longer life as usual.
Imagine you're out in your yard and you see a couple of people in the distance just walking.
You might watch them for a moment but not concerned immediately.
There will be many people trying to walk somewhere or just get out of town.
Now picture those same two people dressed in full tactical gear they bought online
because it looked cool and tough. Now what's your reaction?
Any sane person is going to, #1 grab your gun. #2 Put them in your scope or binoculars to check them out.
These so-called survival "experts" have just broken the main rule in survival, don't get noticed.

During a disaster or shtf event, dress as drab as you can.
Women, this is not the time to worry about makeup or attractive outfits.
In fact, looking less like a woman is an advantage.
During my training the one I almost missed was a woman who looked like she just came off the farm.
The only "tell" about her was her perfect nails. It was way out of place given her "look".
Even at the end of the training, with her dressed normally, her nails still stood out to me.

On the streets in the Middle East we were told to never wear new clothes.
No watches, rings, or anything that projected money or wealth.
Even new back packs had to be made to look old.
Dirty sneakers were a big plus. For god's sake, not new sneakers. Target--Target--Target!
People around you are not going to be fashionistas. Don't be the one to stand out from the crowd.

In Closing:
Situational Awareness is about knowing your surroundings and the people in them.
Recognizing who might be a potential threat and keeping alert to that threat.
However, it's also about not making yourself a target using those same skills to go unnoticed.
The bad guys are using the same Situational Awareness tactics to target you.

Trust your gut instincts. All animals have instincts. Listen to yours.

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