7 Tips for Urban Survival Today

You need to sharpen your situational awareness.

Do you know the definition of situational awareness?

If you watch suspense movies involving special operatives you probably know.

If not, here's a definition.

The perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their future status.

In other words, it means be aware of where you are, who's there with you, what's going on around you, and what might happen in the very near future based on these observable facts.

For instance, if you're walking down a dark sidewalk, and there's a strange man following you who slows down when you slow down and speeds up when you speed up, what does your gut tell you might happen in the very near future? You might be attacked.

That's situational awareness—knowing you're being followed and deciding that might not be a safe thing, and thinking about what might happen. 

Right there, you've exhibited the 3 levels of situational awareness: perception, comprehension, projection.

Most women instinctively practice situational awareness if they're walking down a dark street or traveling alone. 

What too many don't do is carry that situational awareness into their everyday life.

In this time when masks are more or less mandatory, your situational awareness should be at DefCon 2—high alert. You can't see peoples' faces which we depend on to read someone's mood and/or intention. 

I subscribe to many newsletters. One of them is The Well-Armed Woman which is all about women defending themselves.

A recent newsletter addressed the issue of masks and situational awareness. Some of the points it made were so important, I wanted to pass them on. Please read the full newsletter regardless of your personal belief about women carrying guns because it has great information about why masks affect your situational awareness and what you can do about it.

Stay Safe

1. Hone your situational awareness and be alert to what's happening around you. The world seems like a powder keg ready to explode at the least provocation so don't be caught unaware.

2. When in public, pay attention to the people around you, the chatter if you're in a crowd, and the general mood of the crowd.

3. Have a plan before you need one. Each of us needs to think about what we'll do if we're caught in an explosive situation. Always look around you and see where the exits are whether you're in a mall, a school, or a city street.

4. If you see a lot of people congregating, leave the area. I was once in an anti-American riot in Japan back in the day. People were filling up Coke bottles with gasoline at a nearby service station and throwing them at cars with license plates that identified them as American. 

5. NEVER stay in a crowded place where the mood is ugly. A crowd can quickly become a mob, and mob mentality is a real thing. People fueled by emotion and adrenaline can do things they'd never do in their ordinary normal lives.

6. If you walk into it, turn around and walk out as quickly as possible. If you drive into it, do the same thing. Leave as soon as possible.

If you're in a car, practice what driver's education taught you. Never pull up close to the car in front of you. Always be able to see the vehicle's rear wheels. That way you can pull out of the line of cars if something happens.

7. If someone cuts you off in traffic, blasts their horn at you, or shows a Mr. Digit hand puppet, don't engage. Don't say or do anything that might set someone off. You never know who that driver is. There's been shootings in many states that began with a rude driver. Take the high road.

Takeaway Truth

Plan ahead. Think smart. Be safe.

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