Friday, December 2, 2016

Urban Camouflage (more than just the "Gray Man")

How is your Urban Camouflage? No, I'm not talking about a new fashion trend. Rather, I'm talking about fitting in with your surrounding community, and not drawing attention to yourself as a potential victim or as a malcontent. This is sometimes called the "gray man" disguise, but it is more than that. You don't want to draw the attention of criminals & thugs by looking like a potential target or easy prey. You also don't draw the attention of the government as a serious malcontent and potential trouble-maker. 

Every neighborhood has at least one Gladys Kravitz.
Additionally, you need to be very private and guarded with your personal information and plans. The idea is to not draw unwanted attention to yourself and your family, regardless of if that attention is from identity thieves, criminals, thugs, law enforcement, government officials, or even just nosy neighbors. 

Don't paint yourself as a potential target. 

Bad guys look for easy prey and rich targets. They prefer someone who is both, but most will choose easy over rich every time. Avoid looking like a rich target by not wearing expensive or flashy clothes, expensive jewellery, or driving a high-priced car. Avoid looking like easy prey by wearing practical clothes & shoes, and by walking confidently, head up, while paying attention to your surroundings. Muggers, pick-pockets, and other bad folks especially look for victims who are distracted. Try to walk, shop, and travel in groups whenever possible. Groups look less like a potential target than someone walking by alone. 

Sadly, folks with obvious physical restrictions will look like easy prey to bad guys. The elderly, pregnant women, folks with mobility problems and other physical disabilities, should take extra precautions when out in public. 

For more on being the "Gray Man," please see my earlier article Results from the "Grayman" Training Exercise. 

Don't draw unwanted attention.

Don't draw negative attention from law enforcement, government officials, or local bureaucrats. Don't come across as a potential trouble-maker or serious malcontent. We have learned from a number of scandals in recent years that many government officials and bureaucrats can and do hold grudges, and are willing to abuse their power to "get even."

Never make personal threats, especially against government officials or law enforcement (not even in "jest"). Remember that nothing you say or do online is truly anonymous. Don't flout laws, even when you disagree passionately with them (speak out against them, but don't break laws just to make a point unless you are willing to pay a price). 

Stress to family members, especially school-age children, the importance of privacy. Its not just identity theft you have to worry about. Public school officials often question students about personal family information, such as parents' political and religious affiliations, the presence of guns in the household, or even whether or not the family recycles! All to "protect the children," of course. Many schools now routinely go so far as to spy on students through social media. Maje sure your children understand that "what happens in the family, stays in the family."  

Its not just schools that are invading people's privacy.  Employers now routinely spy on employees and applicants through social media. Its a great way for employers to get information that is otherwise illegal for them to ask about, such as whether or not a female applicant may have a baby in the near future. In the wake of the recent election, several employers have made national news by expressing a wish to "punish" employees that voted for Trump. Social media is a great way to identify an employees politics. For goodness sake, don't overshare on social media!!!

Finally, it is now very politically correct for government and law enforcement to consider preppers, tea party conservatives, and traditional Bible-believing Christians, to be "potential domestic terrorists." In today's environment, its quite probable that Trump supporters are now on that list of potential threats. 

We have also seen that wearing a Trump shirt or a Make America Great Again hat can make you a target for violence from the Left. I'm not saying to hide your affiliations or political support. Just to be aware of the possible consequences for doing so.

The Bottom Line

In an urban environment, whether a large city or small town, you need to be aware of how you are perceived by others, and all the possible consequences that may result. The art of Urban Camouflage is to use this awareness to attract as little attention to yourself as possible, thereby avoiding much of the potential negative consequences.  

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