Thursday, May 2, 2019

Modern Survival Skills: Don't Become a Victim

One modern survival skill we all need to develop is the ability to not look like a victim. This is different than situational awareness and being the gray man (blending in), although are three are related skills.

A thought experiment: Think like a bad guy for a minute. You're a thug looking for his next victim. What are you looking for? First and foremost you want an easy mark. Sure, you'd like a target with a lot of value, so that is on your mind too, but only secondarily. You don't want to get caught, hurt, or killed. So you'll take the easy $20 from the apparent pushover instead of the $200 from the tough dude that looks like he can easily handle himself in a fight. Of course, your dream victim is the easy prey that also looks rich. You live for those targets.

Based on the thought experiment, your quest to not become a victim has two main tactics. First, you must avoid looking like an easy target to the bad guy. Second, you must avoid looking like a rich (high value) target to the bad guy.

Avoid looking like an easy target to the bad guy. What can make you appear like an easy target?
  • Not paying attention. Most people simply don't pay attention to what's going on around them. They are focused on their phones, engrossed in their I-Pods, or simply walking about absorbed in their thoughts, rather than paying attention to their surroundings. This makes them very vulnerable.
  • Lack of self-confidence. People who lack self-confidence give off an obvious vibe. They slouch, keep their heads down, rarely look right at people, never make eye-contact, and seem to purposely ignore their surroundings. They just want to be unseen, which ironically makes them highly visible to the bad guys. 
  • Looking unable to defend yourself. Whether you have physical infirmities, appear grossly overweight & out-of-shape, or simply carrying an armload of  packages while wearing high heels, if you look like you cannot defend yourself, the bad guys will take notice.
  • Loners. A lone pedestrian or shopper looks like a much easier target than someone with a group of people. 
  • Cover of darkness. Darkness, whether the literal darkness of night or the metaphorical darkness of an isolated or hidden place, gives the bad guy great confidence that they can "get the drop on you" and get away without being seen by other people.
Here are some things to do:
  • Learn and practice situational awareness (read this article please)
  • Don't get distracted by your phone or anything else (pay attention)
  • Walk confidently, head up, and make it obvious you are looking at your surroundings
  • Take a self-defense course (it will improve your self-confidence)
  • Improve your health & fitness
  • Wear practical shoes, clothes
  • Travel, walk, shop in groups
  • Park in a highly visible, well-light location near the entrance
 
Avoid looking like a high-value target to the bad guy. What makes you appear to be a high-value target?
  • Observable value. Are you wearing flashy or expensive clothing? Wearing an expensive watch or jewellery? Driving an expensive car? Live in an expensive neighborhood? Bad guys will take note.
  • Observable behavior. Did you just visit an ATM? Or walk out of a bank? Then bad guys may assume you now have some extra cash on you. Dis you flash a wad of cash while paying for something? Nearby bad guys took note. Did you get cash back from the cashier while shopping? Those people in line around you saw the cashier hand you the cash. Think about your actions, what you are actually doing at the moment, and how those actions may appear to a bad guy.
Here are some things to do:
  • Don't wear expensive clothing and accessories, especially when noticeably nicer than what other people are wearing around you. Try to blend in (gray man)
  • Don't drive an expensive car, especially in or near bad areas of town
  • Be careful to not let others see how much money you have on you (especially true whenever you take out your wallet to pay for something)
  • Pay special attention to your surroundings when you are at or just left a bank or ATM, or after getting cash back at a store (watch especially for people who may be following you)
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