The term “situational awareness” refers to the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to a particular time or area and being aware of the change in surroundings and elements within it. As an example, if I am driving a route around Tampa at 0800 checkpoint 95A, I know there are normally two guards at that checkpoint during this time. This is situational awareness, knowing your surroundings and the times of events within them. To have situational awareness, you must be aware of or familiar with your area. You should be able to notice things that are out of place or suspicious.
Consider this example: you travel to Florida for a vacation. You’re in Miami and you go into a local store at 11pm (or 2300). When you walk in, you notice an individual standing in the back with a long jacket on. Ask yourself, if it has been 80 degrees today, would somebody need a winter-type Midwestern coat on in Miami? I’m not saying you need to walk around on full alert at all times (unless, of course, you’re on a combat patrol or in a combat situation). As a civilian, you should simply be aware of your surroundings and pick up on things that obviously don’t belong or are missing. You may prevent a crime or prevent yourself from being harmed.
When I say situational awareness, I don’t just mean be aware of things out of place or missing. Situational awareness can also refer to knowing your soldiers, your family, and your friends. You may hear or see something that may save a friend’s life or prevent somebody from harming themselves.
What Do Thieves Like?
Thieves like easy money. They’re normally always going to take the path of least resistance. Thieves like to steal weapons and a lot of them at once. If you’re holding onto a large amount of weapons, be sure to keep them under lock and key, preferably even in a safe. The same goes with large amounts of money. When you get that big bonus or buy that expensive gun, you don’t have to tell the 100 million people on social media or show pictures of it to the world. If you suddenly start seeing an unfamiliar car or person in your neighborhood, maybe you should alert authorities and the same goes for the so-called vacuum cleaners or sales people. If you get these visits, take their business card and research it. You never know if somebody is watching you in order to commit a crime.
While You’re Shopping
Situational awareness is important while you are out and about shopping. A lot of thefts occur during shopping. That number is increased or doubled the closer Christmas gets. The bulk of these thefts and break-ins happen in mall parking lots or garages. How do you prevent this? The first thing you should do is not leave packages or valuables in plain view in your car. If you are going to, you might as well just leave the doors unlocked, so they don’t break your windows in the process of stealing your things. It’s a good idea to place all your shopping items in the trunk out of sight. Then make sure that no matter where you are, you lock the doors and the trunk. Look for suspicious activity in the area or even do some advanced intel on the area and find out about any recent thefts or crimes. Try not to shop alone, especially late at night.
The Concealed Carry
I could spend hours on the sore subject of carrying a concealed weapon. Let’s say you decide to get a concealed carry, so first you sign up for the class. You pass the class, and when you go to buy a gun, you decide to get a .380 because that is what your friend has or what somebody told you to get. You buy it, take it home, and put it in the holster you purchased with it or even worse in a purse or some other type of carry bag. It sits there and draws dust, and a few weeks later, you’re going through your bag and take it out and put it in a drawer where it resides for years. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a male or female, an experienced weapons handler or a beginner. Do you really need to carry again? Do you have the proper training and continued training that makes you more than proficient in aiming and shooting your weapon? More importantly, can you live with the thought of needing to use it?
If you are going to carry a concealed weapon, you must take training on being able to handle it and shoot it accurately. Are you ready and prepared? Can you pull it from a holster or bag in time to use it? Or is this something that is going to get you hurt or killed? Will it be stolen from you and used on another person? It takes hours of weapons training to become proficient in being able to pull and shoot a weapon. May I suggest that unless you have had the proper training, you instead buy fox spray. We use this in the military, and you can purchase this in most gun stores or even online. You don’t need ongoing training to use it well, and you don’t have to have a permit or license. This stuff will drop a polar bear. You won’t have to ever worry about ending up in jail for spraying somebody with this because it’s not going to kill anybody, even though the person you spray may wish they were dead. Your mind will get over this incident a lot easier than if you shoot a criminal, or even worse, an innocent bystander.