Situational Awareness: It Could Save Your Life
Woman accused of intentionally driving her car into a crowd of pedestrians along the Las Vegas Strip Sunday night December 20, 2015. One dead and 37 injured. This after 14 killed in San Bernardino California and after 130 killed the Paris attacks.
These events make us all wonder if it is safe to go out in public anymore. Public places are probably as safe, or as dangerous as they have always been however. There are, of course, parts of any city that are more dangerous than other areas. As a tourist or a resident, you would know or should take the time to know what areas to avoid, but what about your local mall, your local grocery store, your bank, which by all accounts appear to be safe environments in which you feel comfortable.
As we have stated in previous articles it can be just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can however, reduce your risks while out in public by simply paying attention to your surroundings and by avoidance.
Avoid the middle of the crowd. You have nowhere to go if trapped in a crowd. Work along the edges of a crowd so you have a clear view in all directions and can move to a safe area if something happens.
If you are buried in the crowd and someone plows their vehicle into the crowd, you could be injured or killed by panicked people stampeding, and not to mention killed by a 2,000 pound vehicle. The person that rammed their car into the crowd in Las Vegas allegedly did so several times. You would apply the same tactics when in a movie theater, restaurant, or a mall.
There you are crushed in the crowd and nowhere to run after a driver has already hit a dozen or so pedestrians and now you see the car getting ready to slam the crowd again. You were knocked to the ground by others, and your leg is hurt, your arm aches and your head is swirling from the impact with the ground, this is not where you want to be when there is an attacker that has not finished their work. You should be on the move in the opposite direction.
Do not go out in public drunk or buzzed, or under the influence of any drugs, prescription or otherwise, that may impair your thinking. There are those that intentionally prey on people that are obviously impaired by alcohol or drugs. If you are not thinking clearly then you are not paying attention.
Do not let the crowd dictate your actions. People get together, have a few drinks and the next thing you know someone in the group is pushing the envelope, pushing others to get more daring and soon enough you are no longer watching your surroundings. You are being led by someone that does not have any self control.
This is not to say that you or anyone could have stopped the horrific vehicular attack along the Vegas strip, but by paying attention you may be able to avoid certain dangerous situations. The thing about attacks is if you are not the first victim, then the sounds of gunshots and screams of injured are the alarms that go off warning you to take action to save your life. This is unfortunate, because there is always a first victim, but that first shot or screech of tires and the sounds of metal impacting a human body are your warning bells, and you have to react.
You can’t, and for the most part most people will not avoid public places. If you and others did avoid all public places the cities and towns you live in would dry up and blow away. There may be times when you should not go out, and you always need to give careful thought to where you are going, how to get there, and ask yourself can I get home on foot or by other means if something happens, and my vehicle is not accessible.
Percentage wise your chances of getting killed in a terrorist attack is low, much lower than your chances of being killed in a car crash, dying of a heart attack, falling down the stairs at home and we could go on, but this means nothing if you are actually involved in an attack.
Like it or not you do have to change some habits to meet the challenges in today’s world. Anything can happen to anyone at any time. Threats evolve, and you have to evolve along with them. Fair or not it is the reality. You as an American can come and go as you please with certain limitations of course, but while coming and going as you please, pay attention to the comings and goings of others.