It may not be what you think however. S.T.A.N.D is an acronym that should always stand out in your mind every time you step foot outside your door. “Stand” will help you become more aware, and to help you to begin thinking in a more tactical way.
Combat Ready: Sufficiently equipped, trained, and numerically strong enough to engage an enemy
In today’s world, walking around with your head down staring at a cell phone or with your head in the sand for whatever reason is dangerous. No matter who or where you are, you need your head up, eyes moving and your nose “sniffing the air” if you will.
Engage with life around you. Do not be one of those people that walks in front of a bus while texting. Do people really need to be told to look both ways before crossing the street? The problem is some are not even aware the street is there, because their mind is not focused on the here and now.
It is not so much about your physical capabilities, but about how well you can appraise the situation and then act decisively if action is required.
Survival and evasion, a skill everyone should learn so you are not forced into resisting and escape.
S – Situational Awareness
T – Tactical Advantage
A – Assets on Hand
N – Neutralizing the Threat
D – Determination
Crowds are dangerous because there are simply too many threats for you to assess properly. If there is an active shooter, the panicking people around you will also become a danger. If you try to drop below the level of fire, you could be trampled and people crowded around you would make it difficult to reach an exit, or to find cover/concealment, as well.
First, avoid crowds if possible and in particular the middle of crowds. This goes for movie theaters, concerts, restaurants or any public gathering place. Situational awareness is important. You must know where the exits or escape routes are, and map in your head how to get there from where you are. The moment you enter a building you should be seeking out emergency exits such as windows and doors and looking for static sources that can provide cover and concealment such as, furniture, heavy doors and walls if there is an active shooter. This needs to become an automatic response, and it will become such if you do it every time.
Walk next to the buildings on busy streets. Walking on the street/traffic side may mean you end up under a bus if the crowd panics and it increases your chances of being shot if there is a drive by shooting. Additionally it is easier and safer to crouch next to a wall than it is to hit the deck in the middle of the crowd.
Being away from your home or typical area of operation gives an aggressor the tactical advantage. Shooters or others setting up an ambush would already be aware of the cover and concealment available, and the aggressor (s) could have “staged” the area to increase their tactical advantage.
In some cases, you are on their “home turf”. They have the element of surprise, and you would not normally have access to as much weaponry as you would at home or even while inside your car.
This is where thinking ahead can help you avoid stumbling into an ambush. First, it is never recommended that you go out into public under the influence of alcohol or any type of mind-altering drugs. Drugs as common as prescription pain medications or medications for allergies will cloud your thinking. Stay off your cell phones, even if you have Bluetooth capabilities. You simply do not need any distractions.
Regardless of your training or weapons, you immediately lose any tactical advantage you may have had if you are under the influence of drugs, alcohol or if your attention is focused on gadgets.
Those that target people for robbery or for other reasons will look for those under the influence, or for those that have obvious disadvantages such as inattention because they are texting. What is easier than robbing someone that can barely walk because they are drunk or literally “drugged up” or cannot raise their heads from their cell phones?
Training always gives you the tactical advantage. Knowing how to handle a firearm is important and along with training, you must learn when not to “flash “one. A firearm is not to be used to “shoo” people away or to wave around as a way to intimidate.
When you simply do not have the tactical advantage, you must do what you can to extricate yourself from the situation and if this means running, yelling, kicking and screaming then do it.
Pulling a weapon and not using it means the aggressor (s) will likely end up with your weapon and with you lying there wondering what happened, and why does it hurt so much, as you hear sirens in the distance.
Know what is in your purse and pockets that can be used as a weapon. Car keys, nail file, credit cards, pens and pencils can all be used to stab, puncture and slice. Use your feet if you have heavy shoes, otherwise you may end up with a few broken toes.
Use the heel of your hand to strike the face and body of an attacker, otherwise you could easily break a finger or damage a knuckle. The heel of your hand can strike with considerable force (enough force to break noses and cheekbones) and not cause damage to your hand.
Punch straight in and then slightly twist your wrist as you deliver the blow putting your weight behind the strike. Prepare to strike by having your elbows tucked into your side with the heel of your hands forward.
Do not slap or swing at your opponent. A solid hit to the rib cage using this method can fracture ribs regardless of your size compared to the aggressor if your deliver the blow with the weight of your body behind it.
As you “snap” your hand in, turn your head and body away, and lean slightly forward to present a smaller profile and to increase the force of the blow. This makes it harder for them to strike your face. A roundhouse swing has no weight behind it and it can easily be intercepted. Never present your body or face full on to any opponent.
Going hand-to-hand with anyone is your last resort, once a person is close enough to put his or her hands on you then you have lost considerable tactical advantage.
How quickly can the threat be neutralized or can it be dealt with at all. Retreat is always an option, saving your life is the objective, not the stories you would tell over beers the next day. Do not let pride get in the way. It is important that you are able to size up the situation quickly and either neutralize the threat quickly, or extract yourself from the situation just as quickly.
Follow through if you pull a firearm, so be prepared to use it, and this means you must have considerable training. Half measures do not work, so give it all you have when, shooting, striking, slashing or stabbing.
Training gives you confidence. Practice shows your weaknesses so they can be improved upon. Training and experience will allow you to overcome size differences. By simply paying attention, you can avoid many situations. Learn how to plan better by not ending up in a dark parking lot or on an unfamiliar street late at night.
Actually, look around you, when you are out and really see what is going on. Look for trouble, so as not to become tangled up in it. Multi-tasking may be a great skill at the office, but on the street, your focus needs to be on the possible dangers around you. This means not mulling over in your head why your boss asked to see you in their office first thing in the morning.