Predators size up their prey before attacking. This is true for alligators, wolves, sharks, and it is also true for violently predatory humans. Be aware of your surroundings and who is watching your movements. It is much better to stay out of trouble in the first place than to shoot your way out of a life or death situation.
You need to be totally aware of who and what is around you. This applies whether you are pulling into a parking lot, walking into a store or eating lunch at your favorite burger joint. In cop circles, we have what we call the “Gun Fighter’s Chair”. This was made famous by the gambler and gun fighter, known as Wild Bill Hickok, who met his demise sitting at a poker table with his back to the door. The killer approached from behind and shot Wild Bill in the back of his head. The former Sheriff of Abilene, Texas, turned gambler and vagrant, was buried in Deadwood South Dakota. His twin six shooters were sold to pay for the burial plot. In his earlier days Wild Bill would have always sat so he could see who was approaching him.
Now I am not advising my readers to live like Old Wild Bill, especially the gambling lifestyle. But please be aware of your surroundings. Walking with your nose in your “smart phone” could lead to more serious problems that walking into a light pole or stepping into an open man hole. For the ladies, don’t walk across a parking lot with your purse swinging by your side. Tuck it in close. Consider keeping your cash and credit cards in a wallet in your pocket. I highly recommend that ladies do NOT carry their gun in a purse. There may be some good exceptions to my rule, but that’s for another article. Just last week a local bank here in my town, was robbed. I use that bank all the time. Due to the “gun free” sign on the window, I always store my firearm in my locked console before dismounting from my truck. I can honestly say that makes me feel naked! Feeling naked, I look around to see if anybody is looking at my 67 year old body. Seriously, I do look around. Is a shady character sitting in his car with the engine running? As I approach the door, is there anything unusual going on inside? The same procedure with “stop and robs”, I mean, convenience stores. Yes, I have actually backed out and left a business or two because not so pleasant looking characters were hanging around the outside of a store. Pay attention to your surroundings and you will be able to avoid trouble. With proper situational awareness and conflict avoidance skills, you will be able to avoid situations which “less-aware” individuals might walk right into.
WHEN IN DOUBT, GET OUT. Conflict avoidance means just that: avoiding conflict. If you feel that you might be in physical danger, you need to get out of there. If you feel like someone is following you, walk into the next open business or move to the opposite side of the street. Some experts actually recommend turning around and confronting your stalker. That could go either way. I you are a big man that might work. Predators don’t stalk big men. If you are driving, make two or three right turns, and then check to see if you are still being followed. Drive to a well lighted area. Drive to a Police Station or Fire Department and start sounding your horn. If you are convinced that you are being followed, DO NOT DRIVE HOME! Call 911 if you have a cell phone and report what is going on. Give them your location and direction of travel. If you can, give them a description of your vehicle and the vehicle following you. Do NOT get yourself into a high speed chase. If you see a police car, sound your horn and drive toward them! If you are walking, use the same tactics. If at night, use you flash light, to get the police’s attention. And if needed, use it to blind the creep and run. You do carry a good flash light, don’t you? Today’s lights are a hundred times more powerful than just a few years ago and the prices have come down dramatically. I just got one with 600 Lumens from Amazon for less than $15. It’s about as big as your thumb and as long as a ball point pen. It has a high and low setting, a strobe and a SOS signal. The strobe is a real retina burner! The rechargeable ones are the best.
I am not advising you to live in constant fear. If that’s the case, maybe you better just stay home. You check the weather forecast before going on an outing. Think of it as having an umbrella. You carry an umbrella because it might rain. You take an extra coat because it is going to get cold this evening. Being aware is the same thing.
If you are a CCW license holder, your gun is not a replacement for good common sense. Your gun is not magical, and your permit to carry doesn’t make you a superhero. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t go anywhere with your gun that you would not go without it.
I am retired from Law Enforcement. I don’t go looking for trouble like I did when I was a Deputy Sheriff. Today, I don’t carry a gun so I can go into bad places. I carry a gun because sometimes bad things happen to good people. In short, if you have plans to go somewhere, and you think you’re going to need a gun, cancel your plans. Watch out for who is watching you.