Obviously, there is a huge responsibility tied to carrying a firearm. As a concealed carry license holder, protecting ourselves and loved ones is paramount. However, not one of us looks forward to the day we may actually have to use it. So how do we go about preventing that occasion? DON’T GO THERE: avoidance and de-escalation should be foremost in our minds.
If you have a choice of walking around the block to get to your car or cutting through an alley to save time, DON’T GO THERE! Make smart choices. Download a steps tracker and get walking. Now, while you’re walking, put away your cellphone; it is your worst enemy. We go into great depths during our classes to educate you about the Color Codes of Awareness. Colonel “Jeff” Cooper developed them and in a nutshell: white = unaware, yellow = aware, orange = heightened awareness and red = action. Strive, 100% of the time, to be in condition yellow.
In Yellow, you are aware of everything around you and are making eye contact with everyone. Why is this so important? A fascinating study conducted in the early 80s called the Grayson/Stein Study, gave a behind-the-scenes look at how predators choose their would-be victims. As part of the study, convicted violent offenders were shown video clips of pedestrians in a busy metropolitan area. Within seven seconds the offenders selected who they would choose to assault or violate based on the video footage alone.
Surprisingly, nearly all the would-be victims were the same handful of people. Their body language projected that they were submissive, unaware (conducive to a surprise attack): a Beta. Additionally, eye contact is imperative! When you make eye contact you’re showing that you are not submissive and therefore not the easiest of targets. It also says, “I see you and can identify you.”
Attackers will disguise their ill intent. It is sad to say, but we must trust NO ONE!! Look at the picture here and be totally honest with yourself. Which ones would you feel most comfortable engaging in conversation?
You may be the exception but most would gravitate to the 1st and 3rd person (left to right). Now look at who each one is. By the way, I am Storm.
I could have chosen less menacing photos of my family, but that wouldn’t have made my point. The best advice is to be on alert with everyone.
We covered a bit about avoidance, so what about de-escalation?
Listen. When you’re dealing with an angry person it may be tempting to respond quickly but it is important to first listen using active listening skills.
Offer. Offer the angry person the opportunity to vent and explore their feelings. Acknowledge their anger and offer to listen to their concerns.
Wait. Don’t be tempted to fill all silences with words. Give the person time to respond. Count to ten before responding if the situation starts to feel awkward.
Look. Look at the person but make sure not to stare. Continue paying attention to non-verbal cues and facial expressions.
Incline. Inclining your head or tilting it to the side is a non-verbal sign of interest in what the other person is saying.
Nod. Nodding when appropriate can show maintained interest and willingness to listen without interrupting.
Express. Continue using active listening skills and express empathy and a desire to understand.
Final steps. After you notice the person has visibly calmed down, explore options on how to resolve the situation.
A concealed carry license is not a badge that encourages vigilante behavior. It only allows us to ensure our right to protect ourselves.
Be Safe out there!!
Written by Rhynda “Storm” Stephens, USCCA Certified Instructor