Are You Setting Yourself Up To Be A Victim? Chapter 3

Thank you for joining us for our third and final installment of "Are You Setting Yourself Up To Be A  Victim?"  As you've seen from the previous installments awareness is the key to not being a victim.  In this final installment we'll be looking at Awareness Colors and how to not be a victim while traveling.

1.  Awareness colors are a way of indicating what level of awareness you're in.  The principle was developed by Colonel Jeff Cooper (U.S. Marine Corp., ret)  Each color is a different level of awareness and with a little practice you'll be able to transition from one state of awareness to the other in a split second.  We'll start with the lowest level and move up to the highest.

  • White - In Code White you're not aware of anything going on around you.  You are focused on reading, texting, intently looking at the phone, etc..  An assailant can come up to you and you wouldn't notice, until it's too late.  You are "Living Distracted".  This is not a good color of awareness.  It can actually be dangerous.
  • Yellow - Code Yellow should be your every day level.  In code yellow you know what's going on around you.  You are constantly aware.  You're in a relaxed state, while being aware, but not paranoid.  You'll notice if anyone or anything is out of place.  Nothing will take you by surprise.  As you go through your daily life you'll be running "What If" scenarios in your mind.  You're alert and looking at all possibilities.
  • Orange - In Code Orange you're on ALERT.  You know something isn't right.  At this time you need to pay attention to your gut feelings.  The threat assessment is no longer "What If" but "Reality".  You know you're aware and ready to fight.  Prepare for a confrontation.  If you find there's no need for concern you can easily move back to code yellow.
  • Red - Code Red - TIME FOR ACTION! There's an actual threat.  You are moving from recognizing a threat to stopping it.  Mentally go back to your practice scenarios.  If armed, now is the time to pull your weapon.  Keep yourself safe.  If not armed, use whatever other weapons are around.  Almost anything can be used as a weapon for your protection, if used properly.  You can't hesitate.  I can't stress enough that this is the time for action. Stay in code red until you are positive the threat has been neutralized and there are no other threats around.  Then you can go back to code yellow.

Many of us have to travel for either business or pleasure.  How can you not become a victim?  Even if you're a stranger in a strange land.

  • Try not to look like a tourist.  Wear clothing that blends in with the location.  Expensive cameras, wearing cowboy boots with a swimsuit and caps with Mickey Mouse ears might telegraph that you're a tourist.  Standing out in the crowd will make you a prime target for criminals.  They will assume you're carrying plenty of cash and at least a couple credit cards.
  • Even while you're on vacation/traveling you need to stay in code yellow.  Not only will you enjoy the sights more but being more aware will hopefully make the criminals look for an easier target.
  • Plan ahead.  Since you're likely to be in a strange place make plans before leaving where you're staying.  This will help you move and act with more confidence and become less of a target.
  • Don't be a social media butterfly.  I know you want to tell your friends you're having a grand ole time and share your beautiful pictures.  But, as you do this not only are you showing your friends and family that you're not home but burglars troll different social sites.  When they see you're not home that tells them your house is probably empty and ripe for the picking.  If you are a parent and you left your children at home, this action can cause them to be a target.
  • Guard your possessions.  Keep your purse, wallet and jewelry out of view.  If the hotel has a room safe use it, even if you're in the room.  There are products made to help keep you safe while traveling that you might want to look into.

Thank you for taking the time to learn how to not be a victim.  Like everything worthwhile it will take a little practice to make it perfect.  I couldn't put everything in the article.  If you want further information you can go to our website to sign up for our "How Not To Become A Victim" class.  You will learn with hands-on scenarios on what to do in different situations.  The classes are available for groups, corporations, families and individuals.  We also offer firearms training by a NRA Certified Instructor.  For any questions or comments send your responses to Ralph Bayless  If you haven't read chapters one and two you will find them on our website under the News/Video tab.  A special thank you to Beth Alcazar, USCCA, for her support and information.


Are You Setting Yourself Up To Be A Victim? Chapter 2

Welcome to the second installment of "Are You Setting Yourself Up To Be A Victim?"

Let's expand on how to:

  • Avoid distractions
  • Stand up for yourself

1. Avoiding distractions is difficult for every active person in this day and age.  Work, kids, home life, finances, your love live, etc.  One or all of these topics are probably what you're thinking of instead of being aware of what's going on around you.  Clearing your mind for just a few minutes, and becoming aware of your surrounding, as you're walking in the parking lot of the store or heading into/out of your office can stop you from being assaulted or worse yet - murdered.  Notice what is going on around you.

  • People - We're not saying everyone is bad.  However, we must admit there are people out there that want to do you harm.  Suspicious people lurk in the shadows, walk aimlessly around parking lots, sit in cars paying more attention to you than anything else.
    • What exactly does a criminal look like?  Some perpetrators are the "kind" strangers that come up to ask you a question or say "Hey did you drop this 5 dollar bill?"
    • Think of everyone as suspicious until you can prove they're not.  Listen to your instincts: what does your gut say?
    • If you feel uncomfortable the best thing to do is leave the situation before it become a conflict.
    • Being from the South, the hardest thing for me to do is be rude.  However, you have to know that you have the right to not be nice to everyone.  If you feel threatened or someone has entered your personal space tell them to back off...or start screaming.  If the person is innocent they will understand.  If they are planning something nefarious they will probably retreat.
    • If you're a parent I'm sure you have taught your child Stranger Danger.  It's something adults should remember as well.
  • Vehicles - most of us can't live without our vehicle.  The convenience of being able to go from one place to another is indispensable.  However they can also be used by criminals for getting away, cover to hide and wait or even as a weapon.
  • Parking Lots - one of the most dangerous places are parking lots.  Outdoor parking lots are convenient for you can park close to the stores and offices which may give you a sense of security.  You still need to be looking around and noticing all that is going on.  Questions to ask yourself are:
    • Is there anyone walking aimlessly around the lot or is there a person leaning up against a car watching everything that is going on?
    • In covered parking always be aware of stairwells and elevators.  If you're using the stairs take them slowly.  On each landing stop and listen.  Is anyone following you?  Can you see that the stairs above and below are clear?  When entering and elevator and the doors opens there's a person you feel uncomfortable about it's okay to step back and wait for the next elevator.  If you're on the elevator and someone gets on that makes you feel uneasy, it's okay to get off.  The worst thing you can do is stay in the elevator.  Your chances for escape are much better outside of that little box.  Whichever type of parking lot you use think of these things.
      • Where will I park? Even if it's light outside think ahead for good lighting in case it's dark when you return.
      • Where will you park?  Pulling your vehicle in where it's facing out towards the lane is the best way to escape if  you need to.  Do this by pulling through one parking space to another or backing in.
      • Notice how people are acting.  If you see something suspicious trust your gut.  Move away from the situation.
      • Children - don't be distracted by your children.  Assailants will see this as the perfect time to take advantage of the situation.  Always be weary of anyone approaching you whn you have you child/children.  As we've already assumed you have taught your kids about Stranger Danger.  As you teach them this lesson you can also teach them a code word for parking lots.  Once you say that word they are to run while screaming back to the store you came from.  I realize you're going to say "But that's dangerous for my child to be running in the parking lot".  You are correct, it is.  However, it could be much more dangerous for them to stay close, due to the chance of your being assaulted and them being abducted.
      • Always carry a flashlight.  You never know when you might need to use it to light up a dark area, disorient an attacker or as a weapon.
      • As soon as you get into your car, before you do anything else, LOCK THE DOORS!  If an assailant tries to get into your car, a locked door should give you time to drive away.

2. Stand up for yourself means being proactive in a situation.  As I've said before - "You don't have to be nice to everyone."  Always trust your instincts.  If the hairs on your arms and neck stand up, leave the situation.  Evacuation is not running away.  It's another way of protecting yourself.  Beth Alcazar of USCCA has an acronym for how to stand up for yourself. It's SAFE

  • S - Scream - It's okay to scream (yes you manly men can scream).  Make a lot of noise to attract the attention of others nearby.  Give your kids permission to scream.
  • A - Ask - Ask for help.  If you're walking to a parking lot hve someone walk with you.  If you feel uncomfortable in a situation tell a police officer your concerns.
  • F - Fight - Most attackers won't expect an immediate reaction so you'll have the element of surprise.  Use any weapon you can find.  Mostly any object can be turned into a useful weapon.  Fight as if your life depends on it - for it might.
  • E - Escape - As soon as you can safely flee, do so.

If you see someone suspicious, take action.  You can do so by:

  • Non verbal communication - The way you stand and walk will telegraph your confident attitude and make it less likely you'll become a victim.  Good eye contact shows direction and intent.  Look forward and around you, not down and distracted.  Don't look at your phone.  It make you vulnerable.
  • Verbal communication - Say Stop/Go Away/Step Back in a firm tone if you're feeling threatened.  Once again screaming is good verbal communication.  Don't speak in a timid tone.  You would be amazed how a self-assured speaking voice can deter an attacker.
  • Prepare mentally - Make a plan.  As you walk into a building, room or parking lot make mental notes on exits, places to take cover, items yo can us as a weapon and possible allies or threats.  One of the most difficult thing you will have to do is give yourself permission to fight until your opponent is incapacitated.  If your assailant is capable of getting up, the chances are he'll attack again.
  • Prepare physically - What is your training?  You don't have to have a black belt or hit the gym for hours daily.  Learn a few basic self defense techniques and practice your movements until they become muscle memory.
  • If you're armed - Using a firearm is always the last resort.  Follow all local laws regarding firearms.

Next time you'll learn that your state of awareness comes in colors.

Join us for the next installments.  If you haven't read installment one it's currently on our website tab.  We also offer group, corporate and individual classes for firearms training and how not to become a victim.  We're looking forward to hearing your questions and comments.  Send your responses to Ralph Bayless  A special thank you to Beth Alcazar, USCCA, for your support and information.


Are You Setting Yourself Up To Be A Victim ?

Violent crime statistics for US in 2016

  • Murder.....17,250
  • Rape.....130,603
  • Robbery.....332,198
  • Aggravated Assaults.....803,007

How do you not set yourself up to be a victim?  How do you carry yourself in public and how do others perceive you?  How do you not look like a VICTIM?

Ask yourself, what is my mindset?  Take a look at the following and determine for yourself what would your actions be?

  1. What is my situational awareness?  Ask yourself, am I consciously and deliberately aware of everything that is going on around me?  Am I in a state of awareness that I can react in an appropriate manner that will protect me and my loved ones?
  2. What is my current mindset?  Am I paying attention to my surroundings?  Am I paying attention to what my senses are telling me and am I aware of all that is going on around me?  Have I identified all potential threats and dangerous situations around me?  Am I prepared for what might happen?
  3. Am I paying attention to my surroundings?  Don't be distracted by a child, phone, bad hair day or to-do list.  Actively commit your mind to more than lower-level thinking.  You must observe, analyze and commit to what's going on around you.  Use your good judgment and intuition to make decisions that may effectively save your life.
  4. Use your intuition and listen to what your senses are telling you.  What's going on around you?  What do you See? Smell? Feel? Hear? Trust your instincts.  If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, it's okay to move out of it.  All it will cost you is a little time and possibly save your life.
  5. Learn how to recognize non-verbal clues.  First impressions happen within the first eight seconds from when we first encounter another person.  These impressions are caused by eye contact, gestures and facial expressions.  The feelings we get from these gestures are more accurate than any words spoken.  90% of what is communicated isn't in what we say, but in how we say it.  The way you walk, talk, dress and act can mark you as a victim.  You can tell a lot about the way a person speaks.  Their tone, volume, speed, accent and even speech errors can tell you a lot about the person with which you're speaking.  If someone's speech pattern alarms you, trust your feelings and remove yourself from harm's way.  By watching facial expressions you can detect: anger, fear, contempt or disgust.  By noticing these expressions you can determine whether to stay or go the other way.
  6. Watch the eyes.  It's been said the are are the windows to the soul.  This is very true.  You can tell a lot about a person by watching their eyes.  Are they glancing around looking at other things besides you?  Do they blink a lot, are their pupils dilated or pinpoint?  You can determine most people's motives by watching and understanding what their eyes are saying to you unconsciously.
  7. Other non-verbal clues include physical traits such as; grooming, wardrobe, dirt, tattoos and smells.  How does the person wear their hair or do their makeup?  All of these will help you determine if you think this person is a perceived threat.  Once again...always trust your gut instinct.
  8. Don't have a set routine.  If you have someone that is planning to do you harm they may follow you for a few days.  By changing up your routine it will make their job harder and possibly make them look for an easier target,

In the following installments we'll learn the following:

  • How to avoid distractions
  • How to stand up for yourself
  • Awareness color codes
  • How to prepare for your travels

Join us for the next few installments.  We're looking forward to hearing your comments.  With any questions or comments please email me:  Ralph Bayless  We also offer group, corporate and individual classes for firearms training and how not to become a victim.  We also offer firearms instruction by a NRA Certified Instructor.  Thank you to Beth Alcazar, USCCA, for your support and information


Knowing your ammunition

Hello everyone and welcome to Mira's first blog on our new website.  Thank you for taking the time to join us.  As you know Mira's main influence is training women in the safe and fun use of their firearms.  Understanding the different types of ammunition will help you discuss this topic when you are buying the type of ammo you need for self protection, as well as target shooting.  Please enjoy the following article.  Cheers for the staff of Mira.