We are often told (and tell our students) to respect our instincts when it comes to that “funny feeling” that something is wrong. Unfortunately, many of us ignore the very instincts that have protected our species from extinction for thousands of years and wander blindly into peril. The lucky may be harassed by beggars, the unlucky are injured or die at the muzzle or blade of the predator. Even the well trained and alert (condition orange folks) become complacent at times or become rushed and violate their own ethos.
For the trained and supposedly alert, all I can say is “You Snooze You Lose”, but what about the people who come to us for training, yet are far from being the “switched on” type of person we like to think of ourselves as? Do we adequately explain the concepts and give them the detailed information needed to subconsciously trigger their 6th-sense? Telling our students that seeing a man in a large bulky coat in the summer time is an indicator that he may be hiding a weapon is about as useful as telling them that trying to beat a train at a crossing is a bad idea. IT’S OBVIOUS!!!!
I’m suggesting in a not so gentle way that expecting people to memorize the last 4 vehicles they passed, the names of the 3 businesses on each side of convenience store they just entered, the name of the last 4 streets passed, etc. is fancy t.v. bull-squash. As a white guy who worked surveillance in what Mayor Ray Nagan referred to as his “Chocolate City” for over a decade, I can tell you that you only need to be aware of a few common sense things to make safe conscious decisions. Pay just a little attention and that inner voice will scream at you when you are in an area deserving some respect. It is then up to us to respect that voice.
I prefer to illustrate how astute most people really are by referring to normal everyday events, and that it takes little effort after being made aware of a few danger signs to begin consciously and subconsciously evaluating your safe zone.
Some of the things that people can relate to:
- Washing machine making noise due to unbalanced load.
- Garbage disposal with a lemon rhine inside.
- Vehicle developing a mechanical problem.
- Burning food the oven.
We all know what “normal” is in the above examples and quickly detect deviations, even when minor. Forget all the hi-speed mumbo jumbo and simply ask students to make a quick inventory of their daily travels.
It most likely will look something like this:
- Fast food.
- Coffee shop.
- Gas Station.
It’s now a conscious and simple exercise to have them describe normal. Verbalizing “normal” will stimulate thought and begin to create a subconscious awareness “normal”. No action movie stuff, just simple recognition of what we see on a routine day.
This little bit of effort should be enough to stimulate the inner voice; ignore at your own peril.
“An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.” / Edward de Bono