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Complacency: The Easy Cop-Out

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by Riot, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    Complacency kills, there is no doubt about that. Being in the military, this ideology was beaten more and more into my head throughout the years of my service. After deploying twice, I begun to see complacent tendencies beginning to form within myself and my fellow soldiers that were raising red flags. There is no doubt in my mind that fighting off complacency probably saved my life.

    Having said that, I think that labeling some one's death as "being complacent" is just too easy of a cop-out. There is no way that you can be 100% alert and aware of your surrounds at all times; there is just no way you can do it. You will burn out from exhaustion, and have more ulcers and other stress related injuries from "being in the red" at all times. What you can do is have safe practices that will get you throughout your day.

    Currently, I work in corrections. At any time I could be assaulted by some young punk that wants to make a name for himself. From the time I put on my uniform until I take it off, I am a target- or at least an obvious one. Many inmates incarcerated have outside contacts that can reach me even outside of work. So, how can I prevent myself from being assaulted or victimized? Well the sad truth of the matter is is that you can't. You read it right, you cannot ever be 100% safe. Ever.

    What I am about to type can reign true to anyone, in any profession, anywhere in the world. All you can do to avoid being a victim is to become a "hard target" for those that try to take advantage you. There are certain steps you can take to make yourself less of a desired target for criminals and terrorists alike, listed below are just a few that I've learned throughout my endeavors.

    1. Be Professional. Yup, when it really boils down to it, it is the lack of professionalism that gets more people in trouble than anything else. You must leave your home problems at home and your work problems at work. You must look like you want to be there and limit yourself to manipulation by others. That co-worker you vent to about your boss would probably rat you out in a heartbeat if it was in his/her best interest to do so. The best advice I was ever given was from another supervisor who said to me, "if your mother and your employer was watching you right now, would they approve of what you just did?" If you can say "yes" to that question then you're fine, drive on. If not, then maybe you need to do some self evaluations on your public conduct. Terrorists love to target people that "bend the rules" or see the world as a shade of grey instead of black and white. If you follow the rules and conduct yourself in a professional manor whenever you represent your employer, then you are making yourself that much more of a "hard target" for the bad guys.

    2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings. Most criminals are opportunists. They may have intentions on robbing someone and leaving with a set amount at the end of the day, but they are less likely to attack someone that already knows what they look like and knows the license plate of their vehicle. Even police officers will circle around a building that has an alarm going off inside to check for getaway vehicles and reconnoiter the areas that someone would attempt to egress to. Look behind you every now and again and intentionally pick times and places that are advantageous to YOU, not to someone else. Ask yourself, "do I really need to go to the ATM machine at 3am?"

    3. Put Your Back to the Wall, But Always Have an Escape Route. The wall analogy is both literal and figurative. As long as you know what is behind you, and nobody can come at you from behind, then you are fine. Always have a plan and a back-up plan. As Murphy's Law states, "No plan survives first contact." This phrase cannot be any truer. When someone talks to you, stand up and have your hands up at least waist length to deflect any strikes.

    4. Don't Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight. If you ever have to defend yourself or another person, be prepared to use any and all means available. Think "outside the box" on this one. Many people in the world still don't believe that firearms save more lives than they take. So, you must have the proper mindset to survive the possible encounters that you may be victimized to. If you have to, pick up a rock, use your car keys or just plain bite your way out of a hold. In these cases, there are no "cheaters", there are only those that survive encounters and those that don't.

    5. Maintain a Proper Mindset. Another good quote I've heard has been "In God I trust, everyone else keep your hands where I can see them." Always look at what someone else is looking at and where their hands are. Constantly scan for other people, behaviors, avenues of escape and possible weapons you can use to defend yourself with. One thing that has probably gotten me through those boring shifts and has helped mentally prepare me for violent encounters has been to practice "what if..." scenarios. Simply all you have to do is think like a criminal would or think about what you would do in case of an emergency. What would you do if your house or work station suddenly caught on fire? Do you know where the nearest fire extinguisher is? Do you know what kind of fire extinguisher it is? Would it put out an electrical fire? Where is the nearest exit? This simple mental exercise can not only keep you on your toes in an emergency, but before you know it- you might be the one putting out a fire while everyone else sits and panics because they were not mentally prepared for what is going on.

    Doing the above are just some simple things that you can do to become a "hard target". Honestly, all you can really do to avoid becoming a victim is limit the desire, opportunity and ability for someone to take advantage of you by what you do on a daily basis. That's it in a nut-shell. The bag guy has the element of surprise on their side, and as they say in the prison, "all they have is time". If they want to get you, they will get you. It's just a matter of when and how bad. My above advice helps you chose the place, time and setting that you will get victimized.

    Now, to get to the point of my blog. I am sick and tired of everyone using the word "complacent" to describe the reason why someone died. When the four officers in Lakewood PD were gunned down in a Cafe, people looked and said "complacency" as a cop-out for their deaths.

    Let me say this as clear as I possibly can...if Mr. Clemmons was pulled over and the officers shot weren't wearing their vests, were taking unnecessary risks, or endangered themselves by doing anything either out of policy or anything unprofessional I would agree that they were complacent and something should be learned from their murders. However, they were callously gunned down for being nothing more than cops by a person that just wanted to murder cops. That is it, people. They weren't taking a stroll down a dark alley at 3am by themselves. They weren't driving 100mph on slick roads. They were just shot by a man who wanted to kill cops in a place that just happen to have cops in it. This is in no way, shape or form an issue of complacency. It is just the hazards of the job. Those officers should not be blamed in any way for their own deaths as much as a guy that gets shot by a stray bullet from a drive-by.

    Too many times I hear people use "complacency" as a cop-out. It's too easy to sit and arm-chair general someone saying "they should have done this" or "I would have done that". The fact of the matter is that if someone wants to kill you, and they have the means, motive, and opportunity to do so, they will do it. There is not anything you can do about it but prepare yourself (both physically and mentally) for it. Having the proper mindset and avoiding complacency is apart of being prepared, but it should never be used as an excuse as to why a tragedy occurred.

  2. raftman

    raftman Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Yeah, I never quite understood the numerous folks that I've heard say, "I can just carry a knife." as an alternative to carrying a gun. I can understand having both, but not just a knife. Assuming legal possession and carry, I'm not sure that it makes any legal difference which one you use in a self-defense situation. In either case, you're using a deadly weapon, and using deadly force, so correct me if I'm wrong, but there's no legal advantage to the knife.
  3. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I'll bet you could cut your sandwich with a Glock at 20 feet. :D
  4. raftman

    raftman Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    That's true, but that's because handguns are a compromise. To gain portability and conceal-ability, you lose lose the sandwich cutting abilities that you get from long guns like an SKS with a folding bayonet.
  5. elsullo

    elsullo Portland Oregon New Member

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    Thanks for posting this, and well said! On the savannah grasslands mostly everyone has their heads down, except for the predators who are studying the herd for weakness to seize on. Their heads are above the herd, watching.

    It's exactly like this in the busy human world. Practicing situational awareness leads to startling encounters with evil people who are hunting the sheep. But it is THEM who are startled at seeing that they have been seen! Some few are true predators and will attack whoever discovers them, but most will simply slink away in frustration. The sheepdog sees the wolf in hiding, and the sheep never even know.

    It's FUN to lock eyes with a predator so that he knows that you know him! It's even better to recognise another sheepdog, and share a secret nod of the head. Awareness has many rewards....................elsullo :cool:
  6. branchbuster

    branchbuster Albany Active Member

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    A person that had planned and practiced an attack like that would be able to draw and shoot all 4 in less than 3 seconds. Even if you saw the person enter and had reason to suspect something, how quickly could you react while seated in a chair? It is a great loss.