Situational Awareness – Between Life and Death
Do you always know what is going on around you? In this day and age we have too many distractions. We are getting to the point where we can't drive a car without looking at a cell phone so we send or receive a text or make a call. This kind of situation brings to light the amount of time that we have to make decisions that are truly life or death. When you are driving a car down a busy city street, the vehicle may be going 35 or 40 miles per hour. You have to have excellent situational awareness so that you can avoid running into the car in front of you or crashing into a car that pulls out in front of you. I would say that you are not exercising situational awareness if you look down at a phone screen while a car is moving at these speeds. What do you think?
In training to drive a car you were told to keep your eyes on the road, but you also need to have good peripheral vision. That means that you have to be able to see and react to objects that are not in your main line of sight, but are moving into it very quickly. These objects will be hit by your car if you don't take some positive reaction. Your positive reaction would be to take your foot off the gas and put your foot on the brake. To slow or stop the car. Such reaction requires that you have some level of anticipation. You have to have thought in advance about objects moving into your travel path.
When you are training to get your concealed carry permit, you need to develop the same type of situational awareness, peripheral vision, anticipation, and positive reaction. You need to exercise these skills as you move throughout your day, not just when you are driving a car, but also at other times as well. Situational awareness is your first defense against an attack and possible death. You can be sure that any criminal will plan to take advantage of you when you are most vulnerable. You need to anticipate and be ready to avoid a vulnerable situation that will allow a criminal to take advantage of you. The best skill that you can develop is to be able to notice a risky situation that might develop before you get into it, and have the good sense to avoid it. It is better to avoid a confrontation or attack than to have to draw your concealed carry pistol to defend yourself.
For example, there is a friend of mine that did not exercise good situational awareness. She went to the grocery store for her weekly shopping. Store was very busy. Parking lot was full of cars. Lots of traffic backing in and out of parking spaces. Cars were waiting so that other cars would back out and they could pull into the vacated spot. My friend came out of the store, pushing her shopping cart full of groceries, with her purse in the kid's seat, just like most folks do. She pulled the cart up beside the car and opened the back door, so that she could put her groceries inside. Left her purse in the kid seat. During the 2 seconds she had her back turned to the shopping cart, a car door opened in the traffic lane. Out stepped a young man. He stuck his arm through the handles of the purse, stepped back in the car as the car drove away.
This is a simple example of lack of situational awareness that could have been prevented by any one of several simple acts by my friend. Her first failure was to not be aware of all the activity around her. And anticipating the activity, she could have simply let her purse be the first object she put into the car. She could have looped the purse handles over her shoulder. The lesson she learned that day was to apply more stringent situational awareness, to have good peripheral vision, and anticipation. There were no one injures in the incident. She had to go though the arduous task of cancelling all her credit cards. Get a new driver's license and other such awful stuff. Thankfully she did not have a concealed carry pistol in her purse.
This example can be applied to any time when you carry your concealed pistol. You will be best served if you anticipate situations where you might have to defend yourself and simply avoid them! Have good situational awareness, anticipate, and don't get into a situation where you will have to defend yourself. But if the situation occurs where you need to defend yourself be ready to draw your concealed carry pistol and do it.