Survival = Distance + Movement + Cover

The Graveyard Shift is a super-interesting blog by retired police officer, author and novelist Lee Lofland. It’s targeted primarily to mystery novelists, and since I also write mystery novels, it’s a blog I’ve followed for some time. Lee also posts lots of good information about criminal behavior, law enforcement and the like, and his blog is worth a look if you’re into that sort of thing.

Lee had a post today that got me thinking. The post was contributed by law enforcement trainer Jerry Cooper, and it dealt with the circumstances in which police officers are killed in the line of duty.  In particular, Mr. Cooper talked about those officers who are ambushed, often by offenders with criminal records and armed with high-power rifles.

Mr. Cooper talked about things officers can do to increase their survival in an ambush, and I wanted to talk about one of them here because predators who attack private citizens also use ambush-like tactics sometimes.

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What Would You Do – Creepy Store Employee

Garand Gal shared a story the other day about an experience she had while shopping for new glasses for her daughter. I’ll let you read her post for the whole story, but here’s the gist of what happened:

The technician was complimenting her on how pretty her eyes were, then it was her hair (it’s long, she’s never had her hair cut) and then he kept asking her to turn around so he could see the butterflies embroidered on her back pockets (he did this at least three times) and telling her how cute they were and how pretty she was, did she wear make-up etc. I saw red flags flying all over throughout the conversation. One of them being that when he was doing the store spiel he was using a normal tone of voice but when he was complimenting her or asking her to turn he was using a very quiet voice. I assumed so it wouldn’t be picked up by the surveillance. Another was that he waited until I appeared distracted with my other children or my phone before he said anything, not realizing that I was texting the things he was saying to my husband and that as a mother I can pay attention to several things at once. When I didn’t give him any indication that I’d heard, he started saying more and more things to her.

Garand Gal asked her readers what they would have done in a similar situation. I think she handled what happened well (you can read her post to find out what she did), but I wanted to link to this because I think it’s instructive to talk about what Garand Gal did right.

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The OODA Loop and the Analysis Paralysis Trap

I was listening to Ben Branam’s latest Modern Self-Protection podcast. In this third episode, Ben talks about the OODA loop and its implications for self-defense and training. He has lots of great stuff to say, and I’d encourage you to take a listen, but I wanted to touch on an aspect of the OODA loop Ben didn’t talk about.

The OODA loop is a model developed by US Air Force Col. John Boyd to understand how we react to circumstances in our environment. The four stages of the OODA loop are: We observe an event unfolding in our environment, we orient ourselves to what’s happening and place it into a mental context based upon our cultural conditioning and training, we decide how to respond, and then we act. The reason the process is described as a loop is because the outcome of our action – or our inaction – can trigger a new circumstance, which then starts the loop over again.

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