19 Jul Eyes Down- The Perfect Victim
Over the years of training/teaching to so many people of all walks of life, one of the terms that often comes up is “Situational Awareness,” or “Environmental Awareness.” These terms are very closely related and fall under a larger term often used; “Conflict Avoidance.” In simple terms, Conflict Avoidance refers to habits, behaviors and/or tactics used to avoid violent encounters. That may include escape, evade, re-route, verbal de-escalation amongst many others.
Couple days ago I was spending a couple hours between meetings nearby the lake in downtown Chicago. As I sat and enjoyed a nice breeze off of the lake I was doing some people watching and realized how conditioned we are as a modern society to move thru our days in oblivion, faces buried in tablets, cell phones, emails, text messages, social media, and now…Pokemon Go. When I relate this behavior to the folks that I have worked with who have been ambushed, assaulted, raped, or robbed….almost every time they say that they were looking down at xyz. Their attention was elsewhere and they simply didn’t see the attack in progress until it was simply too late.
I also compare this to a phrase that a good friend of mine who recently returned from his tours in the Middle East….”Eyes Up.” He says it in what seems to be every other sentence, and often enough where I had to ask him why he says it so often. “We drive thru the roads in Afghanistan and we have to see snipers on rooftops, IED’s in the road, people using cell phones on the side of the road which can be a detonator, swarms of people around our vehicles with no telling if they are friend or foe. We have to see if there is action up ahead, or something waiting to ambush us from behind. We have keep our heads on a swivel at all times and be prepared for whatever is only 2 seconds out. Everything requires to be ‘eyes up.’
Being Eyes Down is a sign that many criminals look for in preparing their attack. They look for a potential victim that they know they can attack quickly, overwhelm them physically, mentally, and emotionally in a very short period of time and get little to no resistance. It’s a sign that someone is unprepared and preoccupied. Might as well put a target sign over their head that reads “I’ll Be A Good Victim.”
Get in the habit of being Eyes Up. Start that habit by making small exercises while you walk around the mall, or drive to work. Look at building signs and read them out loud. Make note of cars and their license plates. Take a look at people standing around and give them a description of height, weight, race, clothing, and behavior. Do it with some intention, and do it with the conscious decision that you are observing. Once you start these exercises you’ll quickly realize how many things are happening around you all day that you normally miss. (Good and Bad). Do it daily, and after 20-30 days of Eyes Up Training….it will start becoming habit…..do it more and don’t let that habit become a mundane thing.