One of the things we harp on, er, stress to new students in the USCCA Concealed Carry Course is the idea of situational awareness. Basically, that is the hot tactical term for paying attention to what is going on around you. This is the most important thing you can do. Paying attention to your surroundings will keep you out of a lot of fights. And we all know (say it with me), “The best fight is the one you are not in.”
Take a look at this video. I’m sorry it was dragged from a news report, but ignore the commentary of the anchor bunny and watch the two men at the counter.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This late-night diner falls victim to a sudden assault. A few simple steps could have helped to keep this man safe.
Boom! Out go the lights and our bad guy gets away with the wallet. This is the most common type of attack in the world: the sudden assault. But the assault is not really so sudden. The predator takes a long time to decide if and when he is going to attack. Think about this. The bad guy, while out on the street, decided he had found his prey. He followed the good guy into the restaurant and, watch that video again, made a couple of target glances to size up the victim before he struck.
So you are asking me, “Kevin, what could a guy do in that situation?”
First off, you must understand that situational awareness is not just about being aware; it is about noticing things, paying attention to the people around you and responding to their actions. In this case the victim was so intent on getting his order placed, he noticed the guy standing next to him, but didn’t take any evasive action. I don’t mean to say he could have dodged the punch. I mean to say he could have moved to a better position BEFORE the bad guy could make his move.
In that situation, if a person walks up next to you at an empty counter consider taking two steps back to act as if you are looking over the menu. Doing so would put the bag guy in a more difficult location to swing with a big right hand. If you are in a restaurant all alone with one other person, step back and offer your place in line. This gives you the chance to watch the person and puts you in a position of tactical advantage. Now the person next to you has to react to you.
Watch the video again. Do you see the bad guy looking over his shoulder? He is looking for other bystanders. It is clear from his actions he doesn’t care about witnesses, he just wants to make sure no one will try to get involved. If you ever see someone glancing around like that, give him some room. Situational awareness is not just about awareness—it is about taking action as well.