Situational AwarenessSteven Lieberman
See Something, Say Something.
Our society has become far more “connected” than at any time in human history. Our ability to post events we witness, explain to our “friends” the intimate moments in our life, and pontificate on social trends is unparalleled to any point in our past. Yet, the grand irony is that in our effort to stay current with those we follow on social media, we often literally miss the forest for the trees.
There is an ubiquitous video that makes the rounds on social media. A compilation of individuals paying so much attention to their phones that they either become embroiled in embarrassing disasters or come frighteningly close to meeting their own demise. People become so focused on the postings of others, they unwittingly become a “post” themselves.
Those of us who have CCWs are essentially prohibited from engaging in this type of behavior. By definition, we must be aware of our surroundings, and slavish devotion to our phones prevents this.
Putting down the phone and getting eyes up is, at times, a Herculean task. I will be the first to admit that I am a hypocrite when it comes to this. If Sandy had a dollar for each time she told me to put the phone away, she would be a very, very wealthy woman.
That said, Sandy is entirely correct. It stands to reason that we would never reach for our phone to check status updates in the midst of a gunfight. We would also never do that when we suspect an altercation was about to occur. Why then would we do it when an altercation “could” occur?
As CCW holders, we must place ourselves at a higher standard. We, as individuals, are not the only ones who benefit from this… society as a whole becomes safer.
As CCW holders, we are constantly training to be observers. We see things others miss. Oftentimes those things are entirely benign… yet, at times, they are potentially life-changing. Once they have been detected, our responsibility does not end. We now need to do something with that information.
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If you were in a bank and suddenly saw four men, roughly the same age, come into the bank, take up separate positions and begin scanning the crowd holding their jackets closed, you would probably decide it was best to immediately leave. That seems like an entirely prudent decision. Once outside, would you simply just drive away? Would you be comfortable knowing that you have potentially left all of those other patrons in the bank in harm’s way? Most of us would probably get a safe distance and call 911. If it turns out that the men who entered the bank were simply there to do a transaction, and had no criminal intent then no harm, no foul. If they were there to threaten the lives of the bank personnel and the patrons then, well… you just may have saved many lives by that simple phone call.
A phone call you would not have been able to make had you not been aware of their presence in the first place.
Beyond the local crimes, this also has national security implications as well.
When we see things, things that just don’t add up, we can either ignore them or report them.
To be sure, sometimes law enforcement drops the ball at this reporting stage. After the Parkland shooting it came to light that there were numerous reports to law enforcement about the shooter. Nothing of any substantive value took place. Greg Gutfeld, of Fox News, coined the phrase, “See Something, Say Something, Do Nothing.”
He has a point.
Regardless, denial of information to a law enforcement agency based on the premise that they will not act upon that information is just as asinine.
As CCW holders, we are often in a unique position to see things that, as a friend of mine in law enforcement says, “…make you get a pit in your stomach as you go to bed at 11 pm.”
Perhaps your “actionable intelligence” is nothing more than benign and eminently explainable, Constitutionally-protected activity. Perhaps it is something far more nefarious.
The activity in and of itself may be minimal; but, it might be part of a larger criminal enterprise, one that law enforcement has been monitoring for quite some time. It might also be the “tip” that leads to the unraveling of a conspiracy that could have put our troops, and even us at home, in danger.
I always tell you to train constantly, train consistently, and train with purpose. Your training is all encompassing and begins with situational awareness. When your training enhances a skill, and that skill uncovers something you would have otherwise let go unnoticed, you must act upon it.