Earlier this week, I mentioned that you need to take yourself from Condition Yellow to Condition Orange. I had an incident occur this morning where that condition kept a workplace violence threat from expanding into actual violence. I want to share the story, not for accolades, I get paid to do this, but to point out how you need to raise your awareness.
I’m a security consultant, specializing in fraud investigations and personal protection for executives and media figures. Today, one of my clients needed some on-site security reviews done at several retail locations. OK, I’ll take the easy money, too, it spends just as well as the hard job money.
I did all of my morning situational awareness tasks. I checked the Book of Face pages of the local protest groups and main agitators, and saw no threats. I checked out the daily “Early Warning” update from Forward Observer (www.forwardobserver.com) and the only thing for Detroit wasn’t until the evening. Cool.
As I checked my schedule, I noticed that I was headed to a suburb that is well known for it’s violence and it’s racial tensions with literally everyone. I also knew that I had never been to this store before. There was a note that the local District Manager may need my help with “an issue” there. All of these factors put me at Condition ORANGE, rather than my normal Condition Yellow.
As I arrived, I noticed two local police cars tucked in behind the building next door. Another indicator of trouble.
As soon as I stepped in, I looked for doors. In addition to the door behind me, there was an emergency exit at the rear of the building and a door to an office section. I needed to go to the counter to introduce myself and show an authorization letter, but because of the Condition Orange status, rather than walking directly to the counter and standing right next to the one door I didn’t know what was behind, I stepped over against the wall, facing the unknown door, and had the two other doors in my peripheral vision.
Note that this analysis happened automatically after a long career and took less than 3 seconds.
As I handed the manager my letter and began to explain why I was there, the office door burst open and a male yelled “Imma blow you the fuck out, bitch”. Now, if you live anywhere but Detroit, that might mean make fun of you. In Detroit, it’s a threat to shoot you. The District Manager saw me as she was talking to 911 and she shouted to me that in the office he had threatened to blow her brains out.
He attempted to go behind the counter, and since I didn’t know what he had there and I didn’t want him between me and the two women employees, I prevented him from doing that and put myself between him and the women. I “escorted” (draw whatever conclusions you wish) him to the local officers rushing in from where they had been waiting for him to leave.
Did he have a gun? No. But could he have? Yes. Could this incident have gone much, much worse if I had merely been in Condition Yellow, or God forbid, WHITE? Absolutely. I would have been within arms reach if I had gone to the counter like most people.
It made me think…what if the nice elderly couple who came in just after the incident had been there when he busted out of the office, threatening to shoot people?
We need to be in Condition ORANGE from here on out. Orange enabled me to go immediately to RED without any delay or hesitation. If I’d been in White, I would have gone immediately to Black. Was I surprised? Yes, but, my awareness to potential danger allowed me to skip the freeze response and immediately present myself to this guy as a prepared and skilled male, of not insignificant size, ready to fight if that’s what he choose. That alone is most likely what prevented this situation from getting any worse.
This Condition Orange doesn’t just cover physical violence. No one in Puerto Rico yesterday expected the power to suddenly go out when the power plant suffered an “unexpected explosion and fire” (are there expected ones?), yet it happened. No one ever expects to be in an active shooter situation, but if you are and you don’t have a first aid kit nearby, you’re in trouble.
In his outstanding book, Mongol Moon, Mark Sibley has a character who is an old Marine (probably based on me) who is very much into preparedness. However, when the power goes out from an EMP blast, the guy is in his upstairs office, which has no flashlight. Well, a tragedy occurs and all his preparations are for nothing (read the book to find out) because he wasn’t ready AT THAT MOMENT.
We in the preparedness community are always preparing for something, but are you PREPARED? You should be prepared for ANYTHING that could happen today. Regardless of your reason for preparing, you should be ready to respond TODAY, RIGHT NOW.
We seem to believe that there will always be some lead time, some advance warning. The very nature of emergencies dictates that there most likely won’t be.
That’s where the idea for the Tactical Wisdom Series came from. A series of topic-specific book that bring you to state of readiness to react RIGHT NOW. The current volume, Base Line Training Manual is designed to get you to a base-line for any situation.
The second volume, Fieldcraft, will enable you to be able to move in an environment with armed bad people nearby and no law enforcement to help you, as well as how to move and live in the field if you had to. No matter how you envision things, you WILL want to avoid being shot. One guy said “I don’t want to play soldier-boy, I just want to be prepared”. Well, you don’t get to pick the situation, so you had BETTER be ready to play soldier-boy, if that turns out to be the game. You can’t play checkers while the other person plays Monopoly.
As a side note: No matter what causes the WROL situation, it ALWAYS ends in “playing soldier-boy”. Not wanting or not being able to fight back when the fight comes to you ends in you being either a slave or dead. After Katrina, there were open gun battles all over the place. The looters and rioters don’t care what you want to do.
Anyway, I hope this tale from today helps spark your thinking and moves you to ORANGE.
As always, if you’d like to support our work & help produce the Tactical Wisdom Series, please consider a donation.
Donation – June 2021
Donation to produce the Tactical Wisdom Series.