Most people interested in the advantages of being prepared for any number of events focus on stockpiling gear of some kind. Gun enthusiasts collect firearms, magazines, ammunition, holsters, cleaning gear, protective equipment, and books written about firearms.… you get the idea. Your outdoor types like to focus on shelters, freeze-dried foods, climbing gear, hiking packs, and books written about you know what. While there is some great gear out there, nothing can compare to having the right mindset for the events that make up your day-to-day life.
The first portion of your mental faculties that should be spoken for is the one perpetuating your general situational awareness. As Col. Cooper put it in his color code scheme, the “yellow” is where you belong the majority of the time. This level of general awareness will give you the best reaction time over the longest period, preventing you from burning out quickly.
One way I apply this strategy is by playing the “What If game”. When I stop at a red light in busy traffic, I ask myself what I would do if someone walked up to my door with a knife demanding my wallet (let ‘em have it is my usual choice!). When I pull into a gas station at night, I ask myself what I would do if someone jumped in the other door with a gun while I’m pumping. This self-imposed question causes me to lock all the doors except the one I’m barricading with my body while constantly scanning the area. You’ll never find a solution if you don’t identify the problem.
The next slice of brain that should be engaged is the one that sanity checks your first solutions. Once you identify a problem, you find a solution. Once you come up with a solution, you should analyze it. “Is this solution legal?” While in our current state of affairs there honestly may not be a legal response that keeps everyone safe, you had better know what laws you may be breaking and why. “Is this a testosterone based solution, or a safety based solution?” The best response to a purse snatch attempt is probably not going to be a Louisville Slugger. Shoving your belly into the barrel of a robber’s gun and daring him to shoot is also ill-advised. One of the many responsibilities you accept when arming yourself is charging yourself with acting outside of emotion. It takes a very mature individual to have the power of life and death in their hands, have a legitimate reason to exercise that power, and to not lose focus on the fact that retribution is not your objective. The safety of you and your loved ones must remain the primary focus.
Now you have activated your situational awareness and created a mental safety to ensure to the best of your ability you are making technically and tactically sound decisions. If you’re looking for another item to add to your mental checklist, consider how you will accept reality. I have researched and experienced firsthand the shock that numbs the mind when a truly combative situation arises. Hopefully as a civilian you never have to experience this feeling, and if you do, not more than once. Unfortunately the only way to know one hundred percent how you will react in a life and death situation is to experience one. If you haven’t, I recommend thinking about it and what specific events or actions will trigger your response. All of the battles we may face should first be fought in our mind. If you aren’t sure where to begin, make not caring what other people think of you a starting point. If a possible life-threatening event is about to take place, the last thing on your mind should be trying to impress anybody. The cop setting down his gun to ‘talk down’ the psychopath is not an option. Looking like Snake Plissken is also not a concern. Real life is much more serious and un-choreographed than the scripted and practiced tough guys we see on television, and nothing ever goes exactly how you want it to go. As an individual who has accepted the responsibility of self-defense, identify where attempting to defuse a situation can blur into you losing the advantage. There may come a time where you will be required to use deadly force to stop evil, and the mindset you force yourself to grow and maintain is one of the most important tools you can carry.
As you go out into the real world today, strap that smoke-wagon on and remember to also put on the full Armor of God. Remember love is patient and kind, but also that our Father is not a weak god, and He doesn’t call you to lay down your life for naught. Pray for His wisdom and protection, and pray for those who are lost and hide themselves from His Light.