Don’t Look Like Food… And you won’t get eaten.
How does a bad guy spot a potential target? Is he going for the person with their keys in their hand, with their head up, looking round? Is he looking for the person not walking too close to corners or too close to parked cars? Or is he looking for the person who parked in a dark corner. Who is walking through the parking lot digging through a purse or busy texting someone? Which one of these people look more like food to you?
Have you ever noticed how many creatures in nature have coloration on the backs of their heads, or their flanks or rumps, that look like eyes? Why did these markings evolve? Why did they survive when so many other traits surely went the way of the dinosaur? The answer is pretty simple. Most predators are reluctant to attack an animal that they think is looking at them. Predators do not want to attack a prey that is aware and ready for them, for obvious reasons. In nature, a predator that wants to survive cannot afford to be injured taking down its prey. Therefore, it is going to attack the weakest and least prepared. It is going to attack the prey that is walking along texting, instead of watching his surroundings.
There is a term that is heard a lot in police & military training and it is a term that everyone should know: Situational Awareness. knowing what is going on around you all the time. The next time you stop at a stop light, do an experiment: Look around casually and see how many of your neighbors are looking around as well. I bet you a beer that most of them are talking on a phone, texting, devouring lunch or simply staring a hole through their windshields. How many of them would see someone approaching their car, or robbing a bank beside them or be aware of the guy approaching from behind, at a high rate of speed who is also obvious to his surroundings to the point that he is about to climb up that poor guy’s tailpipe?
Back to our bad guy. What kind of victim is this guy looking for? He is looking for someone who is not paying attention. He is looking for someone who parked in a dark location, who does not have his keys out, who is distracted. He wants someone he can grab before they know he is there. Folks, it is so easy to not be that person.
It is a mindset and it should be a way of life. Don’t look like food. Make common sense decisions. Park in well-lit places. Don’t walk too closely to corners of buildings or to rows of parked cars. You best defense against a nasty surprise is time. Being aware gives you time to react. Not walking too close to a corner lets you see someone standing there before he can jump. Walking through a parking lot with your chin up , looking around and watching things is going to make you a bad prospect for a bad guy. It is also going to going to make you a good witness if you observe a crime. Don’t look like food.
Situational awareness should be an integral part of your life. It allows you to see that skate on the step, or that frayed wire, or the ice on the sidewalk or that truck rolling down the hill. Time is life. The quicker you spot a problem, the more time you have to react.You may save your life, or the life of a family member. You might save a complete stranger. Situational awareness means being aware of what is going on around you all the time. This is a good habit to live by.
All other considerations aside, I am a people-watcher. I always have been. If you watch your surroundings throughout the day, you see some great stuff. Your daily journeys are part of your life. Don’t cruise through them on autopilot. Live every second of your life and watch the world around you. That awareness will enrich your life and it may even save it. If you are curious about this subject, do a search for ‘situational awareness’. A lot of the results may not seem to apply to you, but you will find food for thought in everything you read. Fair journeys. Eric Powell