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The Importance of Situational Awareness | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

The Importance of Situational Awareness

In the aftermath of the coordinated rush of terrorist attacks in Paris, France, the world held its collective breaths. It was clear there was – is – a common thought among the world’s citizens: “Are we next?” And while various world leaders attempted different methods for reassuring their people, here in America the same old drums were being beat. No need to panic, our government claimed, reciting the same empty lines they’ve been uttering for years now with the repetitiveness of a broken record. When it was discovered that the terrorists in Paris had gained entry by posing as refugees, Obama took to the stage to berate anyone who dare speak out against the United States taking in those refugees.

“As we accept more refugees, including Syrians, we do so only after subjecting them to rigorous screening and security checks.  We also have to remember that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves.  That’s what they’re fleeing.  Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values.” (Obama’s G20 Speech in Antalya, Turkey, November 16, 2015)

Concerns have been voiced regarding the known fact that terrorists are entering various countries under the guise of refugees, and the majority of those concerns have come from conservatives. On the liberal side of the aisle, a refusal to invite foreign refugees inside our borders is seen as a betrayal of humanity- a crime against all that is good and just. On the conservative side it’s seen as protecting our own, trying to keep Americans safe and get our own house in order before adding known deadly wild cards to the mix. When confronted with the reality of terrorists among the refugees, our nation’s President became passionate for the first time in his lengthy G20 speech.

“Some of them seem to think that if I were just more bellicose in expressing what we’re doing, that that would make a difference, because that seems to be the only thing that they’re doing is talking as if they’re tough.  Folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan.  What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually gonna work to protect the American people and to protect people in the region.” (Obama’s G20 Speech in Antalya, Turkey, November 16, 2015)

Obama TurkeyAccording to the quote above from his speech in Turkey, Obama has no interest in “American leadership”- a fact which does not surprise his many critics. In many ways it seems our POTUS has actively worked against this country, laboring to tear it down rather than keep it stable, let alone build it up. Take the economy, for instance. Among other destructive acts Obama nominated Timothy Geithner as the 75th United States Secretary of Treasury. Geithner was well-known as a tax cheater with offenses ranging from failure to pay more than $34,000 of medicare and social security taxes to the illegal claim that the cost of his kid’s summer camp was a daycare expense. And yes, Geithner did serve as Secretary of Treasury, from 2009 to 2013. Obama also signed a particular stimulus bill that used tax dollars to grant AIG executives $165 million of bonuses, and when he was caught, he claimed to be outraged at the obscene spending practices. In addition, Obama managed to increase America’s national debt more in just three years than former President George W. Bush did in eight years in office. No, Obama isn’t interested in leadership – or survival.

“And I would add, these are the same folks who suggested they’re so tough that just ‘talk to Putin’ or staring down Isil [will work] … but they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion. At first they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.” (Obama’s response to concerns about terrorists entering the United States alongside refugees)

Anyone who has watched footage of “refugees” setting foot into host countries is quite familiar with the high number of young, able-bodied men apparently fleeing a hostile homeland. Not only are these men able-bodied, they seem to have a tendency towards being truly muscle-bound. Where are the aforementioned three-year-olds? As for the widows, at last count there had been not one but three Muslim women carrying out acts of terrorism in Paris as law enforcement closes in on various threats. Of one of them, a woman who was just 26 years old, and a born-and-bred Parisian. This was said of her long-term goals: “She has wanted to wage jihad for years. She never went to Syria or Iraq…but she offered her services to conduct terror attacks in Paris.” Women may be considered the fair sex, but they are by no means weak, and a widow from a war-torn region may well have the biggest axe to grind of all.

For years the mainstream media has operated side-by-side with our nation’s government pushing a careful balance of fear-mongering and inaction. Yes, they say, you should be afraid – but don’t feel the need to take it upon yourself when it comes to protection and survival. Trust the government, they advise, because they will take care of you, do your thinking for you, and tell you exactly what to do should the need arise. Apparently that need has been here for some time now because the government has worked steadily for some time now to control the thoughts and actions of the American people. After all, advanced conditioning is needed if you expect to manipulate a massive populace when the time comes.

So it was with some surprise I watched a CNN news anchor address the need for situational awareness approximately ten days after the Paris attacks. CNN is about as mainstream as media comes and has preached gun control and government dependence for years, and here they are, waving the “situational awareness” flag. It seems the attacks in Paris may have begun to drive something home at long last: we are not safe within our borders – no one is safe – and we cannot rely on the government or local law enforcement to protect us from evil. Smokey the Bear likes to say that only you can prevent forest fires, and it’s true in more ways than one: only you can protect yourself.

Holstered GunSituational awareness is a mindset taught by many firearms academies due in part to its applications for retaining your firearm in a self-defense situation but largely because it does help to notice what is happening around you (yes, that was a bit of an understatement). This is not the same as the now-nationwide “If you see something, say something” campaign. That particular campaign appears helpful on its surface and indeed it is wise to report, say, a suspicious package to the authorities. But it has far darker implications, wielding the power to encourage Americans to spy on one another with disturbing efficiency. Not to say it doesn’t have its uses, but the government has a well-established tendency for corruption, and “If you see something, say something” began sliding down that slippery slope some time ago.

The military deeply ingrains situational awareness into service members for obvious reasons, but its uses reach far beyond foreign battlefields. It’s simple really – you just have to learn to pay attention to what’s happening around you. The trick is staying in that mindset at all times so your subconscious can alert your conscious mind of potential threats throughout the day. Some see this as paranoia, but it is not. Paranoia is summarily described by the DSM-V as being the purview of “individuals who have a pervasive, persistent, and enduring mistrust of others, and a profoundly cynical view of others and the world” without any proof or evidence to base those attitudes on. To the paranoid mind a statement as benign as “drive safe” could be seen as a threat – or warning – of impending doom on said drive. Situational awareness is not a paranoid interpretation of events, it’s a realistic analysis of what is going on around you. After all, in order to be aware of your environment you must first acknowledge what is considered normal, otherwise you won’t be able to accurately identify potential problems. A paranoid mind has no understanding of normalcy, let alone logic.

There is one aspect of situational awareness that seems to be plaguing a vast number of Americans today, and that’s normalcy bias. Normalcy bias, which is sometimes also referred to as normality bias, is the state of denial many people enter when faced with a threat of some kind. The threat may be real and blatantly obvious, but the person’s desire for normalcy is so great it overrides their ability to respond to what is unfolding right before their eyes. The average person does not want to see disaster, does not want to be attacked, and does not want to potentially give their life to save others in the case of a hostage situation or group assault. People become so deeply entrenched in their desire to be safe that they simply cannot process danger when it takes place. While a desire for safety is understandable, it is not good. That desire can be fatal.

Perhaps Americans are becoming more cognizant of the pressing need for situational awareness. There has certainly been an increase in active shooters and terrorist attacks both here in the United States and in other countries, and if those events alone cannot convince Americans they need to be able to protect themselves, nothing will. In addition, if those events cannot convince Americans of the need for good guys with guns to combat bad guys with guns, nothing will. It also seems attacks like what recently took place in Paris should make it clear that law enforcement is incapable of standing between a citizen and danger; law enforcement is there for the cleanup of the aftermath, not the prevention of the event itself.

As 2015 draws to a close, consider working on your own situational awareness. There are classes available across the country including a group of new additions to the famous Gunsite Academy’s existing curriculum. Of course, classes will only get you so far. Being aware of your surroundings takes practice, and time. It’s something you need to practice on a daily basis. In much the same way doctors and lawyers refer to the practice of medicine and law, you must practice situational awareness. You must train, and not only train, but train like you may one day be forced to fight. Your life, or the lives of those you love, could one day depend on whether or not you trained appropriately. What are you waiting for? ISIS doesn’t send out engraved invitations, they simply appear in your midst laden with suicide vests and illegally-gotten firearms. So get to it. Starting now.

The threat is real. What are you going to do about it?

Coming soon: Articles on situational awareness and CQB training, among other timely topics. We are not a nation insulated from war, we are a nation already at war on terror. The enemy is at the gates, and he has a key.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Katherine Ainsworth

Katherine is a military and political journalist with a reputation for hard-hitting, no-holds-barred articles. Her career as a writer has immersed her in the military lifestyle and given her unique insights into the various branches of service. She is a firearms aficionado and has years of experience as a K9 SAR handler, and has volunteered with multiple support-our-troops charities for more than a decade. Katherine is passionate about military issues and feels supporting service members should be the top priority for all Americans. Her areas of expertise include the military, politics, history, firearms and canine issues.
Katherine Ainsworth

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