In the Pre-Attack phase, I briefly mentioned that there are ways to lessen your chances of being selected as a target. This is called being a hard target. Being a hard target is acting in a way that shows the would-be-attacker that there are easier targets out there. In other words, this creates doubt. Some of the particular actions are maintaining situational awareness, reducing pattern setting, being physically fit; just to name a few (there will be posts about each of these).
Some of these you can put into practice right now, such as, understanding the levels of awareness and knowing when and how to change levels. For example, when I come out of my apartment, I make a conscious effort to look around and observe my surroundings. It is important to mention that this does not mean to be paranoid. I should mentally, be in the current moment.
Here’s an interesting story. Every day a public figure would walk to her vehicle and do a quick walk around. Because of her status, she was selected as a target. The attackers were observing her daily habits to create a plan. During the observation phase, the attackers noticed that she checked her vehicle for bombs every morning. The attackers decided to move to a softer target, another target was selected and killed. The assailants were captured and interrogated. During interrogation, the attackers explained that the person they killed was not the original target, but they decided to find a different one since the original target had good security practices. The interesting part is that the original target wasn’t looking for bombs, she was checking to make sure her hub caps weren’t stolen. The point is that the perception of security is in itself, some security.
Let’s look at a quick example. I walk out of my apartment and see a strange man in my parking lot. When I encounter someone I have never seen in my parking lot, I make a point to acknowledge them. I do this by either making eye contact and smiling or by using a simple greeting. This accomplishes two things right away:
- It shows him that you are aware and in the present moment (hard target), not off day dreaming about something else (soft target). There is probably an easier target out there.
- If something were to happen, such as a break in, home invasion, neighbor gets raped and/or murdered, etc., it lets the individual know that at least one person can identify him.
I’d like to make a point about eye contact. If done incorrectly, it can be counter-productive. If I were to make eye contact and look up, this is the same as making the statement that I’m better than you, which can incite an attack. If I make eye contact and look down, it is submissive. This labels me as an easier target for sexual predation. Eye contact should always be broken to the side. This is neutral.
Our body language gives off huge clues about us. Acting timid or having low confidence paints you as an easy target for asocial violence. Likewise, acting boastful or arrogant paint you as an easy target for social violence. In my opinion, the best thing you can do is move gracefully. This shows you are confident and comfortable, not cocky or weak. Athletes and martial artists move with grace, typically. The point is to put doubt into the would-be-attacker’s mind during Phase 1, so that he moves to an easier target. Even if he doesn’t move to an easier target, you are at least aware of the threat and won’t be caught off guard.
In the future, we will discuss body language, levels of awareness, reduced pattern setting and other topics that will aid in increasing your safety.