By: Paul Foreman Predators size up their prey before attacking. This is true for alligators, wolves, sharks, and it is also true for violently predatory humans. Be aware of your surroundings and who is watching your movements. It is much better to stay out of trouble in the first place than to shoot your way out of a life or death situation. You need to be totally aware of who and what is around you. This applies whether you are pulling into a parking lot, walking into a store, or eating lunch at your favorite burger joint. In cop circles, we have what we call the “Gun Fighter’s Chair.” This was made famous by the gambler and gun fighter, known as Wild Bill Hickok, who met his demise sitting at a poker table with his back to the door. The killer approached from behind and shot Wild Bill in the back of his head. The former Sheriff of Abilene, Texas turned gambler and vagrant, was buried in Deadwood South Dakota. His twin six shooters were sold to pay for the burial plot. In his earlier days, Wild Bill would have always sat so he could see who was approaching him. Now, I am not advising my readers to live like Wild Bill. But please do be aware of your surroundings. Walking with your nose in your smart phone could lead to more serious problems than walking into a light pole, or stepping into an open man hole. Just last week, a local bank was robbed. I use that bank all the time. Due to the “gun-free” sign on the window, I always store my firearm in my locked console before dismounting from my truck. I can honestly say that makes me feel naked! Feeling naked, I look around to see if anybody is looking at my 67 year old body. Seriously, I do look around. Is a shady character sitting in his car with the engine running? As I approach the door, is there anything unusual going on inside? The same procedure with “stop and robs.” I mean, convenience stores. Yes, I have actually backed out and left due to not so pleasant looking characters hanging around the outside of a store. Pay attention to your surroundings, and you will be able to avoid trouble. With proper situational awareness and conflict avoidance skills, you will be able to avoid situations which “less-aware” individuals might walk right into. WHEN IN DOUBT, GET OUT! Conflict avoidance means just that: avoiding conflict. If you feel that you might be in physical danger, you need to get out of there. If you feel like someone is following you, walk into the next open business ,or move to the opposite side of the street. If you are driving, make two or three right turns, and then check to see if you are still being followed. Drive to a well lighted area. Drive to a Police Station or Fire Department. If you are convinced that you are being followed, DO NOT DRIVE HOME! Call 911 and report what is going on, give them your location and direction of travel. If you can, give them a description of your vehicle and the vehicle following you. Do not get yourself into a high speed chase. If you see a police car, sound your horn and drive toward them! If you are walking, use the same tactics. If at night, use your flashlight to get the police’s attention. If needed, use it to blind the creep and run. You do carry a good flash light, don’t you? Today’s lights are a hundred times more powerful than just a few years ago, and the prices have come down dramatically. I just got one with 600 lumens from Amazon for less than $15. If you are a CCW license holder, your gun is not a replacement for good common sense. Your gun is not magical, and your permit to carry doesn’t make you a superhero. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t go anywhere with your gun that you would not go without it. I don’t carry a gun so I can go into bad places. I carry a gun because sometimes bad things happen to good people. In short, if you have plans to go somewhere, and you think you’re going to need a gun, cancel your plans. Watch out for who is watching you. By: Paul Foreman

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