A Reader Writes: Every Day Tactical (Situational) Awareness

By Mike McMaken

My wife and I are ex-cops. She and I have both worked for the Federal Protective Service stationed in Kansas City and I have worked for several upscale suburbs north of Kansas City, MO. We’re retired now, but we still watch for bad guys, everywhere we go.

Before we go into a convenience store or gas station, we take a quick look to observe the body language of the people already in there. If anyone is crouching and hiding we back off and call 911. After that, we get the cell phones on camera mode and get ready to photograph anyone coming out, and any vehicles leaving. This can help the police a great deal as any one of these cars might be a suspect or a get away car. Be careful don’t let anyone know you’re filming. Sometimes there are people in these stores acting strangely, maybe high, or drunk or with mental issues. If you see them, wait a while or keep going. No one wants their day ruined with an interaction like that. If you must enter the building, have your phone in your pocket all set to hit 911 and be prepared with the names and address of your location. Store windows that are covered with so many ads you can hardly see in there, we find worrisome. They call for extra caution.

When we go to the movies, we keep a close eye on the exits. In Aurora, CO recently, a man gained entry to a theater via an exit door that had been propped open and started shooting, killing several and wounding even more. It was another “Gun Free Zone” i.e. low-hanging fruit for a bad guy. I contend that if anyone had opposed him with a single shot he would have dropped his gun and fled. If anything happens, I draw and cover the 180 degrees in front of us, my wife draws and covers the 180 behind us for additional threats.

Rolling up to an ATM, we always look for people standing around or sitting in a nearby car. We will wait for a bit, to see how they react to us watching them. When doing this, we must be ready to engage them quickly. If in doubt, and if you’re not armed, give the place a miss and come back later. Always go somewhere well lit and know your number by heart. Don’t use machines that are remote or hidden such as being located behind buildings, behind pillars, under tress, behind walls, or away from public view. If you use bank drive-thru ATM machine the same rules apply. Make sure there are no obvious hiding places or suspicious persons loitering in the area. If there are, listen to your gut instinct and drive away. Keep your doors locked and the car in gear, with your foot firmly on the brake, while using the ATM machine. Keep a close eye on your rear and side-view mirrors during the transaction. In every case, put your money somewhere safe immediately.

When we go to a restaurant, whether its fast food or a nice place, we sit where at least one of us can face the door to see who comes in. We glance at everyone to ascertain their demeanor. There are fewer places to rob in these lockdown days so everything that is open is a target as are the people sitting in or around it. We check to see if someone is armed and trying to rob the place and patrons or even if they might want to kill everyone in there. It’s a split second thing, but our lizard brain tells us when things are just “wrong” and you should trust it. Mass murders can happen in restaurants.

If I’m with someone other than my wife, I ask the person(s) I’m with if they are packing heat. I never assume they are. Recently, I was with a guy who always packs, however, on that day, he wasn’t, because he knew I always did. Never assume, always ask.

Before you go home, keep an eye out to the traffic behind you. See if anyone is following you. If you suspect they are, make a series of turns. All rights or all lefts. If they stay with you, do not go home. You don’t want them finding out where you live. Drive to the nearest police station and start honking your horn outside. Of course, you should get the tag and vehicle the and color as they will high tail it when they see where you’re headed. A photo is good if you have a passenger who can take it.

If you have an expertise you’d like to share I am turning to you! You homemakers, gardeners, hobbyists, hunters, survivalists, car enthusiasts, parents, fisherfolk, experts, military experts, marksmen, inventors, bakers, heritage skill experts — all of you with cool things you’re willing to share, please email me at [email protected] . Remember NO POLITICS. This is my desperate attempt to get us back to our self-reliant roots and swamp the site with preparedness and quality of life improvements. Please know that I am the only person involved at SRC and I can’t pay but I would truly love to share your passions. (Please send only your original material. Copyright and intellectual property lawyers trawl these sites to sue people who use other people’s work.)