The holiday season is here!
The taste of eggnog, ugly sweaters, time with family and of course shopping. People, elbow to elbow, in malls and shopping centers fighting over toys all in the name of the holidays. Who can forget the images of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad battling it out for a turbo man in the movie "Jingle all the way"?
The holiday season is generally filled with goodwill and great family time. Unfortunately, there is also the familiar news reports of someone being robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of a shopping mall. People concentrate their efforts on getting the best deal, and personal situational awareness goes out the window. It is the season of concentrating on trying to get the last turbo man for little Johnny and not on the person hiding around the corner waiting to steal your stuff and possibly harm you in the process.
Cooper's Color Code made simple!
One way to practice awareness and stay safe during the holiday madness is to use Cooper's color code. Cooper's color code is a system we should all know and practice in our everyday lives. It is a way to represent the levels of awareness we should be at daily. The following is a brief explanation of the color code:
- White: This is when we are in our homes with the doors locked and oblivious to most things outside our doors. This is okay in this setting as it should be. However, once we walk out our door we should be in the next level of awareness.
- Yellow: In condition yellow, you remain relaxed, but are aware of who and what is around you. This means you are paying attention to the sights and sounds that surround you while moving in society.
- Orange: In condition orange, you have identified something that may or may not be a threat. Until you determine the true nature of whatever has triggered your interest, you narrow your concentration on the possible threat and will remain focused until you have determined no threat exists.
- Red: If the focus of your attention in condition orange does something you find threatening, you will shift to condition red. Condition Red changes the focus of your attention from a potential threat to a potential target.
Get off of your phone and pay attention!
Here are a few other tricks to be more attentive to our surroundings during this time of year? I like to make it a game of sorts. Making it a game can keep you from becoming paranoid. A few things we do while in public that forces you to be aware of our surroundings are:
- Look to see who is wearing a particular color of a shirt. This act will get you looking at the people around you.
- See who is wearing a watch. Looking at people's hands and identify if they are hiding something or holding a potential weapon. Remember hands kill!
- Look at gentlemen's facial hair. This forces you to look at people's faces and most times identify their moods.
- You should always look for exit signs. Looking for exit signs allow you to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
- STOP LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE!
Each of these practices serves a purpose of getting us to look at those around us and being aware of any potential threats. When in public and in a crowded place we don’t have the advantage or luxury of knowing what is out of the ordinary short of social norms.
Did we mention getting off of your phone?
As a reminder, always park as close to the door as possible, particularly during this time of the year. We concentrate more on the likelihood that we may freeze to death before we make it to our car rather than if anyone is following us. Also, park in a well-lit area. Preferably under a parking lot lamp. Always try to shop in pairs. If you are shopping for family and don't want them to know what you are getting them, ask a friend to join you for the evening. If you are alone, you can ask for security personnel to escort you out to your car. And last but not least, get your head out of your phone. Insta-google-tweet-face and the text from your spouse can wait.
The Holiday season is fun. Trying to find the perfect sale and deal can also be fun. However, let's not forget that there are people ready to prey on those that are not paying attention. Do not be a target of opportunity, always carry your weapon of choice, wherever legal, and keep your head on a swivel.
Mario R. Morris
Core Protective Solutions
Mario "Boo" Morris is a U.S. Navy Veteran, Deputy Sheriff and the owner of Core Pro Solutions. CPS specializes in personal and corporate security. CPS also provides firearms training with a major focus on the incorporation of defense tactics. In addition to all of these duties, he is also the TLS Lifestyle Director with a job of bringing Train Lift Shoot to life beyond social media!