I don’t know about anyone else, but I read good books and watch entertaining movies to lose myself in a storyline. To shed my worries and cares, to let my feet leave the planet of my reality and head off to explore the alternate realities presented on paper and in film is liberating.
I don’t read to pass time, I read to use time to experience vivid and exhilarating memories, emotions and actions of others. I don’t go to the movies to be an inactive participant in the film; I throw myself heart and soul into the action and hardly notice it isn’t real until the lights suddenly flicker on and I have to blink myself back to earth.
In short, I read and go to the theater to escape from the world, not to keep an eye on it.
For this reason, maintaining my situational awareness while reading or watching a movie isn’t something I can do. That is why I don’t lay in the park under a tree and read on my lunch break. It would be relaxing and enjoyable; it would rejuvenate me after the stress of a morning’s work. But it would also leave me easy pray to those who lurk and stalk, seeking to do harm.
To me, suspending my situational awareness to do things like read under a tree or walk with headphones in carries potential for too many negative and severe consequences to be worth it.
Going to a theater hasn’t (yet) reached that level of risk in my mind. Maybe that’s because my first two activities which result in a decreased level of situational awareness are solitary activities. There is no safety in numbers in being alone in the park or on a walk. But it turns out being in numbers doesn’t always result in safety.
In fact, all mass shootings occur in highly populated areas. This is a painfully obvious statement; it’s hard to have a mass shooting without masses. But it’s something I haven’t given too much thought to before. Most of my situational awareness habits come from a desire not to be sexually assaulted. Some of my situational awareness habits are a response to a threat from an solitary, known person. I need to develop a whole new set of situational awareness habits to increase my chances of surviving a bad situation going down in a public place, especially in public places which are designed to snuff out my situational awareness.
Shopping malls: Malls don’t just happen. They are carefully designed, crafted to give shoppers an “experience” which helps mall-goers to forget the outside world and spend more time and money inside. A mall’s purpose is to transform me to another reality in which I am happy and rich. With artificial light, trees, sounds and scents and limited access to the outside world in the form of minimal windows and no cell phone reception, it would be easy to drop my guard here. Someone paid a lot of money to get me to do that.
Movie theaters: As explained above, going to the movies is an escape from reality. Big movie producing companies spend a lot of money to hire good actors, makeup artists, wardrobe creators, music composers and stunt and special effects staff. I’m sure that the exact lighting, sound, seating positions, room temperature, etc. of the theater itself has been studied and optimized to help me forget my real surroundings and delve into those on the screen.
Concerts: Music has many positive qualities. It entertains, lifts moods, heals emotional hurts. It has the ability to dramatically change the lives of its listeners. With our hearts, minds and ears involved in its sounds and with it presented in the visually-camouflaging, visually-distracting background of a crowded venue… it would be easy to lose situational awareness or miss situational awareness triggers when listening to music at a concert.
I Googled “situational awareness in crowds” and “situational awareness in crowded places” and didn’t come up with much. Does anyone out there have any tips and tricks to staying alert in those busy places which lull us into a sense of false security? Are there body language signs or foot traffic patterns which are important to look for? Help me out!
My hubby lost his job. We are creatively making ends meet at the moment, but we can’t maintain our current lifestyle if he doesn’t find another job in the next month or so. If he doesn’t (and he is working his rear end off to make sure this doesn’t happen), our plan is to move to a small apartment in a bad neighborhood to help make up the income/expenses difference in our budget.
I am happy to have the guns we do have right now. They may come in handy because the area we can afford to move to should we have to move is high in crime and gang activity. Also, the lesser used ones may be sold to help pay bills/buy food. Guns are a good investment in good times that can be used in so many ways for the health and safety of the family in bad times.
If Nevada’s colleges and universities allowed concealed weapon permit holders to carry guns on campus it might have prevented two rapes and a murder, a sexual assault survivor told state lawmakers Friday.
During emotional testimony before the Senate Government Affairs Committee Amanda Collins, 25, testified for Senate Bill 231, which would eliminate a restriction that prevented her from carrying her legal concealed handgun the night she was raped in a University of Nevada, Reno parking garage.
The attacker, James Biela, went on to rape another woman, and was convicted of kidnapping and killing a campus visitor, Brianna Denison.
“On Oct. 22, 2007 my right to say ‘no’ was taken from me by both James Biela and the Nevada Legislature,” said Collins, recounting the night she was attacked. “If the purpose of the current law is to ensure safety to those on university property then it is not serving that objective.”
I have always been cautious about the location of my purse. I learned that lesson early on. I left my first purse in a bathroom stall at a restaurant as a small child and it had $40 in birthday money cleverly tucked inside a flap on my glasses case inside of it. I didn’t have a wallet, phone or anything else awesome in there; just kid stuff. But I’ll never forget leaving behind my purse and my $40. Ever since then, I’ve taken carrying a purse seriously. Knowing I’m a forgetful person and that I’ll set it down and leave it if I’m not careful, I’ve since selected purses that are harder to lose. Backpack purses, purses with straps long enough to be worn like messenger bags are worn; I’ve even skipped a purse and have carried a wallet instead as it stays in my pants where it belongs when I am shopping and can’t be set down to pick up something sparkly at a store. The concern I’ve had about my purse, weather guarding it from thieves or from my forgetful self has escalated recently though.
Ever since I trained for, applied for and received my concealed carry weapons permit, I’ve been even more mindful of my purse. This is because my concealed carry weapons permit is inside of it. If I lose my purse or if it is stolen from me, not only am I out money, as I was out $40 as a child, I am also out of my permit. A replacement concealed carry permit isn’t very much money, but the gun-naked downtime of not being able to carry a firearm concealed on my person as I await the arrival of my new permit is just too much to bear.
Additionally, my mind has been processing panic situations. What if my purse is stolen from me or lost and I am concealed carrying at the time? Do I take off my gun, knowing that concealed carry without my permit no es muy bueno? Or do I continue to conceal carry until I can get home and change? Being in Nevada, open carry is legal, but what if the outfit or holster I am wearing that day doesn’t work with open carry? Or what if I am in a situation where I don’t feel comfortable open carrying? How would I switch from concealed to open carry without causing those around me to be uncomfortable? Even changing in my car could get me “(wo)man with a gunned.”
GB and I talked about it and he suggested that I conceal carry straight home and if a cop pulls me over, I can explain to him my stolen purse as the reason why I not only don’t have my driver’s license but also my concealed carry license. That sounds a little scary to me. I decided I can switch from concealed carry to open carry in a nearby restroom or dressing room without causing a ruckus. From there, I can continue my outing or head on home depending on the open carry friendliness levels of my prospective destinations.
Concealed carrying causes lots of thoughts to run through my head… my outfits, my destinations, the people around me and now my purse. Carrying a gun has changed nearly every aspect of my life.
I checked my email this week and found an interesting message from Pepper over at Discreet Carry. It really hit home with me because this last week, a student at TMCC reported being assaulted at the same time I get out of class and in the same parking lot where I happened to park that night. Had it been me who was attacked, I too would have been unarmed as campus carry is not Kosher here. It was later realized that the attack could not have taken place as described and the attack claims were withdrawn, but the reminder to me to be safe is still applicable. And Pepper over at Discreet Carry has given me one more idea on how to be safe. She says that they have found that their cleavage holster fits many personal pepper sprays and even tasers.
For example, Pepper says “the $350.00 Taser C2 aimed at women (it comes in pink….) fits well in the large Cleavage holster. It is very light and 6 inches high and 1.5″ thick, and narrow enough to fit.” Cool! For those of us who can’t carry at work or school, using our same holster in our same place will help us to react quicker in an emergency where we don’t have our carry gun, but we do have a backup plan like a taser or a pepper spray. It sure beats digging through your purse or wondering where your keys are if the spray is on your ring. Pepper says, “the key to self defense is being able to access your weapon easily, which as we both know, means just barely reaching down and drawing something to disable the attacker in order to escape harm.”
I haven’t tried this because I don’t yet own pepper spray or a taser, but this sounds really promising. If you try it, write me and let me know how it works for you.
Dad drove down to visit me and he brought his girlfriend with him. This was the first time I’ve met her and I found her sweet, witty, all-around awesome. One highlight of their visit was the following situation. We went out to eat at a local restaurant. We sat where we could watch the comings and goings of our fellow food-lovers. One particularly scroungy guy approached the entrance carrying something bulky and wrapped up in his jacket in his arms. It was heavy from the looks of it. Dad wondered aloud if this guy was going to come in and shoot up the place. While I took mental stock of if I was carrying, what and where, Dad’s girlfriend made a comment which has really stuck with me. She said, “Well, if he is, let it be a surprise.” And she continued to eat her dinner without even looking out of the window for another glance at the incoming stranger. Dad agreed with her, saying “Yah, we wouldn’t want to disappoint him.”
As you can tell, we didn’t get shot and the strange patron was a harmless one. But it was interesting to see the varying levels of situational awareness and responsibility for personal safety at the table. Dad and I both watched the door throughout our meal and also observed the happenings inside of the restaurant. None of this interfered with our dinner enjoyment or the quality of conversation around the table. But she didn’t. Dad, aware, didn’t seem to have any inclination to act, however, should a bad situation arise, and I plan to step up if there’s an active shooter situation in the establishment where I and my family are eating.
All in all, though I do like his new girlfriend. And her surprise comment makes me smile each time I remember that dinner.
I received the below email in my student email box today. It is about an assault that occurred last night at my local community college. I attended classes last night, I was in the same parking lot as the victim was at the same time she was. This could have been me. Nevada needs campus carry. Our college police officers are not able to be everywhere preventing every incident, so we the potential victims need something to make up for that. We need to be able to carry on campus.
I want to annoy TMCC into realizing where I’m coming from on this. On campus there are these little blue phones you can use to call for an escort to your car when you’re on campus at night. But no one uses them. It takes a long time for your escort to arrive, the parking lot is generally lit and there tend to be students all around you in the parking lot, plus most nights everyone gets home safe, so the blue phones go unused. What if we could get everyone who wants to carry on campus, everyone who worries about their safety on campus to ring the blue phone after every class?
Ring and ring and ring.
Until it dawns on TMCC that they do not have the ability to be everywhere, that they can’t protect us better than we can protect ourselves, that campus carry is in there best interest or at least that it would calm down the ever-ringing phone.
Anyway, here’s the email:
“Timely Warning Notification, Oct. 20, 2010
This notice is for your awareness as you are a current student or employee at Truckee Meadows Community College:
On Tuesday Oct. 19, 2010, at approximately 8:50 p.m., police responded to a 911 call for assistance at the TMCC Dandini Campus. A female student reported that on the same date at approximately 6:45 p.m. she was walking in parking lot F when she was struck from behind and rendered unconscious by an unidentified person. When she regained consciousness she discovered the subject was gone, money was missing from her pocket and she may have been the victim of sexual assault. The TMCC Police Department continues to investigate this incident. If you have any information, please contact TMCC PD at 775-674-7900 or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.
All students are encouraged to review the college’s safety tips found online at http://staysafe.tmcc.edu
The Truckee Meadows Community College Police Department is responsible for issuing timely warnings in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092(f). Timely warnings will be issued in response to reported crimes.
Note: This is an official message from TMCC’s emergency e-mail communication system. Your privacy is important to TMCC. Your name and contact information is not viewable by other students, faculty or staff.”