In the world of threat management and protection there are three ways to handle a threat as it develops form a potential threat to an actual physical attack: threat avoidance, threat mitigation and threat defense.
For example if you can’t avoid a verbal argument with someone and they start to raise their voice, you could mitigate the threat by not shouting back at them. Shouting back only adds fuel to the fire. Your personal safety is better served trying to do everything you can to defuse the situation and lower the probability of the threat progressing to a physical attack. Failure to avoid or mitigate the threat and its progression would result in only one option – to defend against the physical threat.
Threat Avoidance results in the easiest and least amount of threat impact and is the most effective means of increasing your personal safety. Mitigation takes more time and effort than avoidance. Defense is the least desirable, as the price tag for a physical confrontation is considerably higher. The best of these three is avoidance so let’s focus our scope of study directly on this option. Personal Safety is your responsibility!
The very first step to threat avoidance is threat identification, whether natural, such as inclement weather or man-made, such as a home invasion or kidnapping. Any criminal or terrorist who has the motivation, capability and opportunity to mount attacks against you or your family can be considered a potential threat. If you cannot identify the potential threats, or choose to ignore them, your personal safety is more at risk than someone who chooses to assess the world as it is, vice how we might like it to be!
Looking at it from the predator’s perspective—you and anyone or anything of value or importance to you, can be considered targets. Being able to change your perspective allows you to identify and effectively manage real-world threats. Thus, one method of identifying any potential threat is to attempt to look at the world from the predator’s perspective.
For example, look at your home from the predator’s perspective. Does it offer them any opportunity to satisfy their motivations and employ their capabilities? Do you have unlocked doors, open windows or tools you may have left in the yard such as ladders or screwdrivers, which they may use to ply their craft? The very first step to avoiding the threat of a home invasion is to not make it easy for a predator to select your home as a target.
Criminals and terrorists do not possess superhuman capabilities. They know what they need to do, and in what order to be successful. They know they have to get everything correct to be successful. More importantly, they know you only have to prevent them from completing one step in their process in order for them to fail. Your personal safety is far more dependent on your actions than on that of a predator. What I mean is your personal safety is directly under your personal control!
The fact is criminals all have a menu of choices from which they must choose. Fortunately for us, that menu is limited. You could not bomb the World Trade Center without explosive materials and you cannot take money from a victim who fails to show up for your robbery. The benefit of choosing to enhance your personal safety via threat avoidance is it allows you to make realistic risk-based assessments. The more effective your assessments, the better your ability to manage a threat. If you can accurately assess and act on that assessment – prior to a threat progressing to an actual attack – then you hold all the cards. This principle helps to set your threat management priorities and stay one step ahead of most predators. Personal safety is once again under your control.
One of the most often overlooked, yet easiest to understand, preventative concept is to altogether avoid a potential threat—don’t be there in the first place—do not purposefully place yourself in harm’s way! As easy as it may sound, you would be surprised at how many people will not follow this simple admonition of the professionals. They generally blow it off and say such things as “Well, I’m going anyway,” or “Nothing’s going to happen.”
A potential threat, say confronting an intoxicated aggressive young male, may not manifest into an actual threat. Of course there exists a higher probability that it will, if you are in a bar district at 2 a.m., and much less likely if you are asleep in your bed at home. So simply leaving the bar scene early or not going reduces this threat significantly. If you choose to put yourself into a potentially threatening situation, you are by default hanging your personal safety on your ability to mitigate rather then avoid a likely threat.
There are many different levels of threat out there. Levels range from what you may consider unprofessional or inappropriate behavior to an actual physically assault. The greater the risk, the greater the amount of effort it will take to mitigate or defend against it. It will always be more effective and easier to maintain your personal safety if you simply avoid the threat in the first place.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to completely avoid all threats, but the possibility of doing so should not be overlooked. For example, at the height of a blizzard you may not want to go out for a Sunday drive. If you are planning on traveling to a foreign country, you should be aware of the risks. For instance, if that country is in the middle of extreme civil unrest or sweeping anti-American sentiment, then you may not want to get on an airplane bound wearing an “America love it or leave it” t-shirt.
One key to your personal safety is simply to stay ahead of the potential threats and avoid them. You can accomplish this is by simply taking a minute to identify the likely threat you may experience. What gives you the edge in identifying a potential threat is by assessing your intended activities prior to executing them. If you expect to see threatening behavior and have cued yourself to look for it, and more effectively avoid it. Simply thinking through where are you going and what are you going to do before you actually go somewhere (from the predator’s perspective – not your own) can help you avoid becoming a victim. You, not the predator, control your personal safety!
Learn more in our Personal Security Lecture Series!
#personalsafety, #Prefense, #threatavoidance