Become a Hard Target
Dr. John Woods 07.25.16
Few of us overtly invite the opportunity for confrontation of any kind, much less an armed exchange. Having said that though, in this day and age we are all increasingly open to being subjected to such actions as active shooter events and even terrorist attacks. What will our response be if we are caught up in one of these scenarios, and will we be equipped to handle it or react to defend ourselves?
Back seat quarterbacking is a popular pastime once an active shooter event ends and the pundits begin to dissect every aspect of the episode. This is not a bad thing though, as it gives all of us insights into potential analysis of optional responses, defenses, and preparation ideas for the future.
I think though that we all think while sitting around the relative safe calm of the campfire that we would have done this or that to have stopped the armed terrorist intruders in California. Unfortunately, most of us would just likely be sitting ducks like those folks at that Christmas party were. Apparently nobody in that room was carrying concealed or was prepared to respond with an active attack on the perpetrators. They all just sat there and were shot dead.
That was way too easy to say, but what would you have done? Would you have at least tried to flee, throw a chair, rush the shooters, or dive out a window? We all need to be harder targets than the majority of us are.
Becoming a hard target means several things. First it means to get our heads out of our laps and start looking around. When you drive into the gas station to fill up the SUV, do you just happily jump out of the car, flash your credit card to the gas pump and then start playing with your handheld brain draining device? I have seen it and you have seen it.
Do you even pause for moment when driving in to the gas station or a parking lot at the grocery store to scan the area for who is around and maybe should not be? Are we our own worst victims by simply not paying any attention to what is going on around us? Many of us are.
We can harden ourselves as a target by teaching ourselves to be highly observant of everything going on around us. I have even trained myself to take note of the county listed on car tags driving around my street when I am walking the dog. I mean, what would a vehicle from several counties over be doing driving in my rather secluded neighborhood?
Sure, they could have relatives living there they were visiting, or they could be riding around spying into open garages for what could be easily stolen. It happens every day where I live and where you live. I had a friend of mine get his trailered ATV stolen right out of the driveway of his home in broad daylight and he was home at the time. Why was it not chained and locked up? If you are home, why is your garage door open?
When you drive up to an ATM or walk up to one, do you look around? Are you observing what is going on around you while you take your cash? What would you do if approached? Once at the gas station, I turned around at the pump and literally bumped into a disheveled man that had silently walked up behind me. I immediately shoved him away and began cursing at him. He ran off. What if he had had a knife or a gun? I could have been wounded or dead. That incident was a real wake up call for me.
All of us, common citizens, preppers, survivalists, Americans need to start being the eyes and ears of everything going on around us. If we need training in how to respond to an active shooter event, then get the training. Many organizations offer it now. We have had this training at the college where I used to work because schools seem to be a favored target. We need to know what to do.
Do not feel silly or ashamed to notify law enforcement or other authorities of things that just do not look right. That guy hanging around in the parking lot might need to be questioned. If you see a crime, theft, vandalism, or other act, then report it. 9-11 is easy to dial. That is what police are for.
My “neighborhood watch” neighbor called my wife a couple weeks ago at work to tell her some man was walking around our yard. I am very happy she is watching my place when we are not home. Turns out the guy was an insurance agent inspecting the residence for insurance coverage. The insurance agent had notified us somebody would be doing this, but it was reassuring that she called just in case. We all need to be doing this.
Hard targets are not only buildings strengthened to withstand an attack or a once-in-a-century storm. Hard targets are me and you paying attention to what is going on around us and reporting anything unusual. It can also be obtaining your concealed carry permit and taking the training to shoot your chosen weapon with confidence. It is taking an active shooter response course and knowing what to do so we are not the victims. Being a hard target is just being smart.