The world is a dangerous place. Violence is a part of every society. We are inundated with news of workplace, school and public shootings… home invasions, kidnappings, car-jackings and robberies … beheadings and bombings by terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda. These are daily reminders that we cannot take our personal safety for granted.
I’m Dr. Jeffrey Cantor. As a kidnap-and-ransom response consultant, an active-shooter and terrorism-preparedness expert and a high-risk environment tactical instructor, with decades of real-world experience, I provide education, training and other critical skills to both military and law enforcement to help adapt to and overcome the increasingly difficult security challenges we face today.
Lessons we have learned on the battlefront must now be applied to your personal security. And although the world can be dangerous, that does not mean that you must live in fear, waiting to be a potential victim. There are things you can do to recognize and avoid danger – and if you cannot avoid it, then mitigate its potential effects.
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In my new weekly column for Money and Markets, I will address a variety of important security matters to give you the tools to help you take a more proactive stance and anticipate, avoid and respond to dangerous and threatening situations.
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|Being prepared with the right mindset is paramount to your safety.|
The Security Mindset
In a dangerous situation where every second counts, recognizing the threat before the confrontation occurs can keep you and your family safe.
You can only react to a threatening situation if you are aware of it in the first place. The ability to identify potential dangers is a frame of mind more than a skill set — all it takes is a little discipline and a desire to develop a tactical advantage when it comes to protecting you and your loved ones from criminal behavior.
This higher level of awareness is known as the security mindset and it has three key elements:
- recognizing that threats exist
- accepting responsibility for your personal safety
- listening to the little voice inside of you
In upcoming columns, I’ll discuss specific ways to put these elements to good use. For now, here’s an overview.
Denial Increases Your Risk
The first and foremost element in establishing a security mindset is to recognize that threats do exist.
Crime or even terrorist attacks can happen to anyone, anytime, in any place.
People who are in denial regarding this unpleasant reality have a far greater risk of succumbing to an incoming threat: Many if not most victims of violence become victims because they are both unaware and unprepared.
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Take Control of Your Own Security
After all, if you don’t, who will? Think about it: The police do not know a crime is being committed until they are called — or miraculously happen to be present just in time to prevent it. Unfortunately for the vast majority of victims, the damage is done by the time police arrive.
Government and law enforcement agencies can only provide security to a limited degree; they cannot possibly stop every crime and potential terrorist act. So it all comes down to you! Accept the fact that you are the first person on-scene in a confrontation or violent situation — you are your own first responder.
Moreover, as a part of society, each of us has an obligation to look out for one another as well. Watching each other’s backs is not just a principle that military and law enforcement employ. Communities are built on support.
Our greatest resource is each other. If you do not already do so, look out for your friends and neighbors and they will do the same for you. In this manner, you have a protective system with built-in redundancy, leading to a greater chance of a successful outcome in the event of an emerging threat.
Trust The Little Voice Inside You
Have you ever experienced a situation where, just prior to a catastrophic event, you felt the hair on the back of your neck standing on edge? Or suddenly had a “gut feeling” that something was terribly wrong?
|“These subtle signs of danger have been deeply ingrained in your DNA over millions of years.”|
Though your conscious mind cannot quite reckon with them, these feelings or premonitions are your primal instincts warning you that something bad is going to happen.
These subtle signs of danger have been deeply ingrained in your DNA over millions of years — ignoring them could prove disastrous. Learn to trust the “little voice” when it talks to you, even when it seems awkward — you may find it to be your greatest ally in thwarting dangerous behavior.
Meanwhile, in your conscious mind, it is your will and self-discipline to cultivate and purposefully practice these habits regularly that can make all the difference in your ability to recognize danger.
Starting today, consciously remind yourself that not all people are good. Be alert and on the lookout for dangerous or threatening people or situations. And finally, don’t mess with Mother Nature: Trust that little voice inside of you. After all, it has been honed over millions of years to be your early-warning alert system.
Stay tuned. Next week, I’ll give you specific tips on how you can protect yourself and your family as you develop the situational awareness of a real-life Jason Bourne.
Until next time, stay alert, check your six and stay safe!