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Color Coding Our Situational Awareness

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The Gun Toter

When living your life, you should always be aware of your surroundings. There are four levels of situational awareness everyone should live by.

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and this is a time of year when we need to be more cautious than normal. Many people are in such a hurry and constantly worrying about all kinds of things. We carry expensive items around with us. We may have more money on us than normal. We may not be as aware of our surroundings as we should be. Being more situationally aware of our surroundings can prevent the average American from becoming a victim of a dangerous encounter.

Col. Jeff Cooper is an expert on self-defense and firearms training. His book, Principles of Personal Defense, is a must-read for anyone who is serious about defending themselves or their family with a gun. In his classes, papers and books, Cooper talks about the four conditions for a combat mindset and situational awareness.

According to Cooper, the most important way to survive a life-or-death situation is to maintain the proper combat mindset before, during and after the confrontation. He breaks down this mindset into four color-coded conditions. The codes help to frame a person’s mindset during a fight. They enable an individual to set “if this happens then I will do this” options, so you have a clear idea of how far things are going to be allowed to go before you take the next step.

Here’s a breakdown of Cooper’s four color-coded conditions:

1. White

This indicates someone who is blissfully unaware of anything going on around them. They have no idea who is near them, and they aren’t paying attention to anything. According to Cooper, most people live their lives in this state. They would rather play on their smartphones and walk around reading than pay attention to the world.

2. Yellow

Yellow signifies someone who is alert and relaxed but aware of everything going on around them. This is the state people should strive to be in all the time, especially those who carry a gun. This person is looking around, paying attention to everything, taking in information to feed their Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA) loop and make informed decisions. This person is relaxed but able to move to action should the need arise.

3. Orange

In the orange condition, something has triggered a person’s “Spidey sense,” and they are now on alert for a specific threat. Something caught their attention, so they shift their focus to that threat, all the time maintaining awareness around them in the event there is more going on. They stay focused on the new threat until it proves to be insignificant, then moving back to the yellow condition, or on to condition red.

4. Red

It’s go time. This is the moment a person decides to use lethal force. Their “go code” has been given and it’s time to fight with everything they have.

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The ideas put forth by Cooper are not necessarily new, but a way to organize these ideas to help people sort out what is going on. Being aware of what is taking place around you is the best way to survive a lethal encounter, and make you less likely to be a target.

By being aware and keeping your head on a swivel, you show confidence and are less likely to be accosted. Keep these things in mind as you spend time out and about during this holiday season.

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Color Coding Our Situational Awareness