by Michael W Loos
USA –-(Ammoland.com)- It's late at night, you and your Spouse are walking through a heavy fog in the parking lot of the local Theater – the light standards providing nothing more than a feeble dull glow, its normally bright light unable to cut through the pea soup – the quiet of the night is further muffled by the thick air, the only sound is the soft clicking of your shoes on the asphalt.
The movie you attended was the last one showing, and as you walk through the chill night air you become aware of the few cars still in the lot, scattered here and there like huge rocks in a barren desert.
Your antennae is up, reflecting Condition Yellow, as you make your way to the corner of the lot.
As you move within 50 yards of your car, you begin to see shadows moving in the foggy darkness beyond your car, several of them.
Due to a combination of the late hour, fog and remoteness of your vehicle in the parking lot, you move from Condition Yellow to Condition Orange, your focus now sharp, mind alert and ready as you assess the immediate area and the influx of new sensory information.
At 25 yards, the shadows are now a group of people – five or six – standing on the far side of your car, about 25 feet past your vehicle. You do a quick 360° sweep and quickly refocus your attention on the people.
Still walking, you touch your Spouse's arm and say “Keep your eyes open and stay close to me.”
“Why?” They ask, looking at you suspiciously.
“Just do what I say… please….stay close and be alert.”
“Why? What the heck is going on,” and they pull on your arm, trying to stop you, to make you explain your intentions.
Your mind is working, assessing your surroundings, the possible threat, distance, who they are, what are they doing – and while you do this, you are whispering harshly to your Wife to be quiet and stay close.
Finally, at the last 10′, keeping your car between you and the possible threat, you can hear some laughter, normal chatter, no threatening posturing, and as you get to your car, you catch the eye of one of the young men and nod, he returns the nod and you open the car door, let in your Spouse before coming round – still in Condition Orange – get in the car, start it up and motor away unscathed.
Your Spouse is now a chatterbox of questions, why, why and why?!
The drive home is a step by step explanation of what was happening, the possible threat and your own high alert and why you were asking them to just “… do what I ask without questions!”
A “safe word” is a code word – one word (or phrase) that explains you are on high alert – something you can say to your Spouse that should instantly make them aware there is a possible problem or threat and they should immediately be quiet, stay close and be ready to react to instructions.
When a Condition Orange situation arises, you want two things to happen;
- One – Be able to focus completely on the possible threat.
- Two, to focus on the possible threat without confused peripheral input from your Spouse.
I explained to my Wife we needed a word that would bring her to the same high alert as me, in an instant. We decided on a phrase – “Hon, we have to get home and let the dog out.” We don't own a dog, so she will immediately know there is a problem. No confusion. It's also a phrase I can say while at a store standing an aisle or two over from where she is, without it sounding odd. After settling on the phrase, we talked about what it is I would expect from her.
I explained to her that when I am with her, my only concern, my only thought, my only job, is to make sure she gets out safe. That's it, nothing else matters to me.
But how do I accomplish this? I told her that when I give the safe phrase, she should be quiet, open her eyes, get her head up and be aware of our surroundings – where we are, is there somewhere safe to go – and, if I say so, be ready to run.
I explained I want her to stay a half-step back and go to my weak hand side. Put her hand on my back (or grab my belt) and move when I move, where I move, without questions.
I'm not looking to pre-plan what to do in full on Condition Red – more of Condition Yellow / Orange. “Hon, we have to get home to feed the dog” – and she will know immediately there is a potential problem. To stay close, be quiet, eyes open and aware.
AmmoLand Editors Comment: Note that author Michael W Loos did send us the correct image, regarding condition black, AmmoLand made the decision to run the above image, not the author. Based on the comments below that was a questionable choice, but since there is so much discussion it would now be confusing to remove the image, so we have provided this note. Thanks for all your support and having our backs. Below is his original image.
We all know you can't plan what to do in a gunfight – beyond the immediate reaction, a gunfight is a fluid and volatile situation – but you can make sure your spouse is not caught off guard. I want my wife thinking along with me, seeing the problem and working to get home safe. So I wanted something easy to remember, to keep her thinking and calm.
I wanted to break it down to something simple, so these are the Four Rules I wanted her to remember.
2) Stay Close
3) Be Aware
4) Do exactly what I say – no questions asked.
It's also important to note that these precautions are – for me- used in “Condition Yellow / Orange”. The Safe Phrase is meant to bring her up to Condition Orange immediately and is an attempt to keep us out of the fray before the fray has a chance to begin.
“Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work. “No battle plan ever survives 10 seconds past first contact with an enemy.” Use cover or concealment as much as possible.” ~ Joe B. Fricks
The Safe Phrase or Word cannot protect you once you move to Condition Red and the fight has come – the chaos of such situations will put the pressure on your training and your ability to adjust, improvise and overcome – But it can put you in the best position to get you and yours home safe before the shooting starts.
And in the end, isn't that what we all want?
Stay Safe and Carry Responsibly,
Hipshot – NewGunnerJournal.
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