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BillCA
April 13, 2008, 05:44 PM
I did a search and didn't see this as a topic, though some of it may be buried in other threads. I think it's a good topic for discussion.

When you are in public, what sort of visual cues do you use to designate another person as a potential threat? I guess we could include audible cues, like a loud profanity-laced voice, etc.

Here's a few things I've noticed myself doing;

In public, I visually "tag" certain people as potential trouble-makers by;

Baggy "gangsta" clothing. They may be wannabe bad-boys but I don't want to be their first "test" either.
Visible tattos - the more tats visible, generally the less I want them close to me.
Specific tattoos - knuckles tattooed (fighter type), tear-drop tattoo near the eyes (gang member, killer/enforcer). Tattoos on the back of the neck - especially in gothic lettering.
Young males together who seem to be "scoping out" the surroundings.
Young males with their girls but the girls do not seem relaxed; are not showing physical contact with the guys (no hand-holding, no arms around each other)


In another thread about Street Fighting (from 2002) some good observations were made about body signals for an impending fight. Here, I'm looking for what others use when identifying potential threats.

While anyone can be a threat, what is it that causes you to give a person more than a cursory glance? What causes you to think "oh, this guy could be trouble"?

The Tourist
April 13, 2008, 05:48 PM
The eyes are the windows to the soul.

(BTW, lots of my friends are tattoo'ed to bankruptcy. Sweet guys. I have a mercurial temper. No tats. Go figure.)

RevolverLover
April 13, 2008, 05:52 PM
Your tag's just narrowed down a good percentage of the population in California ;)

Wildalaska
April 13, 2008, 06:17 PM
Hinkiness

WildtimeplaceobservationAlaska TM

BillCA
April 13, 2008, 06:45 PM
WA - Please define "hinkiness". Your definition may not match mine or others.

RevolverLover - Not as many as you might think. I'm in Silicon Valley so while there are those "types", you often don't see them in certain areas.

rb4browns
April 13, 2008, 08:04 PM
Baggy "gangsta" clothing. They may be wannabe bad-boys but I don't want to be their first "test" either.

I would expand this from just gangsta bad boys to all males who are using clothing to *display* machoness or aggressiveness. Shirt sleeves rolled tight to expose muscles, "biker" type clothing, etc. Of course clothes in and of themselves do not make the man in all cases, but it's something i look at always.

rb4browns
April 13, 2008, 08:05 PM
I also look for erratic behavior or for people who *stand out* even if I can't put my finger on it and verbalize why.

Allstar
April 13, 2008, 09:15 PM
Profiling will help to a point, but honestly it will just keep you paranoid for the rest of your life. It is a great tool that I use as well. If you are in a well populated area and have the chance to sit on the side and watch people I would. I do this a lot, since I live at the beach and I have noticed things about people just from watching. Most people when they are ready to fight/do something illegal they are generally tense. You can see it in their face, neck, arms and hands usually. They also are the ones who have erracted eye movement. Looking at everyone around them quickly as well as checking their shoulders. So I typically look out for those types of things. It did take me a long time to start to recognize these signs quickly. It has helped me avoid a few fights lately. There have been other times I have been at a bar and been able to foresee the fight starting. The second thing I am always avoiding is someone you is staggering. Not a lot sometimes as little has just not walking a complete straight line. People who are drunk or on some type of drug are more likely not to have logical thoughts.

Boris Bush
April 13, 2008, 09:29 PM
Best thing I can think of is to do a play by play of everyone you see and everycar you walkby. cars: color, windows, is anyone sitting in it, if there is what are they doing vans with no windows in doors or curtains in windows, walk a few cars over to go around. Looking for a criminal is a bad idea. Look at everyone. Look at their pants, shirt, shoes, hands, face, hat, gender, eyes, way they walk and their level of alertness. Do a play by play like them guys on the glow box when football is on.

If you live in an area where alot of people carry you will spot gun totin' fools left and right and I point out every single one I see to my wife and tell her what (S)he is carrying.

I try not dressing like that guy that carries. No 5.11 pants or fishing or photographer vests or tactical boots.

Try not looking for the criminals, you will not find them. Just beware of your surroundings and worry less about thugs or ganstas or whitetrash. If you constantly label such people as criminals then just think what they might think of you.

The job I have has people from all walks of life, ghetto, country, goth, punk, preppy, trailer trash, and you will see all of us after work talking, getting along, hanging out and 98% of us have a permit to carry while mingling with civilians, and carry when we do. Just be careful of who you prejudge, you just may be putting your attention needlessly in the wrong place.
Assess the total picture and take it from there.

The Tourist
April 13, 2008, 10:29 PM
"biker" type clothing

I'm a married Christian with 30 years in the financial industry.

The only clothing I have is "biker" clothing. Truth be told, Harley jeans and T-shirts are about the only things that fit (ahem) our unique physiques. Oh, and the CMA wear biker clothing.

Before we get way off the track here with epithets, I also like pasta, finely crafted stilettos, Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, and I know who put the last three slugs into Mussolini.

Let's stick to firearms.

raimius
April 14, 2008, 12:49 AM
I occasionally find myself feeling a bit suspicious...you know, that gut feeling that tells you something is amiss...
When that occurs, I find myself looking for people out of place.

I find myself looking for likely gang members (matching, baggy sweats was a dead giveaway in my town). Also, I will watch people who are nervous/anxious looking and watching the crowd with interest. It's usually nothing, though. After a few minutes, I go back to "casual" awareness.

Wildalaska
April 14, 2008, 01:22 AM
WA - Please define "hinkiness". Your definition may not match mine or others.

From an earlier post by meself

WAs Rule of Life 44 (U) 6

After training or extensive life experience, one recognizes a concept in people known as hinkiness, which concept is defined as a variety of factors that raise an awareness of potential danger. The factors that can render a person "hinky" include, but are not limited to, race, creed, colour, sex,ocupation, age, mode of dress, possessions, body language, time of day, geographic location and any other usual or unusual factor that alone, or in combination, make a reasonable observer concerned, suspicious, alarmed or alert.

Two black kids horseplaying on a basketball Court are not hinky. One black kid wearing a hoody, loitering outside a conveneince store at 3am and continually touching his waist is hinky.

WildweareontosoemthinghereyesAlaska TM

rb4browns
April 14, 2008, 06:07 AM
I'm a married Christian with 30 years in the financial industry.

The only clothing I have is "biker" clothing. Truth be told, Harley jeans and T-shirts are about the only things that fit (ahem) our unique physiques. Oh, and the CMA wear biker clothing.

Before we get way off the track here with epithets, I also like pasta, finely crafted stilettos, Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, and I know who put the last three slugs into Mussolini.

Let's stick to firearms.

No need to get your feelings hurt, I don't know who you are, so certainly there is no reason to read my post and think I was talking to you. The question was legit as is my answer. I size people up based on my experiences, and one of the categories I use is how people are dressed. I understand some very nice people like to wear "Harley jeans and t-shirts," that's fine. It's also been my experience that trouble has come from white trash wearing the same. I size people up based in part on their dress in the context of where they are and where I am at a given time. If I see someone out of place due to dress, or if their dress gives me pause and reason to think they might be trouble, I act accordingly.

ActivShootr
April 14, 2008, 07:41 AM
I tend to observe people who are observing other people. Most people with trouble on their mind are just as aware as those with self defense in mind.

DesertDawg
April 14, 2008, 08:23 AM
ActivShooter hit a good point. Thugs tend to use situational awareness to their advantage, so they're usually looking for potential victims, then after a quick assessment and figuring the odds, they will take a second, longer look at someone.

I was a LEO, and studied people in their most raw moments. One night, I spotted a couple of white males who looked "average", but sensed that they were up to something bad. I had a "rookie" for a partner, and told him to watch those 2 males (I was driving). About 30 seconds later, they both broke into a full run....and one of them grabbed a purse from an elderly lady. We caught the purse snatcher, but the other "suspect" got away (nothing to arrest him for, anyway).

The "rookie" later asked my what had tipped me off that the 2 "average" looking guys were about to do something bad. It was the way that they had given the elderly lady a double-take look. There were other females in the area at the time, but the thugs chose to victimize the easiest-appearing one....and she had been the only one that they had looked at twice.

Tatoos? Clothing styles? Yes, they CAN be indicators, but it's the eyes you need to watch.

Pilot
April 14, 2008, 08:38 AM
1. Male (although if female and acting/looking weird I take notice)
2. Age - teens and twenties
3. Demeanor
4. Dress - (guys in suits usually are not a threat, "gangsta" dress is another story)
5. If they are watching me I am watching them and I let them know it through body language.

Big Don
April 14, 2008, 10:51 AM
Bill,
Good thread! I have to agree with those who look at the eyes. What are they looking at, how often (checking the scene?), "happy eyes" or is there something happening behind the eyes that may/will mean trouble? Body movement: is it tight and controlled or free and easy? What am I doing? At the ATM or the cash register in a small store? Walking to my vehicle in a large parking lot or an empty parking structure? I'm always trying to access the situation but some require an extra level of alertness. Clothing: is it hot and they're overdressed? The "biker clothing" issue is important and I don't mean it as a slur on the honest bikers. There's "biker clothing" and then there's "BIKER clothing"; they may be similar but there's a difference. Clean vs "greasy/dirty"? I look for the clothing/eyes/body movement combo and those who have commented on the biker clothing are no doubt doing the same. Profiling? You bet I am! We all do (and most wish TSA would too!) but that's not the only criterion. We've all read it before: don't look like a victim and the chances are better that you won't be one. Standing tall, showing confidence in who you are and showing awareness of your surroundings decreases your chances of being a victim. Then be willing to expect the unexpected!

The Tourist
April 14, 2008, 10:59 AM
there is no reason to read my post and think I was talking to you. The question was legit as is my answer

Because it teaches error, especially to people who don't know the difference. I've lived in this city since 1968, and many of my clients are cops. Most of them are surprised that I'm a patch holder.

To that, what most people know about bikers come TV and the movies. Unless you've done something to threaten or antagonize a biker you are simply wallpaper. When I go a biker shop I don't "see" the citizens kicking tires.

And, of course, you could be dead wrong.

I was standing next to my bike once and I heard the sound of about fifty bikes with straight pipes. Out of nowhere came the wildest bunch of guys riding choppers you could imagine--right down to tons of chrome and tattoos.

As they sped by me, I saw their rags. They were CMA.

As you can well imagine, many younger guys come here. Chasing beer cans with a 1911 pistol is loads of fun. But let's not mislead them.

Some guys are going to read this read and unsnap their CCW pistols every time they see a customized Harley.

Pilot
April 14, 2008, 11:50 AM
A person riding a Harley or any other bike is not a threat to me. However, if I see someone dressed like a motorcycle gang member, colors, torn sleeves, lost of tatoos, long unkept hair, chains, etc it does raise my consciousness. Not saying they aren't perfectly good people and I've met many dressed that way and they were fine. However, if someone is purposely projecting a highly rebellious, uncaring image that MAY mean something negative.

The Tourist
April 14, 2008, 11:59 AM
uncaring image that MAY mean something negative

And it MAY be a poser on his first Sportster. Unless you want to be treated in the same way as a gun owner by a liberal, we had better stick to probable cause.

When I was a little boy, and a crime was committed, the police used to round up all of the African-American men within the area. This was called a dragnet, hence the name of the popular TV show.

How would you feel is you were sitting in restaurant and a LEO cuffed you and stuffed you because a crime was committed locally. You ask the reason why this is happening and you are told it's a firearm related offense and you hold a CCW license.

I'm sure the shoe doesn't feel too good on the other foot.

I've been a patch holder probably before most of you were born. While I don't get pulled over as much, I still see frequent LEO involvement for guys "riding four."

Again, you get your info from TV and movies. Did you ever go to a Harley shop and talk to a biker?

SilentHitz
April 14, 2008, 12:21 PM
The eyes are the windows to the soul. Tourist has the right idea. It doesn't matter if someone is wearing a suit, "gangsta" clothing, or just jeans and a T-shirt. You can't tell a predator by their clothing, but you can almost always tell by their demeanor, and the look in their eyes. No, I can't read minds, but I can sure as hell tell if someone is sizing me (or someone else) up to see if they are an easy target. It can be as innocent as someone who just shoplifted and is wondering if you're undercover, or as serious as a predator looking for their next victim. There are plenty of "wolves in sheep's clothing"...don't be fooled by looks alone.

The Tourist
April 14, 2008, 12:27 PM
don't be fooled by looks alone

Thank you, sir. Your post was polite and succinct.

I still would like to see the look on Pilot's face if he was attacked, screamed for help and found me coming to his rescue.

Would he say to me, "Sorry, Tourist, no thanks."

cxg231
April 14, 2008, 12:53 PM
Two black kids horseplaying on a basketball Court are not hinky. One black kid wearing a hoody, loitering outside a conveneince store at 3am and continually touching his waist is hinky.

Not to be picky, but take the word "black" out of there and you have a great example of being "hinky". I don't know about up your way, but there are *plenty* of hinky people around these parts, of every color.

Dwight55
April 14, 2008, 03:34 PM
The villages I frequent are as different as can be, . . . all the way from a fast growing, persnooty, college town, . . . to a couple of blue collar, union has beens, . . . to an agrarian little soy bean/corn town.

As such they all offer different flavors of bg's. I have given up looking for profile types, . . . and have opted to just keep a close lookout on who and what is in or about to be in my 20 ft personal space circle. Doing so makes life much easier for me.

Spot a couple of baddies, . . . walk around them, . . . always off side if possible. Got a group of neanderthal youngsters up ahead, . . . other side of the street/aisle/etc. Avoidance is the name for me.

I generally am on a relaxed orange alert, . . . allowing my vision and my personal bearing to be enough to send most bg's some other way, . . . by spotting potential trouble spots and avoiding them like the plague. But just like it has been already mentioned, . . . eye to eye contact and a sound demeanor can turn the tide from victim to "pass that dude, man".

It has worked so far.

May God bless,
Dwight

The Tourist
April 14, 2008, 03:46 PM
Dwight55, you're probably right. When I found something that was about to hit the fan it was like "spidie sense" shouting at the top of its lungs. Everyone not on welfare heard the clarion call.

What still baffles me is the speed of an attack. If you don't sense it coming, but simply react to the motion, your goose is probably cooked.

Oy, and my wife is suburban girl. Over the years I've had to repeat many times that when confrontational politics have begun, to just step away, try not to grab my arms like a recalcitrant mother, because I'm going to slice the fool up while he's telling his life story.

Then again, she's never been hit.

rampage841512
April 14, 2008, 04:43 PM
Quote:
WA - Please define "hinkiness". Your definition may not match mine or others.

From an earlier post by meself

WAs Rule of Life 44 (U) 6

After training or extensive life experience, one recognizes a concept in people known as hinkiness, which concept is defined as a variety of factors that raise an awareness of potential danger. The factors that can render a person "hinky" include, but are not limited to, race, creed, colour, sex,ocupation, age, mode of dress, possessions, body language, time of day, geographic location and any other usual or unusual factor that alone, or in combination, make a reasonable observer concerned, suspicious, alarmed or alert.

Two black kids horseplaying on a basketball Court are not hinky. One black kid wearing a hoody, loitering outside a conveneince store at 3am and continually touching his waist is hinky.

WildweareontosoemthinghereyesAlaska TM

This is how I do it too.

SilentHitz
April 14, 2008, 04:47 PM
I still would like to see the look on Pilot's face if he was attacked, screamed for help and found me coming to his rescue. Maybe the same reaction at the sight of my sister. She wears leather when riding her Harley, and carries a 469 S&W...has tats too. :eek:

Covert Mission
April 14, 2008, 06:32 PM
Tourist:

CMA? I must have missed the definition. Thx

SilentHitz
April 14, 2008, 06:40 PM
CMA? Christian Motorcycle Association....at least that's the organization in my state.

arktravler
April 14, 2008, 06:50 PM
WA, perfect explanation of "hinkiness". That hinky feeling was put in us for a reason!;)

Some of you guys that look at tats, longhair, biker looking... please don't shoot me. I may look a little greasy and haggard and dirty from ridin' a ways. I too wear a Christian motorcycle ministry patch. I know to most, a back patch is a back patch, but please since you're paying such close attention to everything, look a little harder. Most bikers don't want a hassle any worse than anyone else. Me... I watch clean cut folks in suits..... just can't trust'em:eek:;)

I do profile like most.. I lean heavily on WA's hinkiness factor....

arkfeelinghinkywhenoutinpublictravler:D

rb4browns
April 14, 2008, 07:37 PM
Originally Posted by rb4browns
there is no reason to read my post and think I was talking to you. The question was legit as is my answer

Because it teaches error, especially to people who don't know the difference. I've lived in this city since 1968, and many of my clients are cops. Most of them are surprised that I'm a patch holder.

To that, what most people know about bikers come TV and the movies. Unless you've done something to threaten or antagonize a biker you are simply wallpaper. When I go a biker shop I don't "see" the citizens kicking tires.

And, of course, you could be dead wrong.

I was standing next to my bike once and I heard the sound of about fifty bikes with straight pipes. Out of nowhere came the wildest bunch of guys riding choppers you could imagine--right down to tons of chrome and tattoos.

As they sped by me, I saw their rags. They were CMA.

As you can well imagine, many younger guys come here. Chasing beer cans with a 1911 pistol is loads of fun. But let's not mislead them.

Some guys are going to read this read and unsnap their CCW pistols every time they see a customized Harley.

See Bill's definition of "hinkiness" and you will understand the context of my answer. Many, if not most bikers are lawyers and such trying to live out rebel fantasies on $40000 motorcycles, I understand that.

I also have known many black folks who dress in baggy clothes who are not in gangs.

The point is that dress is one factor I use in sizing up people. I'm really not worried (nor should you be) that the gentle readers of this forum will suddenly become gripped with terror at the sight of a harley riding dude because they read my post.

Cheers.

The Tourist
April 14, 2008, 10:39 PM
the gentle readers of this forum will suddenly become gripped with terror at the sight of a harley riding dude

I don't think newbies will start doing anything just because they first read about it here.

However, it might confirm misconceptions they hold.

Let's face it, many people (myself included) come here for info based on the assumption that there are some very savvy hobbyists here with decades of experience. This also could cover our LEO members, our IPSC participants, and those who avidly study martial arts.

So when a professional hobbyist says, "There are reasons to fear bikers," or words to that affect, it confirms a negative feeling they might have.

As for "biker lawyers," you are right hands down. You can also throw in my favorite group, wannabees who are dentists. There are thousands of them in Dane County, where I live.

However, in the entire history of my MC, over a 35 year span, there are only 150 members.

In other words, if you're afraid of a guy in leather, you're probably afraid of a dentist.:D

ActivShootr
April 14, 2008, 11:44 PM
We generally don't have a problem with motorcycle gangs around here. If you see a group of motorcycles together in these parts, they are usually just a group of people with the common interest of riding bikes.

What I watch for in my small community is the meth addicts. These individuals, I think, plague many small towns in rural areas. The days of the moonshiner or the guy growing pot in his backyard are just about gone. Those people never bothered anyone but the government anyway. The meth heads however, are a more dangerous sort.

Quick story: An aquaintance of mine recently went to Arkansas to hunt turkey in the Ozarks. His party was approached by a game warden and warned not to come in contact with any of the locals in the area even in an emergency. Apparently, the paranoia associated with the drug makes them dangerous.

BillCA
April 15, 2008, 12:01 AM
First, to put the "biker" thing in perspective, let me say that I spent 20 years riding bikes - go-fast to touring bikes - and met a number of Harley riders who were simply rough gentlemen. My wife and I also took a Motorcycle Safety Foundation class and happened to be in the same class as Ralph "Sonny" Barger of Hells Angel's infamy and his wife Sharon. For all that's been written about Sonny, he was an absolute gentleman to everyone in the class and the biggest supporter of the most novice rider. If you met the man not wearing "biker" clothes, you'd think he was in construction or similar blue collar line.

This only illustrates that clothing and demeanor don't always tell you about the person's true character.

Looking for a criminal is a bad idea. Look at everyone. Look at their pants, shirt, shoes, hands, face, hat, gender, eyes, way they walk and their level of alertness. Do a play by play like them guys on the glow box when football is on.

[Warning: I'm going to use some stereotypes and rude characterizations in the following, only to make a point.]

In a sense, yes. But by scanning over a group of people you mentally "dismiss" various types. For instance, if you're walking in/out of Wally World for your cheap 9mm ammo, you dismiss the Waddling Welfare Whales as well as the almost any "breeder" family group with a passle of young kids. The ones who look like grandparents aren't likely to pose a high risk and you can dismiss most fortyish looking males pushing a shopping cart.

Even the teens dressed in baggy clothes can be rendered a low risk if you see them accompanying their parents and younger siblings.

On the other hand, younger males between about 15 and 30 who don't seem to be purposefully heading into the store or who appear to be leaving the storefront without any purchases are suspicious to me.

A lone individual who seems to be paying a lot of attention to people walking by or keeps looking into the store as if to see the activity inside, gets my attention. Glancing around quickly is another red flag.

A group of younger people - who may be mixed genders - if they are "hanging out", dressed in similar styles and colors, that sets off my radar. And if several happen to look your way at about the same time, the boatswain's whistle goes off to set condition orange.

In public venues I tend to look at faces, body language and hands.

Faces - sometimes you can tell the shopper or average joe from the ones with intent to do something. Quick head movements, darting eyes, tense jaws signal a higher emotional state than your average person. Wild, wide open eyes may be a signal of an impending attack (or a desperate search for a restroom or lost child). Flaring nostrils (to breathe more) indicate an elevated risk of attack.

Body Language - their gait, shoulder position, speed of movement can all indicate someone moving purposefully or with assertiveness. In a crowded mall, someone hurrying to a shop may walk quickly, blading their body through the crowd. Someone trying to flee without running will drop their leading shoulder as if ready to "block" or shove someone out of the way. In a less crowded mall, someone walking briskly but on the balls of their feet like a prizefighter is likely closing in on their selected victim, espeically if they're not looking for, or taking, less resistive paths.

Hands - Hands will hurt you. Specifically, fists and objects held in the hands will hurt you. Where are his hands? What's in his hands? Because the bag he has doesn't look big or heavy, doesn't mean it can't be used as a distraction tool. If you can't see both hands be prepared to act quickly.

ActivShootr
April 15, 2008, 12:28 AM
Excellent points Bill. Another guy to watch out for is the guy walking around a parking lot who doesn't seem to be going directly to his car. (zig-zagging through rows looking at/in other cars). Chances are he is up to no good.

BillCA
April 15, 2008, 03:33 AM
ActivShooter,

Absolutely. This falls under the category of anyone who doesn't seem to be purposefully entering the building from the parking lot, or who leaves the store without any purchases and doesn't seem to be walking towards an intended destination.

Normally when someone comes out of a store and has forgotten where they parked they pause for a moment. This usually occurs between the exit curbside area and the beginning of the parking aisles. You'll see that look on their faces that says "You dips**t, you fogot where you parked." While they're looking around for their car.

Many retail stores have in-house security folks. If you see something suspicious and tell someone on staff "Get me your security people, fast." they usually call someone to see you. The retailer does not want bad PR or lost sales if something happens in their parking lot. Their security people can watch the person and call the PD if necessary.

The Tourist
April 15, 2008, 10:42 AM
I believe what we are discussing is "caution" not the justification of condition orange. In that debate, I'll reluctantly nod my head 'yes.' But with some very real hard and fast conditions.

My first trip out on a Saturday morning is the bike shop for free hot dogs or chili. I will also hang out with numerous others. We will congregate. Hey, guess what we're doing:

"the right of the people peaceably to assemble"

Now, put yourself in my shoes. I'm admiring someone's chrome or engine mods and I see some Junior John Wayne slip his hand inside his coat. I hear a 'snap' or the rip of velcro.

Now what do you think I'm going to do? Bet's off, folks. I'm go to verbally, and ernestly inform my little group that the guy behind us just unsnapped a pistol.

Now we're the ones who are going to be cautious.

As a fellow citizen, I have the right to assemble. If you don't consider the conditions something you can tolerate, than simply leave the area.

I also second BillCa's comment on bikers he has met. About three years ago we had two or three Angels at a club function at our clubhouse. I believe we drank beer and had a "Bikini Bike Wash."

But I debate this for one reason. If you can be wrong about me, then you can be also be wrong on the stimuli that produce condition orange. And that leads me to a much bigger problem.

That being the problem is you.

When you see meth dealers, Angels, muggers, bank hold-up men, Mafia mechanics and professional clowns at every intersection, it's not their fault--if they are there at all. You have to re-define your reaction to Cooper's color code of action.

Just pick up your groceries and leave the area. Let the bikers eat hotdogs.

BillCA
April 16, 2008, 12:15 AM
Tourist,

Easy there bub. Rub yourself down with some lanacaine and desensitize a bit. No one is really declaring time to go ballistic.

There is another, older, thread that deals with the signals people give off just before they start a fight or an attack. That's not what we're discussing here.

My desire is to find out what methods other members use to identify people who are a potential threat. How do you pick one or two people out of a dozen or more that bear closer scrutiny?

If you enter your favorite grocery store about 11pm and there are about a dozen people, what kinds of things would cause you to heighten your awareness or slightly alter your plans? What would it be about the people themselves that would provide you the "clues"?

Oh... and let's exclude the obvious, like the guy moving from till to till emptying them into a bag. ;)

Oh... and Tourist... You've obviously never ridden a bike and kept your "clear" glasses in a Ray-Ban eyeglass case on your belt, have you? That snap sounds suspiciously like a holster snap. My ex's cell phone holder used a velcro strap to keep it from getting loose. :cool:

The Tourist
April 16, 2008, 01:06 AM
First off, I don't wear Ray Bans.:D

However, I think your response demonstrates my point. (BTW, I wasn't angry when I wrote the last post--just playing my favorite game of "turn-about.")

One of the things I've learned on boards like this is that the guys all feel they're the heroes and the good guys. However, taking a map of the USA, you'll find half of the states are blue. To 50% of the population firearms hobbyists are paranoid whack-jobs.

The concept of assessing is not a shift from yellow to orange. It's a commitment to a lifestyle. I sit in a restaurant in the position of the best visual advantage. I look at the crowd. Then I order a sandwich.

I'm not playing a uber game of Wolfenstein, I'm being aware. And ordering that sandwich.

The problem with some of the key points in this thread is that assessment has become a murky mix to approval. The guys in baggy pants might be musicians on their way to a gig. And as I have stated, those "bikers" might even be ministers on the way to a Bible class.

From there it's a banana-peel slip to who should be watched and why.

But there's a mirror to that idea that many firearms hobbyists do not wish to see. That being, to others, they are the ones to be watched. In fact, I've read quite a few threads in gun forums on "mall ninjas."

At the end of the day, it is not the job of a self-appointed hobbyist to judge my clothing, my mannerisms, my movements or even my political affiliation lapel pin.

In fact, we have discussed the word "hinkie." If I saw some mall ninja wandering around in poor fitting clothing using surveillance techniques to watch the crowd, I'd call the real police.

bds32
April 16, 2008, 08:25 AM
Every unknown person is a potential threat, especially in places where low lifes frequent like seedy bars, drug infested neighborhoods and large city down town areas.

Like the saying goes, "Be nice but have a plan to kill everyone you meet." :D

rantingredneck
April 16, 2008, 08:30 AM
First of all, WA's definition of "Hinky" and mine are similar. Sometimes it's hard to even put a finger on why something you see is "hinky" but you know it when you see it.

I tend to observe people who are observing other people.

+1 on this too.

Follow the eyes. I pay attention to those who are paying attention. Especially if they are paying too much attention to me.

The Tourist
April 16, 2008, 09:28 AM
but you know it when you see it

This is why I use "turn-about" as a dating postulate. The actual fact is, no you don't know, and that fact might get someone killed.

For example, in my travels I met a motorcycle club. All of them were armed, most with two handguns. The majority had knives or some degree of martial arts training.

They looked scruffy, most of them rode customized Harleys, and if you acted up, they would all be on you. They were in fact, a very dangerous group of people. And I had I not ridden with them, I might have feared them.

They were The Blue Knights MC.

Now, one of the members here, Covert Mission, doesn't know the difference between an Angel and the CMA. That's very normal, not many outside our circle do know.

And that goes across the board. If we were asked to describe a British secret agent, a gansta, a Mafia made-man, a 1% outlaw or a working cowboy, most of us would use many of the same adjectives--because most of what we know about these people come from fiction.

Do you know what a real biker looks like? Well, he wears a three piece Armani or Dior suit, he is college educated, he is called upon to reconstruct failing companies with his knowledge of finance, he's a Christian, he's been married for twenty-eight years and doesn't cheat, and he does not do street drugs. If you met him on the street, he would look like a banker. Oh, and he knows how to kill you with a shiv.

That's how I looked for three decades.

How's your "hinkie" radar doing now?

M1911
April 16, 2008, 09:44 AM
The reality is that if you mistakenly do something to **** of a Hell's Angel or Pagan or other one-percenter, they'll beat the cr*p out of you and possibly kill you. They might decide to do so just for the heck of it or to steal your bike.

I'm sure outlaw bikers can be polite. Many of them are also stone-cold killers.

If you choose to dress like one-percenter, that's your choice. I'll give you a very wide berth.

The Tourist
April 16, 2008, 09:57 AM
M1911, even I do that. The point of my side of the debate is letting the stereotypes dictate our actions.

I mentioned "working cowboys." Most people might mention spurs and a wad of "chaw." In Madison at the UW veterinary college, that cowboy probably has a doctorate in medicine.

And at the very center of my concerns is our discussion of firearms and enumerated rights. I think we pass judgement on too many folks who are none of our concern.

rantingredneck
April 16, 2008, 10:14 AM
How's your "hinkie" radar doing now?

Look beyond the motorcycle stuff for a minute. I know it's got your dander up but set it aside.

Read what I wrote.

Sometimes you just get a feeling about someone, due to their behavior, not appearance (I could care less about appearance, I look at behavior). Sometimes it may just be something you can't put your finger on. When I get that feeling I decide it's time to be somewhere else.

There have been times where I've told my wife "lets go" when we're in a shopping mall or store, because of how someone was acting. She knows me well enough to know that when I say "let's go" we go. I don't care if Tide Detergent is on sale or not. :D.

The Tourist
April 16, 2008, 10:44 AM
I know it's got your dander up but set it aside.

Actually, it's not. However this is one area where I can contribute. As you know, I know absolutely nothing about shotguns.

I do know about stereotypes. During Harley's 100th Anniversary, I saw a sign outside a hotel that said "Bikers Welcome." I mentioned to my wife that this sign was the first I'd ever seen in over thirty years.

And I believe turn-about is a good tool. For example, we often debate our rights in being denied access to certain stores while armed. We get edgy when we see signs that say "No Firearms Allowed." And our collective dander is up because at the center of that view is the assumption that all firearms owners are reckless hillbillies.

Any court or lawyer will tell you that an eye witness is the worst evidence used in a trial. Most people cannot judge distance, and they see what they want to see.

This idea of "hinkie radar" is wrong more times than it is right. And no matter how learned a cop is in "going with his gut," he still has to produce evidence. You still have to get probable cause for a subpoena.

Most of us are not trained as professionals. Few of us are sworn officers. And truth be told none of us should use a stereotype and "hinkie radar" to do anything but leave the area, as you correctly implied.

You are not John Wayne or an avenging angel. Your opinion of my jacket and the way I dip a hotdog in ketchup when among friends means less than nothing to me.

Now, I don't mean that in a negative way. If you ask me a question or need my opinion, then you should be prepared for the honest rendition. I listen to you on the subject of shotguns because I need knowledge when I have little.

But this is one topic where we should all engage discussion with a clear head. And frankly, I don't think I would acting like a good TFL forum member if I didn't point out the down-side of this radar issue. Guessing wrong or acting like a showboater can get you in trouble.

Oli
April 16, 2008, 11:15 AM
Tourist, I think you're right on in page 2.

But there's something you said earlier in the thread that makes me uneasy:

The eyes are the windows to the soul.

I dont want to extrapolate on something you did not say but...

...if someone is trying to engage eye contact at random in a public place he becomes the one that I need to be careful about. More so if he is dressed like the guy that dont want to be noticed...

The Tourist
April 16, 2008, 11:39 AM
Oli, I stand by what I said. Obviously I am not going to ignore something that is clearly a need for condition orange. However, a lifestyle where condition yellow is a learned behavior seems to be more prudent.

And, BTW, this has been an excellent thread. We all live this every minute we are out in the world.

But let's expand on that "eyes and soul" comment. If I'm eating that hotdog and laughing, you have no real provocation to go to orange.

However if a guy in a nice suit starts reacting to every move you make, you should adjust to orange. Could be a cop with a vague description of a suspect, (I'm 5'11," white, average hair length, typical 'boomer moustache--in other words, the description of every serial killer on CSI) or the guy could be a Mafia hitman sent by a hostile wife.

For our debate, the guy in the suit is probably a more real threat. A more indepth assessment is the better choice rather than a snap decision based on a stereotype.

Besides, I'm too old for that "cloak and dagger" stuff. If I have a beef with you, I'll come and tell you. Stalking your restaurant seems like such a waste of time on a sunny day for riding. :D

Oli
April 16, 2008, 11:55 AM
haha, fair enough.

I'm a northern frog, excuse me if I wasn't clear. What I was trying to say is this: we try to be 'aware' so we dont get in trouble in the first place. But, there are things we might do in the process that will do exactly the opposite. Being too aggressive with 'eye contact' is one of them.

I dont say and dont think you do it. It's just for the record, it's something to think about.

The Tourist
April 16, 2008, 12:04 PM
Oli, but you mention a good point. If you're a younger guy and the fellas here tell you to be vigilant with your CCW responsibilities you take it as very serious advice.

I walk into a restaurant, sweep the place in a gaze, find an area where I can see the door and never think of the topic again. Foremost, I like to eat, however, I'm not a sensei or a guru or a mercenary or a hitman. I'm a hungry guy with his wife who needs realistic safety and security.

Clearly, there's a tipping point. In that regard, I look to the writing of Col. Jeff Cooper and the entire pragmatic issue of color codes. It's viable, it works, it's a good reminder of your needs and it defines what moves you should--or shouldn't--take in public.

Additionally, color codes snap me back to reality if I start falling for stereotypes.

rantingredneck
April 16, 2008, 01:00 PM
Tourist

Again read what I wrote.

I'm not talking about the way people are dressed. I don't care if you're wearing a purple tutu.

If you're wearing a purplue tutu and following me around Walmart while having a discussion with someone I can't see though, then we may have a problem :D.

I think you and I agree on more than we disagree here, though. Please understand though that my definition of "hinky" relies on behavior, not appearance.

I watch others actions and more importantly how they react to me.

An example:

If I'm walking down the street and someone crosses the street on an intercept course with me, I'll likely cross the street before they get to me.

Another example:

If I'm in a convenience store and I see someone acting shifty, fidgety, nervous, etc. or if I see behavior that could be interpreted as "casing". I leave. Nothing in that convenience store is worth me being there when the feces strikes the air circulation device.

I could care less whether that person is white, black, red, brown, yellow, or polka dotted. I could care less whether they're dressed as a biker or a hare krishna. I look at what they are doing.


I'm not going to draw down on you for wearing biker garb as I'm hoping you wouldn't on me for wearing Realtree All Purpose.

Again. Look beyond the appearance stuff. That's what I'm saying. I can't speak for others.

rantingredneck
April 16, 2008, 01:12 PM
An actual example:

Last Thursday I was on my way home from the range and stopped off for some milk and bread at the local convenience store. This place is out in the country, so it's not your typical "stop n rob" kinda place.

It had been cool earlier in the day but was now downright warm. I refused to put my jacket on just to go in the convenience store for bread and milk so I resigned myself to open carry for a moment.

As I was inside the store I notice another fellow, whose Harley was parked outside was also open carrying. (he had a Smith snubby, I had a Ruger).

I paid him no more attention after that. I paid more attention to the young fellow who kept eyeballing the Biker fellows weapon and mine. When the young guy got in line behind me at the register I turned my body so that my gun side was away from him. Did I think he was actually gonna snatch my weapon? Not really. Was it prudent to move since he was so fixated on it? I think so. Was the hinkiness such that I felt the need to leave my bread and milk there and go home? Not really.

The Tourist
April 16, 2008, 01:29 PM
No, I think your actions were prudent--except for one of them.

You define the place as a "stop n' rob." I don't know if you're using a humorous epithet, or if the place was the magnet for past crimes. If there were crimes in the past, a jug of milk is hardly worth the risk.

As for the Harley, you darn near have to be a doctor, a professor or a hobbyist forum owner to afford a Harley. Knowing what I do about payments and repairs, my guess is that you ran into a dentist who likes leather.

As for firearm retention, it is your gun, and you are responsible for any and all actions and rounds fired while the firearm is in your care. For example, I can be arrested and sued even if I'm not home. If I leave a pistol out in the open, and a teenage cat burglar blows his head off, I'm still rsponsible.

I'm not sure that the law would care much if the pistol was snatched by a biker or a used car salesman.

Personally, and from experience, the used car salesman is a lot more bloodthirsty. :D

Edit: wearing a purplue tutu--I hit the gym everyday and I have lovely legs. If anyone could pull off that look and still gig an attacker with a knife, it's me.

rantingredneck
April 16, 2008, 01:34 PM
You define the place as a "stop n' rob." I don't know if you're using a humorous epithet, or if the place was the magnet for past crimes. If there were crimes in the past, a jug of milk is hardly worth the risk.

No, I specifically said it's not your typical stop n rob.

Its actually called the Saxapahaw General Store.

Say that three times fast :D.

EDITED TO ADD:

I also should have mentioned that the kid eyeing the firearms was about a buck ten soaking wet and I go about 230 on a good day. The biker fellow also looked like he wasn't in the mood to have his gun snatched or have my snatched gun used on him. His presence was comforting. :D.

SilentHitz
April 16, 2008, 02:28 PM
Edit: wearing a purplue tutu--I hit the gym everyday and I have lovely legs. If anyone could pull off that look and still gig an attacker with a knife, it's me. Thanx, I could have gone all day without that visual.:eek:...even though it did give me a good laugh.;)

Capt Charlie
April 16, 2008, 04:09 PM
Interesting thread, although I think a number of you are trying to assess a potential threat based only on one or two aspects. In reality, it's best to assess the totality of the circumstances.

I know BillCA is talking about visual cues from people, but let's expand that a bit, as the same person exhibiting the same cues will trigger alarms to a degree that's determined by the surrounding environment or circumstances.

In other words, a highly tattooed Hispanic male looking your way may not raise your condition to orange during lunch hour on Rodeo Drive, but that same person at night and right smack in the middle of MS-13 turf most probably will.

Let's assign this a points system: 80-100 points puts you in condition red, 60-80, orange, and so on.

Location: Upscale mall in Upper Arlington, Ohio = 1 point. Certain areas in East Cleveland, OH = 9 points.

Time of day / Lighting: High noon = 2 points. Well lit area at night = 4 points. Dark or poorly lighted urban area = 8 points.

Clothing: Business suit = 2 points. Hoodie with gang graffiti on it = 9 points.

And don't discount that "6th sense" that a lot of folks have. I believe that a "6th sense" is your subconscious analyzing all of the above when your conscious mind is centered on other things.

And so on. These are just for the sake of the discussion, but you get what I mean. Add up the total number of points to determine the proper "condition".

Now the problem with centering your attention on only one or two factors is a form of tunnel vision. When you focus too much on a person's eyes or dress, for example, other clues that might make a critical difference go by the wayside.

They were The Blue Knights MC.
There's probably some here who aren't familiar with them, Tourist. To all, the Blue Knights are a nationwide motorcycle club made up exclusively of commissioned law enforcement officers. (And just for trivia's sake, Tourist, did you know there is a nationwide motorcycle club made up of retired LEO's? Know what they call themselves? The Retreads :D. (seriously!))

Hoss 48
April 16, 2008, 04:28 PM
Well I'm guilty of using my peripheral vision when someone is behind me so I can check them out without being to obvious. Clenched fists of someon approaching is usually a good sign. Alot of cops have tatoos but most departments dont allow them to go below sleeve length, slightly above the elbow. I guess the biggest point you make is it can be anyone. Nowdays everyone has a gun even kids, and Ive seen old ladies and other women who conceal knives and arent afraid to use them. So it could be your typical gangster or the crazy old lady that missed her meds that morning. Usually you can tell if someone is just trying to get attention or they are looking for a fight. Watch out for the quiet ones, theyre probably going to rob you. The best way is just not to put yourself in the position of being a victim. Dont walk down any dark alleys alone, if you know what I mean. The best defense is surprise, if you notice someone following you or staring you down, dont let them know you noticed. Most of the time they're looking for an easy victim, they dont want to make it difficult. Hope it helps.

The Tourist
April 16, 2008, 05:12 PM
His (the biker's) presence was comforting.

I had to read that a few times to actually comprehend what I was seeing.:eek: That shows that stereotypes are incorrect.

Business suit = 2 points. Hoodie with gang graffiti on it = 9 points.

In that case, my friend, I could have gotten closer to you than the wannabee. As you know, I wore business suits.

a purplue tutu--Thanx, I could have gone all day without that visual.

Sorry to hurl your cornflakes. But consider this: you have to have a real grip on your masculinity to wear a purple tutu in a gun forum.:p

SilentHitz
April 16, 2008, 05:23 PM
But consider this: you have to have a real grip on your masculinity to wear a purple tutu in a gun forum. I'll have to give ya that one for sure LMAO :D

The Tourist
April 16, 2008, 05:40 PM
This is about the time that a good laugh is needed. By the end of the day, the OP--in this case BillCa--and I are still allies, we just are on different sides of the debate. That's the point of a forum.

The biggest benefit this particular thread has, in my opinion, was that this was not a cut and dried issue. Instead we had factions from all walks of life providing their slant. In that case, I had a blast of a good time.

And hopefully, we learned a few things. There is no magic devining rod on this issue. Clearly, making condition yellow a part of your regimen while solidly keeping your fears in check will provide real gains in safety and security. A paranoid loose cannon does no one any real good.

I can't wait for the next good debate.

Capt Charlie
April 16, 2008, 07:16 PM
In that case, my friend, I could have gotten closer to you than the wannabee. As you know, I wore business suits.
But then, you're not one of the guys I should be worried about, right? ;) :D

There is no magic devining rod on this issue.
Exactly. There are no absolutes here. All you can do is take an educated guess, with no guarentees.

BillCA
April 17, 2008, 11:18 PM
Exactly. There are no absolutes here. All you can do is take an educated guess, with no guarentees.

Precisely correct. As you go through your daily life you make educated guesses about all manner of things. Including whether or not someone deserves a little closer look or may be a higher safety risk.

My goal was to find out if anyone had specific criteria that would set off their alarms. If I'm in my local mom & pop grocery store and the guy ahead of me is fidgety, I do a quick check. Are his actions because he's in a hurry and the person at the counter is slow? Are his actions due to maybe needing the restroom? Any conspicious bulges around the waist? Pockets? However, my alarms will be jangling if he has tattoos on the back of his neck or all over his arms.

Profiling? Stereotyping? Sure. Experience says that criminals tend to dress a certain way. Few muggings are committed by perpetrators wearing a Hart Shaffner and Marx suit. And I'd guess it is fairly rare for a liquor store to be robbed by a man in a tuxedo. This doesn't mean every young male wearing baggy clothes is going to be a criminal or a gangbanger. But given a choice between watching a pair of 22 year olds, one wearing slacks, dress shoes and a polo shirt and one wearing baggy clothing and a hoodie... yeah, Mr. Wannabe bad-boy gets more looks. If only because the baggies might better conceal a weapon.

Wildalaska
April 17, 2008, 11:30 PM
Let's assign this a points system: 80-100 points puts you in condition red, 60-80, orange, and so on.

Location: Upscale mall in Upper Arlington, Ohio = 1 point. Certain areas in East Cleveland, OH = 9 points.

Time of day / Lighting: High noon = 2 points. Well lit area at night = 4 points. Dark or poorly lighted urban area = 8 points.

Clothing: Business suit = 2 points. Hoodie with gang graffiti on it = 9 points.


Caps invented the..................

HINKYMETER!!!! (TM!!!)

Like in...So I was walking along the Brooklyn docks at 3:30 am when all of a sudden my HINKYMETER TM hit a thousand as I spied the alien looking lizard feeding on a bum........

or

As I walked into Wolfgang Puck's for Brunch, my HINKYMETER TM was on -2 as I spied all the beautiful people...Hey Mick, great tour, muaaaah buddy, Brittney's waiting for me, ta ta


WildthehellwithcolourconditionsthatsninjathehinkymeterTMisscientificAlaska TM

Boris Bush
April 18, 2008, 10:05 AM
BillCA

Would you expect a woman holding a baby to rob a store? It happend just a week or two ago.

Its ok to look out for the ones most likely, but if someone walks into the stop and rod in a tuxedo...... That is out of place! A thug looking kid is not out of place in a stop and rob.

Criminals are crafty and every person needs assessing, not the way they dress or look.

Not one person here knows exactly how it will go down if they ever have the displeasure. If they think the badguy will stand squared off at 7 yards and let you lay it to him without moving while you stand in the open and place your shots perfectly, then thats too bad. For the few that have most will tell you it went nothing like they thought it would or ever practiced for.

Since this is a "family" oriented sight I will not even get into my first time, because war is a little different than civilian defense. What I will say is The "scenario" was not ever practiced or even one would not think it could go down like it did. What gets you through it all is situational awareness. Know where you are going, where is your next available cover, use the fundamentals and violence of action is all that will save you. When you decide to use lethal force you can not doddle around and think about it.......... Get the job done or be a victim.

Point of my post. Do not label certain "groups" as non threatening, it will come back and bite you in the butt in the end if you don't

The Tourist
April 18, 2008, 11:13 AM
Point of my post. Do not label certain "groups" as non threatening, it will come back and bite you in the butt in the end if you don't

And it's well said. In fact, I think it ranks up there with racial profiling as not only being fundamentally racist, but patently erroneous. You cannot even use it as a barometer, defending it by stating it's "usually true." While you're busy in condition orange with the guy in baggy pants, the mafia mechanic sipping a demitasse blows your head off.

And we all know it's true.

The most decorated soldier of WWII shouldn't have even been a soldier. Audie Murphy was both too young and too short to pass qualifications.

The most dangerous man on my turf of Milwaukee wore a suit that cost more than my Dad's car.

The most dangerous biker I know is 63 years old--and is on heart medication.

The sharpest knife I own has a blade of 1.5 inches.

My wife chews the bullseyes out of targets with an old Charter Arms Bulldog .44 SPL. Except for her's being nickel plated, it's the same model as the Son of Sam's.

My current motorcycle has its roots in 1936. Unless you have a Hayabusa, I wouldn't drag race it.

There might not be Angels who are CMA, but there are CMA who used to be Angels. I would respect all of those Bible-bangers, just in case.

My point is that stereotypes shouldn't even be stereotypes. There never is an archetypical type of anything. There's only one Brett Favre, there's only one Sonny Barger. And clinging to some hacked article in a gun rag is never, ever going to keep you safe.

There's a very good reason why people say that your brain is the most dangerous weapon.