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Old July 13, 2013, 08:22 AM   #1
HeadHunter
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Mindset

Mindset is often mentioned in the context of personal protection. However, it’s usually either discussed in a philosophical way or reduced to an incomplete discussion about the Color Codes of Awareness. Since mindset is something that will generally be exercised by the subconscious mind, long theoretical and philosophical treatises are of limited value in training it. A more succinct list such as Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense is probably more retainable by most people. Even his list is a little long for an opening discussion.

The NRA Guide to the Basics of Personal Protection In The Home lists these components of mindset:
• values,
• mental techniques, and
• attitude
And a ‘mental preparedness’ list of:
• awareness,
• willingness to use deadly force,
• determination to persevere,
• planning, and
• visualization

If you had to create a bullet list of what mindset consisted of for an interested but untrained group of people, what would the list be? I think that it would have to consist of no more than four or five items.
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Old July 13, 2013, 08:48 AM   #2
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Situational awareness always switched on. Most people today, myself included sometimes, are walking around in a haze. I tend to dial up my SI only when it comes to mind. It should always be in your mind.
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Old July 13, 2013, 03:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
If you had to create a bullet list of what mindset consisted of for an interested but untrained group of people, what would the list be? I think that it would have to consist of no more than four or five items.
I'll have a go at it....

1. Be aware of your surroundings.
Don't be an ultra paranoid nut case, but be aware of the people around you, and really SEE what they are doing.
He's walking his dog...she's smoking a cigarette...she's talking on the cell phone...what is he doing? What is he looking at? Why is he standing there?
Pretend that you're Sherlock Holmes and that you're trying to deduce what everyone is doing and why.

Being aware of your surroundings also means being aware of nearby cover, nearby concealment, places of refuge, and avenues of escape.
A loud group of young men are heading your way coming up the street. You don't want an encounter with them.
Where do you go?
Is that store open?
Can I safely cross the street here?
Is there a side street I can take?
Etc...
Or you see a large dog running loose.
Does it appear mean?
Do you have easy access to your pepper-spray?
Is there a vehicle you could get in or on top of?
Etc...

Being aware will most likely let you avoid getting in to a dangerous situation.

2. Don't panic.
Try to remain calm and collected, and think through the situation.
Make deliberate moves.
If you're thinking "those guys coming my way look kind of scary", move, cross the road now. Do it calmly, but do it NOW.
Don't second guess yourself.

3. Know your local self defense laws!
Try your best to avoid harming others, but know when the situation might warrant deadly force per the law.
It will give you confidence in your decision making.

4. Trust your gut.
If the situation feels wrong, it is wrong.
If you truly believe that your life is in danger, it IS in danger.



What I would not waste time on is the mindset of such things as "taking a human life".
Nothing can prepare you for actually killing another person.
Besides, you don't actually want to kill another person....you want to stop someone from causing you harm, possibly causing your death.
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Old July 13, 2013, 04:12 PM   #4
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Your mindset to a great extent is who you are. It has been said in Police training for decades that complacency kills.
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Old July 13, 2013, 07:08 PM   #5
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peacefulgary's got it.

Practice being aware. You won't develop a mindset by memorizing acronyms and color codes and numercial conditions. Practice all the stuff Gary suggests, everywhere you go.

It doesn't make you paranoid. It makes you aware. That awareness doesn't stop at the "what if..." bad guys and danger points. It also makes you more aware of the positive things - the beautiful scenery, the pretty girls, the great looking cars, the cute animals.


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Old July 19, 2013, 10:58 AM   #6
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Good points

Thank you OP a topic i believe belongs at the forefront of every discussion on tactics. I am sometimes troubled by the apparent callousness of some of my fellow gun owners when talking about self defense situations. (I commend the moderators for keeping that macho attitude in check here) All the points above talk to being prepared and educating oneself before a situation arises. While one can't imagine every scenario I think the definition of a responsible gun owner is one who analyzes and has a plan for the most "typical" ones.

I've told my kids no matter what their academic pursuits may be please take a course in 2 things: finance , cause you'll always end up dealing with money and psyche, cause you're always going to be dealing with people.

this caught my eye from an old thread here and fits in with the "stay calm" point

2. A humble attitude goes a long way. The ***fights both began as arguments between neighbors that escalated. The ### fight started with somebody bumping someone on the street at 2:30am. I wasn't there so I don't know if it would have helped; but I can't help but think that a quick apology would have been a lot more cost effective way of dealing with these situations - even if I didn't feel the other person warranted it. Having a gun on your hip means you really have to put some forethought into your normal interactions with people.
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Old July 19, 2013, 02:48 PM   #7
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Lethal force...

The big problem I think many new gun owners & CC license holders have is understanding the point of lethal force & guns.
Many new gun owners or armed citizens think they can "wound" an attacker or "shoot them but not kill them".
This mindset to me is a serious mistake. If an event calls for a firearm or a "show of force", then you should be fully prepared to use lethal force.
A violent, aggressive felon doesn't care about your politics, your feelings, how many classes you took, or what kind of ammunition you carry.
They are going to see you as a threat and actively try to kill you.

Now, don't twist my words & think Im saying you must kill every subject you have a event with. You can't use excessive force. If a subject gives up, you must hold them until LE gets on scene. If they are wounded or no longer a threat, you can not shoot them until they are dead.
My point is that if you have a loaded firearm for protection, do not be risk adverse or unwilling to deploy lethal force if required.
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Old July 19, 2013, 03:34 PM   #8
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"Balance of speed and precision" or "balance of speed and accuracy"...comes to mind.
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Old July 19, 2013, 04:03 PM   #9
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Jeff Cooper covered it pretty well in "Principles of Personal Defense" about 50 years ago.

You can buy it from Amazon for about $15:

Quote:
The most important means of surviving a lethal confrontation, according to Cooper, is neither the weapon nor the martial skills. The primary tool is the combat mindset, set forth in his book, Principles of Personal Defense. Considered by many to be one of the greatest books on combat mindset and proper defensive mental conditioning ever written
http://www.amazon.com/Principles-Per.../dp/1581604955

I believe there's a PDF of it here:

http://www.twistedwiretactical.com/T...lf_Defense.pdf

Cooper's mind set principles:

Quote:
Principle One: Alertness
Principle Two: Decisiveness
Principle Three: Aggressiveness
Principle Four: Speed
Principle Five: Coolness
Principle Six: Ruthlessness
Principle Seven: Surprise
He also developed a useful and popular color code that describes the escalating levels of alertness, which are part of the chapter on Awareness if I remember correctly:

http://www.policeone.com/police-trai...nal-awareness/
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Old July 19, 2013, 07:18 PM   #10
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Awareness will always be imperfect. No matter how experienced a person, he will always miss some events in his immediate surroundings that could prove important. If you don't believe this, spend a day in the field with someone who is very good, and pay attention to how much he sees, and reacts to that you missed.

Awareness consumes energy that we naturally don't want to invest. To feel complacent and safe is more comfortable, a natural sought state. Neither is a too obvious state of awareness socially acceptable. When people around you perceive your awareness, they will want an explanation, and in most social groups they will not like your explanation. The social norm even after a public slaughter of innocents is to go about the world exactly as they did the day before. After all, they reason, if you change the way you perceive the world, the bad guys have won.

For some of us awareness is a learned response from a bad experience and only a bad experience can create the impetus necessary to foster awareness. Another path to awareness exists. An understanding of the prevalence of some of the less desirable traits of human nature is enough to create awareness. For whatever reason qualities like compassion or empathy are wholly lacking in some individuals, and actively discouraged in some groups and the only trigger required to propel these people into acts of violence is their perception of opportunity and vulnerability. An understanding of human nature creates in and of itself the necessary mindset. When you know utterly that the unexpected action of the stranger on the street can change your life for the worse, you will attend to him.
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Old July 19, 2013, 08:56 PM   #11
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Disadvantage...

Id add that in 90-95% of most armed citizen encounters you'll be at a tactical disadvantage. A aggressor(bad guy) will start the lethal force event & you will need to react. Speed, skill & violence of action will help you prevale in a lethal force encounter but you must have the ability to use force.

I agree with the OODA loop too. This is a training concept taught to US military fighter pilots; Observe, Orintate, Decide, Act.

CF
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Old July 19, 2013, 09:17 PM   #12
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Fancy acronyms, color codes, military sounding terms and decision trees may be cool and all but Grandma said it best "Keep your eyes open, pay attention and let people know what yer made of". I will call it Condition: [buttermilk biscuit]
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Old July 19, 2013, 09:31 PM   #13
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GZ, flashlight...

Not to keep harping on the George Zimmerman event in Sanford FL, but a video of his remarks reminded me of another point.
GZ had 2 flashlights on him when the lethal force event took place but he explained to the criminal investigators that one of his white lights didn't work, .

Along with mindset, it's important to do a quick check of all carry gear & related kit.
A fire-fight or fist-fight is the wrong time to discover something's broken or lost.
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Old July 19, 2013, 10:26 PM   #14
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Too many writers on armed self defense seem to be either some kind of police officer or security agent who can shoot an attacker with few or no ramifications, or someone who makes up a bunch of macho BS.

As some folks have recently found out the hard way, self defense is often not cut and dried. In Old West movies, Fast-draw Fred shoots the guy in the black hat, the sheriff buys drinks all around, and everyone rides off into the sunset. It didn't happen that way even in the Old West, and certainly doesn't happen that way today.

The biggest point of mindset is the mindset to avoid a confrontation if at all possible.

Jim
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Old July 19, 2013, 11:35 PM   #15
ClydeFrog
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True...

There's some truth to that remark but gun & tactics forums can guide a new firearm owner or CC license holder to get the proper skills & equipment to deal with a lethal force event if needed.
There was no website or message board in the 1980s/1990s when I started.

CF
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Old July 21, 2013, 09:46 AM   #16
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Their are a couple different types of adrenaline
-One is pure magic it makes your 6th sense razor sharp, you can analyze options and exploit them in split seconds.
-The other adrenaline makes you shake uncontrollably stumble and hesitate before every movement.

No one really knows how to control them but fear, morale, love emotions all make a difference on which one you will get in a life or death situation.

I read a lot of BS in self defense articles about “mindset” “awareness” written by people that have spent decades sitting in comfortable patrol cars and having 10 people to “back them up” at every confutation. Part of being in a “team” “squad” is morale, they design teams to keep up morale in bad situations, radios “we're right here” colors, lights,
It makes me wonder what would happen to their “mind set” if they were just out there in a dark alley by themselves one night? The attacker might live in the dark alley it is his backyard and home. Would morale fade? without lights and radio?

I think training for many of the special forces and black ops is designed for people to function in dark lonely places and still maintain a positive adrenaline flow in very bad conditions.
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Old July 21, 2013, 11:41 AM   #17
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For me, SA breaks down to a few items on my mental checklist wherever I am:

-Location: How familiar am I with my location and surroundings? Where am I in relation to possible threats and avenues of escape? Is there more than one avenue of escape?

-Cover/concealment: what is available in my immediate vicinity for use as cover and or concealment? What is avilable in my surroundings and along my for use to

-Assistance: Is there adequate and prompt emergency assistance available at my location? Is there cellphone coverage in my location? If I dialed 911, who will likely be sent in response to my request (local LE?...or a county sheriff/state trooper who could be quite a time/distance away? Can I reasonably expect any local civilian assistance if at all?
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I think that one of the notions common to the anti-gunner is the idea that being a victim is 'noble'; as if it is better to be noble in your suffering than disruptive in your own defense.
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Old July 21, 2013, 12:31 PM   #18
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Actually to an earlier response there is much know about emergency and critical issues responses. There aren't different types of adrenaline as a chemical - that's a wrong way to put it.

The current breakdown of responses is:

Fright – Tonic immobility generating parasympathetic overdrive, You are dead and stinky – poop your pants, don’t eat me. Incapable of voluntary action but quickly reversible. Stay in it too long and die the Voodoo death

The idea is that you are unattractive to an animal that wants to kill what it eats. Many emergency works suffer from this kind of stress incontinence.

Fight – full sympathetic overdrive
Hard to control
Suggested mechanism on sympathetic shootings or contagious shootings – FOF can diffuse panicked fighting actgions.


Freeze
– threat not immediate, ventral periaqueductal gray cause ‘attentive immobility – prime for action but trying to hide, hypervigilant

Flight – panic, reason and will power fade, stampedes. Military have overtrained motor routines to avoid. Those who break, lose.

The neural pathways have been worked out for these. The tendency to be prone to one more than the other (although all of us can fall into any one of these and shift between them). There are some indications of personality traits or genetic dispositions for them.

The professional training literature for critical jobs - pilots, LEOs, military, fire, surgeons, med. personnel - is pretty clear that intensive simulation training can separate out those who can't cope and for those who can is very successful. It give a sense of an automatic and fast evaluation of a situation and a good set of fast perceptual and action heuristics.
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Old July 21, 2013, 01:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
There aren't different types of adrenaline as a chemical - that's a wrong way to put it.
Their is actually 2 different types of adrenaline as a chemical Norepinephrine and Epinephrine

Some people have theories that the way these chemicals interact makes the difference between ******* your pants and ripping someones face off. or that one effects the body(heartbeat, respiratory, etc) and the other interacts more with the central nervous system (heightened awareness, fast critical thinking).

To go very deep into it is out of my realm because it turns into nero science, chemistry and biology.

Personally I am more of a bare bones kind of person and usually refer to things like that as loss of heart, morale, etc. But I do believe different adrenaline is real, whether chemical or mental.
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Old July 21, 2013, 02:29 PM   #20
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It's epinephrine and adrenaline and norepinephrine and noradrenaline - they are different in structure.

Also we want to be precise here, using adrenaline as a process isn't really correct.
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Old July 22, 2013, 06:10 AM   #21
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I read an article once regarding the willingness of American soldiers to shoot the enemy. As I recall the figure was around 10% of our soldiers actually aimed at the enemy with the intention of killing them. The others basically fired in the direction of the enemy, or not at all. I'm certain that our all volunteer force averages much better than 10%, but I'm willing to bet that even today with all of their training not all soldiers are mentally prepared to take another's life in combat.

The key is the willingness to take another human beings life. I've talked to folks that have killed others either in combat, or in an act of self defense and they have all agreed on one thing. You're never the same afterward. You have to be mentally prepared to take that massive step in possibly killing another human being when you draw your weapon in an act of self defense. That's something I think would be hard to train for.

The military overcomes it through constant training and developing the sense of protecting the unit rather than the individual. I suppose it is much the same when training to defend one's self, or family. It's all in your mindset and repetitive training. JMHO
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Old July 22, 2013, 09:53 AM   #22
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The figure of how many shoot depends on situational variables. I think, IIRC, modern training gets it up to 50% or more.

A good book if you are a scholar type is Collins' Violence. He goes through the inhibitory and excitatory processes that occur such situations.
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Old July 22, 2013, 06:12 PM   #23
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Posts 16 & 21; On Killing, mindset...

I don't know what post 16 means.
Do they know every TFL forum member on a personal level? Do they know what training, use of force incidents, reports/investigations/review boards etc that they may have gone thru?

As for post 21, Id suggest reading LTC Dave Grossman's On Killing & maybe On Combat.
He goes into detail about military training & mindset(combat conditions).
If you get On Killing, get the 2009 edition.

In critical incidents, it's important to keep breathing, Oxygen helps clear your head & be alert. Keep track of the time too(to document event later).
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Old July 22, 2013, 06:55 PM   #24
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Quote:
The big problem I think many new gun owners & CC license holders have is understanding the point of lethal force & guns.
Many new gun owners or armed citizens think they can "wound" an attacker or "shoot them but not kill them".
This mindset to me is a serious mistake. If an event calls for a firearm or a "show of force", then you should be fully prepared to use lethal force.
A violent, aggressive felon doesn't care about your politics, your feelings, how many classes you took, or what kind of ammunition you carry.
They are going to see you as a threat and actively try to kill you.

Now, don't twist my words & think Im saying you must kill every subject you have a event with. You can't use excessive force. If a subject gives up, you must hold them until LE gets on scene. If they are wounded or no longer a threat, you can not shoot them until they are dead.
My point is that if you have a loaded firearm for protection, do not be risk adverse or unwilling to deploy lethal force if required.
Agreed. I think the bigger problem with the "shoot to wound" mindset is the hesitaion factor.

A more difficult shot, and the urge to preserve the attackers life, potentionally at the expense of your own is counter productive in a SD scenario.

I don't think it makes me macho to say, that should an incident come the point of me having to shoot someone, I'm not concerned with the attackers life at all. My sole concern is preserving my own life and his or hers is in the hands of whatever diety they pray to.

I think my biggest beef with the uninformed and the concept of mindset is that it's to hard or strenuous and it just means someone is paranoid.
I don't see it that way at all. I am a curious person, and I watch people around me and pay attention to my surrondings because I find it intresting. I think a good way to devolope situational awarness is to make sure to note the cool/intresting things you see about you, as well as potential threats and ways to avoid them.

It's like driving at night in a rural area. You stay alert for potential obsticals in or on the side of the road, and thus you spot the doe and her fawn on the verge. You've spotted a potential danger and slowed down to avoid her in case she jumps out in front of you, but you also get to see a pretty animal and her baby and enjoy one of the wonders of nature.

So, I guess my side note on maintaining a good mindset and alertness is that it's not this hard thing to be struggled with. It's a means to be more aware of the world you live in, GOOD and bad.
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Old July 22, 2013, 09:17 PM   #25
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Quote:
Agreed. I think the bigger problem with the "shoot to wound" mindset is the hesitaion factor.
That is more a tactic than a mindset.
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