What Will You Work On In 2020?

With the recent church shooting in White Settlement, TX  being so clearly videoed, it's hard for me not to dwell on it and wonder what I would have done. Not what could have been done differently, after all, hindsight is 20/20 and we're not afforded that clarity in the heat of the moment. My worries are whether my skills would keep myself and others safe or would I be target number one?

Despite all my training and experience, I still question my skill levels. I'm not sure if questioning one's skill level is a good quality or a bad quality. No matter what you do, always envision success.

1. Be perceptive and aware.
The word prejudice, unfortunately, has negative implications but the definition simply means to prejudge. It can be said that your motivations or actions were caused by "prejudice."

If you do not prejudge everything and everyone who enters your immediate area you could end up surprised or even dead. When my son Colton decided to get a full sleeve tattoo on his arm we cautioned him that he may be "prejudged" as dangerous or undesirable. It happens. 

We need to look at everyone and everything and decide if it fits in our environment. Until we verify what our instincts have detected, even if incorrectly, we keep eyes on, create distance or simply avoid what we do not understand. Avoidance is not always an option. Watch facial expressions. Eyes and hands are a great start. 

2. A knife and the will to survive.
It's not common that I go anywhere without a gun. When I do, at the very least, I have a knife and the will to cerinosurvive. The mind is the weapon and all else is supplemental. Tools are great to have and can increase chances of survival but if you don't know how to get them into the fight or how to use them proficiently, they can induce false courage. 

Over the years, I have heard the saying the "will beats skill" and I believe it. Having the will to survive is important. Having vivid and violent imagination is necessary. In law enforcement, it can be determined in many cases that what is believed to be excessive force was quite often too little force repeatedly applied. 

What is the desired result? Escape? End the assault? Do not play patty cake when life is on the line.

If you carry a knife, gun, and flashlight... know how to use them. Even a flashlight used properly before an attack can deter a predator. Who carries a flashlight and has the courage to tell someone to "stop right there?" Generally, someone who has prepared and is concerned about their survival.

3. Physical skills and fitness matter.
Run, run, run away and live to fight another day. Perceptive folks may be afforded the option to retreat before bad things transpire. Running requires physical fitness and so does fighting. If you can't get away or are caught off guard, do you have fitness and skills to go hands-on?

Avoidance is preferred before fighting, cutting or shooting but do you know what to do with a tiger once you have it by the tail? Have you ever thought about what you would do with a handful of knife that's trying to cut you? Hang on tight and deliver knee strikes or head butts. You are likely to be cut but you don't have to die.

On the wrong end of a gun but not close enough to grab it? Would you feign sheer terror to close the gap or create a distraction to draw?

Once you are close enough, violence is required. Redirect the muzzle, control it and deliver counter-attacking blows. Don't be misinformed thinking that every gun situation will allow you to counter with your gun immediately. It may be a fight before any shots can be fired.

4. Good people just don't think like dirtbags. 
If you don't think like a deviant, how do you defend against one? If you've never thought about how you could kill everyone in a room, you could end up being a victim to someone who is going to kill everyone in the room. Know escape routes, choke points and weaknesses in the locations you frequent. Even in your home! 
I don't go to a formal church but you can bet your life that when I do, I look at everyone and everything that could affect my survival. From trampling herds of sheeple to potential allies in the room... I'm playing the game of chess and intend to be a move, or two, ahead.

5. Be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
It's an old saying but you should "be polite, be kind but have a plan to kill everyone you encounter." You don't have to look tough to be a formidable opponent. If I enter a room with the intent to terrorize it, I'm going to scan it for potential roadblocks. Yes, you should be aware and vigilant, but you don't have to appear as such. 

Tipping your hand by dressing like your armed could be more harmful than helpful. Becoming target number one won't allow you to defend yourself or those you care about even more than yourself. 

Walking down Michigan Avenue in Chicago is a lot different than sitting on an airplane. In Chi-Town, I want to look vigilant and pose a "hardened target" appearance. On an airplane, I just want to blend in so, if anything does happen, I have time to calculate, develop a plan of attack and perhaps take action.

So much could be said...
You really shouldn't be going anywhere that causes you to think "I should take my gun." Of course, we couldn't even go to church anymore if that were a simple truth. Violence can erupt in the most unlikely of locations... and it does.

Think about what you will do to be better prepared in the Roaring Twenties. I intend to roar like a lion if necessary but mostly I'll try to fit in as required... and identify those who don't.  
I hope to see many of you again in the new year! ~ Chris

Chris Cerino
Chris is a 28 year veteran of law enforcement. He has been a SWAT member, Federal Agent and more, but mostly he has always been a trainer. He trains internationally, competes regularly and works in the firearms industry in a wide variety of positions.