Blending In: The Secret to Keeping The Target Off Your Back

 

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It’s no secret that there are predatory people in our society. Whether they are driven by poverty, or are sociopathic in nature, it’s a simple mathematical probability that you will eventually run into these people in your life. They choose their victims in a way that is not unlike predators in the animal kingdom. They are often ruthlessly efficient at sniffing out weaknesses, and sensing when you’re off your guard.

While many of the strategies below were originally tailored for urban areas, rural scenes have their fair share of sketchy trailer parks, rest stops, and dive bars. As the sun sets on America’s affluent lifestyle, it will become more likely that you’ll find yourself in the company of desperate and dangerous people, no matter where you live. Learning to spot predatory individuals and make yourself an undesirable target, is easily transferred from one scenario to another with the proper adjustments. There’s only one rule that is universal in avoiding any violent situation. Check your pride at the door.

Anyone in the Prepper community who has gone through the forums and comments of any survival website, knows what I’m talking about. Some people are eager to fight and prove themselves for all the wrong reasons (many of them will become a problem for you if the system breaks down). They often lose sight of the term “survival” and focus on “glory”. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are, it rarely takes one punch to win, and it seldom takes one shot to put someone down. Most fights turn into a kind of, blow by blow attrition until one person submits. No one, no matter how good of a fighter they are, gets out of a confrontation without getting hurt. It’s up to you to chose your battles carefully, and the best strategy is to not get into a fight in the first place. If of course, it can be avoided.

Now that that’s out of the way, lets discuss some strategies you can easily recognize. Body language in particular. It’s often said, that when you’re in a bad neighborhood you need to act confident. You need to walk straight and keep your eyes on your surroundings. Don’t ever stop to twiddle with your cell phone. Nobody gets mugged more often these days, then someone who has all of their awareness siphoned into a portable, expensive gadget. Another red flag for criminals, is if you appear to be lost (especially if you’re a tourist). To a predator, being lost means you’re awareness is no longer in your immediate vicinity, but inside your mind as you struggle to recall the directions. They may also wait for you to pull out your cell phone and lose even more awareness.

Another aspect of body language is eye contact. It’s the surest way to prove to people in your vicinity, that you are in fact aware. The eye contact shouldn’t be too strained though. Depending on cultural context, extended eye contact is often a sign of aggression (if you’re traveling to another country, always research the body language of the locals). The best thing to do is to make brief eye contact and continue to scan your surroundings, and occasionally look over your shoulder as well to show you have awareness in all directions.

One of the more underrated aspects of body language, is in your walking gait. In a study conducted back in 1981, researchers with a hidden camera filmed pedestrians walking through a bad neighborhood over the course of several days. They then visited a prison and showed the footage to various inmates who had been convicted of assault or murder (wouldn’t you just be thrilled to find out you were filmed and shown to convicts?). They were asked to rate on a scale of 1-10, how easy they felt it would be to attack each person they saw in the film. While the elderly were chosen more often than not, certain body language markers stood out across gender and age boundaries. They found that:

“The typical victim as perceived by the criminal respondents in this study would have either a long or a short stride, but not a medium stride…This typical victim would probably move his or her body so that body weight would shift laterally, diagonally, or with an up/down movement… In terms of whole body movement, the typical victim would move unilaterally, one side at a time, rather than contralaterally, moving left arm and right leg and then right arm and left leg. (Even those victims who did move contralaterally combined this movement with upper and lower body parts moving against each other rather than moving together.) Finally, the victim would tend to lift his or her feet while walking rather than using a more fluid swing movement.”

If you have a hard time imagining yourself walking in the way that’s described above, you probably walk like a normal person, and that’s exactly what you want to go for. A level, medium stride with symmetrical movements of the arms and legs, swinging your feet rather than plodding them up and down. Again, it’s very similar to how a predator chooses a victim in the wild. They scan for any signs of weakness, illness, or injury amongst the herd. The easiest way to spot that from a safe distance, is to observe how their victims move.

Outside of how aware you are and how you carry yourself, there is the matter of how you dress. You want to look similar to the local color, but you must take care with your choices. Choose drab colors, nothing flashy. This will help you avoid the mistake of choosing gang colors, which by their nature, tend to be flashy and noticeable. It goes without saying you shouldn’t wear anything that indicates wealth or status, but you wouldn’t want to go in the other direction either. Wearing something incredibly shabby and worn out, might give you the appearance of being homeless, who are often targeted for reasons other than wealth.

All in all, when you find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings, don’t stand out. Dress down, walk normally (if you don’t know how to do that, then I don’t know what to tell you), be aware, let the people around you know you’re aware, and of course, check your pride at home. If there is a way out of a fight, like fleeing or given out a decoy wallet, do it. I said it once and I’ll say it again. Nobody wins a fight without getting hurt. If you plan to defend your belongings, it’d better be worth the possibility of serious injury or the unfortunate legal ramifications of defending yourself.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 19th, 2014
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  • slobotnavich

    I suggest this guy move to an area in which carry permits are easily obtainable, of which SanFran isn’t one. It’s no accident that in all such areas of our country in which carry permits are readily available (which is the great majority now) street crime has dramatically fallen.

  • John Washburn

    I had a high degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do outline self defense to his students.
    1) If you can run, walk, hobble or crawl away faster than an attacker then you have succeeded in self-defense. His point here is there is no “winning” like in sparring. there is only survival.
    2) The order is vital. First run, then walk, then hobble, then crawl. While Master Cho would not put it this way: First and foremost be Brave Sir Brian and run away.
    3) If you do engage, then be swift enough and brutal enough to do enough damage that you can then run away.

    Everything he taught on self defense led to the end goal: Run Away.

    This from a guy who taught marines new fighting techniques in the mid ’70s.

    And the one time a knife was drawn on me in anger, I ran away by back pedaling to the nearby strip mall and never taking my eyes off the guy with the knife.

    • Jay_Sherman

      Knihgurs can run really fast….. you can’t out-run them.

  • 1stworlder

    The most important thing to do if attacked by a pack of blacks is move off the X. Blacks score lowest in spatial orientation so moving is like playing a video game against people with bad video cards, as they are not smart enough to adjust their attacks. They will even hit their fellow attackers by mistake.

  • Alger Hiss

    It is certainly true that even winners of fights don’t get out without some degree of injury. That’s why I don’t bother with fighting, although it’s my first instinct (thanks to years of locker room and barracks life). My last fight was 16 years ago in Memphis while walking back to my hotel from Beale Street. Three negroes accosted me, and though I got out of it with my stuff and my pride, I was probably too eager to fight than flee. I received no trophy for my “victory” and no accolades. I could have easily been killed.

  • Rogoraeck

    & mostly carry a Magnum 44 SW at all time!

  • Patriot1

    I don’t get messed with, I’m a big guy. I’m 6 foot and 185 pounds, trim and fit. I often wear camouflage and I have a Grizzly Adams beard to go along with a menacing sneer. I’m a formidable opponent to any street thug. And if that isn’t enough, I pack a derringer in my pocket, just in case. Punks tend to steer clear of me, I’ve noticed it.

  • Dietter Konig

    People in fact can and DO fight and not get hurt. Krause should write about topics he has scintilla of knowledge about and stfu about things he’s thoroughly ignorant about.

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