Photography and Your Personal Safety..

Be aware of your surroundings!.

It seems like something you shouldn’t have to tell someone looking at their environment for some really good pictures, right?

Every now and then you come across a topic or a bit of information too valuable to keep to yourself.   I’ve had a lifelong history with violence, and yet I do not consider myself violent, nor do those around me.  I’m not a recreational drug user, but recently I had someone ask, “Dude, are you a stoner?  You are just too laid back.”

For me this was shocking, usually I’m so keyed up and mobile, I make myself nervous.  But today I wanted to relay some old information that I rediscovered only recently, and it makes it well worth passing along.

I don’t like violence, but it is an essential tool.  When it is used, there will be repurcussions.  To me, the first thing that happened when I was spit out in the hospital is, the doctor slapped me on the bottom.  I like to live the rest of my life not getting hit and doing my best not to hit others.

In the past three weeks I have been indirectly exposed to two intentional shootings, one, an attempted murder in a set of circumstances that made national headlines, and the other involving a manhunt still ongoing, where the victim was shot, then a witness was murdered after the fact, some people say, “to prove a point.”

First things first, I do not believe anyone can look at a situation and say, “If so-and-so had done this…”  Monday morning quarterbacking…, you’ve had it happen and you know just how dumb it makes the other person look.  If you weren’t there, you have no idea what happened and you are now trying to construct your own reality.  Not exactly the best gauge for what took place.  I am a firm believer that some people have bad things happen to them just because they are human.  Not in the moment, have their minds somewhere else… You get the point.  Violence can occur anywhere, at anytime, with little or no notice.  SWAT teams call this “dynamic entry” due to the rapid loud, violent disorienting nature, it makes for a very effective wake-up call, and usually ends the situation in a matter of seconds rather than hours.

The story of violence is deep, shocking and usually leaves a long string of victims in its wake.  A newspaper article doesn’t cover exactly how devastating the impact of one act of violence can be.  I came across a book recently called, “The Little Black Book of Violence:  What Every Young Man Needs To Know About Fighting” (Kane/Wilder 2009, approx. $25).  This is a book I would strongly recommend for anyone with teenager stepping out into the “real” world.  A word of warning, the graphics and some of the language would probably offend the prurient, but the information it passes along is definitely life-saving.  One of the most useful tools the book passes along is the use of an unarmed variation Jeff Cooper’s Color Code, not to be confused with the Homeland Security color code.  The rundown:

Condition White:  (Oblivious)A person attacked while he or she is in this mode is probably going to be seriously injured or die.  You’ve seen people in this mode, I’ve been there myself, the guy on the train so wrapped up in his phone/laptop he doesn’t even look up to see who got on the train or off, is still fighting the previous argument with girlfriend/boyfrind/spouse, not even looking at how many people are around them, etc.  You’ve heard the term “sucker punch”.  Guess where it came from?

Condition Yellow:  (Aware) A relaxed state of awareness.  No particular threat is identified, but you are at least looking at the people and the areas around you knowing where an attack or an attacker could be.

Condition Orange:  (Alert) A more heightened state of awareness, a specific location or individual has been identified as a potential source of violence and should get a little more attention and mental preparation than the innocuous and safe parts of your environment.

Condition Red:  (Concerned)  Now a potential adversary has been identified and is in a position to harm you or someone you’re with.  Exactly how should you respond?  How far are you legally allowed to respond?  What are the repurcussions if you react immediately?  What are the moral implications?

This book addresses those topics and so many more.  Well worth the time for a very graphic, but easy read.

Pay attention to your surroundings!

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  1. One of my daily rituals, especially as a woman, is to always be aware of my surroundings! Watching, listening, smelling, and using that 6th sense always makes Trisha a Happy Girl and gets me through my day!
    Great post! Very interesting stuff!

  2. Rachel Robinson

    That book sounds like must read! We always need to be aware of what is going on around us. More importantly we need to be prepared to respond appropriately to the situation.

    Leadership Is A Choice

  3. Excellent post. I am getting that book for myself and for my nieces and nephews who are entering “the real world”. I work at a homeless shelter for families that is 4 blocks from where I live. The neighborhood changes dramatically in that 4 blocks. Also, the children that I work with, though adorable to look at, often come from a violent or troubled world. It can be easy to forget. I need to be ready to face that. Sometimes they “pretend” to kill each other when they are playing and angry. Some days I come to work and there are tears as a relative was killed in violence. Facing reality is important.
    Sonya Lenzo

  4. Thanks for the article. I tend to ‘live’ in code white, either so focused on what I am doing that I don’t pay attention to my surroundings, or so un-focused on everything that I don’t pay attention to my surroundings. This might seem obvious after the last sentence, but I never really noticed how little attention I gave! Thanks for pointing that out, I think it is important that I work on that.

  5. EXCELLENT Post!!! I wish you had a link to where to purchase the book as I think it could prove to be extremely valuable to my nephews – ages 10 & 11 – thanks for the warning about the graphic nature of the book, I have their mom ( my sis ) take a look at it first – or I might be escalated to Condition Red.

  6. What a great post, and great use of Jeff Cooper’s color code system. I’m a big Jeff Cooper fan and wish I had attended his courses at Gunsite while he was alive.
    Everyone should take your advice. Violence happens fast and unexpectedly. Be prepared.
    “Fighting is not a mood thing. You fight when you have to and not when you feel like it.” – Gurney Halleck, Dune (Paraphrased)

    Steve C

  7. I must admit that I had never heard of Jeff Cooper’s color code system or anything like that. It’s a good advice! What I have noticed is that depending of where I am in my city or in which country I am travelling my awarness concerning danger changes drastically.

  8. Sounds like an interesting book.

    I got a lot of similar surroundings training in the military during my anti-terrorism training. It comes in very handy sometimes.

    Will definitely have to seek out the book. Thanks!


  9. It’s even worse to be directly exposed to gun violence. And it does “leave a long string of victims in its wake” which takes months, if not years, of therapy to deal with.

    Your post information is very important to everyone today.

    Peggy Larson

  10. great post. Trisha has a point where you tend to have to take notice of your surroundings and simply be aware. I always called it being street smart and everyone should have some level of that know-how.

    jennifer battaglino

  11. We should all pay attention around us. good stuff

  12. This is a great post. Could save a life.
    Kevin Hogan

  13. Being more aware on any and all levels is a worth while goal.

  14. Dewayne, you bring up a valid point where one should watch their surroundings no matter where one is. Thanks for the idea of the book.
    Scott Sylvan Bell

  15. Hi Dewayne,

    I was just doing some photography this morning and yes, surroundings and how I framed the images being photographed by me I just knew really mattered. Looking forward to learning more about photography from you, Dewayne.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    <a href="

  16. Excellent blog, good to get out of ‘business / sales’ mode occasionally and focus on life in general, thanks Dewayne!

    Be cool, be ecofriendly

  17. On a daily basis I am truly amazed at how many people just amble their way around in a self induced stupor with no idea at all what is going on around them. The book you recommend, “The Little Black Book of Violence: What Every Young Man Needs To Know About Fighting” sounds like a must read for everyone…including women.

    Yours In Health!

    G.E. Moon II