Triggers . . . Tune it up!

Triggers. . . We all have them.  Things, events, actions which cause a pre-planned/or maybe not planned reaction!  I am talking about tactical, scenario based triggers, once activated these triggers initiate life saving, thought out, planned, trained for, actions.

As a cop, I had two primary goals each day . . .

Primary Goal #1. To ensure my team members were safe from the bad guys and from the brass.

Primary Goal #2.  To return home, intact and with the same volume of vital fluids coursing through my veins as I started with.  (Imagine wearing a stab/bullet resistant vest, everyday, ‘cuz you might need it!)

Some would say these are reversed, #1 should be in #2’s place.  For me and the warrior deputies (there are also, non-warrior deputies) I worked with, we would bleed and sacrifice whatever necessary to ensure each other’s safety.  Some teams were tighter than others.  But the best teams I worked on, had an incredible sense of camaraderie and a team ethic, few will ever have the pleasure to understand or experience.  In my opinion this is the best part of being a cop.  This is what I miss the most.

After that, the secondary goal was to be a complete professional in every action as a law enforcement officer.  This meant writing accurate reports, treating people well (regardless of how they treated me), showing restraint, not taking things personally, making  decisions on the fly, knowing they would be second guessed immediately.

In the interests of Primary Goals #1 and #2, I had a few triggers… pre-assaultive behaviors that, once they were acted out, resulted in my immediate action, the use of words was suspended and “hands on” was on the menu!  One such trigger was, people throwing stuff at me.  For some reason, a segment of society thinks they need to take off their shirt to fight.  Inevitably, they would throw it at me, with the intent to cause a distraction.  Our natural reaction is to watch and catch stuff, when it is thrown at us, taking our eyes and hands out of the fight for a second, or more when factoring in reaction time (half to three quarters of a second, depending on caffeine and Red Bull intake).  One time a guy threw his urine soaked underwear at me. . .  Fortunately for him, there was a city cop between us.

As soon as an item was thrown at me, I rushed the thrower and did a little throwing of my own!  I had to be preemptive!  Knowing a little about human behavior and how people act right before they try to hurt others went a long way in keeping us safe.

As a citizen warrior, what are your triggers?  What are your “if – thens?”  Are you familiar with pre-assaultive behaviors?  Some are obvious, some not as much. . . Here are a few…

  • Red face, teeth clenchedbad guy target
  • Veins popping in neck
  • Inability to stand still
  • Standing very still
  • Fixed gaze, looking “through” you, or other strange eye movement
  • Trying to get behind you, or out of your line of sight
    • Especially true for those playing the “knock out game”, they knock out strangers with a “sucker punch” – 360 degree awareness is imperative!  Know what is in your bubble.
  • Being too familiar, to get close, within range to strike
  • Inability to respond verbally
  • Hyper respiration
  • Sweating
  • Darting eye movement – looking for escape route, for after they attack
  • Involuntary hand movements to waistband, could be checking, adjusting a weapon

Develop “if-thens”!

  • If he pulls a gun in this bank – Then I will hit the floor, behind concealment/cover if possible.  I will be the best witness, because I am ready to identify his height/weight/race/clothing colors, etcglock
  • If he starts to shoot people – Then I will shoot, from cover, aiming at center mass.
  • If he asks for money – Then I will give/not give, as I watch his hands and don’t let him get behind me.
  • If he comes at me – Then I will use this pen to strike his eyes and throat (I recommend carrying a Zebra F701)
  • If he gets any closer in this dark alley – Then I will turn, confront and tell him to stop, If he does not, I will spray/shock/shoot him.
  • If I can not get to my gun – Then I will use my hands, feet, elbows, forearms, Zebra 701 pen, to destroy his sight, airway, groin – this will allow me to live, run and/or get to a longer distance weapon.
  • If I am attacked – I will win, I will survive, I will fight until I see Saint Peter and The  Pearly Gates!
  • If my door is kicked open – Then I will procure a weapon, seek a hiding place, call 911 and prepare to fight.

I say fight, instead of “defend myself” because I want you to have the mindset of, “This is

war cry- 300 my house, I will fight, viscously, to protect myself and those I love!”  Instead of a cowering, merely “defending against his blows” mindset… NO!!  It is a War Cry, On Like Donkey Kong, Open a Can of Whup-Ass, How Dare You Kick My Door, 100 Percent Commitment, You Just Made a Huge Mistake, King Kong’s Got Nothing on Me,  You May Walk In- But You Will NOT Walk Out,  moment!!   Successfully defending against violence, requires violence.  Most predators, when confronted with violence, run away.  They need victims to act like good victims and simply cower.  When an intended victim turns out to be a warrior (or act like one) it is no longer worth it, a predator has too much to lose, if you win!

Another, less tactical/more reactionary trigger, was any suggestion that I was weak . . . or soft, a cop’s world is a tough place, maybe even a little macho!  One night shift, one of my warrior co-workers, we will call him “Johnny” asked me, “Hey, do you moisturize?”  I instantly reacted, “What did you just say to me?”  Johnny said, ” No, seriously, do you moisturize, you know, do you  use a light or oil free moisturizer on your face?”  Of course I didn’t.  I had never heard of a dude, doing such a thing.  Johnny talked long into the night about the benefits of moisturizing,  it was our “Friday Night”, so I told him I would look into it on our days off.  It is important to add, Johnny is a tall, dark and strikingly handsome fellow.  Moisturizing seemed to be one of his beauty secrets.

The next week, he asked, “So did you pick up some moisturizer over days off?”  I told him no, I didn’t get just moisturizer… “The gal at the Clinique counter set me up with a 4 step regimen, involving exfoliating, washing, scruffing, and finally moisturizing!”  It cost me $150!!  Thanks a lot Johhny!

I have more stories about this “Johnny”. . .

Watch your 6!



Do you have other Pre-Assaultive behaviors to add?  If-thens?  Share them below!!  I would love to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Triggers . . . Tune it up!

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