Today’s “Tale from the Mog” is brought to you by the letter “A”, as in “Act Like the Natives”.
Just about everyone is familiar with the Survival Acronym:
S – Size up the Situation U – Undue Haste Makes Waste R – Remember Where You Are V – Vanquish all Fear I – Improvise V – Value Living A – Act like the Natives L – Learn Basic Survival Skills
When one frequents dangerous areas on a regular basis, they tend to get relaxed or become complacent. Unfortunately I speak from experience on this. This is especially true if they haven’t had a bad situation in a long time. Its human nature and we’re all prone to complacency. Today I want to talk briefly about the consequences of ignoring the survival rule of “Acting like the Natives” (or at least making yourself not stick out like a sore thumb as badly).
Recently, a business acquaintance of mine let complacency creep up on him. He knows and travels from time to time the same areas that I do. He’s a well-established person, who drives a nice vehicle. (I’d like to add that he’s a hard worker that came from blue collar beginnings. Heck of a great guy.)
To paint the background, in this particular high threat urban area, the only “nice cars” are driven by drug dealers, (everyone in the neighborhood knows to leave them alone so they have “protection”), OR the guys who drive nice cars that are just passing through. Unfortunately my business acquaintance has neither the support of the neighborhood to leave him alone, nor was he “just passing through”. He could have driven into the guarded parking lot, but for what reason? He was just popping in and popping out.
A couple minute stop at one of his vendors left his vehicle looking like the picture above. Luckily, the criminals were good enough at their task to get it all done before he came around the corner, so no confrontation happened. I wish I would have been able to see the look on his face when he realized how quickly he had went in, and came right back out, only to find his huge SUV on blocks.
In my acquaintances’ case, if he was using his brain he could have driven his work truck instead that day. Of course that truck is an older model, that doesn’t have heated seats and a premium sound system. (Ahh the creature comforts . . . ). But never the less, his “Nice Car” had nice rims, and wasn’t on the “protected list” in that hood . . . so he was open season.
“So his rims were stolen right? So who cares, that’s what insurance is for!” Yeah, until the guy that wants your Sh*t isn’t after rims, he’s after wallets, and doesn’t like being recognized so he’s willing to shoot you in the face for $10 bucks . . . . closed casket funeral . . . Just say’n. And no, having a gun isn’t a secret squirrel insurance policy that trumps getting mugged. Sometimes BOTH the criminal and the victim get shot.
Am I saying that I have to dress like a complete homeless person or drive an early 80’s Chevette? No (well, actually during a SHTF time, it’s not the worst idea depending on the situation), but it does mean that I should try and take a hard look at myself through the eyes of the people I come in contact with.
“WTF do I care what someone else thinks?” I get the attitude and the point, BUT, what someone else thinks influences their actions, and in a high crime urban area, actions are everything. If the locals in the area have a tough time getting their next meal, or have trouble keeping bed bugs off their kids at night . . . when my acquaintance roles through the “hood” in his “baller-mobile” he looks like a Thanksgiving Dinner on wheels to some folks. Not saying it’s right. It’s just the way it is.
What I drive, to the way I dress, to what comes out of my mouth says volumes to those in high crime areas, especially as to who I am and what I have that someone may want. I know I can’t change everything about myself just to go to a bad area . . . but being cognizant of that truth is the first step to “BLENDING” with the people around me. I can minimize the “stuck out like a sore thumb” appeal that some folks broadcast by not doing, wearing or saying things that draw attention to myself.
One day you might see me in what looks like a top level executive meeting dressed for the part (although I’m not that important), but the next day when I’m in “the Mog” you’ll find me dressed down and not be able to tell me apart from the road crew putting out caution barrels. I dress for the occasion. I dress for the location. I don’t dress like a bum, but I don’t appear to be carrying large sums of cash either.
“Acting like the natives”, or looking like an average Joe (no pun intended as that is my handle here), gets glossed over in the “survival & prepping” community because the focus is on running for the hills in some wilderness retreat tucked deep rural ‘murica’. It’s something that’s talked about in case you’re ever “over-seas”. But the reality is that it’s applicable right here in the good ol’ USA.
Either way, the concept of “Acting like the natives” should get more attention in the “survival community”.
P.S. “The Natives” refers only to the SURVIAL ACRONYM and to no specific cultural, racial, or community other than that of a local area that is different than yours and is riddled with high crime. Criminals come in all different races, sizes and intelligence capacities.