Moderator: Van Canna
Situational awareness is an over-used phrase. Without specific education about the things you need to be aware of it's only words. Meaningless.
For this type of crime, what you are looking for are patterns of motion. You’re looking for groups moving purposefully together; groups that cease talking and laughing and split up after spotting a mark; the patterns of a pincer movement or triangulation; staged loitering, where people lounge against walls, but with unusual separation, so that when you walk past they are perfectly staged, one in front of you and one or more behind.
Sometimes, in neighborhoods with experience of gang violence or where a violent group is creating trouble, you can read the flow of other people. As a rule of thumb, if you’re in an unfamiliar place and all the natives clear the street, you might want to think about it as well.
If you become the center of a Group Monkey Dance (GMD) it is hard to overstate the level of danger. The safest of the variations is the simple group mugging for cash. There’s no value in excessive damage and the bloodier the crime the more it gets investigated.
But if any member of the group is insecure and senses a loss of control he will explode into violence. Emotions being contagious, the rest of the group will likely join in. The damage can be horrific. None of the other variations are better.
There are four tactics that I have known to prevent a Group Monkey Dance. Three require special abilities.
The most obvious and the easiest was an act of such overwhelming violence that it shocks and scares the group. An officer and friend stopped a riot in a jail by walking into the module, grabbing the largest of the rioting inmates, spinning him in the air and slamming him into the ground. Not many people can snatch up a 240-pound man and lift him overhead.
The second is to make the threats laugh. That’s hard to do. Don’t count on it. The things that make a group of people who enjoy hurting others laugh are not the same things that tickle audiences in nightclubs. This will not work if the GMD was triggered by betrayal or a perceived betrayal.
The third tactic is to increase either the doubt or the danger level. If the threats know that you are armed, it raises their risk. Looters in major disturbances famously avoid armed premises in favor of unarmed. I generally don’t advocate ever showing a weapon, except perhaps in this case. Like any time that you show a weapon, if the threat display doesn’t work, you will almost certainly have to use the weapon or it will be taken away and used against you.
People who have allies, back-up or a reputation for fighting all raise the risk. People who do not respond like victims, who stay unusually calm or act strangely increase the doubt. Neither of these will matter in betrayal or some random acts of group violence but they might dissuade a group lacking in confidence without a personal issue with you, the victim.
The fourth and most effective tactic is to get the hell out of there. Run.
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