Why write about this now?
I’ve just finished wading through the Manchester Arena Bombing Inquiry findings and the conclusions were a catalogue of disasters and poor practices. Additionally, those conclusions confirmed our ‘professional’ thoughts about what went wrong and why.
Dictionary Def: The practice of categorizing people and predicting their behavior according to particular characteristics such as race or age and crime statistics.
Profiling for security and self defense purposes is frowned upon by many as it’s considered xenophobic, racially and religiously biased, age and gender dependent, and visually selective in it’s methodology to decide if a person is, or could be, a threat.
However, bad training and poor conclusions during real life scenarios does tend to indicate that many operatives only use stereotyped profiles and ‘tick list’ templates in their assessments. Thus it can cause problems in our ‘multicultural population’ as profiling can appear focused more at ethnic minority groups.
Survivalists and prepper’s usually talk in terms of situational awareness when assessing threat, i.e. what you see, what’s going on, what you need to be aware of, and how to react in different scenarios. Wrap it up anyway you like but if a person is involved, that’s profiling.
As for gun owners?
Most responsible gun owners who carry will know about Colonel Jeff Cooper’s 4 Levels of Situational Awareness, and most of them will use profiling in their threat assessment.
So what’s my basic format when profiling?
- That starts with an overall view on what is happening around me.
- Then it’s “What’s wrong with this picture?”
- What has made someone the focus of my attention?
Here I’m referring more to their body language.
- Are they known to me?
If yes, is this normal behavior for them?
If it is, is this a telegraph of ‘danger’?
- Is this person exhibiting signs of drugs, drink, anger, or mental illness?
i.e. Are they aware, unsteady, getting physical, or loud.
- Are they smelly i.e. From drink or drugs?
- Are they of military age and/or ‘capable’ of causing harm?
- Are they armed? (See post Can’t you see I’m carrying)
- Do they fit a typical example of a troublemaker?
((And this is where it gets ‘sticky’ for everyone who disagrees with profiling because I do take in the persons attire, their age, race, possible religion, cultural differences, and what language they are using)).
- Have they ‘picked (targeted me)‘ from the masses and are heading in my direction.
- If I make distance, do they attempt to close that distance?
- Can I see their hands?
- Can I see their point of focus with their eyes?
- What is their body language telegraphing?
- This is an emotive one as well and concerns my training in counter terrorism and in particular PBIED’s. (Person Borne Improvised Explosive Devices).
Do they tick enough boxes on the ‘How to spot a body bomber?’ aka the Israeli list.
After many years of profiling, this is automatic for me to a degree that I’m not often consciously aware I’m doing it. However, if something is visually wrong, or I sense something isn’t right, I usually ‘alarm up’.