Atmospherics, and situational awareness.



I’m sure most of you know what situational awareness is, and how it is relevant in your day to day lives.   Most of you are concealed carry permit holders, fathers, mothers, protectors.  People depend on you to keep them safe.  People with a decent grasp of situational awareness also take into account the atmospherics in their current location without even knowing it.

Atmospherics, or environmental recon, is the rhythm, the energy of people, vehicles, noises, cameras, music.  It encompasses all of your senses.  What are you picking up? What are you feeling?  Is there tension in the air?  A confrontation?  A loud muffler?  Someone paying too much attention to your children?

When I enter a space I immediately start taking in atmospherics, and start assessing the situation, even if there isn’t a particular threat I’m looking for.  It is just second nature to me.  I, for one, do not want to take my family into a compromising situation, or one that has the potential to turn dangerous.

I was in my local coffee shop a few weeks ago and as soon as I walked through the door I felt something. It was just a touch quieter than it normally is and there was electricity in the air.  Something was off, and my body, gut, and mind was firing all sorts of signals to find out what the abnormality was.  Turns out it was a couple tucked away in the corner having a mute, semi violent (i.e. grabbing arms) argument/confrontation.  Other customers were aware of this incident, as were the employees, yet not one mother fucker wanted to open their mouth about it (Bystander Effect, which I will have an article about soon).  I didn’t say anything either, but I did assert myself into the situation unknowingly to them.  There was a rack of coffee mugs and various gifts in front of their table, so I took several minutes to peruse everything on the rack.  They eventually got up and left. They walked to their vehicle and I took a mental picture of the douche bags license plate to pass along, if need be.

It doesn’t take a lot of time, just look around, process your thoughts, feelings, and senses. Identify the exits, potential threats, and always listen to your gut.  With the complete awareness of your situation, you will be better able to make rapid decisions (fight or flight), and you will be in a better position to protect yourself and your family.


Steven LaBarre

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Steven LaBarre