Watch Out for the Saber Tooth Tiger!

From the Suburban Survival blog

Imagine how different your life would be if you lived in caveman times. For one thing, you wouldn’t be reading this, unless I took the time to carve it out on stone or drew it as pictures on a cave wall somewhere.
Now imagine the kinds of things you might worry about. Many of today’s worries would be gone, but others would take the place. You might be thinking about the day in the office (okay, just another cave) at the wheel factory, wondering why a square doesn’t roll as well as an octagon. Maybe, it has to do with the octagon having more sides?
But as you leave, you remember the news that a saber tooth tiger had been spotted in the area a few nights ago. In fact, you heard that a neighbor’s cousin had actually seen it! As you begin the walk home through the fading daylight, you grip your club just a little bit tighter and make an effort to peer into the darkest shadows in the woods around you, with your ears tuned to the slightest sound. Quickly, the thoughts of work and octagons and square wheels are gone, evaporating as a cold fear clings to you, tighter than your wooly-mammoth onesie.
After a long walk, you make it home to your cave without encountering the vicious beast that had preoccupied your thoughts. The cave never seemed so cozy, but no time to think about the tiger anymore as your wife wants you to do something about the kids who refuse to play outside and spend hours staring into that new-fangled fire that you insisted on bringing home.
And now a quick trip back to the future, or at least the present day. How different we live, not just in terms of technology, but also how accustomed we get to living in a society that is relatively safe. There are no more saber tooth tigers ready to pounce as we head home from work. In fact, we hardly give safety or security a thought at all as we go about our business.
Although we often ignore them, there are still risks. You may not need to carry your club with you everywhere, but it is still smart to stay aware of your surroundings and alert to what is going on around you. The best security advice you could follow is quite simply to stay aware.
Criminals often count on catching victims unaware and being overwhelming them by surprise. I just recently read an interesting article on tactics used by pick-pockets. Some of the pick-pockets interviewed in the article admitted that if they saw a potential victim paying attention to those around them and alert to his or her environment, the crook would pick a different, easier, target to ply their illicit trade.
It is easy advice, like locking your doors when you leave, but still often ignored or overlooked. It is very easy to lose that awareness, perhaps now more than ever. After all, never before in history have people had such access to distraction as we have today. Smartphones are a huge cause of our alertness-deficiency. You can hardly walk down the street without seeing many of the people around you with the phone up in front of them, their head tucked down and thumbs flying over the virtual keypad. Texting. Tweeting. Facebooking. Googling. And maybe even some reading. All are constantly screaming for our attention.
Even at a stop light, look at the driver’s around you. You’ll almost always see at least one person sneaking in a quick text or message. More alarming is the number of people driving around who don’t even wait for a stoplight to continue their messaging. You can easily pick them out by their erratic speeds, weaving and generally clueless.
So, if you are serious about personal safety and security, put the phone away. When you are walking to your car or down the street, take the time to look around you. Is there anyone lurking around who seems suspicious or groups of people who may be paying an overly amount of attention to you?
Police officers develop observation skills by constantly looking at passing vehicles or pedestrians. Training officers grill recruits about a description of the driver in the red car that just passed, or ask for a description of someone standing on the corner you just drove through. Police officers also learn to watch the hands, for signs that someone has a concealed weapon or may be reaching for one.
Build your own awareness through similar drills. Make the effort to pay attention to people in your surroundings and note something about their description, even something as simple as jacket color or something distinctive. As you do this, you will also notice those things that make you say "mmm." Even if it is on a subconscious level.
Today, you may not have to worry about attacks by a saber tooth tiger and certainly should not live in fear. Be smart and stay alert to your surroundings and you will be well on your way to avoiding the modern version of our hungry tiger.

Suburban Survival Tip - Stay off the cell phone when walking around town and watch out for saber-tooth tigers. 
Photos from Wiki Commons

Combining his law enforcement and corporate security experiences plus a love of martial arts, Eric Smith created Business Karate, LLC. His new book, Workplace Security Essentials, outlines how any business, school, hospital or organization can master the art of self-defense, reduce losses, avoid liability and build a safer workplace. Visit for more. Follow on Twitter @businesskarate

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