Prepared or Paranoid? The Vigilant Mindset


Founding Member
If you happen to care deeply about your own personal security and that of your family, there are a few tips that will help keep you prepared without being paranoid. These steps, a part of a well-rounded suite of soft skills, will help give you the upper hand should anything happen, while also placing your mind at ease.

The Vigilant Mindset



Master Class
The main thing, in my opinion, is avoiding the known trouble spots/bad areas. Next is being constantly aware of your surroundings. I very rarely am looking at my phone or texting. I am more old school....I look at my "smart phone" as being a phone that has texting capability. I do play games on it when I am at home or on break at work. I have a computer that I custom built for serious gaming, and a gaming capable laptop that I am currently typing this on. Filling up the vehicles at a gas station, head on a swivel. Casually, of course. Walking in and out of stores, always looking around in a calm manner.
Not so much as paranoid as I am situationally aware, we discuss often about staying away from certain areas that are more prone to crime however I see those criminals branching out to areas that haven’t seen them and are catching people off guard. You hear it all the time,
“this is a nice neighborhood”
The problem is those
“nice neighborhoods” are now becoming a new playground for criminals.
You can’t/shouldn’t be paranoid but you can be vigilant and observant.


Founding Member


Founding Member
I’m not paranoid (or at least I don’t think so!!), but I attempt to be prepared. I think being prepared is kind of a subjective term. Each of us (neglecting the effects of aging) can interpret being prepared differently. If physically able, we could exercise and train so that we could approach (maybe at a distance!) a Navy Seal or Army Ranger, who in my thinking are the pinnacle of being prepared. But for most of us, yours truly included for sure, that goal is unreachable. So how can being prepared really be defined? Is there a “test” like in shooting competitions (i.e. put a certain number of rounds in a defined target area)? Do we need to be masters of Krav Maga or similar? Go to the shooting range monthly, weekly or daily? Be retired from law enforcement or the military?

Being prepared is really an illusive and moving target! Situational awareness is likely the main key, but there are others.

Sorry for the long post, but these things run through my mind all the time. So far, I haven’t found THE answer.


Founding Member
Good article T-man. I don't think I am paranoid, but I am constantly thinking.
Considering the way things are going with increased crime (even in the lower population parts of the country), the flood of illegals; the majority indebted to the drug cartels in order to pay off smuggling fees, the massive flood of drugs coming in based on cartel & CCP activities, the mindset of screwing up our energy system, the prevalence of radical groups in the country, and the fiscal and managerial incompetence of federal and several state/big city govts; it's prudent for a vigilant mindset to be prepared for multiple scenarios.

As Benjamin Franklin once said... “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
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The Night Rider

Master Class
TL/DR: I don't believe Situational Awareness can be taught, only learned by experience.

I've said this before and I will say it again you cannot teach somebody situational awareness. You cannot decide to increase or decrease your level of situational awareness. You can decide whether a given action (such as varying your route home) is prudent or unnecessary but I don't believe that you can make a conscious decision to be more or less situationally aware in any given situation, at least not for any extended period of time.

I've made this analogy before and I'm absolutely convinced it's correct, situational awareness is like a radar detector. The majority of the time your radar detector is sitting on your dashboard doing its thing and you're paying it no attention, until it picks up signal and it beeps.

The majority of the time your "situational awareness" is sitting on your brain's dashboard doing its thing and you're not paying any attention to it until it picks up a signal and it beeps.

From 2002 on I have worked nights almost exclusively. I worked in a factory for three years before I became a security guard. I would come home at approximately 2A.M. every night. I was always surprised by the number of people wandering through my neighborhood at that hour.

As a security guard I worked downtown in a parking garage right next to the street where all the nightclubs were (South Tejon) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights it seemed like every night right around 10 O'Clock the trouble would start. You could almost set your clock by it.

I worked as a roving guard for a total of about five years of my "career". I am not trying to equate what I did to what the police did but I got to see some of the things the cops see and I got to deal with some of the same people.

I was always surprised by how many people wander around this town all night. I'd see someone on the South end one night and the same person on the Northeast side a couple of days later. It's been my observation that truly homeless people hide out and sleep during the day (warmer and safer) and conduct their business at night. I've also noticed that they move around frequently because they don't want to be easy for the cops to find.

Last thing, my last year of work coincided with the lock downs. I was calling the police to report petty crimes and being told that a cop MIGHT show up later IF one became available.

I called on one guy(tresspasser) a half a dozen times before I actually got a cop to respond, and when she did. she pulled up next to my company truck and handed me her business card with the Incident Number already on it and flat told me she wasn't going to engage the guy unless she absolutely had to. It turned out that the presence of a police car was enough to run him off and I never saw him again.

throughout all of this there were several times when I would stop at Walmart on my way home and see someone in the store who I had previously called the cops on. I had a friend who had previously worked as a Corrections Officer who said she routinely encountered former inmates in public.
So, I said all that to say that those experiences were enough to teach me that the world isn't a safe place and that the Police aren't coming to save you and I've tried to act accordingly.


Master Class
Founding Member
Situational awareness was sort of a liability back when I first was discharged. Years ago. People thought I was paranoid (there's that word again),I would take walks through the forest and was always turning around and walking backwards for a time. It went on for years.Thats just one example. There are many more. These days I feel I have an edge on most of the people around me who are to this day oblivious of what's going on around them.