Ep. 48: Urban Awareness - Before the IncidentAfter multiple violent attacks in the lower mainland of British Columbia, retired 35 year Vancouver Police Officer Paul Ballard speaks with Travis Bader of the Silvercore Podcast about techniques that an average person can use to keep themselves safe. The concept has been broken down into three parts, Before, During and After. There are literal tomes that can be written on the subject, but the information in this podcast covers some of the essentials which could save your life.
Travis Bader: [00:00:00] I’m Travis Bader and this is The Silvercore Podcast. Join me as I discuss matters related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor pursuits with the people in businesses that comprise the community. If you’re new to Silvercore, be sure to check out our website, www.Silvercore.ca where you can learn more about courses, services, and products that we offer as well as how you can join the Silvercore Club, which includes 10 million in North America wide liability insurance, to ensure you are properly covered during your outdoor adventures.
Paul Ballard: [00:00:46] From the mind of Minolta.
Travis Bader: [00:00:55] It’s been 12 days. And in the last 12 days we’ve had what? 11 shootings?
Paul Ballard: [00:01:01] 11 shootings in outdoor environments and public places throughout the, what we call the Lower Mainland here for our friends outside of British Columbia.
Travis Bader: [00:01:11] So I’m sitting down today with Paul Ballard, Paul’s a regular mainstay here on The Silvercore Podcast. And in a former life, he was a peace officer for a local municipal police department.
Paul Ballard: [00:01:25] Let’s say major, municipal police department.
Travis Bader: [00:01:29] Well, the largest one around here.
Paul Ballard: [00:01:31] Yes.
Travis Bader: [00:01:32] And you did that for how long?
Paul Ballard: [00:01:33] 35 years just looking at my calendar yesterday. It’s been seven years since I retired.
Travis Bader: [00:01:38] And how’s that feel?
Paul Ballard: [00:01:40] And it’s pretty hard to wipe this grin off my face.
Travis Bader: [00:01:43] I saw that post as well. And you brought up a very interesting point. You said, you know, there’s probably going to be people out there that are interested in some more information on basic urban awareness.
Paul Ballard: [00:01:58] Yeah. When we kind of pitched this back and forth, uh, we were one of the things that struck me in particular was a number of people when they’re being interviewed after something like this happens, who will say, I can’t believe it.
[00:02:12] I didn’t know what was going on. In my neighbourhood, I can’t believe this happened. And, and, and again, sort of what I consider to be to the typical victim response and, you know, people who lack preparedness for things, they’re either completely oblivious or they’re in a deep state of denial and that can put them in a position where their reaction, uh, and perhaps they would have not even found themselves in those places.
[00:02:40] If they get rid of that denial. They make themselves a little more aware. And, and that’s the thoughts that we’re going with today, I thought.
Travis Bader: [00:02:49] Well, we were kind of spit balling back and forth the best way to put this across. And the more that we thought about it, the more we realized that this is just not a singular episode, this isn’t just one, one and done.
[00:03:02] It’s too big. And so we thought about what if we break it down, generally speaking, into a before, during and after, event. And that event could be anything it could be you’re sitting at the cactus club out in Burnaby and you start hearing the pop, pop, pop, like what happened a few days ago. Or it could be that you’re on public transit and you find yourself in a situation where there’s an assault of individual. It could be anything really.
Paul Ballard: [00:03:32] And that’s just, it, it, it really is. Um, we’re going to take it from law enforcement or, or street survival training, uh, as it was referred to in the past and try and talk about it in terms that are applicable to what isn’t, an unarmed citizen likely in, in Canada. Uh, there’s not an opportunity for people to be, you know, in that position where they would be armed with a firearm to defend themselves.
[00:04:01] So we’re now going to be looking at ways to first of all, avoid it. Uh, secondly, if it does happen, how to mitigate it, and if it does happen, how are you going to get yourself right after the incident? You know, you know, there’s lots of things that we talk about in survivor’s remorse and so on. And we’ll talk about that.
[00:04:23] But I, I think, you know, the emphasis is there’s a before there’s a during and there’s an afterward to any critical incident. And that’s what we’re talking about. Awareness of an incident becomes critical and it’s not just gunfire, it’s not a targeted hit on some criminal. Uh, well, let’s look back a few months to what happened in North Vancouver.
[00:04:45] You know, an individual armed with a knife just starts to maniacally start slashing and stabbing and, and happens in the end, you know, and, and again, listening to people who were there. Their words are, in my neighbourhood, I can’t believe it. You know, I’ve never seen anything like that. And that’s the words of a person who really hadn’t thought things out.
Travis Bader: [00:05:08] Right?
Paul Ballard: [00:05:08] So let’s address that. That’s that’s the, before the event, let’s, let’s adjust a mindset. So that we’re ready for that.
Travis Bader: [00:05:17] When I took a look at all of this, really the, before the event, that encompasses the majority of what can really keep a person safe.
Paul Ballard: [00:05:26] Correct.
Travis Bader: [00:05:27] All of this time, that’s can be spent thinking practically, thinking tactically, and putting your head into a space of what, what if it could happen to me?
Paul Ballard: [00:05:37] Correct. And, and that is that, you know, if you blindly go ahead thinking that, you know, I’ve got out of bed this morning and I’m going to go to bed tonight without anything affecting my safety, my health, um, the safety and the health of my family or those people that are around me. You’re going to get into that position where it’s going to happen and you’re not going to, you’re not going to be ready for it.
[00:06:02] So before, it’s all about having a plan and one of the first and most important things I believe in that plan is recognizing that it’s not necessarily going to happen, but it very well could happen. And if you’re there and it is happening, immediate recognition of it. So again, the mind in denial, sound a gunfire. Oh, fireworks. Okay, why would there be fireworks going at seven o’clock in a parking lot on a weekday night.
Travis Bader: [00:06:37] Right?
Paul Ballard: [00:06:38] And those are the sort of things that you have to, you know, stop trying to rationalize with what your personal values are or your inability to explain. If it sounds like gunfire, it’s gunfire. If there’s smoke coming from it, it’s a fire. If something’s in their hand and people are bleeding, it’s a knife. It’s real, it’s not like a movie, it’s not, you know, something that, that your, your belief system doesn’t want to accept. You have to accept it. So that’s the first thing in, in when we talk about before, accept that it could happen. And when it does happen, you’re recognizing it for what it is.
Travis Bader: [00:07:20] So I find, quite often people will come up and they’ll release stories of something that happened. It might not be as spectacular as what’s been reported in the news lately, but it was definitely something very, it was a big event for them.
Paul Ballard: [00:07:37] Traumatic.
Travis Bader: [00:07:37] Right.
Paul Ballard: [00:07:38] Altering.
Travis Bader: [00:07:39] Right. And the couple things that keep coming up with these individuals, number one was like what you were saying, never thought it could happen to me. They never mentally prepared. And I know we’re going to talk a little bit about what that mental preparation looks like. But the other thing that tends to come up is, they didn’t know how to respond.
[00:07:59] They didn’t know the legal framework that they could work with and they didn’t know what they were actually allowed to do out of fear of possible future repercussions. And that can all be mitigated with a little bit of pre-learning and a little bit of role playing and understanding a few of the principles that we’re going to talk to talk about today.
Paul Ballard: [00:08:18] Yes. And we’re going to talk about before, so you need to think about that before. So then when it does happen, it’s not at a cognitive level that you can respond, you’re going to do it through reflex because you’ve practiced or, or have downloaded it to yourself to, to know to do. So again, we got to come back and you need to know legally what can I do? Practically what should I do?
[00:08:45] What are my priorities, all of that has to happen before something bad occurs in your life, you know? And so again, starting with it can happen. So we’ve accepted that, but can we predict exactly what it’s going to be? And that is the conundrum with a lot of people in, in, in their acceptance of it is, well how do I know? How do I know it’s going to be in a drive through, how do I know it’s going to be on a transit bus?
[00:09:15] How do I know it’s going to be in front of a library? Well, the deal is, you don’t know. But through a repetitive visualization or scenarios, you, as you walk into the library today, just go, Hey, if some guy came with a knife at everybody in general, where’s my escape route from here. How’s the fastest way for me to exit the zone that this guy is now occupying or dominating.
[00:09:43] And you know, people think it’s crazy and it’s not paranoia, but are you always looking? Can I get between these planters that are lined up, you know, into the walkway? So we have the idea of the library, it’s a welcoming place. You know, you’re going to have a grand entrance, there’s probably going to be planters heading up there, but is there space between the planters? Am I going to have to get up onto a planter to get away, to move beyond.
[00:10:12] When I see something, if it’s a knife, what do I need to do? Like what what’s going to protect me from a knife and distance of course, is that thing. A knife is a contact weapon, it can be deployed very quickly, it can be very devastating. If somebody gets to you with that knife, there’s the problem. But if you could get this table that we’re sitting at here between the knife wielder and ourselves, that can certainly slow things down. If you can get onto the other side of a car.
[00:10:47] And even if you start doing a roundabout thing until the, your attacker realizes that they should come over the car, you’ve got a physical barrier that’s probably going to keep you alive. And this is something to think about, well, how does a knife work? You know, what’s, you know, what’s the effective distances of a knife and, and you honestly don’t have to read books on it.
[00:11:09] You just, as a practical person, get somebody else to get a wooden spoon in the kitchen and see how fast they can touch you with the wooden spoon. But now get in the kitchen, go to the other side of the Island in your kitchen and can they touch ya? And, and how is the person reacting with a wooden spoon?
[00:11:26] These sort of little scenarios that could be done in the home can all serve to download and pattern your subconscious to be ready for that moment. And that’s, that’s the thing. We, we need to look at it that way we need to, you know, continually rehearse. I’m driving down the street, I look over and there’s a guy with a handgun shooting at somebody else.
[00:11:52] What do I do? I don’t slow down to look at it better, I immediately turn right and start to drive as far away as I can, because that’s not something I need to be a part of. And recognizing that telling that yourself, I see a gun, I go.
Travis Bader: [00:12:09] Hmm.
Paul Ballard: [00:12:10] I don’t try and stop, get my cell phone out. I go.
Travis Bader: [00:12:13] So why, why don’t we take a look at, uh, the basic colour code says some that’s taught to a lot of people on, and I’ve seen different studies on the colour code system. And some people talk about it being a tool for situational awareness and other people talk about it as a tool for, uh, making the decision to do something, but whatever you want to use the colour code system for, it gives a very quick and easy, I find, visual that you can apply if you find yourself in a situation.
Paul Ballard: [00:12:46] Yeah. And so, I mean, we look at the origins of the colour coded system, which, you know, the three colours go back to the US army airborne forces in the second world war. Um, I believe the, one of the greatest studies of personal survival in any environment was, uh, Colonel Jeff Cooper. And he went on to make five colour-coded levels and, and really go on to, uh, in a very descriptive fashion of only Jeff Cooper could, um, say what each one of those colour codes meant. But, you know, we go from white, yellow, orange, red, and black.
Travis Bader: [00:13:27] Right.
Paul Ballard: [00:13:27] And when can we be in code white? We’ll basically as you’ve locked the doors to your house and you’ve turned off the light and you pull up the sheets to go to sleep, because that really is the only time it’s acceptable to be completely unaware of your situation because you’re asleep.
Travis Bader: [00:13:45] They say white, the awareness level of a victim.
Paul Ballard: [00:13:47] Of a victim.
Travis Bader: [00:13:48] And realistically that’s where the majority of people operate on a day-to-day basis.
Paul Ballard: [00:13:53] Problem. Huge problem.
Travis Bader: [00:13:55] Headphones on phones, heads in their phones, looking on the ground as they walk around, not paying attention to their surroundings.
Paul Ballard: [00:14:01] Making eye contact with other people on the street. Like that’s a, that’s a huge thing. When, you know, studies of people that have been victimized is, you know, the, you know, tim timidity on their own part. Like it’s okay to look in somebody’s eyes until you look in their eyes and you realize, hey, and pardon this term, that person’s crazy, I need to not make eye contact because that’s going to only exacerbate a situation
Travis Bader: [00:14:28] And that’s, that’s a tight rope. Eye contact it’s a tight rope, too much eye contact that could be, you could be perceived as.
Paul Ballard: [00:14:35] A threat.
Travis Bader: [00:14:36] Asking, a threat.
Paul Ballard: [00:14:36] So it’s a matter you got to look at people’s faces though, to see, you know, what’s coming next. And looking at your phone, looking at your feet, looking at your screen, none of that’s a good place to be in. And we’re, you know, all people will argue and say, well, you know, this is the way of the world today. Well is 11 gunfire incidents with deaths and injury in 12 days, you know, is that a good way to live?
[00:15:07] Yes, they’re not your friend or my friend is what we would, you know, air quotes, normal people be, uh, these guys are gangsters. They have a value system that does not exist in our world, you know, their, their value of life, their need to do these things in public. We can’t, we can’t apply ourselves to that and that that’s a struggle as well.
Travis Bader: [00:15:33] Well, as of today, the papers are reporting that at least in one of the incidences, there was an innocent person that was injured.
Paul Ballard: [00:15:40] Was injured.
Travis Bader: [00:15:41] Right. So th and there might turn out to be more
Paul Ballard: [00:15:44] Right. You know, both of us are extremely familiar with the use of firearms, in particular handguns. None of these bad guys are going to the range and training themselves to be the best shot that they can be. It’s not like law enforcement where their training is a heavy, heavy emphasis on target awareness.
[00:16:05] And what’s between you around, beyond your target. And they’re not talking about that. They are dialled in often they’re going to be high to build up their courage and, and, you know, so judgment and all these things are going to be effected. And it doesn’t matter who you are, you take those stress levels of going in to take a life.
[00:16:24] Even if it is, you know, a person lacking in, in values, perhaps, uh, you know, we don’t need to diagnose it, but likely a sociopath that’s willing to do that. They’re still going to be jacked and they’re not going to be paying attention to those sites. And you know, it’s getting as much out of the end of that barrel as possible in the direction of their intended target and then getting out of there.
[00:16:49] Travis Bader: [00:16:49] So we’ve got condition white, essentially awareness level of a victim. Then we go to orange where your.
Paul Ballard: [00:16:56] Yellow.
Travis Bader: [00:16:57] Pardon me, I skipped a step here. We go.
Paul Ballard: [00:17:02] You were looking too far up on the sunrise.
ravis Bader: [00:17:04] I was.
Paul Ballard: [00:17:04] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:17:05] From white to yellow and yellow, you’re casually aware.
Paul Ballard: [00:17:10] Yeah, casually aware. Yellow is how we should all live, at all times, until we have a need to go to.
Travis Bader: [00:17:17] Then you’re in the orange.
Paul Ballard: [00:17:18] Right?
Travis Bader: [00:17:19] Orange brings you up to the next level where, so something might be happening.
Paul Ballard: [00:17:22] And for people to understand, you’re walking down the street, you’re in yellow, you’re looking at people coming towards you. You’re checking vehicles out that are driving down the street. There’s a car, you’re approaching an intersection, it’s making a left turn and you kind of casually glance to make sure that it’s completing its left turn and not under-steering the turn and get them out the curb in front of you and run you down on the sidewalk. And I mean, that’s the way you should be. You should be, not, you know, oblivious to all this stuff, right.
[00:17:50] And again, it might be just an accident that you could avoid by just being aware. Hey, that car is not going to make that corner. It’s coming onto the sidewalk. So now, condition yellow. Let’s continue on. Uh, we’re just pulling into the, you know, local, fast food drive through. And now we realize there’s cars ahead of us.
[00:18:13] A couple of cars have pulled in behind us and if something happens, how am I getting out of there? It will my car get up over the curb or am I going to have to exit my vehicle? If a shootout begins, you know, in this situation, it’s just casually look, make that little bit of a plan. You know, what, if something bad happens in this situation, I’m going to go there.
[00:18:34] And then if it were to occur, in another drive through, in another city under a completely different, you know, corporate banner above you. That little bit of rehearsal that code yellow, you know, planning, thinking has downloaded and your subconscious will draw that up and you may be able to react properly.
Travis Bader: [00:18:56] And they call those heuristics.
Paul Ballard: [00:18:58] Heuristics. I’d never heard that one before, but.
Travis Bader: [00:19:00] So they say from experience.
Paul Ballard: [00:19:02] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:19:03] And that could be an experience physical experience you’ve been in or something you’ve developed through mental role playing, you develop these heuristics where you will sort of subconsciously pull upon the positive, desired result based on prior experience.
Paul Ballard: [00:19:17] Right. And then it didn’t really happen, but in your mind, it, because you played it through in a, in a theatrical sense, it’s there and it’s ready to go. So now we’re walking down the street and we’re going code yellow. When we start to look ahead, there’s somebody approaching directly towards us. He is mumbling to himself,
[00:19:37] he’s looking down, he’s got his hands jammed in his pockets. You can see him turning and aggressively looking at people ahead of you. We now move from yellow to orange. There is something that’s out of the ordinary. There is something that could potentially become a threat to us, our family, to our wellbeing.
[00:19:56] So, as a regular person, what are you going to do? Well, how about start moving away from that person’s intended path. Maybe it’s going to require that you step right off the sidewalk, uh, start walking in the gutter a bit, or maybe it’s time to turn and jaywalk and go across the street. You get across the street, the guy passes, he continues on. Now you go back to yellow and continue on the rest of your day.
[00:20:20] And I think, you know, when you really start to become a practitioner of preparation or a practitioner of true awareness, your life continually hovers between yellow and orange. And it’s recognizing once you move into that orange state of mind where your focus is on that perceived potential possible threat. It’s you can, you can really start to calm yourself back down with the threat ceases to exist, and you don’t get into that paranoid state or, or where you, you know, start to get nervous.
Travis Bader: [00:21:00] Sure.
Paul Ballard: [00:21:01] And you can’t live and you can’t enjoy it life and all that, that, that really is part of understanding how to move back and forth.
Travis Bader: [00:21:08] So if we’re going to move past orange to red, now the fights on, the situation change was a bit differently.
Paul Ballard: [00:21:14] Right? And so you have, now let’s go back to our scenario. We’re seeing this guy approaching and you can’t move quick enough. The distance is reduced you’re in code orange, you’re paying attention, you’re focused on them. You’re starting to think I’ve got to do something. And suddenly a knife comes out of his pocket and he starts to slash, and he’s not slashing at the person ahead of you. He’s not slashing at the person beside him. He’s coming straight for you. And now you realize the threat is real and it’s imminent.
[00:21:50] And I have to, without any, I guess the word would best be compassion for anybody else involved, I have to deal with it. Now, if you’re physically capable and prepared and if trained, maybe you’re going to try and physically defend yourself from that knife. But if you’re 65 years old and you got two bad knees and you know, you don’t move that well, maybe I need to put something between me and that guy with the knife.
[00:22:23] Maybe I have to clearly step well out of his way, get a car, get on the other side of a car, do something of that nature. If I got to get out of there and there’s people in my way, here comes that compassion thing. You know what, it’s you first with your family, because if anything happens to you, you, you can’t do anything for your family or your loved ones.
[00:22:46] So really I, that may be another thing we need to put into priority you, your family, your friends, other people around, innocent bystanders are just a barrier to your escape, or you’re leaving that zone and the bad guy himself. There’s no compassion for that person. They’ve made their decision. And if there’s something that you have to do to them, you have to do it. And you have to do it in a ruthless fashion but.
Travis Bader: [00:23:15] With speed, with aggression.
Paul Ballard: [00:23:16] With aggression. And, and again, with no feeling, like there, there cannot be anything but purpose, you know, whatever fear you might’ve had to that point, it turns into righteous indignation. How dare you do this to my family? How dare you do this to me? And that will give you the focus to deal with it. But again, if you’re not physically capable, and that’s the thing we’re talking about here. We’re not talking a, an armed society or a place where you can legally be armed here in Canada. Unfortunately, that’s the way things are. And I don’t think it’s ever going to change.
[00:23:56] So I don’t think there’s any government going to come in here and say, you know what we need to, we need to allow our citizens to arm themselves. That’s not going to happen. So now it’s, you know, for you to be smart, knowing that you have perfect rights to defend yourself against, you know, injury. You, you know, there’s, there’s that aspect of it, but perhaps your greatest option is always to get out of that, that zone, get away from it.
[00:24:24] And again, it may mean pushing, uh, an older person to the ground so that you can get past them. You know, when you look around and everybody’s standing with mouths agape, and eyes like saucers, that’s not your problem. They are now a bit of a, well, they actually are your problem if it’s going to prevent your escape, you have to worry about nothing except going.
[00:24:46] So it means pushing somebody down, stepping over them. They weren’t here listening to what we’re talking about now.
Travis Bader: [00:24:53] And then the final part would be condition black.
Paul Ballard: [00:24:56] Condition black. And that’s when you become overwhelmed by whatever the situation is and that’s kind of the no return.
Travis Bader: [00:25:03] Well, the nice thing about condition black, that I really like is a fact that if you realize that you are now so overwhelmed by the environment that you’ve frozen and you’re not making proper decisions, and you’re not downloading these heuristics that you had before is you can say I’m in condition black, let’s deescalate into red and get myself in the fight.
Paul Ballard: [00:25:25] Back in the fight, back or back into operation.
Travis Bader: [00:25:28] Right. And I, and I think that’s the best thing about conditioned black is just like, wait a minute. I know I’m here now, let’s get out.
Paul Ballard: [00:25:35] Yeah. There’s other terms too, that a mental fibrillation, when the heart goes into that fluttering mode, and now your mind does this stuff, you know, you got to shake it off and get back in. You know, I’ve been, um, fortunate or misfortunate enough to be in a lot of situations where I could look and watch people go into this or another good one is tactical dithering. Uh. Ooh. Uh. And particularly for people that were in charge of things, it probably shouldn’t have been in charge of it where now they get overwhelmed and they are code black at that point, they are it’s over, um.
Travis Bader: [00:26:14] Right.
Paul Ballard: [00:26:16] And pride. Um, what’s the other ones that are out there all, you know, your feelings of self-worth often won’t let you admit uh, I’ve really messed this up.
Travis Bader: [00:26:28] Right. Ego gets in the way.
Paul Ballard: [00:26:29] Right, ego, your, you know, your eyes glaze over to what’s happened, my ego Me-ego and uh, you got to get out of it. And, and like I say, you don’t need to worry what other people think of you when you do this stuff. You know, your, your images portrayed is no longer important to anything other than you and your family to fix whatever got you to that point. So, yeah, true enough. Uh, learning to realize that it’s out of control and I must get control back.
Travis Bader: [00:26:59] And if you start finding yourself going into code black, it might be because you haven’t spent time mentally role-playing and developing these situations or these heuristics that you can call upon when you need to. But the other interesting thing about this is. If it can happen to you. It can happen to the bad guys too.
[00:27:17] And in fact, quite often it happens to the bad guys before it happens to you because they know what’s going to happen and the adrenaline’s pumping in them and they’re functioning prefrontal cortex brain, which makes all their decisions, isn’t making decisions in the proper format. And you can use all of that to your advantage.
Paul Ballard: [00:27:38] Well, you know, just drawing back on what we’ve been able to watch on TV, and I guess, you know, dash cameras and cell phones, as I always say, I’m not standing around to film any of this stuff, but I guess people are willing to do it. And, uh, I think it was at the vape shop shooting. You can watch on the security cameras of the buildings, the guy approaching.
[00:28:01] He’s got a hoodie on, like everybody right now has a mask on. Perfect, this is like, this is like the perfect scenario. The COVID thing that we’re, we’re in the middle of, for bad people to, you know, to, to disguise themselves. He starts and you can see his hand come out of his kangaroo jacket or hoodie pocket. And it looks, you know, clearly he’s got a black handgun, semiautomatic handgun, one handed technique.
[00:28:27] He’s just point shooting, he’s not aiming that thing. And he’s white walking towards his intended target. You can see that part initially, the shooting begins, then they show up another clip, which is somebody passing, filming from a car. I don’t know whether it’s a dash cam, but I strongly think it’s somebody filming from the passenger seat of that car.
[00:28:47] As soon as the shooting stops, bad guy turns round and tries to book it. Well, he steps off the curb, he takes a header he’s down and stumbling trying to get up. Like I say, did he have, he probably did, he knew he had to leave after the shooting, but he really didn’t have his, his plan together. And that can be huge, huge problem for us.
[00:29:12] When we’re found in that guy’s life at that moment, he could take a hostage, he could shoot somebody else just to get them out of the way, he could try and hijack a vehicle. Like even the people that were slowing down to film that, put themselves at great risk, because if all of a sudden the only thing he could think of in that moment was to take you in your car.
[00:29:34] Not good. You get out of there. You got wheels. He’s on foot, matt it, leave, drive away. Don’t wait around. The other one too was when, uh, there was the shooting in a.
Travis Bader: [00:29:46] Delta.
Paul Ballard: [00:29:46] Delta, right on Scott road. You could see. After the shooting, the bad guy, again, funny enough with a hoodie and a face mask on running, jumping over, you know, a planter and a car and everything. And he’s looking for his getaway vehicle. And, you know, the wheel person will say, cause we don’t know if it was a man or woman, but likely the wheel man, uh, was idling, moving away, moving slowly, but just like all the modern cars today, once the car starts to roll. The doors lock.
Travis Bader: [00:30:16] Thats right.
Paul Ballard: [00:30:17] And you can see him struggling to get the door. And finally, you know, after, uh, a very noticeable delay, the door gets unlocked. He gets in. So where was the plan on the part of the wheel man, I’m going to pick this guy up. Why aren’t I opening the door? No, I’m not trying to tell these people, they should plan any better than what they do know.
Travis Bader: [00:30:38] No.
Paul Ballard: [00:30:38] But the important thing is to understand they haven’t planned beyond doing what they’re going to do, which could sincerely put you in danger, know you are not a part of their plan. You could be a barrier to their plan. You could be just in the backdrop of the gunfire, all these things. So you need to think with soon as you recognize that this is out of the ordinary. When you’re in code orange, you recognize this is out of the ordinary. This desires are not desires, requires my complete attention.
[00:31:19] And I need to immediately start to go through the Rolodex, if this goes how far, what am I going to do? And that’s having triggers, mental triggers. When you see something, how do you react when you hear something, how do you react? Let’s go back. I’m moved into code orange and I’m looking at a situation that’s evolving.
[00:31:44] And I start to hear gunfire. Hmm it’s gunfire, whether I’ve ever heard a real gun go off or not, if it sounds like gunfire, I’m going to treat it like gunfire, and I’m going to take the appropriate action. I’m not going to hear popping noises in a parking lot, on a weekday, in an urban environment and think, oh, somebody is letting off fire works.
Travis Bader: [00:32:10] Right. And you know what? Worst case scenario, maybe somebody was letting off fireworks and you reacted as if it was gunfire and people look and they laugh and you feel like a fool, but you know what? You reacted as you ought to.
Paul Ballard: [00:32:22] Exactly. And that is the part that’s important. Don’t try and rely on a value system that you want to believe that society is all unicorns and rainbows, because it’s not. You know, often you hear to a, another, you know, uh, sort of attitude or statement that people make, you know, 16 year old shoots and kills, you know, uh, victim on transit bus and you go, I see that was a six, 16 year old boy that did that?
[00:32:55] Now you’re applying a value system that, you know, again, air quotes, normal people have. You can’t do that. When I talked a lot about, you know, the training that I did with, with recruits in service officers, I talked a lot about what, you know, we have grown up around, you know, you’ve had a parent that, you know, wiped your face when you were dirty, blew your nose, when you had a cold.
[00:33:25] Made sure that you had a warm jacket on when you went outside, uh, told you to be careful when you cross the street. As I said to a lot of recruits that I trained as a field trainer, as an instructor in the academy, I would say to them, you need to have a hard look at those little kids that you see in urban squalor, when that little fellows out there in a diaper, on a tricycle, and it’s only like four degrees and he’s barefoot in at six o’clock in the morning and both barrels are leaking snot and he’s just happy, he’s playing.
[00:34:01] Um, how tough do you think he’s going to grow up to be? Where do you think value systems are when, you know, because unfortunately he lives with, you know, a junkie mom, who’s more interested in getting a fix than she is with feeding him. And she kicks him out because she’s got to turn a trick and that’s how that guy grows up.
Travis Bader: [00:34:23] Right.
Paul Ballard: [00:34:23] And what’s his value system? You don’t know until you’ve lived it, but it’s certainly not going to be as clean, pristine, noble as yours is, you know? So these are the things you’ve got to, you know, you got to get out of that mindset. There, there isn’t, these people are not living the way you do.
Travis Bader: [00:34:45] So another thing I’ve heard is Holy Crow, how mentally taxing must that be. If somebody comes from a condition of, or living in condition white, where they’re on their phone as a take the transit, they got their headphones in, they got their head down looking for nickels as they walk from point a to point B. And they’re now being asked to be cautiously alert.
Paul Ballard: [00:35:07] They’re not looking for nickels, trying to avoid eye contact.
Travis Bader: [00:35:11] And for a lot of people, that’s that’s the game is let’s avoid eye contact and they say, how mentally taxing must that be? So a friend of mine he’s been on the podcast, British army. I think he’s one of the highest YouTube viewed ones that we have. And he’s talking about his SAS selection. And he says, you know, they taught us to look for the absence of normal and for the individual who’s looking to change your life to be a little bit more urban aware, I would say your life for most people revolves around their home and their work.
Paul Ballard: [00:35:48] Family.
Travis Bader: [00:35:49] Right? And, and maybe something, maybe they’re in a sporting activity or who knows, maybe there’s something else out there, but for the majority, they’re traveling from their house to their work. They’re traveling from their house to a local event or whatever it might be and you can start to create a, you can scan and, and create what is normal in this environment. And once you start, it’s kind of like driving a car, you get behind the vehicle for the first time and you’re checking your mirror and you’re checking your speed. And you’re checking all around you.
Paul Ballard: [00:36:23] Cause you’re learning. You’re preparing by doing that because you’re in that heightened sense of, of taking it all in.
Travis Bader: [00:36:31] Then at some point, at some point, you’re no longer having to look at all that, but you’re driving and you’re able to now start seeing, okay, that vehicles crossing two lanes and they could be hitting the sooner. You’re able to start looking for the absence of what normal is. So I develop. And awareness of what normal is and so you can start developing an awareness for what the absence of normal is.
Paul Ballard: [00:36:53] Absence of normal. I like that. And that is it. When something’s out of place, that’s code orange, something’s out of place. I need to give it a good, hard going over here by looking, using all my other senses to determine am I just being misled here? Is it just out of normal? Is it a threat? If it’s not a threat, take time to, you know, drink it in, see what it is. It might be entertaining. And then once you’re beyond it, back to code yellow and raise, continue on.
[00:37:24] Yeah. And again, like you say, the stress of going from somebody that goes, listen to them. Like you, you, everybody knows somebody. We were walking home from the mall and you can’t believe some guy, you know, some guy did some guy exposed himself and, and they can’t get over it. They just like it, it goes on and it dominates conversation for a week in their life.
[00:37:48] And they phone everybody in, they posted on YouTube and or Facebook and Instagram. And I, you know, I was just, well, you know what? People expose themselves every day. So rather than, you know, taking this to, um, a complete overwhelming of, of your day, do you know, did you, did you report it properly? Did you make notes, all these other things and just say, you know, hey, the rest of you, I learned my lesson today.
[00:38:20] I had always thought that somebody could expose themselves to me and it happened. And what did I do? I moved away. I got, you know, a car between me and this individual. I, I stepped into a doorway. I walked into a storekeeper and I said, this guy is exposed and call the police or whatever was required, you did the right thing. It was an individual that was being followed downtown. Uh, she kept, she, you know, she put her camera on her phone filming the guy. I don’t think she called the cops.
[00:38:53] I don’t think the police were involved until after she had found some young fellows who were playing basketball and said, this guy is, you know, this creeps following me, they chased him off. She put it on social media. And I think it was actually picked off a social media if I’m not, if I’m not correct in this, I, you know, I, I fully accept that, but there was no indication that she directly contacted law enforcement as a result of this guy stalking her.
Travis Bader: [00:39:21] So that’s not an uncommon situation.
Paul Ballard: [00:39:23] And we’re going right back to what do I’m going to do if this situation presents itself to me.
Travis Bader: [00:39:30] Right. So that the, what would, would you do would be mental role playing and what we do, and that would probably be. Bleed into the, during episode that we’re going to talk about.
Paul Ballard: [00:39:39] Right. But, but here’s the thing I’m going to call the cops. I’m going to give them a clear description. I’m going to include the time, the date, you know, the, the street signs that are, you know, the 100 block that I’m in, you know, all of these things and .
Travis Bader: [00:39:56] Look for distinguishing features, look at a height, skin colour, something that would be hard to hide.
Paul Ballard: [00:40:02] As simple as which way is North, you know, is the guy walking North, South, East, or West, you know?
Travis Bader: [00:40:09] And look for something like a scar or a tattoo, or just one thing after you get the real basics is they got a mask on, they got their hood on, but you could probably see skin colour, probably get gender, probably get a height out of all of that. Can you see anything that’s going to be difficult for them to change it. You can.
Paul Ballard: [00:40:27] Right. And now.
Travis Bader: [00:40:29] But this is some of the during.
Paul Ballard: [00:40:31] The, well, this is, but again, that mental rehearse. So like, if I look at a person and I need to phone the police, what are the police need to know, description direction to travel location, you know, and, and description always includes particular description, you know, distinguishing features. I always kind of, again, you listen to the, you know, police are looking for a 15 year old, you know, male wearing a black hoodie. Oh, gee, that’s good.
Travis Bader: [00:40:58] It tells you nothing.
Paul Ballard: [00:40:59] I’m sure everybody’s gonna know that guy.
Travis Bader: [00:41:01] Right.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:01] You know, but if you said that he had one eye and you know, at, uh, uh, particular, you know, other deformity or, or, you know.
Travis Bader: [00:41:12] Steely blue eyes.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:13] Steely blue eyes, you know, and, you know, or steely blue eye.
Travis Bader: [00:41:16] Sure.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:18] And I don’t mean to laugh and make light of it, but, you know, we have to, we have to somehow accept that this is a proper way to live, and it’s not going to put you into a state of paranoia.
Travis Bader: [00:41:28] So when I was younger and I’d go downtown Vancouver, my dad would drive into three 12 main street where the head office air for VPD was. And situated in an area which a lot of less than desirables around, we used to always play this game. Hawks and doves, right?
Paul Ballard: [00:41:48] With your dad?
Travis Bader: [00:41:48] Yeah.
Paul Ballard: [00:41:49] Nice.
Travis Bader: [00:41:49] So five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. And when I first go off and as a five-year-old hawks and doves, so the hawks are going to be the predators, the doves of the prey, right? And I’d look and I’d think, well, they must all be predators out here. Cause look at how different they are living than how I live, right? But after a while you started seeing things and you see, hold on a second, the way that, that person’s dress is different from how these other people are dressed or they’re a little bit more put together, they’ve got their back up against a wall.
[00:42:19] Their eyes are up and they’re looking, similar to how I’m looking as well. Oh, we just made eye contact. Okay. There’s a, there’s a bit of recognition here. These other people they’re looking at the ground, they’re shuffling around. There doves, these guys over here, they’re hawks. And I say guys, because predominantly the men are going to be the aggressors, right?
[00:42:39] And I think playing that game just in your day-to-day life, looking around, you’ll be surprised at how many people aren’t looking up and the ones who are looking up. There’s a reason they’re either like you and they’re keeping their eyes open for possible threats, or they are a threat and they’re looking for victims.
[00:42:59] So I, I think when we look at the mental role, playing, playing a game of hawks and doves can be very beneficial. The other thing I got out of that was the uniforms. Everybody wears a uniform, police officers wearing a uniform. You’ll run to a police officer, you’ll see the badge, you’ll see the sharp dress uniform.
[00:43:17] And you’ll say, can you help me? I need some help because you can see exactly what that individual is all about. The hawks will wear uniforms as well. And you can start to spot that out. The people who are a little bit more, uh, certain gang affiliations will wear gang affiliation uniforms, and you’ll start to see that.
Paul Ballard: [00:43:39] And what does the hawk do? The hawk, you know, does certain behaviours, you know, and, and the thing is if you were in a situation and you go, geez, look at these, you know, and obviously very young men are, you know, basically teenagers and that guy’s driving a BMW X five, and this guy’s got, you know, a, a six inch lift on a brand new, you know, three quarter ton diesel truck.
[00:44:07] And this guy is driving a, you know, a fancy blackout window SUV. That’s absolutely less than a year old. Does that look right? Okay. So that’s the absence of normal. That’s not normal. I mean, you know, if the kid’s driving a nice car, that’s got an end sign in the back that maybe takes it back to normal, but these guys, you know, or are in these vehicles that doesn’t fit, you know, um, what we used to say a lot with the recruits is one of these things is not like the other one, you know?
[00:44:41] And, and that’s what you’ve gotta be able to compare it. Yes. Young guys have a perfect, young girls, have a perfect right to get a driver’s license and be out there operating dad’s car or mom’s car or whatever. But, you know, typically dad is not letting the kid drive, you know, $110,000 Lexus, you know, SUV.
[00:45:03] That’s got, you know, blinged out wheels and things like that. It just doesn’t make sense for a 17 year old to be operating that. And, you know, you just got to pay attention to things like that.
Travis Bader: [00:45:15] So in that game of Hawks and doves, the other thing that I started picking up was basic body language. And seeing how people, like little things where a person’s feet are pointed in a conversation, you go to a party, you’re talking to other people, a person’s talking to you, but their feet are pointed over at the pretty girl next to ya, right?
Paul Ballard: [00:45:35] Right.
Travis Bader: [00:45:35] You know where their attention actually is, right. Uh, or maybe their torso is more pointed, but they’re looking over. Picking up little things about how people’s body language I, and there’s some good books on it. How to read a person like a book was the old one. Alan Pease. I remember he’s read a few, he’s written a few books on it.
[00:45:54] I would highly recommend if anyone listening wants to learn a little bit about body language, he’s a good author. But the interesting thing that I found on the, both the uniform and the body language. Was to look introspectively. What uniform are you wearing? And what body language are you giving off? Are you giving off the body language of a victim?
[00:46:15] Are you dressed like a victim? And that’s why like for the police, your very first, your very first step on the use of force model is officer presence, right?
Paul Ballard: [00:46:27] Well, it, it is, uh, you know, as far as well, and in many cases, just the right kind of presence puts things down.
Travis Bader: [00:46:37] It and people say, how does presence do anything? It’s like drive down the road and see a police car that doesn’t even have its lights on parked on the side. Do you think you’re going to see a reaction from everybody else driving?
Paul Ballard: [00:46:49] Right.
Travis Bader: [00:46:50] Right.
Paul Ballard: [00:46:50] And that’s what we used to always say too, is, you know, if you put a, a marked car out, you get, you know, you get compliance. If you put a covert or an unmarked vehicle out, you catch the offender. So, you know, in a lot of cases, what do you want to do? Prevent, or arrest. And, and, and that is, that is kind of, they like, people are even saying now, like, you know, the police need to do something. The police need to do something.
[00:47:18] Um, and you know, in a lot of cases, you know, if we were to put marked vehicles on these targets, who absolutely, they are known, they are known to law enforcement. Uh, they are, they’re known, uh, to the people that matter. But now everybody’s kind of holding back thinking, wow, we might violate their, their rights.
[00:47:38] There could be a court challenge, it’s this one’s gone, you know, our particular situation right now without getting political, I’m going to get off topic here. I got to get back. But yeah, that presence could change things. Your presence can change things. Are you walking upright? Right. You know, do you look like you’ve got shoes on that you could, you know, run with or fight with, you know, a pair of heavy work boots on anything like that might be the presence that is going to keep you out of things.
[00:48:07] But if you are, you know, not dressed appropriately for the area that you find yourself in, and you’re not paying attention, you’re flagging yourself as, as a, as a dove, as you’d like to say.
Travis Bader: [00:48:21] Sure. And, and talking about the area that you find yourself in, there are certain cues that you can start picking up. So Gavin de Becker wrote a book called the gift of fear. And aside from it being a very good promotional piece for Gavin de Becker and his agency.
Paul Ballard: [00:48:37] Most of these things are.
Travis Bader: [00:48:38] He did a fantastic job at that, but the underlying message in there was essentially trust your gut, right? Trust your gut instinct. And he would talk about women’s intuition and men have a gut instinct, and quite often. Men, particularly young capable men will try and rationalize. Why am I feeling afraid in this moment? This doesn’t make sense, I’m a tough guy, I can take care of myself and they start rationalizing their way through and, and a big underlying thing on that was trust your gut and respond accordingly.
[00:49:11] And there’s different things that we can take into account when we’re making those gut decisions. And whether that gut decision is right or wrong in the end, if we err on the side of caution, always a better, but you’re talking about being in the wrong side of town. Well, take a look at your environment.
[00:49:28] Are there indicators in your environment that perhaps you might be, you should be on a higher level of alertness. Do you see graffiti? Do you see drug paraphernalia kicking around? Do you see, uh, evidence of impoverished people? Because when there’s less money, the desire for money is going to be more in the desire for quick money is going to be higher.
Paul Ballard: [00:49:49] The thing we have to say, we’re talking about awareness in, in an urban environment. And that doesn’t just mean from these you know, what, what brings us to light is a series of violent incidents that are, you know, put the public into outrage every single day. You need to be in an aware situation in so many of these, these places from leaving the parking lot where you park your car to get to your office. Although everybody’s working from home now because of the COVID.
Travis Bader: [00:50:21] Right.
Paul Ballard: [00:50:21] We may be just projecting into the future when things get back to a more normal state of affairs, but you know, you take the bus, you’re taking the bus to go to a doctor’s office you’ve never been to, and you can certainly see that the buses now descending into, you know, a little bit less than, you know, Tawny neighbourhood you know, so it’s now time to start moving up your levels of awareness. Maybe you’re going to go, you know, almost orange coming off the bus till you have a good, hard luck and checked out the 15 people that you’re about to encounter.
[00:50:55] And then you can take it back down to your, your yellow and just, you know, so it’s funny. Hey, I was yellow, I was orange. It was, you know, Oh, I must’ve gone orange five times today, you know, which is an indicator that you’re doing the right thing. If you don’t have to go red, you’re good. You really are. And if you can get back into yellow and, and it’s a relaxed state of awareness, it’s not a, it’s not a state of hyper-vigilance, which is what all this stuff comes back to was the young soldiers who were waiting for D-Day or waiting for, you know, a big airdrop or whatever, you know, and we’re talking 17, 18 year old boys.
[00:51:33] Okay. Let’s use the value system that we know my son when he was 17 years old is now got you know, a, uh, a full field pack on a parachute on his back, a steel helmet. And they’re about to kick him out of an airplane. Oh, but not today. We’re not going up, you know, and everybody relaxed go back to bed or, you know, get a, get a sandwich, but stay ready. And, and these guys were in complete states of, you know, mental turmoil and, and being upset and, and somebody recognized, well, we need to gage this out because these guys are, they haven’t even seen combat yet and they’re burnt out. And this is the origins of this.
[00:52:15] So it’s perfect for people. With what we would say, a normal value system has existed all their life. And you know what? We’re so good with our kids. Don’t talk to a stranger, you know, be careful of dogs, strange dogs. We do all this up. And yet the same parent who might say that is walking down, you know, an unknown street in an unknown neighbourhood and somebody says, Hey, can you help me find my keys? Or could you step over here? And, and you know, Oh, that’s a beautiful necklace that you’re wearing. May I see that? And you know, are you kidding me?
[00:52:52] Nobody that I’ve never met in a strange neighbourhood is going to come into my personal space and touch my necklace, you know, yet people do and they, and they go, Oh my God. And when I walked away that wasn’t a necklace it was wearing and you know, this sort of stuff like, are you kidding me? No, but that’s the way I think, cause that’s my value system, but that’s only come from, I don’t know 40 something years now that I’ve more than that, that I’ve lived this way.
[00:53:22] My dad and I always liked to throw my dad’s story into things. My dad played in a pipe band for the shrine, and there was always the shrine circus. That’s a real thing that kids will miss or the way the old time circuses with the lions and tigers and they’re in the house. But they used to like march out into the arena. The pipe band would be out there and of course the big ticket items would be the lions and tigers.
[00:53:48] And my old man used to watch guys trying to get close to the lions and the tigers. Now they were probably pretty tame or as tame as those things could be, but those lions and tigers knew how to get even. And one of them was to turn around and mark you.
Travis Bader: [00:54:05] Sure.
Paul Ballard: [00:54:05] You know what I mean? Like a tom cat. And it was one of those things. My dad just remember that, and there we are up at the Okanagan game farm standing there, looking at the tiger in the cage. And you know, you got 10, 12 feet between the barrier and the cage that the animals in. And, uh, of course he’s going, we should stand back now. Cause he’s seeing the behaviours in that tiger that he knew and sure enough, the tiger delivered on demand and you know, other peoples, Oh yes.
[00:54:36] And I even remembered this was how do I say it was nine years old, we were in the, the zoo in Honolulu. And there was this huge silver back gorilla sitting there and the poor thing behind bars, just, you know, with a total state of dejection on his face and people, you know, trying to get them to do something and, you know, you just knew and, and that’s just, ah, we should move back.
[00:55:04] And he had, uh, he had good senses about stuff, uh, and faster than you could blink an eye that gorillas scooped up a handful of excrement and through the bars, these people that had been taunting him. And then he threw himself up at the bars, powerful, powerful, you know, beast and started shaking the bars. But that was his, I was just entertainment.
Travis Bader: [00:55:29] Yes.
Paul Ballard: [00:55:30] And to my dad’s credit though, he kind of recognized, you know, he was just that kind of a guy. He was thinking, you know, first of all, he loved animals and he couldn’t bear the thought of, you know, caging them or anything else like that. But he knew so. Just another dad’s story.
Travis Bader: [00:55:45] Well, you brought up a couple of really interesting points. Uh, one was the woman walking in being harassed, being stocked. So I remember at a young age, people would be like, why, why are you walking so fast, Travis it’s cause you got long legs. I can’t keep up. Well, it’s not cause I got long legs, I specifically walk faster so that my normal is, other people around me are generally walking slower.
[00:56:12] And I don’t have to think about them if they’re matching my speed or exceeding my speed. All of a sudden they come up on the radar and I have to think about them. So little, little tricks, like, uh, watching, who’s matching your speed. Uh, maybe as you’re walking downtown and you’re looking in store windows, don’t look in the window, look at the reflection, the window to check your six, watch who’s behind you.
[00:56:35] But also look, I had like, actually look ahead and plan your escape route, or maybe there’s something up ahead that I don’t want to be meeting five feet from me. I can avoid a hundred yards away.
Paul Ballard: [00:56:50] And yeah, and, and everything you pass, you know, not only as an escape route forward, but maybe for your retreat, what did I pass that, you know, could have helped me out in this situation? Was there a garbage can I could have, you know, rolled in front of somebody or pushed away or got behind or a car that was back there. I’m now on a strip, uh, you know, pavement, uh, is beside me on the edge of the sidewalk. Whereas there was a car that was only about 30 yards back. Maybe, you know, if I get to that, I can just, it’s all about time to, right.
[00:57:19] You know, when any of these situations, if you can get distance from whatever the situation is, you get time to think more and figure it out and get away. But, you know, distance and time and, and avoiding the threat without getting into so many of the real specifics of actual physical conflict of coming together, you know, we’re, we’re talking average Joe stuff here, not martial artists, not armed citizens stuff, you know.
[00:57:48] And we’re not advocating anybody at this point should try and arm themselves illegally at all. You know, that that’s, that is such a high degree of training is required to be efficient at that. And that’s not where we’re going with this. It’s it’s to develop an awareness. And in most cases we’ll keep you free of ever having to, to, to come touching. Right. You know, you know, and the kind of touching which, you know, would mean a physical fight or trying to, or trying to, to stop, you know, getting stabbed or beaten or anything like that, you know, and.
[00:58:24] There’s so much of it as common sense, you know, like where are you at what time? Like, I can’t believe this happened to me. We can’t believe this happened. It was three o’clock in the morning and you were drunk out of your mind and by yourself, and then you walked, you know, instead of walking towards transit, you thought, Oh, I’ll just walk over here and, you know, get a pizza from some skid row place where they sell pizza.
[00:58:55] So now again, how many times did I hear that while I was working, too many times, but again, people have the belief, they maybe have a right to, well, I have a right to be there. You sure do.
Travis Bader: [00:59:09] Yep.
Paul Ballard: [00:59:09] Absolutely. And I’m not here to tell you that, you know, Oh, I am, you know, What have I looked like a liberal, and I’m not going to tell you that you can do anything, but if you’re smart, you shouldn’t do that.
Travis Bader: [00:59:22] Friend of mine talks about a, uh, an old poem. I think it was called the stop sign or the stop light or something like that. And he says his way was right, his will was strong, but he’s just as dead as if he were wrong. You had the light, it was green. You have the right to be there, but maybe you should look around and make the proper decision. If there’s a mack truck coming down and it’s going to blow the light and hit ya just cause you’re right. Sure, dead right.
Paul Ballard: [00:59:45] Yeah, dead right. Yeah. My mum used to her poem was here, lies the body of Mr. Gray. He died defending his right of way and just as dead as if he were wrong. So I forget the other parts of it, but yeah, it’s true. And yeah, go where you want whenever you want. So what are you prepared to deal with what could potentially be there? And certain things are of greater potential than others.
Travis Bader: [01:00:13] I think most people have heard run, hide fight, and those are the three words that are thrown out. If there’s an active shooter, run, hide, fight.
Paul Ballard: [01:00:20] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [01:00:20] But keeping that run, hide, fight mentality, obviously, if you’re able to run, if you’re able to get your butt out of dodge that trumps everything else, get yourself out of danger in order to do that, run, hide, fight, run, hide, fight. Keep that in your head. And you do your mental role playing, if I put myself in this position, will I be able to run?
[01:00:41] If I go into this building, do I know where the exits are? Do I position myself as I’m having lunch in a way where I can watch people as they come in or come out and I can have a quick and easy egress. And if you keep that run, hide, fight, you start eliminating the possibility that you have to hide.
[01:00:58] Fight. Yeah. Um, you brought up another one, which was a person talking to you on the street and they talk about the rule of one plus one. There’s one bad guy. There’s probably two there’s, you’re searching a person, you find one weapon, you’ll probably find two. If someone stops to talk to you, you have to really question why, and immediately who were they working with?
[01:01:22] Who could be around, right. Just because you hear the bang over here doesn’t mean that’s the only threat. So putting yourself in a position, tactically positioning yourself. If you’re talking to somebody on the street, if you made that decision to engage and actually talk to them, tactically positioning yourself if you’re eating lunch, if you’re at the office, just being aware of your surroundings, you and I were at a, at a, a restaurant there at a shot show. And another fellow, we noticed people kept walking. He said, what is your situational awareness? My God.
Paul Ballard: [01:01:57] That’s right. Yeah. We were sitting there. Everybody’s just kept banging into him. I go what’s with this guy, like, why don’t you just take a couple of steps back, put your, you know, stand by, uh, a, uh, uh, uh, support column in the, in the place that we were at or something like that. But everybody was bumping him into, into him. Yeah. It is a funny thing like that, you know, course some people purely by their physical stature, very few things are going to happen.
[01:02:24] And, you know, and, and it’s easy to say, like, you know, I’ve, since I was 14, I’ve been over six feet, tall, people are not actually sizing me up. I’m not a woman, that is one of the things that scares me more than anything else is I, you know, I want the women in my life, my family to, you know, and always to be on their, their game.
[01:02:46] And, you know, unfortunately my wife is very sharp. She’s, you know, you’d be tangling with, uh, your weight and wild cats with that one, but that’s the thing, you know, and she’s not, she has no problems, you know, just blowing people off who are trying to distract her and things. She’s, she’s good with that.
[01:03:04] She’s focused. She walks fast, you know, she has a purpose and everything else. She walks our dogs. I’m disabled right now until I get my knee fixed. So she walks our dogs. Non-urban environment, but she’s aware she’s got her air horn. She’s got her bear spray, you know, she’s got her communications, she’s got a whistle, all those things.
[01:03:24] And it all goes on our little back or waist belt thing when she goes out there and every time. So she’s now bought into her awareness in a non-urban environment, in the outdoors. And so many people will buy into that so much more easily. And I find there’s almost no threat in the outdoors.
[01:03:44] We teach bear awareness. We’ve both been a part of that developing programs for people because it could happen.
Travis Bader: [01:03:52] Sure.
Paul Ballard: [01:03:53] With a lot of people, they believe it’s bound to happen. And that’s all that occupies them every time. And they’re not seeing that glacier and they’re not seeing that waterfall and they’re not smelling the air because they think everything is going to be a bear attack.
[01:04:08] So going back to this urban awareness, nobody’s thinking about the bear attack they’re thinking about, Oh yeah. You know, I want to go to this restaurant and they don’t pay attention to where this restaurant is located, where they parked their car, how are they going to get back to their car? When you get to your car, have you, you know, you remotely started. I love that, I love, you know, the vehicles that remotely starts. So the cars up the lights are on and that could be a distraction that could help you out.
[01:04:39] All of a sudden this car starts up while somebody thinks they’re cornering you in the dark and they now think there might be a witness. It’s a great thing to have lights on engine running, as you get there, don’t unlock it until you get right to it though.
Travis Bader: [01:04:50] That’s a good tip.
Paul Ballard: [01:04:51] You know, like leave the thing locked until the very last second, you know, don’t take that program out of your car, where as soon as you unlock the pass or the driver’s side, the passenger also unlocks, you know, you make that decision.
Travis Bader: [01:05:06] Right.
Paul Ballard: [01:05:06] You know, you can push the button twice on your fob or you get in and flip the, you know, the switch that on the inside of the door, those, those things are important. And these are all it’s not, if it, or when it’s happening, these are all things that you should be prepared to do before and how to live your life, you know.
Travis Bader: [01:05:23] Now as you’re walking down the street or you’re at the, at the subway or at the, uh, the sky train or the bus station, and you’re assessing what could be possibly out of the ordinary. You see somebody sitting there and they’re not on their phone, particularly a younger person. That’s not ordinary because they’re up in the alert and they’re looking around.
[01:05:47] There’s probably a reason for that, mark that in your head and watch them take a look at the face, take a look at their hands, because if they’re going to do something, it’s going to be with their hands. If they’re going to hold a weapon, that’s going to be with their hands and then watch a face again and try and go through that constant OODA loop, the observe, orient, decide and act and keep going over.
[01:06:06] As you look at people face and face what’s. Is there a threat there? Uh, I think that would be something that would help people in their decision-making in their branching scenario here, as well as we’re talking a lot about mental conditioning. Physical conditioning, is massive being able to just have the cardiovascular skill or strength, sorry. The cardiovascular strength to survive an encounter is something that should be on people’s minds in the pre section as well. And it’ll help the mental role playing too.
Paul Ballard: [01:06:44] Yeah. And that’s right. I mean, you know, you have plenty of options in that regard. Sometimes physicality is going to prevent that, that’s just.
Travis Bader: [01:06:52] Sure.
Paul Ballard: [01:06:53] You know, a disability, uh, and infirmity, anything like that, you know, poor vision.
Travis Bader: [01:06:57] But you brought up a really good point there. And you talked about communication device and out walk in the dogs with some bear spray or some dog spray. Now having OC, Oleoresin Capsicum for people that’s not allowed.
Paul Ballard: [01:07:11] Thats illegal.
Travis Bader: [01:07:12] That’s illegal. Mind you having it for dogs or predatory animals is perfectly legal.
Paul Ballard: [01:07:19] And I mean, that’s the thing. We are not a society. Canadians, we are not a society where, you know, we can tell people that you have the right to stand your ground. Um, though it can be interpreted in law. It’s always better to run away and fight another day than to try and do that. So I always say the idea of standing your ground only comes when there’s no other option.
[01:07:47] And, and you know, the, the, the, as you say, the, the run hide or fight, boy running, man best, but no one where you’re going to run and, and run it into a store, uh, run to, you know, what appears to be, um, and like you said, you talk about uniforms, but virtually any uniform, like official uniform is better than nothing else.
[01:08:09] So there’s security guards and, and, uh, a garbage truck, you know, the uniform that the city of whatever you’re in engineering truckers there that guy’s got communication probably is going to have a cell phone or a radio in that truck. But he’s also, he’s at work, he’s there, he’s not going to, you know, he’s going to be a, a person you can go to, you know?
[01:08:30] And so the run run to something and it’s not just, you know, run away from the threat to something that’s going to benefit you in the end. The hide, you know, I wanted to say that because when you brought that hide up, hide, hide, what am I hiding from hiding, from being seen, hiding from gunfire. Like, you know, that’s an important thing to think about, right?
[01:08:52] And you know, is the guy who got a shoulder firearm because the penetrative effect of rifle rounds is much greater. So hiding means, you know, some serious ballistic protection, a big truck, anything like that. It’s at a handgun. The threat is slightly less ballistically, but you know what, if they’re shooting low, it, the bullets will ricochet underneath the car.
[01:09:14] So if you going to hide behind a car high behind the wheel, high behind the engine block, the front of the car, those sorts of things are really important. You know, it’s not just hide. Hiding might be better than doing nothing, always. But now talk about, well, if I could to duck behind that vehicle, or if I got a choice of two that are equal distance away, maybe I’m going to pick that, you know, the big wheel on the one ton truck there to get down behind it and hold that position.
Travis Bader: [01:09:43] Right.
Paul Ballard: [01:09:43] You know? And then if I got to hide, cause that’s all I got, I now got to go back to the run thing. So leaving my position, if it means running across wide open ground, that’s not good.
Travis Bader: [01:09:56] So you’re differentiating between cover and concealment.
Paul Ballard: [01:10:00] Concealment. Yes. You know, and just like, you know, hide and seek hiding or hiding to get protection.
Travis Bader: [01:10:06] Right. So people who are listening, if you’re hiding and they can’t see you, that’d be concealment, you’re concealed. They can’t see you.
Paul Ballard: [01:10:13] Right.
Travis Bader: [01:10:13] Whereas cover is something that’d be much more preferable. And as you’re saying, Paul has got ballistic stopping capabilities.
Paul Ballard: [01:10:21] So the, the forces that are, you know, at work here, they’re the professionals who are training. And we, we have now recognized that the active shooter scenario is a real thing. Uh, in a mall, in a school, in a church we’ve seen it all. And you know, we’ve seen it, you know, not just in the United States, but we’ve seen it in Canada. We’ve seen it in Europe. And so one of the things we talk about the hide is quiet.
[01:10:47] Hmm, we tell kids, uh, an active shooter happens. Tell everybody, get, you know, out of the way of any window, you know, in the door, looking into the room, get down on the floor and everybody shut up, shut the phones off, you know, turn the lights, you know, down all, at well, don’t shut the phones off, but you know, you don’t want.
Travis Bader: [01:11:03] That ringer off.
Paul Ballard: [01:11:04] Shut the ringer off. You don’t want the light from the screen, reflecting back into your face to give you a way so.
Travis Bader: [01:11:10] And your loved ones, the second they hear that there’s something going on at your location. Everyone’s going to be phoning your phone right away.
Paul Ballard: [01:11:16] Hide.
Travis Bader: [01:11:17] So I, fighting, quite often. So I’ve, I used to do a fair bit of martial arts. I would do Muay Thai and Arnis and Jujitsu and a few others. And people would say, hey, what’s the best martial or that I just want to learn something so I can have some self defence. I can protect myself and, uh, time and time again. I tell them what’s way better than any martial art is basic physical conditioning and your urban awareness or situational situational awareness. You don’t find yourself in that situation. That is way better, but if you have to do something, boxing’s great because it’s great for the cardio and it teaches you to take a hit and realize that you’re not made out of glass.
Paul Ballard: [01:12:02] Right. That’s an important thing, too.
Travis Bader: [01:12:04] Sure.
Paul Ballard: [01:12:05] You know, if you, if it does, you know, you’ve got to think about this in this before scenario, you must think about this now. If you get shot, stabbed, punched really hard and you know that you’ve been shot, punched or stabbed, you’re okay. Cause you’re, you’re, you’re still aware. So that doesn’t mean anything other than I got to continue on to get away from this or make it stop or whatever. And that’s, that’s a huge thing because you know, I’ve watched people. I should say police officers who get one punch and they’re out of the fight.
Travis Bader: [01:12:43] Right?
Paul Ballard: [01:12:43] The nose starts to bleed. They turn and roll away and you think, oh my gosh. And I’ve seen other, you know, there are pure heroics where somebody has got a broken finger, broken wrist, broken arm, they continue the fight, you know, and, and that’s just, you know, the, how strong the mind can be.
[01:13:05] But the mind only gets strong from considering what could happen and developing that, you know, that that will to live that will to, to get through it. So all of that, even though we talk about the will, you know, should be part of when it’s happening training the mind to have that will.
Travis Bader: [01:13:26] Right.
Paul Ballard: [01:13:27] Always thinking about, um, always thinking about what’s important to you beforehand, you know, people go, when it happened, my, my life flashed before my eyes. And what were you thinking? Well, I don’t have a will and how’s my family going to get by. I had a fight with my loved one and I didn’t kiss them goodbye. You know, all these things can have a negative detractor on people. Now much more in people that are in law enforcement or, you know, in, in the military, where you know, where we are putting them directly into harms.
[01:14:03] Right. It’s not an if situation, it’s just a win-win situation with them. So it’s incredibly important even for us, if it is that if situation, if we’re just, you know, the citizenry that we have your ducks in, in order, if you’re leaving to go to work and you’ve had a huge fight with your, your other, you know, and you, you just say, look we gotta stop fighting right now because I’m going off, you know, I’m going to be gone for a day or something like that.
[01:14:32] We’ll resume when I get back, I really look forward to that, but we’ll resume then. But for now, if you still have feelings for that person at that point, if it’s not a total loss, tell ’em you got feelings for them, make sure you get that off. Cause you know, having that popping your head at the wrong moment is not good. And I’ve, and I have had the opportunity to talk to people who said, you know what?
[01:14:53] I started thinking about what I hadn’t done when I was about to die. And I had to actually stop thinking about that to get back into the fight. And, uh, it was funny. We always talk about, you know, the man who saw the elephant. So in the early 18 hundreds, not many people had seen the elephant.
Travis Bader: [01:15:13] Right.
Paul Ballard: [01:15:13] But when people started to travel specifically to hunt, in Africa or at actually traveled as explorers. And they would come back to, you know, modern Europe in those days, modern or modern North America. Everybody wanted to hear about what it was like to see the elephant. And when you find somebody that’s been in a true life or death situation, before you get into one, you want to listen to what the man or the woman who saw the elephant has to say, everybody has a, Oh, you know, they want to say, did you know, what did you think of when you were seeing the elephant and listen to what the person says.
[01:15:55] And I just put it, like, I have heard people ask me, um, you know, Or ask others who had been in a life or death situation, did you think about, you know, did you leave the coffee pot on at home or something like this? And these are things that are typically put into the mind by an, what I would call a non-combatant.
[01:16:16] And there are non-combatants out there years and years ago, there was a book written, uh, by, uh, Wambaugh, uh, who did a lot of, you know, police style novels based many of it around the LAPD, but one of his true novels or not true novels, one of his, uh, historically correct books was called The Onion Field in the late sixties. A couple of detectives robbery detectives were taken hostage. Uh, they were taken out. One was murdered in an under onion field, the other one survived.
Travis Bader: [01:16:47] Hmm.
Paul Ballard: [01:16:49] From that situation, they developed a whole series of, you know, post critical event, you know, ideas and one of the things was they said was, you know, we had to tell people what it might be like to go to through a critical event. And people were saying, you know, don’t worry, after the critical event, you might become a bed wetter or a kleptomaniac or, you know, you’re going to have marital problems. And they were telling him, police officers in particular, it’s not unusual if you get into, you know, a on-duty shooting to leave the job within two years because of the stresses and everything else.
[01:17:24] And this went on for the longest time. And I still remember as a baby cop, listening to the Academy instructor, talk about that stuff. And because I was fully embracing the concept of lethal force training, I started to listen other people. And what I say is, don’t think that, because that’s a self fulfilling prophecy.
[01:17:46] If you think that you get into something beforehand and you start to say, Oh my God, if this happens to me, I’m finished. I’m going to become impotent, my, my marriage will end all these it’s it’s going to happen.
Travis Bader: [01:17:58] Hmm.
Paul Ballard: [01:17:59] One of the things you need to do and tell yourself, well, I, maybe I’m going to spoil it. You know, I, I don’t want it. I’ve got to talk about after.
Travis Bader: [01:18:06] Sure.
Paul Ballard: [01:18:06] How you should feel if you are, you know, applying everything that we’re, we’re leading up to here.
Travis Bader: [01:18:12] No, that sounds good. But, uh, what a man thinks he will do.
Paul Ballard: [01:18:16] Right.
Travis Bader: [01:18:16] Essentially. And so you want to program yourself with all these right inputs.
Paul Ballard: [01:18:20] Exactly. And if you’re being programmed by a non-combatant, somebody who doesn’t have the grounding to, to put themselves forward for all this stuff, I mean, I’ll tell you when we start talking about during, I’ve got some examples, personal examples that I can offer up that rings. So true to one that combat and told me what I might experience going through, but let’s go back, listen to the people who have done stuff and have been successful.
[01:18:51] And what were the things they do? You have interviewed people who have survived, bear attacks, what did they do? They became resourceful. Now, you know, there was the guy that pulled out that little pocket knife, which was not a flip open knife he had to, and that was it. But he remembered that he had a knife, he knew that he had to do something, he got the knife out and that was it.
Travis Bader: [01:19:16] You know why he did that? He did that because of a story that was written, I think it was in Gary Shelton’s book. Talk, one of the bear attack books and there, I believe it was a indigenous fellow, who was attacked by a bear and used his buck knife that he had and stabbed the bear and kept stabbing the bear until he was able to escape from the bear and crawl himself out some far distance away.
[01:19:42] And this guy who was in a bear attack Colin Dowler, he said, I remembered that story cause I remembered that as his heuristic, there is action reaction and result. And he says, if I can only get my knife out and I’ll just stab the bear in the neck as many times as I can, until it lets me go. And he says, I remember being so upset when I stuck it in his neck and I was only able to get one stab in before it really started thrashing me.
[01:20:13] And he says, but I said, one thing, the only thing I said the entire time that this bear attack happened. And he says, I look back on it and I’d like to think that I talked to the bear ahead of time, like go away, bear. He says, I don’t know if I did, but I do know that the second I stuck that knife and I saw a russ of blood come out. He says, now you’re bleeding too bear. And that stuck with him, that pre mental programming is.
Paul Ballard: [01:20:38] Got him to that point.
Travis Bader: [01:20:39] Is what he says, saved his life. And then the fact that this other fellow in the story. The guy couldn’t see his face was all mauled and he crawled out for miles. Well, Colin gets up on his bicycle, falls down. He’s only got one good leg and he’s got, you can see his internal organs through his back apparently, gets back up on the bike again.
[01:21:01] And he says, I better not fall off again because I don’t know if I’ll be able to get back up again. And he rode that bike, I think it was seven miles that he rode with his one good foot kind of pushing and peddling based on the fact that he downloaded in his head, that you could do that. Just like you said, okay, you’re shot or you’re stabbed, man that sucks. But you know what? I realize it, and I’m not dead.
Paul Ballard: [01:21:25] Right.
Travis Bader: [01:21:25] So that means I can keep going.
Paul Ballard: [01:21:26] Right. Not giving up. And, and, and that’s the thing, you know, like, know ahead of time, I’m not going to give up if I’m conscious and aware, I’m still in it. And still in it, again, we’re not talking about the fighting side of it, but the getting away from, and getting on to return back to, you know, your, your normal life, what it, what it was.
[01:21:48] And one of the other things, when people say, Oh, if it happens to you once, it’s never going to happen again, don’t ever say that one, trust me on that. Um, but, uh, yeah, getting back to this so much of what we can download to get us ready for things is important. And I mean, you know, the lost art of reading other people’s experiences and you know, now in a, in a very, um, light state of code yellow, you know, when you’re on your next opportunity to get out somewhere where it’s quiet and you really are, you know, pretty much devoid of any threats to really study a book that somebody else has talked about who’s survived these.
[01:22:31] You know, it’s funny because again, I remember, uh, listening to a lot of people saying how many times things have happened to them. And that’s the other thing too, is not only you prepare a head, but did you learn from the time before?
Travis Bader: [01:22:46] Right. You know, and they say the best predictor of future performance is past performance.
Paul Ballard: [01:22:51] Right.
Travis Bader: [01:22:52] Take a look at past performance, use that to develop your heuristics as you move forward.
Paul Ballard: [01:22:57] And that’s, what’s going to do it. So, yeah, we, uh, you know, it’s very important and we talk about before and let’s, first of all, you know, just a bit of a recap will it happen for sure? No, but it, it could. Accept that it could ,don’t deny don’t, uh, don’t walk into it oblivious. Tell yourself, you know, right now that, uh, if something out of the ordinary happens, I’m going to pay attention to it. So I’m going to keep myself in a state of, we could even say curiosity, you know, be curious, but be out there in it.
[01:23:35] And that yellow state of relaxed awareness is, is going to keep you above you know, your sight lines high, you’re going to be above the sidewalk. You’re looking ahead. You’re taking in what’s there and you can, it also be entertained by that too. There’s this, you know, you’ve always got to look at that side of it, but getting completely involved in whatever’s going on on your phone, you now need to go indoor somewhere, put your back against a wall, or, you know, make sure that you’ve got somebody with you to watch what’s going on.
[01:24:06] Like that, that might be a consideration now, but for, you know, three people to huddle together with their heads, touching, bent over their phones, man. Fuck good is that doin.You know, you, you, you wouldn’t see quail doing that. I’ll tell ya. So anyways, that, that state of yellow ready to go to orange when need be, because.
[01:24:28] Hey, something doesn’t look right here. Something I like the absence of ordinary has now a cap has now occurred that something doesn’t look right with a vehicle, the, the way our vehicles driving somebody slowing down to look at you. Somebody’s walking faster to catch up with you or appears to be. And that’s the thing, what does it appear to be?
[01:24:50] And in a state of orange, you’re going to go, okay, this appears, Oh, alright. Oh no, he’s just speeding up cause he wants to talk to his friend because that person now turns around and you know, there’s obvious signs of a greeting and that’s legit. And now you’re back to yellow and back to your thing, knowing when to go code red, that the fight is, is no longer imminent it’s now on.
[01:25:14] And then the behaviours that you need to display at that point should all be thought about before you go into code red, right? That’s now that’s, that’s in that relaxed state of mind. That’s, you know, in the time before I, I, I lay me down to sleep is, you know, a great time to download the stuff to your subconscious.
[01:25:32] You’re very receptive at that time. You think you’re tired, but you know, the number of people will tell you how they cram when they study, before you go to sleep and it, and it comes back to them, you know, it’s good. And that’s, that’s the whole idea of this. The time for NIC cognition is not in the middle of the fight. Your cognitive mind is going to be gone, you know.
Travis Bader: [01:25:53] It’s going to be reactive.
Paul Ballard: [01:25:54] That’s right. And if you’re not trained, you’re, you’re, you know, it’s not there. If you’re trained, you know, and if you’re classically trained in whatever discipline it is, be it martial arts firearms or anything else, you do so many things in a reactionary way.
[01:26:10] Um, Or I hate to use the word instinctive, cause it’s not, but you use it from a, at a subconscious level, but you use it efficiently through repetition and training that is there, that you actually do get some cognitive powers, you know, to help you out. You will be stronger in that. You’re not gonna just, you know, I mean, I watched an individual, uh, who got into Muay Thai and that individual police officer was worried about making themselves better for the streets and everything else. And then they started doing it, loved it, uh, was having fun doing Muay Thai was confidence level was way up decided by, uh, the instructor said, you know, would you like to fight a match, like a legit, you know, full contact match and pads and everything on it?
[01:27:00] Yeah. Let’s go for, it. Took two punches in the face and went into complete, you know, automaton mode and all those skills stopped. Windmilling now was going in, you know, screaming, trying to bite everything until they.
Travis Bader: [01:27:14] What did Mike Tyson say? Yeah, everyone’s got a plan till they get punched in the face.
Paul Ballard: [01:27:18] They get punched in the face and that’s what happened, but, you know, That individual learned to gather themselves from it and would later be better for it, you know, but that’s just it. Okay.
Travis Bader: [01:27:28] So a whole ton of notes. I think we should be looking at wrapping them up.
Paul Ballard: [01:27:31] Okay.
Travis Bader: [01:27:32] The there’s going to be things that we didn’t touch on and maybe people listening or watching to this would like to add their own experiences or things that they’ve seen that works for them. One thing I would encourage is when we’re developing our heuristics, when we’re doing our scene assessments, use all your senses.
Paul Ballard: [01:27:51] Yes.
Travis Bader: [01:27:52] If you look at the person and you see they’re obviously they got the cauliflower ears and it looks like they’ve taken a few hits before. They’re not going to shy away from a fight. If you can smell alcohol on breath, right. Well, okay, they might not act in the same way that sober person would. If you can hear certain things happening. And my buddy would say, he says, you know, weird thing was, um, the dogs didn’t bark for the Taliban, right.
[01:28:19] And he says, I don’t know if it’s, the locals knew that an attack was happening and they’d bring their dogs in, but there is an absence of normal, the dogs wouldn’t bark. So he was bringing in all the different senses. And after a while, it’s just something that will allow you to write almost everything off except for what is the absence of normal.
Paul Ballard: [01:28:39] Right. I agree. Why is that light out? Why is, you know, Oh, I just think it’s so many things when you do that, but stuff we pay attention to.
Travis Bader: [01:28:47] Well, why don’t we call it there? There’s a ton of stuff we didn’t touch on, but this should be a good primer for others too, to build upon. And they might have certain questions that we’ll put into the during, cause that’s going to be, that’ll be an interesting one. And I know Paul you’ve caught a lot for that one.
Paul Ballard: [01:29:04] Stay tuned.
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