From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You Should Read This For All The People You Love

This is such important information, and Stratfor so graciously offers the opportunity to republish it.  Please see the link at the bottom of the page to access this important site!

Ben Sheen: Hello and thank you for joining us. My name is Ben Sheen. I'm one of the managing editors here at Stratfor and I'm joined here today by our Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton.
Fred Burton: Good morning Ben.
Ben: Good to have you here Fred.
Fred: Thank you.
Ben: Now, here at Stratfor we have developed an incredible resource, an incredible amount of information based on security, both at the personal, the corporate and the national level. As an individual who spent a lifetime in high risk, high threat environments, what are some of your big takeaways when it comes to security?
Fred: I think I'm really excited about this series because we're going to break it down on how people can protect themselves. And I think most people have this perception that the government is going to look out for them and make sure that they are always safe. The first takeaway on any kind of security plan is the proper mindset. You have to be aware that the world is a dangerous place, so it's critical that individuals maintain the proper mindset.
Ben: And it's interesting because often people have that illusion of safety and they will actually miss certain cues that could be really important to maintaining their own security and security of those around them. How can somebody enhance their overall ability to be aware of threats?
Fred: Well I'm hoping that the series will do that. But that brings me to the second point of the Building Blocks to Personal Security, which is situational awareness. And a lot of this deals with that mindset and being cognizant of your surroundings and making sure that you have the proper situational awareness, whether that be you're walking to your car late at night, or going into a hostile environment such as Afghanistan.
Ben: And often something we have seen in the past is that when a situation does begin to unfold, often people react very slowly or do not immediately recognize the warning signs. And that seems to be a key thing as well is that early identification of the threat and then a reaction to that.
Fred: No doubt much like your time in Afghanistan. You have to be prepared to react and have a plan. And that can save lives in itself, whether it be an act of workplace violence or an act of terrorism. If you look at the current polls out today, many people in North America feel very unsecure due to the terror risk from ISIS for example. So we are hoping that this Building Blocks of Personal Security will help individuals understand and be prepared so they know what the threat may be, but more importantly, be in a position to react and to understand to see it coming.
Ben: And it's like you talk about in your recent book, Under Fire, about the situation in Benghazi. You mention the fact that often it's not just one thing that will spark an incident. Often, it's a real collusion of factors; there are many things that play a part in it. And actually, once things do deteriorate they deteriorate very quickly.
Fred: That's the one thing that I think that most people don't understand, that when things start to unfold they usually can turn badly very quickly. Every victim that has lived through a terrorist attack that I've talked to, for example hostages, they will tell you that something just wasn't right preceding those events. Call it your gut, but your mind is going to perceive those kinds of things such as pre-operational surveillance. You know that from walking the battlefields of Afghanistan. You get a sense that something is just not right. And the people that stay alive from those kinds of events react to those and put themselves out of harms way, in an essence move and get off the x.
Ben: Absolutely, and one of the things we used to look for specifically was the presence of the abnormal or the absence of the normal. And those would often give you little visual cues and if you were aware in your mind that something might be about to unfold, you could already start surveying your environment, being aware of individual threats, assessing escape routes or cover positions and that sort of thing.
Fred: I think that's critical Ben, meaning most people today if you look at them on the streets any major city around the world, they have their head buried in their iPhone or Blackberry. They're not paying attention to their surroundings. There are certain critical moments in time on every person's day-to-day work or taking the kids to school that you need to be more situation aware, which leads to you have to have that proper mindset and you'll be able to see and identify things that just don't look right. And that could be a criminal, or that could be a potential terrorist. So we're hoping that this series will help people understand this and they can stay safe.
Ben: Absolutely Fred, and that's why we are excited about the series because it's a representation of so much of the work we've done here at Stratfor aiming at making people safer in their personal environments. Unfortunately, that's all we have time for today, but look forward to our series on Personal Security in four parts starting next week.

"Series Preview: Personal Security is republished with permission of Stratfor."