This Travon Martin/George Zimmerman deal has a bunch of lessons for anyone that has a mindset of self-reliance and self-defense. Like it or not, fair or not, just or not, there are political organizations out there whose sole purpose is to defend their constituency by denigrating those that dare to question the actions of their constituency. Even when members of their constituency commit indefensible acts.
The term, "profile" or "profiling" has gotten a negative connotation in our press and political environment. Well, it has a negative connotation when it is used with regards to minority groups. When it's applied to conservative or libertarian groups, it's just fine - and even encouraged. Just ask the IRS.
In my PM store, I profile every single person that shows up at my doorstep. Before you can enter my store, you must ring a doorbell. Our door is locked, and we must buzz you in. My employees are instructed to look at the person at the door (it's glass) and at two of our security camera images to ensure no one is hiding outside of their normal field of vision. I don't want a cute, "Little Bo Peep" to be at the door, and she's got a pack of wolves hiding around the corner who rush the door when we buzz her in.
When you're standing at our door, you are being taped. We have a big sign that says so. To reinforce this fact, you can see yourself on a monitor we have facing the front door. You know, with absolute certainty, that we have captured you on tape before you've even entered our store. If you have on a ball cap, scarf or a dreaded hoodie which obscures your face, we motion to you to remove these things before we will buzz you in.
Gender, age, race or apparent economic status are irrelevant. If I can't see your face, you're not getting into my store. Period.
I am profiling every potential customer that has their face obscured because I know that criminals don't want their faces known. I am lumping the good guys in with the bad guys until I know with a higher degree of certainty that they really are good guys.
And I am almost universally thanked by the good guys. They appreciate it that we strive to have a safe environment in which they can conduct business. I'm guessing that if they don't appreciate it, they go somewhere with lower security standards.
Don't allow the political environment to dictate your safety and lower your awareness. Look at Youtube videos of people that are rioting, committing robberies, Flash Robbing, and the like. Note their style of dress, note their hair styles, note their age, note their mannerisms, note their body art (tattoos/piercings). Read local articles on crime, and if you are able to gain access to videos in your geographic area, note their race as well. There is a high correlation between all of these things and crime.
A perfect example from yesterday: A 20-something, white male wearing half-ass pants, a "wife beater" t-shirt, quick, nervous body movements and extensive tattooing on his arms came to our door. I profiled him as a "tweaker" - a methamphetamine user.
I took a second look, attempting to see if he had anything that might be a weapon, or a location where he might hide a weapon. "No" on both counts. Since he was alone (this is key), I let him in and instructed him to take a seat in our lobby area, as me and my employee both had customers we were helping.
He said he was, "just browsing" and he was planning on making a purchase in the very near future (WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!). He started walking down our aisle of display cases (which would have eventually put him behind me), so I turned from my customer, brushed my concealed pistol to re-orient myself with its location, and again asked him to take a seat. He turned, and walked out of the store.
Now, I may have just lost a customer. This guy truly may have intended to make a purchase. But experience and common sense tell me that an apparent drug user won't likely be buying anything but drugs in the near future.
Now that he's been identified, he'll no longer be buzzed into the store. He's now 86'd.
Some of you may be thinking, "Are you out of your mind? I'd NEVER have let him into the store in the first place!"
I can tell you that we have a number of very good customers who dress very similarly to this guy. Most "went through a phase" and got all tatted up when they were young (and regret it now), and who are in construction trades, so "wife beaters" are a typical item of clothing.
When they entered our store for the first time, they got "the third degree" as well. We got to know them, and now they're loyal customers.
Business has risk. You just need to manage that risk. Your actions - including how you choose to dress, walk and speak - will be noted when you enter my store. You have to earn my trust to stay in my store, just as I have to earn your trust by treating you fairly and honestly.
Yeah, we're profiling each other!
Accept The Challenge
There is a great book out there called, "Blink". In short, it's about trusting - and acting upon - your "gut". You first impression is usually correct.
On the other end of the spectrum are these groups, usually race-based, that place a great deal of public pressure on us to treat members of their group equally, regardless of their personal choices (dress, mannerisms, etc.).
We're seeing this glaringly demonstrated right now with the whole, "I am Trayvon!" deal - going around wearing a hoodie. The message being, "Don't profile me because I'm choosing to wear a hoodie." They're saying that Zimmerman profiled Trayvon because he's a racist towards blacks wearing hoodies.
Uhm, not so much. Here's the relevant portion of the 911 transcripts (click here for the whole thing) -
The dispatcher asked for his race and what he was wearing. Zimmerman answered. Now he's portrayed in the media as a racist murderer. WTF? Was he supposed to identify Trayvon as an Asian school girl wearing a kimono, just to make sure he wasn't 'profiling'?
I have not read or heard one sliver of testimony indicating that Zimmerman's actions were in any way related to race. They were 100% related to break-ins in his neighborhood, and to the fact that he was attacked and defended himself. In fact, the only racial-tinged testimony was given by Trayvon's girlfriend, who said Trayvon identified Zimmerman as a, "creepy-ass cracker."
AND THIS IS ALL IRRELEVANT. It doesn't fit the narrative put forth by these racist groups and the media. Facts simply don't matter.
Again: Don't allow political correctness to influence your safety awareness, or the actions you take when your gut tells you something is not right.
Tomorrow: Part 2: Using deadly force in this current political climate.
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