78 SmartPhones, 78 Potential Victims
Since there was a page limit to keep the price low on the book (“Way of the Concealed Carrier“), several stories did not get published. This is one of them.
Living in the Midwest can be brutal sometimes in the winter. And getting some exercise may be a challenge depending where you live. I for one, during the winters, visit my nearest mall and join those other mall walkers. It’s good to get out, check out some sales, and walk several miles. And it costs nothing to walk around the mall (unless you decide to buy something).
A group of us went to the mall on a semi-busy Saturday. Of course my situational awareness was at its peak watching everyone. I noticed people who had their heads buried in their smartphones. They were oblivious of their surroundings. Several accidentally walked in our path without noticing us. I decided to count the number of people who were on their cell phones. It wasn’t anything very scientific. I just set up the rule of just picking the ones that were staring at their screens and not making phone calls. So their faces were were pretty much buried in their screens. See how scientific this experiment was?
After walking around the mall, I counted 78 people. Mostly kids (about 60%), and the rest were adults. Now if I was a predator and wanted to target any of these 78 people, they would have been very easy pickings. When I walked around a second time, I noticed the same people (about 15 of them) that did not move from their spot and they were still buried in their screens. One walk around the mall is about 15-20 minutes.
I have no idea how many people were on the same mall level that I was on, but I would guess around 150 people or more that were walking around outside the stores. In this experiment, I am not including those inside stores since I could not see them, but I hope you get the picture here. This same mall last month was robbed by two kids that were over 6 foot 4. They were in a clothing store, they ran out and went right past us, with security chasing them. I had no idea if they were armed, but for one, I am not going to get involved. Mall security was there and they were not a threat to us or those around us. We would end up being good witnesses anyways since they were running out of the store in front of us, but that’s about it.
But my situational awareness was on, I spotted them as soon as the ruckus started and we got out of their way as they ran towards us. If it turned into a lethal force situation, I knew where the exits were along with where cover and concealment was. Luckily it was just a pair of thieves with no interest in harming anyone. They were hoofing it pretty fast for the exits and not pushing anyone down. They just darted between people. What if this pair decided to go after people whose eyeballs were glued to their phone screens? There were many to choose from.
So if you have children, teach them not to be distracted by their phones. They should build that habit of situational awareness (SA). Have them look up frequently to re-examine their surroundings. It could save their lives or prevent harm from happening to them. Teach your children SA (Situational Awareness) and this will be with them through their adult lives. Practice this constantly while you’re with them. Teach them when they hear the words “SA”, they should pop their heads up and do a scan of the area. So the next time you’re family are out and you as a parent notice that your child is deeply focused on that screen, just say “SA” to them. Do this constantly, but not to a point of annoying them. Give them several minutes while they are glued to their screens to see if they disconnect and look around. Help them build that SA habit. So when they’re on their own, they will frequently lift their heads and scan their environment.
For the adults, you need to practice this also. You’re just as bad as the kids. If you do need to use your phone, seek a safe location, find a wall, prop up against it, stay alert and keep your awareness on.
During the summer, I noticed the same thing. About 90% of people had their faces buried into their phones at the park. People were fishing and they were surfing on their phones. They were boating, walking, sitting on the park bench, even the parents were not paying attention to their little ones on the swing set. So what’s the point of even visiting a park if all you’re going to do is bury yourself in another world and be disconnected from the one you’re in? Go get a park app or something. No wonder there are so many stories of people being robbed, they’re not paying attention.
Don’t quote me on this, but I remember an article over a decade ago that talked about people watching TV. I think that by the age of 40 or 50, Americans had spent 10 years of their lives in front of a TV. Do you know how much could have been accomplished in our lives if we weren’t so fixated on our television sets. I feel robbed. But it makes me wonder how many years that people are glued to their smartphones, computers and tablets by the time they reach their 40’s or 50’s. Just imagine all those people born into a world where they grew up using smartphones. I remember the days of not having a television and we just had radio. We did not have cell phones, home computers or tablets. Then that wonderful day came when we got our first black and white television set. The good old days…
Situational awareness my friend. Keep it on when you’re out and about. Put the cell phone down and enjoy life. Don’t be a target.
Be safe out there, be the responsible firearm owner and always follow the “Concealed Carry Creed”!!!