Yesterday, on my Facebook page, I asked when everyone felt most vulnerable during an average 24 hour day. Many people said sleeping or work when they are not allowed to carry.
As the bard would tell us, knowing is half the battle. Being able to identify vulnerability gives us the opportunity to examine how we can limit vulnerability during that time.
When it comes to vulnerability there are only three things you can examine and potentially make changes to that can take you from a state of feeling vulnerable to at least prepared:
1. The setting
2. Your practices
Let's take the example of going to and from the car. My mother used to come home always complaining about where she had to park at work. The door to her building locked immediately upon exit. There was only one light above the door but none in the parking lot. There was a wooded area around the lot where anyone could be hiding. She couldn't always get the closest parking spot to the door either, no matter how much she tried. But all she ever did was complain and, as far as I know, she never changed anything about her setting, practices or herself to feel as though she was no longer as vulnerable. You may never be able to eliminate the vulnerability altogether but it can almost always be improved.
In my mother's case, let's look at some potential improvements.
Could she have parked anywhere else? That should be the first and most obvious question. Sometimes there are better, secondary options worth considering. Could she have petitioned her work to install more lights or cut back the tree line (if it was their property, of course). Could she have petitioned her work to install keyless entry pads on the doors for quick and easy access back into the building? I know that no one likes to rock the boat, but if you are feeling
particularly vulnerable and there is potential of danger you should
speak up. Could there be a security guard who monitors that area at the end of shift?
Of course we all know that usually change in business setting does not always come easily so one might just have to deal with the card he's been dealt in that matter. So if you can't change your setting, change your...
Can you ask someone to walk out to your car with you? Maybe you can't have a gun but can you have pepper spray? Can you carry it in your hand vs at the bottom of your purse so you are more prepared? Can you unlock your car remotely before you even approach? Can you approach your vehicle differently? Just changing a few things in practice can make a huge difference to the level of vulnerability you have and feel.
Lastly, however, are changes you can make to yourself to lower your vulnerability. Some places require business attire for work which include impractical shoes that are horrible for fighting and running. Could changing into a pair of sneakers just before you head out of the office make all of the difference as far as feeling more grounded and less vulnerable? Absolutely! Maybe ditching that 3 ton designer purse filled to the brim with stuff you never use and limit it to a small clutch with a few key items that you can toss. Or, better yet, a small clutch with something heavy in the bottom you can use as a sap in a time of need? Maybe take out those dangling, clinking earings that impair your hearing and are far too easy to grab in a fight and put those in your purse or pocket before you head out the door. That hairdo that flows around your face and cuts down on your peripheral vision could go up in a loose pony tail.
Be creative and think about those three areas in whatever vulnerable setting you find yourself.
Working at your desk at work.
Can you rearrange your office so you have a better advantage either via sight or sound? Can you rearrange your desk so that you don't have obstructions or perhaps have some cover or concealment? Could you change how you go about your day and what you do while you work? Change what you bring to work or what you take with you when you leave? If you can't be armed, do you have other defensive options? Could you take off your suit jacket and put on something more comfortable from time to time? Eat healthier, exercise and get enough sleep so that you are at your peak level of attention throughout the day?
Going to bed.
If there is one place you have the most control over your setting it is at home. Could you arrange your bed in a way that you would be in a less vulnerable position within the room? Make sure you have good locks on your doors and the windows? Alarm system? Dog? Make sure the blinds are closed so that any potential peeping Tom can't see where you are? Could you lock your bedroom door at night giving you a few more seconds to wake up and respond? Could you put all of your defensive tools in something like a holster fanny pack by the bed so that if you need to grab the whole setup and go in the middle of the night you won't forget a vital piece like a cell phone or flash light? Could you sleep in pajamas instead of nude so if you are awoken in the middle of the night you don't feel so exposed (of that's even a concern of yours)?
What do you think? Pick a vulnerable moment (doesn't even have to be your own life) and think of ways that changing the setting, practices or self might make it less vulnerable. There are lots to choose from:
Getting into the car
Giving the kids a bath
Cleaning out the garage
Going for a run
Unloading the car
Let's hear your improvements!!