I want to talk to you today about a quite killer, one so stealthy and smooth it could teach tricks to a ninja on sneaky ways to slip up on the target and take them out. It is called complacency and it kills more people every year than car crashes. Where does this killer come from? Is it a virus that spreads through contact? Is it a STD that you catch from a mat rat that doesn’t bathe properly? No, what it is a lifestyle choice that is transmitted through being too damn comfortable in your lifestyle.
You have become a victim of your own safety and security. The everyday sameness of your life have become so humdrum you have let your guard down and the patterns and rhythms have become your cracked glass walls of normalcy. One of the great things about make your living by pissing people off is that you grow accustomed to people trying to get back at you. Not taking the same route home, watching everything around you and staying on edge every time you walk out the door. The few times I have been hurt are the times I let my guard down. They all stemmed from altercations that occurred in a different location and I in my grand stupidity let complacency lead me into taking an ass whipping. So don’t go getting all butt hurt and mad because I am throwing rocks at you while living in a glass house. I am writing to you from experience and trying to impart some wisdom. My goal is to shake you up a bit and make you look at what you are doing and examine it to find the flaws and correct them, and hopefully find mine as well.
We all fall into habits and patterns, it’s a simple truth, and one that honestly no one can be blamed for. It’s easy to do. Get up at the same time every day, go to work, come home, day in day out. Patterns become habits and good or bad they become the norm. I know that since I retired from the violence trades and went to work in a normal job, (if working in a county jail is normal) I found how easy that kind of lifestyle can become. You do the same thing at the gym, train with the same guys at the dojo, eating the same thing day in day out and next thing you know you are in a situation that surprises you. You expect a person to act or respond in one way and they do something so completely off the wall that your mind can’t comprehend whats happening and you are up to your eyeballs in a cluster-fuck.
I see this a lot of times with police officers and security people. They become complacent in their on duty time. They respond to the same families home time and time again and they get so used to the script that they never see the 12 year old kid with the shotgun till it is too late. There have been several incidents earlier this year where an officer was shot sitting in his patrol car doing reports. They may have been sitting in the same spot time and time again to do this and it came back to haunt them. I am not condemning these officers but the truth is they became complacent behind the authority of the badge and it added to their deaths. The world has changed dramatically folks and it will never be the same.
Look at your life with a magnifying glass. Where have you let yourself become a self-victim of your own patterns and habits? Is it in the places that you feel most secure and safe? Is it at the dojo or training studio? Is it at work with nothing really exciting has happened for the past few months and it is all hum drum and day to day? These are the places that you need to try and break that patterns that you have fallen into. Get with your training partners, training officers, and your family time and throw monkey wrenches into your day to day machine.
My ex-wife would get madder than a baptized cat when I would run fire drills in the middle of the night. Till we smelled smoke one night while we were asleep. We got the kids and ourselves out of the house in less than a minute. It was a grass fire across the road thank God, but she then saw the benefits of not staying complacent. If you’re a police officer what are you doing to keep from becoming complacent in your day to day procedures, are you just going through the motions and falling in the same trap that leads to you no going home. Have you security personal slipped into the pattern of walking the fence or patrolling your property the same way every night. Going through the motions of checking everything at the same time and same pattern, making yourself into an easy target. This is the kind of complacency that become the killer in your life.
Look at your training at the dojo or hall that you attend. What can you do to break up the monotony of your training? Do you run the same drills the same way every time you? Are you doing any outside work in different climates and on different ground surfaces? Are you using ambush tactics as part of your work training program? These are simple fixes and just take a small effort and dark since of humor to change the entire pattern. See how many of your fellow coworkers can and would be willing to play a game of pepper ball tag? Follow off duty personal to the houses and tag their cars with modeling clay and if they don’t find it by the time they get to work they owe you a beer. Its things like this that help you change your perspective and make you realize just how dangerous living the same way every day is dangerous.
One game I play with the few guys I teach is called knock out. We put on pads, headgear and boxing gloves. It’s an action/reaction game or drill. I stand within arm’s reach of the student and if I can punch them in the face before they can block me they owe me 25 pushups or burpees. No, I do not try and knock them out for real but I am trying to teach them that distance equals time and time equals safety. We also train a version of tag. We each get small post it notes with the word stab on them. At any time if you can ghost up on a partner and tag him with the post it note without him stopping you, they owe you a beer. These are again just simple thing to do to help and break the habits you may have developed over a period of time.
Remember there are graveyards full of people who weren’t paranoid enough.