By JL Rehman

Distance is your friend…

Being in and around law enforcement and security for most of my adult life, I tend to exercise situational awareness when out in public as a matter of daily routine. We had plans in place when our kids were small, especially due to the very public spotlight on Doug’s career in online child exploitation investigations and the arrest and convictions of those people. For us, it was just a way of life. Most people don’t or have not had to live that life, but the lessons learned can apply to anyone.

Now with grandchildren, that situational awareness is even higher. Now it’s not just about the kids, but about our kids and their kids. Watching how strangers react to our grandchildren and how our kids in turn react to the stranger.


I’m a big proponent of distancing. Keeping enough space between me and a stranger to allow myself reactive time if the stranger, for whatever reason, decides to become a threat. When someone gets too close, my internal brain alarm goes off. I’m not a fan of crowds either.

The same went for our kids in public. Pulling them back whenever they were practically nestled up on the hip of someone waiting in line, or too close when suddenly engaged by attention and conversation by a stranger, or just zoned out and not paying attention from a long day. Distance.

For the first time an issue arose that, looking back, could have been handled differently. I was out with my daughter and grandchildren, we stopped to eat and took a table. They were seated with their back against the wall with me on the outside. There were tables lined down the wall, most filled. A guy came over, a bit disheveled, and began talking to us as if he had known us for years. I get that some people are like that and perfectly harmless. He could have been too.

He sat at the table next to us so he was closest to the kids and immediately started interacting with them. Not us, them. He clearly had experience with kids in how to engage them for conversation and the ability to get them comfortable enough to answer questions. He got down to their level. Even so much as encouraging the youngest to howl like a wolf. This may all sound harmless and cute, but on the other hand, it felt like “grooming”.

We ate quickly and left, but it compelled me to re-evaluate the way I handle those situations now. Next time, the kids will be buffered from the stranger. One of us (adult) will be in-between. Distance.

There is a fine line between being socially kind and polite, and taking action on a possible threat. It’s hard. It means constant evaluation. It means reading body language. It means listening to what the stranger is saying. And not saying. It means allowing your natural instincts the ability to do its job (that gut feeling) and doing what it tells you.

Family Safety: Our Significant Others

By JL Rehman

In the defensive firearm world with the focus on hardware, proper grip, etc., as it should be, what often falls between the cracks is consideration of our significant others. They can unintentionally become an afterthought in the long-term preparation of safety and action. Planning for family safety must involve all members.

It is easy to make assumptions of their response based upon your perspective and the expectations of their involvement during a deadly encounter.

It is not uncommon for our partners to have a fear and hands-off attitude toward firearms. No one should be made to feel guilty because of their personal feelings about firearms. On the other hand, it can lead to lack of cooperation for a plan in the event of a crisis.

Does that mean the end of the conversation? No. A crisis will involve them regardless, without their permission and with no regard to their feelings.

Have a Plan

When a predator makes a choice to invade and threaten your life and the lives of your loved-ones, passive ignorance by a partner really isn’t an option. During a deadly encounter, whether at home or out, their reaction can make the situation much worse if a plan of action and preparation isn’t in place.

Panic is your enemy. Consider these options. Have an honest conversation. Plan what they need to do. Whether it is grabbing the phone and hiding in a safe closet, running to a neighbor, or knowing what to do in the public arena, give them something to do. Taking the attitude that you will “protect them” isn’t good enough. Frightened people panic, freeze and often become unintentional targets. They can become distractions or obstructions to your engaging a threat.

Coming the Summer of 2018

Strategic Outfitters is launching a new class for family safety, Critical Home Defense, a three-phase course: Classroom, Computer simulator and in-house practical located at our dedicated facility.

Teamwork can make the difference between life and death.