Adjusting your daily habits to increase your safety and prevent threats to self!

This is a quick approach that will help you get started, it is not meant to replace common sense or the rational use of intelligent approaches in your daily life. There are a few simple realities that must be understood and accepted with regards to our modern lives and the ability to stalk, track and or find people in general.

  • Everyone has an internet presence ¹ (some less than others, some slightly more secure)
  • The United States, Great Britain, China, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Brasil, Chile, Columbia, France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and most other nations all have active agencies that specifically filter, track and trace online activity as well as any and all use of signal based traffic from phones through Ham Radio. ² (the benefit is with over 5 billion people using any number of devices daily, it is physically impossible to direct action against everyone all the time)
  • If you monitor current political, religious etc., trends and avoid causing waves in areas of current interest, most surveillance will simply roll right over and never see you. (every time I hear someone blame their self-importance for issues, I laugh, honestly unless you are a true mover and shaker in any arena no one cares what you do.)

So what habits can be adjusted, and which habits should be adjusted to better suit a life lived avoiding complications? This is the easy part, the hard part is continuing these beneficial habits and never countering them. Once you institute better life decisions specifically to optimize your safety as an individual and that of your attached family and friends it is absolutely essential to avoid changing back.

What habits/ behaviors do we change, here is a short list of habits/behaviors necessary to adjust, change or otherwise switch to ensure a safer tomorrow for yourself and those you care about.

  • Physical awareness of our surroundings or our situational awareness³.
  • Travel habits, eg., work commute, run/ walk route, school route, shopping route.
  • Time management, how we approach our daily lives.
  • Physical demeanor, how we present ourselves physically through our face and body. Dress habits, what we wear and how we wear it.
  • Where we go, do you frequent clubs, bars and or restaurants?

The linked article for situational awareness goes into depth regarding what and how we should live to promote individual safety.

Travel habits are the next important behavior we need to look at. Every day we go to work, school or social engagements; if these are regular events in our lives it is almost certain we travel specific paths to get to each one. Change your travel approach every time you do anything. Be in the beneficial habit of constantly learning and taking new paths, routes, and approaches. This leads directly into time management.

Our time management is one of the simplest items to change while being one of the most beneficial for our overall safety. Consider what occurs when you are “in a hurry” how much do you miss and have you ever considered your route while in a hurry? Manage your time in a manner that will ensure you arrive early to engagements which by default helps you be more proactive in your approach to physical monitoring of your surroundings. And maintaining your situational awareness! This leads directly into your physical demeanor, you show stress with your face and nothing increases stress more than bad time management!

Physical demeanor, the goal here is simple, maintain an outward appearance that is relaxed and aware. This is done by following some extremely simple rules,

  • Dress for the environment, this means you should understand your local culture, social norms, and dress habits and do your best to maintain a similar approach – standing out is bad for safety
  • Maintain a calm, alert demeanor at all times, to do this you should practice calm speaking and AVOID getting excited when in public your demeanor is your safety.
  • Colors of what you wear are almost as important or more so than what you wear. Red and other bright colors attract the eye, the spectrum that involves red is hardwired into our psyche as an alert.
  • Size is everything, having clothing that fits is almost as important as color or type of clothing. Close fitting clothing ensures attention will be directed at you whether beneficial or not is your decision.

Physical demeanor as we see is more than just our face or body language it is how we dress, act and are perceived by others! This, of course, leads to what we do when we are out.

Where we go is as important as every other aspect discussed above. All of us have at some point in our lives gone bar hopping, to concerts and or festivals where our ability to monitor and control our individual environment is impossible to maintain. If you really want to maintain as safe a life as possible, avoid venues where you cannot control your environment or where you may be kept from the use of protective approaches. What I am saying is simple, in public places you are MORE likely to be engaged in a negative manner than you are at home. Simply be safe and smart in your approach!

That is it, for now, I plan on writing a few more articles with more in-depth approaches. I would like as much feedback as possible, what are you interested in? What would you like to read about? While I will not be able to give you instructions in some areas, in those I have experience in I will gladly share! Additionally, I can offer more links and information if you so desire.

Free the mind and the body will follow…

¹ Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Cortesi, S., Gasser, U., Duggan, M., Smith, A., & Beaton, M. (2013, May 21). Teens, Social Media, and Privacy. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/05/21/teens-social-media-and-privacy/

Zomorodi, M. (2017, March 29). Internet Privacy: How Much Information Do You Give Away? Retrieved April 11, 2018, from http://time.com/4673602/terms-service-privacy-security/

² Aziz, Y. (2018, February 23). Mass Surveillance Program Around the World. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.privacyend.com/mass-surveillance/

Khazan, O. (2013, June 06). Actually, Most Countries Are Increasingly Spying on Their Citizens, the UN Says. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/06/actually-most-countries-are-increasingly-spying-on-their-citizens-the-un-says/276614/

³ Mathewson, J. (2018, April 06). Training Your Situational Awareness or Dying: Which do you prefer? Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://www.mdcreekmore.com/training-your-situational-awareness/

Jesse Mathewson

Arizona since 86', lifetime prepper, camper - criminal justice advanced degrees, numerous certifications, 1+ million rounds (shooting for decades), prior contractor, instructor, current volunteer, disabled, honest, father of two husband of one - all budget and prepared. Jesse Mathewson reviews because regular people need someone in their corner as well!

34 Responses

  1. Livinthedream says:

    Some good reminders re: what it takes to keep a low profile.

    Along the line of security, I just discovered a new (to me) encrypted email service. It’s FREE for up to 1 gb storage. Business accounts are available, not free. U can use multiple addresses. It’s out of Germany: tutanota.com

    Check them out.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      also proton mail… another encrypted end to end if both users have it…

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      I have accts with both actually and quite enjoy them!

    • Livinthedream ,

      Along the line of security, I just discovered a new (to me) encrypted email service. It’s FREE for up to 1 gb storage. Business accounts are available, not free. U can use multiple addresses. It’s out of Germany: tutanota.com

      I don’t understand the need for 1 Gb of storage on an email service, since a gig of email is an amazing amount of data.
      How I do my encrypted email is easy; but, does require that one gives up their webmail and to load and configure an email client on their machine. I use Mozilla Thunderbird and by importing an X.509 certificate that you can create yourself, you can sign email and once you and another client have exchanged email, can then do end to end encryption between those parties. It uses the standard public / private key encryption that is used all over the internet and doesn’t make you rely on the veracity of some German or other provider who you think or at least hopeis secure,
      I can give a nutshell explanation of the way it works if someone is interested.

  2. cgbascom says:

    Great article, Jesse. The approaches you noted are the easiest for us to implement and have control over. The “grayer” we are, the less likely we are to be noticed. That, in itself, can be used to our advantage when we are practicing situational awareness. I am most likely to notice the ‘gray’ people in my life. It helps me to find what makes them that way and to decide if it is something that I can use for myself.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Cgb, exactly! Gray is safe (r)

    • cgbascom ,

      The “grayer” we are, the less likely we are to be noticed.

      Notice by whom may I ask?
      There may be a flip side to being too grey. I have a friend I’ve known for years who has spent his life trying to be the grey enigma. He is also an engineer and firearms instructor and has gone out of his way to leave as small a paper trail as possible. All of his many firearms are private sale purchases with no paper trail and he pays as many of his bills as possible with cash. Even those who knew him back in high school don’t know his real age. He was doing some contract work for a company in Korea some years ago and would leave on short notice at times for weeks only telling people were he had been upon return. He and I were talking about some of the conspiracy theories and he told me how proud he was to be the enigma, only to have a very shocked look on his face when I mentioned him disappearing for weeks with no one paying any attention to his absence, potentially being the cause of his demise. If he were snatched by a government agency (unlikely), a criminal) possibility) or was involved in an accident along a backwoods area with no cell service and pinned in his car, no one would even think to question his disappearance for weeks or months.
      While you don’t want to bring yourself to the attention of a government agency by doing illegal things, having a community of people with whom you regularly interact is IMHO a good thing, and provides far more protection than being grey.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        TOP. Within reason obviously – at one point I was happily off grid – I was also single with no real attachments. These days I have kids and a wife- eg., very much on grid but with caveats allowing for safe (r) daily living

        • Jesse,

          Within reason obviously – at one point I was happily off grid – I was also single with no real attachments. These days I have kids and a wife- eg., very much on grid but with caveats allowing for safe (r) daily living

          I understand and was single until age 31 and now married with children for 36 years life circumstances change; but, we all adapt and hopefully have solid core principles to guide us..
          As a life member of the NRA, a ham radio operator for about42 years, volunteer with county EMA for 20 and certified firearms and hunter education instructor for 25+ years, I’m no doubt on a few lists; but, as you stated:

          (every time I hear someone blame their self-importance for issues, I laugh, honestly unless you are a true mover and shaker in any arena no one cares what you do.)

          To which I will add, a mover and a shaker in some detrimental way. So I keep my nose clean and don’t do stupid things like making threats online and for the most part, life just goes on in a rather uneventful way.

  3. JP in MT says:

    I am fortunate that my daily life has not had much interuption from the “new” criminal elements, but it’s coming. I was told that in Missoula, MT (one of our larger, liberal, college bergs) that many pan-handlers will come right up and get in your face. It might not work out well for them with me, but that remains to be seen.

    I do, however, go to Portland, OR a couple times a year. I was raised just outside Portland, but left in 1975. It sure has changed. As late as last weekend, ANTIFA was actively attacking “hate-spewing” people at a prayer march (not sure how they made that connection). So, I have to beef up my personal security while I’m there.

    When travelling, I have a wi-fi hot spot that I use if I need to do anything financial. I don’t use any public wi-fi accept to check the news and e-mail. Even then it’s limited.

    I remember our old security training about changing your travel routine regularly. Make yourself unpredicatble. Even changing the side of the street you walk on.

    Situational awareness is becoming more and more important. It ain’t the ’50’s anymore!

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      JP. Exactly

    • JP,
      Unfortunately there are still too many people who don’t or won’t understand these things. We’ve never had a radar detector; but, often use them, when the idiot who has one, passes us @ high speed and runs the gauntlet for us. In a pinch, he gets the ticket.
      Likewise there are so many sheep in the cities intent on their cell phones or with their thoughts anywhere but their current situation that can also be used in the same fashion.
      Situational awareness and just looking potential predators in the eyes lets them know you are not the easy mark, and often makes them move elsewhere. I also carry a firearm nearly everywhere I go along with pepper gel and other items that can be potentially used as a defensive tool. At my age and size, you need to take no guff from a potential bully; but, you need to be courteous when you do it. Often your confidence in a confrontation is all that is needed, since the bully doesn’t know if you are deadly or crazy, which could of course mean deadly.
      You also need to follow the maxim I’ve mentioned here numerous times: “Don’t go to stupid places, with stupid people, and do stupid things.”
      It’s all rather simple if you just pay attention to the matters at hand and leave YOUR worries and other plans and thoughts to the side to be dealt with later. Fpcis on the moment.

  4. GA Red says:

    Excellent reminders. Fortunately, I was taught from a young age to always be aware of my surroundings and always walk with confidence to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim.

  5. Black Swan says:

    Your mention of clothing is unusual, but I also think it is spot-on. I would add, be careful about shoes, too. This isn’t about appearing ‘gray’, but about ability to act on any threat that may pop up out of nowhere, or about dealing with a relatively simple emergency such as a car breakdown.

    This is more of an issue for women than for men, but neither gender (please don’t shoot me for implying there are only two possibilities) should be outside their home, unless at a pool or a beach, in flip flops! Many types of sandals are also questionable if you have to run or even take a long walk somewhere. Same with ill-fitting, very hard- or thin-soled shoes, or ones threatening to break apart because they’re so old.

    I carry a pair of sneakers in my car trunk in case I get caught short shoe-wise,but so far I’ve never needed them because I wear shoes that make sense whenever I leave the house.

    • GA Red says:

      I keep a pair of sneakers at work and another pair in my car. I need to replace the ones in the car as they wouldn’t last long. I do this because my work attire/shoes aren’t always appropriate for a long walk home.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Black swan, yes agreed well said!

  6. Anonamo Also says:

    Good Job Jesse!

  7. mom of three says:

    Living in the PNW, you would think decorating the outside of your house would be no big deal right!!!!! Wrong, we are still the only home on the block of about 30 homes, that fly our flag at Memorial day, or 4th of July, I don’t give a fig and we fly our flag, and I decorate, even if the rest of the neighborhood does not very sad to me but that shows were not gray… Last year hubby, took everything down and put it away because he felt we were not gray enough it made me sad so this year I cut back. We also take different routes, to my parents home, and to our other property, just because you never know having good shoes are a must even my sandles, are sturdy.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Mom of three encourage neighbors by maybe starting a contest if decorating is important to you. That said, we also decorate but relatively subdued as do many on the street 🙂 Hispanic neighborhood makes for lively parties hahah

      • mom of three says:

        Oh I don’t care what other people do it just makes us stand out more because we are the only house that decorates, we live in a very liberal city, everyone around us is so far left, I’m surprised they have not fallen overboard..

        • Jesse Mathewson says:

          Mom of three, I am none of the above … honestly, I spent years thinking I could actually change anything by giving crooked (all of them) politicians my money or time. These days I am happily married with kids and neither left nor right as I refuse politicians divisiveness in my life. – I have neighbors that sometimes wince at my life, *left/right whatever they may be* however, because I always keep my word and always do for others none of them to this day have ever seen me as a threat *I am not one to those who are not threats to me or mine*

    • mom of three,
      We fly a flag 24/7/365 and take it down only when it gets tattered and needs to be replaced.
      It is nylon and lit @ night.
      Before anyone response with a protest, her is theoffucual ptotocol for flying the flag:
      Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1
      Section 6. Time and occasions for display
      (a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
      (c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.
      Most of our neighbors also fly their flags; but, holiday decorations are not as common, since we live in an area where few will see them.

      • mom of three says:

        We fly it on nice days, and take it down at night hubby, even bought our Citys new flag it represents the three Indian tribs, our water ways , the moutains, so it’s a nice flag we enjoy flying it too.

  8. Mechanic says:

    Always enjoy your writing Jesse. Thanks.

  9. MaineBrain says:

    Good article, Jesse. However, in our rural community (suburb of a small city), there’s only one road in and out. Turn left out the driveway, 10 minutes to work. Turn right, 25 minutes to work across back roads. Thankfully, when they shut down our road (the turn-left option) for four days a couple of years ago to rebuild a culvert, I was away for the first three days at a conference, so I only had to do the back-roads option coming home at night from the airport, and again in the morning to get to the office. Certainly something to consider when we sell this house and relocate – how many ways out are there? If, for some odd reason, both left and right were closed off (they never have been in our 17 years of living here, but I guess it could happen – trees down in a storm etc.), we’d be trapped. That’s why we prep. We can last at least 3 weeks without a trip to the store. Though, hubby’s mail-order meds from the VA might become problematic. Thanks again, now you’ve gotten me thinking…. (And PS, I have several articles of red clothing which I love!)

  10. Chaya says:

    Rural living can and does for us limit ingress and egress. That being said, is also the reason we keep emergency supplies, including hiking boots in the vehicles. More than once the back road has been cut off due to downed trees, thus making the paved road the only travel path available. Now I’m wondering if keeping a saw in the car wouldn’t be wise. Deliberately blocking one route could serve bad purposes.

  11. Gloria Whitchurch says:

    Recently put myself into a position to become sexually attacked… I’m not so young anymore- and had quit thinking about ‘situational awareness’. Got out of it, due to old training in Tae-Kwon-Do, and ‘situational awareness’ kicking in- instantly…options/solutions. Woke me up.