The Madness Of Crowds

One of the aspects of self defense is being aware of your surroundings, particularly the behavior of people nearby.  If someone is moving against the flow of foot traffic, for example, or if someone is wearing heavy winter clothing on a hot summer day.  Pay attention to the patterns, and these anomalies will stand out.

Long time reader knirirr brought the following fascinating and historically important photo to my attention.

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This is a street party held on August 15, 1945.  That is known as Victory Over Japan Day, and for most it signaled the end of World War II.

Why all the kids?  Massive numbers of children were evacuated from London and other major targets of German bombing raids during the war.  They were mainly sent to small towns where they were cared for by total strangers until after the war.  The picture depicts the tea party thrown by some of the townspeople for their charges before the children were shipped back, probably to the great relief of just about everyone involved.

It isn’t just movement and dress that depict harmful intent, it also expression and body language.  All those faces looking at the camera, most bored and waiting for the shutter to snap so they can get on with the festivities.  Some are goofing off for the picture, wearing silly hats for example, and one or two even show a smile that appears genuine.

I didn’t notice any of that at first glance, not even a single detail.  Instead my eyes were instantly drawn to the one face amongst all the others that shows hatred and anger, and my attention flashed along the enraged person’s sight line to discover the object of all that enmity!

Do you see it?  Go below the fold to see an altered version of the photo where I reveal what was instantly apparent to me.

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Walter Layman – Travel Pictures

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Walter Layman was a photographer who traveled the United States with his little dog Pocahontas.  He specialized in documenting Native American culture, and his work appeared in such illustrious publications as Nature and National Geographic.

The original photograph can be found here, and please click on that link to gain access to a picture with a much higher resolution.  Note how the license plate shows that Mr. Layman was from Texas, my adopted state, and that he has a black thread tied around his pipe and draped around his neck.  No doubt a lanyard for his pipe would be extremely useful while driving that Ford Model A on some rough roads.

Don’t ask me why, but I really like that picture for some reason.  Probably because of the dogs, and that I could see myself forging such a career if I had been born a century earlier.

UPDATE:  Reader Edward was kind enough to leave a comment, stating that the car is a Model T and not a Model A as I first thought.

Thank you kindly for the correction, Edward!

Run, Hide, and … What Is The Last One Again?

They made us watch the video below at work.

That video was produced by the city of Houston, Texas.  They consider it to be so important that it is available in many languages, some rather surprising such as Chinese.

The video describes what to do if one finds oneself in an active shooter situation, where some nutbag decides to end his miserable and worthless existence by killing as many innocent, helpless people as possible before the police arrives and takes his pain away with a bullet.   The three instructions to follow are RUN, HIDE, FIGHT.

These instructions are to avoid the shooter if at all possible, but if you can’t get away then to go down fighting.  Just about every law enforcement agency here in the United States advocates the same thing.  It is so common that even college police departments have their own videos to teach the students.

This is completely uncontroversial here in the United States, as it just seems to be gobsmackingly obvious.  I’ve even come across at least one law enforcement agency that uses the possibility of being caught in an active shooter incident as an opportunity to suggest firearms training so the erstwhile victims can shoot back.

(Click pic to enbiggen.)

The Department of Homeland Security has gotten into the act, urging people across the nation to do the same thing.

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So that is the situation here in the US, but what about our good friends across the Pond in the United Kingdom?  What does their government teach people to do?

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Our good friend knirirr was kind enough to give us this heads up.  A bit different, and what is the reason?

I suppose Americans would just rather go meet their maker with an improvised weapon in their hands than a phone against their ear.