The gray man mentality and situational awareness is about more than what you wear, it’s about everything you do that might make you stand out in a crowd. Being the gray man is about what you do and say on a daily basis, and who you say it to.
Throughout our daily live we do things trying to become the gray man without thinking about it. If you’ve ever tried to avoid eye contact with an annoying acquaintance or a street vendor, you have tried to become the gray man.
You can talk about operational security and situational awareness without talking about being the gray man, but you can’t talk about being the gray man without talking about operational security and situational awareness. Becoming unremarkable and unmemorable require you to understand your situation and act accordingly.
As I was growing up I was the gray man without even thinking about it. I was the quiet child that would always fly under the radar. My siblings were always busy talking, while I was always busy thinking about how to handle each situation.
Because of this, I was allowed to do just about anything I wanted because everyone trusted me, and focused their attention elsewhere. Luckily I wasn’t a terrible child, but this did allow me to get in more trouble than I should have.
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BEING THE GRAY MAN & SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
I today’s article we will go over some of the things that help us become unremarkable and might help us blend into the crowd. We also talked about how the gray man theory changes depending on the situation you are facing.
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If you live in an urban area you might not want to be wearing cammo and carrying a tactical backpack or bug out bag. If you live in a rural area you wouldn’t want to be wearing a 3-piece suit and carrying suitcase. Fitting in means looking just like everyone else, and unremarkable in every way.
The same would hold true in a small scale or large scale SHTF event. If everyone else is starving and losing weight, yet you look as healthy as ever because you have prepared, you are going to stand out. If everyone is without power and they see light coming from your window at night, you will be a target.
Prepper Hate: There is also the phenomena that Selco called “Prepper Hate” that we need to consider. This is when people form opinions about you according to their agenda, and rationalize stealing or harming you.
This might not be that big of a deal these days, but in any sort of disaster situation these people could say…
“They have way too much food; they must have stolen it”
“It’s not fair that they have food and we don’t, someone needs to make them share.”
These people could easily get other people on board with them and have no problem doing whatever it takes to feed their family…even if it means harming you.
YOUR OUTWARD APPEARANCE
I briefly mentioned how most people will be losing weight, and if we don’t (because we have prepared) we will be on their radar very quickly. I recommend going to the thrift store and getting some clothes that are a size or 2 large, so it looks like you have lost weight just like everyone else.
This also includes how our house looks, and our outside activity’s on a daily basis. If you get deliveries of long term food storage that sit on your front porch for everyone to see, that could be a red flag. If you have prepping supplies stored in your garage that neighbors can see, that could be a red flag.
We need to take a look at what we are doing that might compromise our operational security, and correct those problems while we can.
JUST SHUT UP AND LISTEN
“Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”– Stephen R Covey –
One of the biggest parts of being the gray man and operational security is the ability to listen and plan accordingly. If we are constantly talking and trying to impose our view, we are probably missing the important details.
As the saying goes “loose lips sink ships” and we all know at least 1 person that just talks WAY too much. We can’t afford to give out too much information because it come back to bite us in the future, especially by people we are unsure of.
We can get a better idea about these people by simply listening, and asking probing question. If they are one of those people that never stop talking, just shut up, listen and take it all in. They are probably giving you more insight that they even know.
SIZING PEOPLE UP
I have written about how to size people up in the past, and it basically comes down to listening and posing the right questions. How someone handles everyday stressful situations could give you an idea about how they will handle real stress in a disaster situation.
I have also written about how we are going to need other people in a crisis situationbecause no one person can do everything. However, there is a fine line when it comes to creating a prepper group, or community, and giving out too much information to the wrong person.
It’s really up to you how you handle each situation, but if you go in cautiously and calculated, you have a better chance of coming out on top, and knowing whether you should stop talking about prepping, or if it’s ok to probe a little further.
GRAY MAN PREPPING
In the process of our daily lives it’s important to practice situational awareness, operational security and becoming the gray man because a disaster is no time for practice. We can store all the food in the world, and have all the greatest prepping supplies, but if we don’t know how to hold on to them when times get tough it’s all for naught.
We need to look at every situation realistically, and be honest about how we are putting ourselves at risk. As I said earlier, right now it’s about avoiding a conversation with an annoying friend. In an SHTF event, that conversation could be potentially dangerous.
GRAY MAN BUGGING OUT
While becoming the gray man is the same no matter what situation you are facing, there are a whole different set of rules when it comes to bugging out. If we find ourselves in a bugging out (or in) situation timing and planning are critical.
This is why practicing situational awareness, and practicing becoming the gray man are so important. In a bug out situation it’s game time, it’s time to take everything you have learned and put it into action.
When we are thrust into a life threatening situation, we need to be able to react accordingly and make the right decisions. Sometimes the correct decision is avoiding the conflict all together, and that is what being the gray man is all about.
THE SHTF GRAY MAN
Being the gray man in a post collapse or SHTF event is probably the most critical of all because there is really no set of rules, and no way to know what might happen. We all like to think about how we would handle every disaster situation, but the truth is there is no way to know.
There are so many different variables when it comes to a disaster situation, and so many events that would be caused by the initial event, that we need to be able to pivot and make critical decisions. Right now we can play the “what if” game, and if we are wrong we can hit the reset button and start over. In an SHTF scenario, there is no reset button, and we will need to live (hopefully) with the decisions we have made.
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Comments on “The SHTF Gray Man”
In a SHTF scenario, if you are not ready to shoot to kill, then you will lose everything because you believe everyone is a good Christian. If you cannot bring yourself to kill another human being regardless of whether they pull a gun or knife on you, you will become just another statistic because there are those who would choose to die to secure food and/or resources. At this stage of the game turning the other cheek will not get you what you want, nor save you from marauders hell bent on taking everything you have including the clothes off your back.
A perfect example is what is happening in Chicago where individuals were forced to give up their winter coats on the streets at gun point. In a SHTF scenario you do not have time to equivocate over your resolve. You take action that secures your survivability by whatever means you have at your disposal.
Whenever they nasally whine “You don’t NEED a “Weapon of WAR”” read this to them:
WE pay for THEIR prepping….. as they attack Our RIGHT to keep a semi-automatic rifle
I’d like to point out …. In order to “feel safe” the politicians “need” 7,000+ nuclear warheads ,,, at least 11 aircraft carrier battle groups and hundreds more ships , how many multiBillion$ F35s, how many Troops “under arms” and tanks, tanks beyond counting. The government is spending $700BILLION every year on GUNS. The Liars swear we are “imminent danger” of being overrun by Barbarian Hordes(but we don’t need a wall) and that we should be terrified and give Them all the money they want, to buy every concievable weapon …..But we are “crazy” to want semiauto weapons to defend ourselves …….. then it surrounds it’s self with 24/7 ARMED bodyguards and WALLS, WALLS, WALLS for THEM …. and even THAT is not enough as they constantly tell they need MORE weapons and BIGGER weapons ….. then tells YOU that YOU are crazy for wanting semiauto weapons …… “they” have hidden bunkers, stocked with tons of food, medical supplies, equipment, all paid for by YOU, but YOU are a NUT-CASE for prepping. …………… FTG.
There has never been a government that banned it’s own ARMED FORCES from “Keeping and Bearing” ARMS.
Find one government in the history of humanity that felt a need to document a “RIGHT” for it’s ARMED FORCES to possess ARMS.
Oppressive Governments are ALWAYS banning the People’S RIGHTS to arms.
The claim that the Founding Fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment to give Our ARMED FORCES a “right” to keep and carry ARMS is S-T-U-P-I-D.
The only reason for the Second Amendment is to clearly spell-out the GOD GIVEN RIGHT of INDIVIDUALS to keep & bear ARMS.
The only reason for the BILL(list) of RIGHTS was to codify INDIVIDUALS’ GOD GIVEN RIGHTS.
Has there ever been a government that was not chock full of it’s “rights” up to and including declaring itself to be the Lord God Almighty?! (Rome, Egypt, Israel,etc)
Does the 1st Amendment mean the GOVERNMENT is allowed to give speeches? Try shutting up any Politician. But THEY would LOVE to shut YOU up, hence the FIRST Amendment.
Anyone who tells you the 2nd Amendment applies to the Army or State Militia, is telling you they think you are STUPID.
There has NEVER been a government that felt it had to codify it’s army’s/soldier’s “RIGHT” to “Keep and BEAR ARMS” because there has NEVER been a government that refused to allow It’s own soldiers to KEEP and BEAR ARMS!
The Second Amendment was written for the People, like the other 9 Amendments in the Bill of Rights. This was confirmed by the SCOTUS in the DC vs Heller decision, where they stated that the “People” in the Second Amendment were the same “People” that are mentioned in the First and Fourth Amendment.
The 2nd Amendment clearly codifies the “right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms”, and certainly not “the Militia”.
Why would “the Militia”, a type of army manned by citizen-soldiers as opposed to full-time “regulars”, need a constitutional amendment to guarantee they have the right “to keep and bear arms”?
Is there any specific statement anywhere in the Constitution that the army Congress is empowered to raise has the “right to keep and bear arms”? Of course not. …………. That is assumed.
you are aware that our military bases on US soil basically ARE gun free zones ? and no,i am not kidding either.
Any self-appointed authority-figure, from either side of the law, can take a random detail from your surroundings. Pick one. Name anything. This can be made into a victimthood narrative or conspicuous deformity.
(ref — Ganser Syndrome)
You can repeat the last word of someone’s every sentence. (Serious or cartoon voices, ok.) You can point, and say the time, for something obnoxious to do. One person said he used to roll coins, behind the person. Any kind of embellishment, will do.
“Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”– Stephen R Covey
So, I have sincerely tried to itemize what the voyeurs were doing. I am saying this, in a spirit of respect, not intending to be flippant:
-> It registers, on a subconscious level, when you’re being furtive.
I have known, since my Sunday school days, how to be diplomatic. I can be platonic and civil and abstract, in a free marketplace of ideas.
But, but, but, if you do the same things back, they are usually confused.
Are voyeurs and scoffers even self-aware. Were they taking some kind of guilty pleasure, while knowing it was wrong to torment people. Or, were you training them to act that way, by being so secretive. For instance, run, and the guard dog chases. Crouch, and the zoo animal pounces.
I know that you’re not supposed to escalate a confrontation or respond in-kind. Kindergarten class and children’s books should have taught me this.
But, I find that it confuses people, when I do to them, what they are doing to me. Predatory animals have been frightened away, in real life. Good people (aren’t we all) be careful with this.
Thanks, really good article. And good comments.
When it comes down to it, you won’t be seeing so much the mongrel hordes in front of your home, it will be either the Cops or the Military coming to take your guns and whatever else you have. You had better be fully prepared to fire on all those types. That will take more nerve and preparation than most will possess. Just look back at the same thing happening in New Orleans after Katrina. The Military went to ALL safe areas and demanded guns. There was not any reason to even go there, but they did. Not one shot was fired from the home owners. Now, one exception was Waco, 1993. The Branch Davidians DID indeed RETURN fire on the BATFE. But, they made the mistake of CEASING FIRE when they had the drop on their enemy attackers. Shoulda kept on shooting. When you are invaded and you have the upper hand, KEEP FIRING till they are no longer a threat! No further explanation is necessary.
Sorry to disillusion you. In a shtf world it will be your neighbors who will be the first ones to come after your stuff if they think you have something they want, or don’t have themselves. Why? Because it is the basic human nature to be dishonest to self satisfy the ego. Promises are worth their weight in gold. How may times have people made promises to you that they did not keep? Hmmm? What did You learn from that experience, again and again?
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