Guest Column: Situational awarness


Lee’s note: Here’s another guest column from Peter Burlingame, a firearms trainer operating in the Caribbean. It’s a great read for a Saturday morning, when we have time to be a little more introspective. I strongly endorse his points.

Those of us who teach self protection make a big deal out of being aware of your surroundings, and rightfully so.

Criminals are opportunistic and go for easy prey.

Many instructors teach a color code that was promulgated by Col. Jeff Cooper.

In brief:  White – unaware, Yellow – alert and aware, Orange – you notice a potential threat, Red – the fight is on.

Many people get glassy-eyed when you tell them they need to be constantly on guard for those who would do them harm.

When I am talking to my students about situational awareness, I point out the other, greater benefit: there are many more good things in the world than bad, and most people miss them.

By living in yellow, you get to experience them: A sunset, a shy smile shared between a new couple, a baby’s laugh, the caress of a breeze.

Those things happen everyday, but most people live in a little self-made, self-containing bubble that excludes the majority of that thing we call life.

If being situationally aware also clues me in when danger lurks, well, that’s a bonus.

Many people don’t react well to the doom and gloom of being constantly on the look out for bad guys. I don’t blame them.

Paranoia is tiring. Being alive is rejuvenating.

Peter Burlingame is the founder of The Self Defense Initiative, a 25 year old training school based in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Peter is a contributing member of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. His articles have been published in the FBI’s National Associates’ magazine, “The Firearms Instructor” and “Survival Quarterly.” You may contact him at Videos at


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

1 Comment

  1. I see this sort of thing happening in every state in the US. For every prspooed totalitarian regulation that patriotic citizen activists manage to defeat at the last minute, two or three more crop up. It’s impossible to keep up with it.This type of abuse has led me to conclude that US is already a police state. Our forefathers would hang their heads in shame at the abuses that present-day Americans put up with. Due to the massive level of indoctination and election fraud, not to mention the corruption of the media, academia, the foundations, the NGOs, and all levels of the government, it is long past the time when a peaceful solution would be possible. Furthermore, it is obvious to me that Americans have grown too weak and compliant to fight as our Founders did to attain liberty.As you all can understand, I’ve had pets my entire adult life. Yes, I take good care of them, and no, I don’t want to see the day when anybody who happens to get angry with me for any reason can lie to the government and say that I neglected an animal, purely out of spite. What is this East Germany with the Stasi? I’ve spent many years doing everything I can to educate people about how to restore liberty and justice under a constitutional republic. Obviously, I have failed. I have run out of resources to continue fighting this battle. Asking me to stay here and go down with the ship is asking too much.And that is why I’m emigrating.

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