Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Is there a tactical message in either the religious or the commercial message of Christmas?  Perhaps.

The shepherds, we are told, were watching their flock…  Sounds like being in condition yellow to me.  The wise men went home another way to avoid Herod, a clear example of not going where you’re not wanted and OODA loop in action.  I’m sure you can draw more conclusions on your own.  I’d be interested in seeing them.

I’m interested in the commercial side.

In the northern hemisphere Christmas occurs in winter.  Long nights, people rushing about with deadlines on their minds (You try telling children their Christmas is postponed 2 days ‘cause Santa’s pooped!) from both at home and work.
Do you have any idea of how long it takes to find and then replace a burnt out bulb?
Relatives arrive, sometimes with friends in tow, meals needs to be special, perfect and plentiful, and the dog just stole the Christmas ham! 

Wait! We forgot the turkey!

It is hard to ignore the impact of rampant commercialism and not feel guilty because you can’t achieve the levels of luxury described as normal by our manufacturers and retailers.

What could I say?
Despite the unseasonably warm December weather I’m experiencing, winter means snow and ice, complicated driving, parking, walking and visibility 

Snow, it's properties make life possible and impossible all at the same time.
issues not to mention the bulky, sensory restrictive cold weather wardrobe.  And we will not even talk about total darkness by 5:30 pm and how 7 pm feels like 11 pm.

Packages arrive and sit on porches, under apartment mailboxes waiting for rightful owners while attracting thieves and other highwaymen.  The possibilities, unfortunately, for crime abound. 

The same applies to New Year’s celebrations, much more of an adult holiday.  We try to put aside the problems of the previous year and establish a good start, hoping the year takes a hint from the first day.

Neither day is intrinsically unique, but the celebrations we associate with them are.  The symbolic nature of these days makes them targets for disruption.  Do not forget we are at war.  Just because we haven’t declared war doesn’t mean were not.  

The tactical side?

Keep your wits about you.  Stay in condition yellow, watchful awareness.  Accept there will be imperfections, but they will not spoil the day unless you let them.  Watch for what doesn’t belong, looks out of place or isn’t typical.  Reduce your alcohol consumption, stay armed and prepared.  Keep your cell phone charged and your everyday kit on you.  Make a tourniquet, small flashlight, a reload and edged tool part of that kit.  Know where you are, the closest street junction or highway marker.  Know where the exits are in the store, mall, restaurant and theater.  Remind family and guests that sometimes everyone must take their cue from you without question. 

Expect some to balk, not everyone sees the world as you do.  If they are not immediate family, leave ‘em.  Your obligation is to yourself (so you can be there to protect them), spouse, children, and parents.  Cool Uncle Ted, who can’t imagine that the shouting at one end of the mall and security moving in that direction could have anything to do with him, is on his own.

This isn’t meant to ruin your holiday, or to have you on your roof with a sniper rifle or patrolling your neighborhood in alpine camo.  I’m just suggesting the normal rules you live by, the normal precautions, the normal concerns you have need to remain in place over the holidays.  Crime doesn’t take a holiday.

You may find that staying in condition yellow actually enriches your holiday.  See if you can’t notice those special moments that happen between people.

Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to you all.

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