12 Sept 14

“Life is hard. After all, it kills you!”

Katharine Hepburn

“Social” Media

This morning, the entire USMC Base at Camp Pendleton, CA went into a tizzy over the false report of an “active shooter” on-base. The report appeared in a posting on an anonymous Facebook Page and then rapidly spread through word of mouth.

There was never any active shooter, and the whole thing turned out to be a hoax!

Two points:

1. When officers and staff NCOs are continuously armed (and trained to carry continuously), as they should be, reports like this will no longer be panic-engendering, the way they are now. At some point, we’re going to have to trust our own people. We obviously don’t now!

2. Most “social media” is bad news! Broadcasting personal information about yourself, like where you live, photos of yourself, your children, pets, at al, travel plans, work, recreational, and personal habits and interests, health information, personal challenges, and details about your daily routine, etc is seldom going to be in your best interest. Such pell-mell promulgation of important personal information cannot be confined, despite wishful thinking on the part of the naive. It will go everywhere, and such an unrestricted dissemination is of scant benefit to you, but it can be profitable to criminals in planning robberies, burglaries, kidnapings, and murders.

One axiom that has been painfully learned in many nations, like Israel, where terrorism has been a constant danger for generations, is this:

Don’t think you’re too insignificant to become a target!

Here are some other ways to “stay under the radar”:

>Get in the habit of dressing in such a way that you would be difficult to pick out of a crowd. Wear clothing similar to what everyone else is wearing. While in public places, don’t wear flashy outer garments, high-profile hair styles, nor ostentatious jewelry.

>When in public, wear inexpensive watches.

>Drive a model and type of vehicle that blends well with the traffic common to the area. Your car should be a color that is routine for that type of vehicle. Loud colors are to be avoided.

>Don’t put contentious bumper stickers, nor window decals, on your car, particularly those espousing controversial and/or unpopular political or religious opinions.

>Don’t get “personalized” license plates. Use the plates that are issued. Change license plates every couple of years. Don’t keep the same number year after year.

>Make it a practice to be hard to locate. Your home, like your car, should blend well with others in the area. Receive your mail and packages at a private mail room rather than at your residence. Don’t use your home address for anything. Have an unlisted phone number.

>Acquire a high-powered document shredder, and get into the habit of routinely shredding telephone bills, letters, envelops, old checks, bank statements, credit-card statements, utility bills, and anything else which you are going to discard but that may contain important numbers, names, addresses, and other personal information about you. Shred everything with your name or address on it. Don’t let those documents go out intact in the garbage. Shred all expired credit cards. Don’t just cut them once or twice. Destroy them completely.

>Don’t make 1-800 and 1-900 phone calls from your home phone, particularly when responding to advertisements or placing orders with mail-order establishments. When you do, your home phone number will end up on scores of “sucker lists.” Keep your home phone unlisted and private. Have a separate, “business line” for commerce.

>”Clean” your computer constantly. Get rid of cookies. Purge your Web “footprints list” every few days. Stay away from sexually-oriented and other sleazy sites. Scan for viruses daily. Make sure your security software is up to date.

>Carefully protect your Social Security Number, your Driver’s License Number, and your date of birth. These are important personal identifiers, and criminals can use this information to steal your identity. Some people, such as your employer and your bank, have a legitimate need to know these numbers, but few others do. Don’t give them out; don’t carry on your person anything containing your Social Security Number. When asked for this information under suspicious circumstances, say you can’t remember or provide a spurious number.

>Protect your name also. When making restaurant reservations, for example, use a pseudonym. Having your name shouted, or broadcast over a loudspeaker, is not a good thing. No one needs to know you’re there!

>Keep guns locked away in gun safes, except for those you need in a high state of readiness. Don’t show your gun safes, nor their location, to anyone. Don’t discuss your safes, nor their contents, with anyone who doesn’t need to know. Any “list” you maintain needs to be locked under a password and never printed.

>When you subscribe to gun magazines, political or religious magazines or newsletters, or any other kind of publication which could be considered “controversial,” read them as soon as they arrive and then promptly throw them away. Don’t allow them to accumulate in your home. Always tear-off the address page and shred it!

>Be careful with the extent of your political involvement. Writing letters to government officials, letters to editors of newspapers and magazines, and letters to elected officials, particularly letters of complaint or containing implied threats, carries with it considerable risk. The same can be said for becoming associated with what is called a “DSM” (Deviant Social Movement). Prolific letter writers and those who are otherwise attracted toward high-profile political involvement eventually end up being “watched” more closely than the average citizen. Voting can probably be done with little risk. Political involvement at higher levels unavoidably raises your profile.

>When you are stopped and/or otherwise questioned by police, produce identification when asked. Be truthful, courteous, non-threatening, and aboveboard, but don’t be chummy, nor chatty.

When you don’t have direct, personal knowledge that something is true or not, the correct response is, “I don’t know.”

Don’t guess, and don’t speculate.

Don’t answer hypothetical questions

Don’t express opinions;

Don’t answer questions that weren’t asked

Don’t keep answering the same question over and over.

Make each answer as brief as possible. Don’t expand on your answers, and don’t volunteer information.

Practicing the “Stealth Existence.” for most people, requires only a small alteration in life style. However, it can pay big dividends in helping you avoid contact with criminals, be they in the public or the private sector.

“Don’t tell people about your problems. Eighty percent don’t care, and the other twenty percent are glad you have them.”

Lou Holtz