We spend too much of our time listening without actually hearing, and looking without actually seeing.
This past summer we pulled up to our travel trailer, after dark, and unloaded our two dogs. About the time they got out of the car, the dogs got really upset. They wouldn't quit barking, they wouldn't listen to me and they wouldn't calm down. I figured they were just reacting to a coyote or some other critter in the pasture next to us. Finally, it dawned on me that I ought to find out what they were upset about, and started looking around with my flashlight. Luckily, I found and killed the Mojave rattlesnake before it bit any of us. Col. Cooper would have called me in Condition White, and he would have been right.
Awareness in our everyday lives gives us time to evaluate a situation and prepare to respond to it. Away from home, awareness often helps us spot a potentially bad situation while there is still time to go the other way. Heck, you might even spot the traffic cop while there is still time to slow down and avoid a speeding ticket.
Awareness should be part of the discussion in your family defensive plan. And, it really helps to have friends and family members encouraging each other to be conscious of what's going on around them. A criminal attack is dangerous, but it should never be a complete surprise. Tune your senses—they are some of the best defensive weapons at your disposal.