Okay, I know that we watched Matt Dillon, every Saturday night for longer than I care to remember, stand out in the middle of the street and shoot it out with Arvo Ojala as the credits rolled on "Gunsmoke" And we read that the Earps and the Cowboys all stood flat-footed in that vacant lot near the OK Corral as they shot it out with each other—we often forget that a whole bunch of them got shot, too. Regardless, the fact is that taking cover during a deadly encounter can greatly increase your chances of surviving the attack.
For our purposes, cover is defined as anything that is likely to stop bullets. If you will take a moment to look around your home, office, or anywhere else you might be, there are a lot of objects that will stop bullets. Even some furniture—while it might not stop certain types of bullets, it will certainly slow them down—is generally always near us. The fact is that these objects are all around us, every day, but we don't see them in terms of their value in defending our lives.
A critical part of the combat mindset is to be aware of our surroundings. Too often we just think of this in terms of keeping an eye on the people who are near to us. It is just as important to see objects that we can use for cover. We go from yellow to orange when we see a group of young, potential gang members coming our way. The next step, while still in orange, is, "Oh, if this goes bad, I can step behind that trash dumpster right there." Or it might be the car at the curb, or that bookcase full of books. In this day and time, it is rare that you won't find some cover that can be used if an attack comes your way. You just have to be alert and see things for what they really are.
Similar to this line of tactical thinking is the ability to put some sort of barrier, any barrier, between you and the attacker who is armed with a knife or blunt weapon. His need to deal with that barrier in order to press his attack may be just the time that you need to get your defensive handgun into play. And it will also momentarily distract him from his mission. You getting behind a barrier was not part of his plan and now you are ready to deal with him. Hmmm, maybe it is time to just give it up and beat feet.
For these reasons, it is critically important that identifying cover becomes a part of your combat mindset and your overall defensive plan. Now back to watching those great re-runs of "Gunsmoke."