It is indeed magical thinking in Gumshoe’s way of thought that any of us humanoids can go about our daily lives within our own false personal protective bubble.

This misbegotten feeling of being insulated or even personally isolated from the long tendrils of violence that have enveloped our present civilized society. Stinking thinking to be sure me hardies.

Nothing is certain and an awful lot of things, occurrences, and happenings can and will appear within the guise of unpredictability. Believe it and live it! Existence has always been precarious.

The saying of being in the wrong place at the wrong time for the hapless (helpless) victim seems all too commonplace nowadays. Boo hoo!

The sad truth based upon four-plus decades of Gumshoe’s law enforcement experience is that the majority of victims are volunteers who failed or feared to act. Period! End of story –contact the next of kin.

The solution is to practice a good sense of situational awareness no matter where you may find yourself. Don’t be oblivious to the obvious.

The shopping mall, at a theater, inside a business, at home, waiting in traffic, walking your dog, picking up fast food, kneeling at church, etc. All soft targets including the so-called “Gun Free Zones”. Don’t make me laugh!

My old long departed Marine Corps D.I., Gunnery Sergeant Peters would hammer into our Parris Island recruit naïve brains the following admonishment:

Take your right hand and grab your right ear. Take your left hand and grab your left ear. Now pull your head out of your asses and wake the #%$& up! A dead Marine is no use to anyone!

The ever-present threat of violence, personal harm, and jeopardy to the well-being of yourself and of your loved ones just may be in front of your nose. A healthy sense of paranoia coupled with a plan of action is a sure path to survival my friends.

Listen to your body clues called intuition. These clues (something or someone just doesn’t feel right) will never lie to you and they have your best interest at heart. Don’t rationalize or minimize! Maximize your God-given survival instinct.

Fight or flight is our factory-installed default for survival. Freeze is never a good option unless you want to be a chalk outline on the pavement. Be aware of your sixth sense for survival and act upon it as if your life depended upon it — it does!

Now repeat after me, “Grab your right ear . ..”

Remember to love the ones who love you and really try to love the ones who don’t.


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. Great article babe, worth every word! Times have changed. Where one use to walk out of their home and think nothing of danger, now that is the first thing that enters the mind. One of the things I learned as a young child that I am great full for is a sense of awareness that followed me into police work and saved my life a few times over.

  2. Danny: We, of a certain age, grew up in an era where we assumed we were safe. We saw no reason to lock our doors, or to even remove our keys from the car. Today we must assume that we are not safe, any where, or at any time. It is hard for us to make such a radical transition, but we must. As you note, if we don’t we may well become a chalk outline on a street or in a mall, etc.

    • Times have definitely changed and evil really exists. Reality always trumps false assumptions.

  3. A great reminder to us all bro Danny Gumshoe! I maintain that ‘healthy’ paranoia you speak of to this day, thanks to the time I spent walking a variety of prison yards (as a correctional employee, mind you) over the course of my career. The ‘correctional awareness’ one develops by working with inmates translates well into the societal ‘situational awareness’ you mention, and tends to override the “it won’t happen to me” mentality. In the prison environment it was usually not the officers who were fresh out of the academy that made stupid (and sometimes dangerous & costly) mistakes – they were usually too (unhealthily) paranoid to do anything but follow policy to the letter – it was the officer who had done the same thing thousands of times over the years and decided to take a shortcut or ignore a policy who wound up paving the way for an escape or a serious injury. It’s the attitude of complacency that causes someone to park in the rear of a parking lot, not thinking they’ll be exiting the building at dusk. As for me, I still sit with my back to the wall in restaurants!!!