Risk (THREAT) Assessment from the Turtle’s Point of View

Hmmmm?  Risk is a scary thing indeed my gentle readers.  Weighing the risk over gain is something we cannot avoid in our lives, period, end of story.

“The turtle only moves ahead by sticking out his head from his private, protective shell”.

We can learn from our turtle companion.

Let old Gumshoe focus on the so-called “bat flu” pandemic panic that has kept many of us “captive” physically as well as metaphysically.  In our homes and in our fears.

Putting the “politics of control (fueled by fear) versus the voluntary surrender of our civil liberties (The Bill of Rights) aside; let me focus on risk/threat assessment.
Personal fear is powerful, amen! Fear can highly motivate your reaction or inaction.  Many of you know about the FLIGHT or FIGHT syndrome, but Gumshoe discovered that there is a third metric to this syndrome—FREEZE.

Gumshoe has personally witnessed a veteran police officer actually “freeze” when he encountered a life-threatening situation. Bullets coming “up range”. That veteran police officer was me in my first officer-involved shooting.  Through the “grace of God”.  My FREEZE was nano-seconds but still, I froze. Gumshoe survived without voiding my bladder or by sustaining any new body perforations.  Thank you, Jesus!

Gumshoe is talking about that brief moment of just immediately stopping in absolute paralyzing “shock” (primordial fear) both mentally as well as physically.
A momentary “freeze“ (pregnant pause) between when you deciding on flight (run away, duck, hide, remove the target) or fight like hell to overcome the threat.

There are no second-place finishers in a gunfight, only first place losers.

—U.S. Navy SEAL mantra

These are “factory-installed defaults” in my opinion that are termed survival instincts.  No rational person wants to “get dead”.

Now let’s get back to the turtle.  He has to move to find food and also a mate. Both of these needs are necessary to ensure the turtle’s personal survival (a full turtle belly) as well as to procreate his turtle progeny.  Cute baby turtles. These basic instincts (needs) dictate that he has to stick out his very soft and vulnerable head and neck in order to locomote. He has to conduct a risk/threat assessment and weigh them in his reptile brain before he decides to move.

Now, kind readers, turtles function on instinct but we mortals (who also have instinct) have the advantage of rational reasoning along with our collective past learning/experience. Of course, intelligence is an advantage we have “if” coupled with wisdom is definitely a “no-brainer”.  (Catch the irony in that statement?)

Gumshoe thinks that we all stick out our necks from our own protective shells every single day of our lives; Crossing a street, driving a car, taking a bus ride, train ride, plane ride, a roller coaster ride, or stepping into or out of the bath or shower. Oops!

How about trusting the food we eat and the water we drink?

How about trusting our doctors and the prescriptions?  Vaccinations?

Life is all about risk my friends and in order to survive we live with calculated risks versus gain.  Freezing gets us nowhere fast.

Now, how about some tasty turtle soup with those oyster crackers?

Remember to always love the ones who love you and really try to love that you don’t. Coram Deo.


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. I was struck by this article. I remember that whenever we did a “No Knock” drug search warrant it was incumbent on the first officer going through that door to not hesitate(freeze). Hesitation could be deadly and it could also result in the loss of evidence (drugs being flushed down the toilet). Sometimes in an effort to be first we got in each other’s way.
    Great article.

    • Ahhhh my friend Tommy, my “local as well fed narc days” doing the early morning doper search warrants came down to the highest badge number or the most junior agent being the first end canon fodder. It was always an “E-ticket” adrenaline rush ride to be sure! Thanks for your comment and compliment.

  2. Danny, of the three options (flee, fight, or freeze) freezing is seldom a long-term solution. Check with the dead possums on our highways. The freeze option should only be used long enough to assess the situation and judge whether to fight or flee. Too many people use the freeze option for much of their life and never achieve much of anything.

    • You are absolutely correct Ken. Freezing is never a good option just like the deer in the headlights. The best way to quickly assess the situation is to think “out of the box” before the situation occurs. Playing the “what if?” game I keeps your senses sharp. Always quicker to act than to react. Thanks for your wish comment Ken. Neither of us will ever play possum.

  3. Yes indeed my Nightingale; fear has always been the chosen tool of choice by the school yard bully to a banana republic dictator. Fear ends when faith in God begins! “Be not afraid” to quote Sainted Pope John Paul II.

    Thanks for your continued encouraging comments my Nightingale.

  4. Danny, you never cease to amaze me with your writings, when I read anything you write, regardless of its title or contents, I leave knowing something I never knew, I’m enlightened and I am knowledgeable. Fear is a weapon of imprisonment that can destroy the human soul. ❤️