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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Philosophy - OODA - Act

There's no graphic to accurately portray this, no clip art to cartoonize the implications of this final phase in the OODA loop. Action leads to reaction - sometimes only your actions can be the difference between a positive outcome and a bad day.

I don't want to downplay what we're talking about here, but I don't want to sensationalize anything either.

If you can call yourself a civilian sheepdog, you can call yourself a number of things that are inherently attributed to that title. Risk taker, decision maker, crisis manager. No, it's not a profession - it's a mindset. Be prepared to help someone, and willing to do so at a moments notice. We're not acting like superheroes, or self-satisfying 'watchmen' of any kind. We're acting human - community and mutual respect for the things we're supposed to protect.

When you make a decision, there's a reason a metaphor like 'pulling the trigger' exists. In firearms saftey courses, you'll be instructed to always point the weapon in a safe direction - that way even if by accident, a discharged firearm has less of a chance of doing damage. When you 'pull the trigger' on a decision, you're responsible for your choices - much in the same way you're responsible for any projectile's path and landing once it's left your barrel. You have to try to reduce the amount of collateral damage you create by thinking rationally and making careful decisions - the OODA loop hopes to help you with this process.

In acting, you're using what you know to take the situation to the next, most realistic step.

It's important to realize that your actions are a culmination of many things. Your training, the tools at hand and your own mind. I've taken your natural ability out of the equation, with 'training' representing everything you're capable of. These are things you can actively be preparing for. Start purchasing the things you'll use first and things you might use second. Follow this same procedure for training.

There are certain things that are generally considered infallible sources of knowledge that you can actively work on, relearn and introduce yourself to. Learn how to take care of yourself first, then look towards courses and knowledge-bases that help others. First aid, self defence, interpersonal skills and crisis intervention should be, in no particular order, topics of great interest to civilian sheepdogs.

When you take action in a bad situation, you're taking into account your observations and orientation, information that will prove critical directly after you decide to act. Even during the course of your best-case-scenario action, you'll swing into another OODA loop, even if subconsciously and not actively thinking about it. The more you practise the steps in this cycle, the more natural the entire process will be for you in times of need.

There's not much to say about the action phase - it's the final and probably quickest actual step in the process. You've done all the 'work' in deciding what to do - only the physical action lays ahead.

This part is up to you - it's the most practical reason you could have to educate yourself and acquire the provisions required to be prepared for the situations we all hate to take seriously. One day - and I hate to be the one to say it, but most of us will be staring down one of these situations, very few of us will be ready, fewer will be prepared. OODA - and my interpretation of it's use to protectors can hopefully serve to better equip you to deal with those situations. If on any level you've gained anything from this series, feel free to leave a comment. Fight the wolves.

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