Question of the Day: Are You A Target?

Over at shootingillustrated.com, scribe Steve Tarani offers three ways to “break the cycle” of a violent attack. “Don’t put yourself in harm’s way (no need to go to the ATM at 2 a.m. in a bad neighborhood), don’t be an attractive victim (cash hanging out of your purse, belligerent or drunk in public, etc.) and make the bad guy ask himself the question, ‘Are there softer targets around’ and answer ‘Yes.'” Mr. Tarani’s advice is more difficult than it sounds . . .

The first part seems simple enough: avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. The second and third bits not so much.

If you own nice things — cars, clothes, watches, diamond jewelry, guns, restaurants, etc. — you are an attractive target. And other than indicating situational awareness through posture and scanning [and hiring effective bodyguards], how do you make yourself a harder target than some other schmoe?

I don’t wear fancy clothes or wear a Rolex, but . . . playing billiards on 6th Street makes me a target. Running this website makes me a target. My Mercedes SUV makes me a target. I reckon I have reason to tool up — and hang out with Esti Ginzburg (who’s a way softer target than me).

How much of a bad guy target are you? Do you do anything lifestyle-wise to reduce the odds of a violent attack?

comments

  1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    i draw far more unwanted attention when i’m out in heels.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Only a matter of time before some over-zealous prosecutor uses this in a case.

      “If you had been wearing sensible shoes you could have run away instead of shooting that man to death. Perhaps you were only looking for a reason to shoot somebody?”

    2. avatar BLoving says:

      Your ankles are, without a doubt, your most attractive feature.

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “i draw far more unwanted attention when i’m out in heels.”

      I always pictured you in platform Aquarium shoes, like in ‘I’m Gonna Git You Sucka’:

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        proof that carp can be sustained with pork rinds.

  2. avatar Ironhead says:

    Well in reference to the idiot in the picture, you dont need to tell the entire f@cking planet where you are and what you are doing every minute of every day.
    As far as the rest yeah dont do dumb things in dumb places with dumb people.
    Also situational awareness.

  3. avatar former water walker says:

    Nope at least not when I’m alone. When I have my beautiful wife with me yeah. I don’t frequent bad hoods,go to bars or get drunk…

  4. avatar GS650G says:

    If you’re the opposite race in some neighborhoods you’ve strike 1.
    If you have opinions that run contrary to violent leftists you’ve strike 2.
    If you live well or manage your affairs better than the self absorbed progressives you’ve strike 3.
    There are many other reasons to swing and miss but that’s why we take responsibility for our own security. Bodyguards and secure housing is out of reach for us, not for millionaire ballplayers or “artists”.

  5. avatar John galt says:

    I wear a 45 acp Rolex

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      For WAY less than the price of a Rolex you could wear a Wilson Combat .45, engraved.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        And likely run better than that Rolex.

        What is it about Rolex, anyways?

        The ones I’ve run across haven’t impressed me with what I thought was a watch’s number 1 job, keeping accurate time.

        A good quartz job keeps far better time.

        Rolex owners – Does Switzerland send you a periodic BJ ‘professional’ to keep your un-dying love for Rolex, or what?

        1. avatar Special Ed says:

          It’s not always about keeping time when wearing a well made Swiss watch. But there are nicer watches than Rolex that don’t draw the attention. They can also be purchased without the Rolex premium.

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I have zero check marks under the “flashy stuff” column.

    Nevertheless, I have found through direct experience that bad people often find you no matter who you are, what you are doing, or how well-to-do you look. If you do not look homeless/disheveled, you are a minimally attractive target.

    Speaking of attractive targets, women have the distinct disadvantage of looking like an attractive target to rapists pretty much no matter how they look.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      united states attorney general janet reno.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        I did say “pretty much no matter how they [women] look” … Janet Reno being one of the obvious exceptions!

      2. avatar rt66paul says:

        Bella Abzug

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          The late ‘Helen Thomas’.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Thomas

          Yeech…

    2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      j a n e t r e n o
      goofy word press would not let that combination of letters past without spaces. odd.

  7. avatar Sir Tri says:

    I am a “target” because THEY chose to do harm by me. This article is garbage. Beside some obvious common sense behaviors, it implies that I am contributing to my victimization. It is like telling women to NOT wear provocative clothing or show cleavage so as to not be a victim. Theme should be smart sense and awareness of your surroundings will minimize your risks. I would love to CC to minimize these risks all the more but NJ has no such allowance. Why don’t you rewrite the piece as you intended for it to be.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      I didn’t really get the sense that the advise was to not go, do or wear those things, only to be aware that they may make you a target and to prepare accordingly.

      Especially, don’t wear that giant diamond ring in public unless you have your armed body guards (plural) with you.

  8. avatar Jay jn Florida says:

    Esti looks like an extremely nice soft target.
    As to the one who is pictured and name I wont mention.
    She needs her body guards walking around with a pretentious rock that size.
    Even as law abiding as I am.
    Id knock her on the kop given a chance. Just because.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      And leave the ring behind.

      The knock on the head, while it might not knock any sense into her, would be reward enough.

  9. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    When my wife and I sailed the Sea of Cortez and the Mexican Pacific coast we intentionally made our boat look much dumpier than it was. Since we preferred isolated anchorages looking like anything but barely getting by sailing bums seemed risky.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      because yacht screams poverty.

      1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

        You haven’t seen many boats in the Sea of Cortez then. Even trying, we weren’t always able to look like the poorest boat in the anchorage. Some, of people we knew even, looked like, smelled of, and were rotting garbage piles. They were not very safe to board even if the owner was welcoming you. There are yachts and there are boats you can live and adventure on, they are not the same things.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          i’ve a lease on a patch of sand at el dorado ranch since the ’70’s.
          i know of the humboldt squid.
          gunkholing is second nature to me.
          i commented in jest, we had friends with a “poverty rolls” with garish homemade plywood bodywork. but since the ’30’s chassis was original they could not be denied membership or access to concours. coachwork varied.
          same as my 42 year old cycle. mostly rust, park it anywhere. keys have been in the ignition since ’94.

        2. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

          I had probably the best years of my life in Baja Sur and the Sea of Cortez but I don’t think I am ever going back. I apologize for assuming that you were unaware of the state of a lot of the boats down there.

  10. avatar Paul Millard says:

    Around the winter of 1978 I was in a fiberglass body cast, using crutches and a shoe with a 4″ lift (making me 6’7″) making my way along poorly cleared snow covered sidewalk in Mass. Don’t know where they came from, but 2 men of my age suddenly blocked my way, saying angrily “we want money!” Fists clenched and full angry body language, I didn’t have a chance till I recognized one from high school. Calling his name, reminding him his dad was a LEO, and the 2 well known as junkies disappeared as fast as they’d appeared. Close one!

  11. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

    This site is crashing my iPad at least every 60 seconds 😤

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Not on an iPad, but I notice it is causing (more than usual) keybopard errors like occured a year or more ago and then went away. I’m type the greatest typer, but this only happens when I am wrting in this comment box.

    2. avatar Curly says:

      This site is wreaking hell on my iPad.

  12. avatar John Davies says:

    I have a fancy SUV, but I am the third owner of a five year old Land Cruiser and _everybody_ thinks it is a f#%^*g POS Highlander. This is great cover, but more than a little demeaning.

    I like special stuff like my Oliver travel trailer but what appeals to me does tend to be unattractive to bad guys because they just don’t have a clue what it is….

    Mo betta that way! No Rolexes or Mercs for me!

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I have a 2003 V6 Highlander with AWD and a special button for driving on snow and ice (which actually works really well). In the last fourteen years, the only major repairs (outside of the 100,000 mile service which is pricey) have been to a faulty heater/a/c control unit and a frozen front rotor. Solid as a rock, plenty of power, quiet, comfortable, and excellent for long distance travel. It is definitely not a POS.

      1. avatar John Davies says:

        Mark N,

        I am very sorry if I offended you. I did not actually expect to encounter a Highlander owner here…. especially one that enjoys driving it. 😉

        I am thinking about calling my 200 a HigherLander.

        John Davies
        Spokane WA

  13. avatar USMC Sgt. says:

    I dress like and act like a biker, not a HOG member, but a real M/C, the type that the local police like to harass and I work out and shave my head. I don’t look like a victim. I wear a cheap plastic watch from Walmart $29.95 and a small Celtic band signifying my marital status. No flash or glitter there. I ride a 40year old motorcycle that leaks oil not much of a prize, I carry a Sig P320C and a spare mag loaded with a total of 34rounds of Hornady Critical Duty and carry a 6″ Custom knife by Steingass everything covered there. I am always aware of my surroundings and who is present and which of them are in close proximity as I am always at chance of running into a member of a rival club I never take any intoxicants when out and about and only minimal when at home. All in all I think I cover my own bases fairly well.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      ahh, the amf years. they do like to “mark their spot.”

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        AMF has ruined nearly every corporation they have ever touched, it seems…

        1. avatar t says:

          in this case they provided needed temporary life support.

    2. avatar Troutbum5 says:

      That look, combined with being 6’4 and 220, and a neutral expression that I’ve been told makes me look like a serial killer, pretty much ensure that nobody so much as looks sideways at me. If they wish to push their luck and attempt to relieve me of my possessions, I’ve got an XDS full of Gold Dots to discourage them. Though currently being in the “lone wolf, no club” category might take away some of the intimidation factor.

      This website is really screwing with the keypad on my android tablet.

  14. avatar James Earl Hoffa says:

    This is totally off topic. I just wanted to make sure that everyone that reads this blog and writes for this blog that lives in Texas, my prayers are with you guys and gals and I hope you make it through the storm okay. Are fire departments here in Florida that deal with turbulent water rescue and hurricane rescue are already gearing up to come and help you guys if you need it. Hopefully you will not. But we’re getting ready to come if you need us. God bless.

  15. avatar adverse4 says:

    I stay home and cower under the bed.

  16. avatar DonS says:

    Sometimes you wind up making a target of yourself unintentionally. A while ago, I was at a tech conference, wearing a suit, nice briefcase . . . always took the provided bus from the hotel to the convention center. Then one day, a beautiful 72 degrees out, sun shining, and I decided to talk the 5 or 6 blocks to the hotel since I just missed the bus.

    Of course I decided to take the most direct route – which led me through a neighborhood I quickly realized I shouldn’t be in. Especially wearing a suit. Just like that and things got bad. Suddenly two guys, homeless-ish – approached me and asked for money. Told them to get lost, then they told me they demanded my money. Ok, so that was enough. Put the briefcase down, removed my jacket, and turned to face them, and took a fighting stance (had taken years of martial arts training at that point). I was checking out their hands, what they had on them, and planning on how to take them down, guy on the left, closer to me, left leg forward – kick to the knee, punch to the neck should work, then move to the guy on the right I didn’t see any weapons, but two to 1, decided it had to end quickly. When a police car came screaming in, with two cops laughing. They know who the two guys were I was facing, they saw what I was about to do to them, and decided to step in before something bad happened.

    Lucky for all of us, the cops were watching. Guess they can see what is likely to happen as well, and were watching for just that kind of thing. They took my story, put the two guys in handcuffs and I was on my way. Lesson learned.

    So, if you are dressed up in any way – be careful. A broken down car, or even a nice walk can lead you to trouble.

    1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

      Sounds like NOLA.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      If they gave you time to put down your brief case and take off your jacket they weren’t for real.

      The guy with a bread bag full of paint stuck over his nose and mouth with a cheap kitchen knife is for real. Ask me how I know. And my ex wife bitched me out for having a gun and no permit.

  17. avatar Swilson says:

    There’s always someone bigger and badder and I ain’t him. But I pay attention when out and about and follow my gut instinct. I drive a 7 year old Chevy and have never worn jewelry. Im six foot tall and 190 lb I think most bad guys could find a softer target, especially in a college town ripe with students walking down the street, headphones in, staring at their phones.

    1. avatar Jeff K says:

      14 year old Chevy & Saturn, regular clothes, no jewelry myself or wife. Multiple weapons though.

  18. avatar Steve B says:

    I don’t wear fancy clothes, but not a slob either. Casio watch now (used to wear a Rolex). Drive a nice 3 year old pickup, but everyone around here drives a pickup, so they don’t stand out. Don’t got to bars. Stay out of dodgy neighborhoods. My wife says I look like a cop, which could be a good or bad thing….

  19. avatar Mark N. says:

    I wear no jewelry, no wedding band, no watch. I usually have little cash. I don’t smoke, drink or do recreational drugs, nor do I carry a lighter for people who ask for a light. I don’t hang out in bad places after dark, and if I do go to the store or pharmacy in the evening, I am armed. Most of the homeless in town (we have a lot) aren’t going to bother with me.

    My wife is a different story. She is completely disabled with multiple ortho issues. If she is walking, she is wearing a leg brace and using a walker, otherwise she is in a wheel chair. She is completely helpless. She is a target, especially if she has a purse. So if I take her out anywhere anytime, I am armed, although the risk in my semi-rural town is minimal.

  20. avatar ltdavel1 says:

    The media (spit) today has some articles about the lady in Massachusetts who won the big Powerball payout. The articles said that the police are providing extra security to protect her from the press and “strangers” who are prowling around her neighborhood. I get the impression that she’s single so the strangers might simply want to propose marriage but I doubt that any good will come of an encounter between a Powerball winner and a “stranger”.

    In this tired old man’s opinion, the lady in question did just about everything wrong. She claimed her prize on the same day as the drawing, allowed her picture to appear in the national media, and pretty much told the world that she’s single by talking about her children and not saying a word about any man in her life. Since she lives in a People’s Republic I doubt that she’s armed. I don’t wish bad things on anyone but I don’t give her six months unless she hires some very good security and goes into stealth mode.

    I remember a quote from the John Wayne movie “Big Jake” – “The problem with having money is that people want to take it away from you.” I doubt that I’ll ever hit the Powerball or Mega Millions even if I drop a couple of bucks on it every week, but if I did win the big money, I’d immediately go into stealth mode. I’d lock up the ticket for sixty to ninety days to let the hype die down and then set up a foundation to take the money which is legal in my state. My lawyer and accountant would go to the lottery office to turn in the ticket and I would isolate myself from the process as much as possible. If I had to be present in person to claim the winnings, I’d move out of state and change my name. I’d try to drop off the map for six months to a year, carry a gun all the time and hope that the next Internet and Facebook thing will push my situation off the radar.

    Since the Powerball gods haven’t smiled on me I try to maintain a quiet “middle class” (whatever that means) life style. I live in a good but not high end neighborhood, drive mid range vehicles, and dress at the Bass Pro sportsman level. We do wear fairly nice jewelry – wedding rings and watches – but I don’t think a bad guy is going to target me for my $150 Seiko watch.

    So we don’t live an ostentatious life style. Shiny bling isn’t worth much of anything to us and we try very hard to stay under the radar.

  21. avatar Mark Kelly's Diapered Drooling Ventriloquist's Dummy says:

    No matter whether “male” or “female” if you’re “White” particularly “middle-aged” of course you’re a “target” especially in today’s political/social climate.

  22. avatar fteter says:

    OFWG here. While I make sure that I don’t make myself a target and work hard to avoid questionable surroundings, I actually think appearing a bit soft works in my favor. When there are bad guys about, surprise is my friend.

  23. avatar samuraichatter says:

    Sometimes superior firepower is not a deterrent but rather a challenge. Dudes used to pick fights with Bruce Lee because he was Bruce Lee.

    I got attacked in Thailand when I was in my twenties. I was a much harder, and less worthwhile, target than the Scandinavian retires that were in that locality but it happened. One or both of the guys were drunk and/or high. Which brings up another point. This is all logic based. Introduce substances into the equation (which often happens) and there is no rhyme or reason.

  24. avatar Ralph says:

    I can’t be a target because targets don’t shoot back.

  25. avatar FlamencoD says:

    Since I’m a family man I don’t fraternize at bars or clubs anymore. So for the most part, I avoid rule 1 pretty well. I don’t buy flashy things nor get drunk in public, so that helps with #2. Some people have told me that they would not want to be walking toward me at night in an alleyway. While I’m not huge (5’10” 190 lbs with low body fat, I am strong – bench press 300 lbs), I’ve been told I can be a scary or intimidating looking guy (mainly when I have a short beard and not smiling). I think that covers #3 as I doubt very much that I look like a soft target.

  26. avatar Hank says:

    Lots of bling can have the opposite effect. It advertises that you aren’t afraid to show it because you have the means to defend it (and yourself).

  27. avatar Weskyvet says:

    Hello all,
    My name is Ivan (although lately I’ve been going by Haji.) and I live in the Wood II neighborhood of Ft. Knox KY. I am writing you all today to admit my deepest shame and finally live openly as I can no longer hide who and what I am. I am a reactive, visible, and recyclable TARGET. I live to pop up in my lane for 3-5 seconds or until I am hit and fall back down, I take immense pleasure from every hole in my Olive Drab skin cause by super sonic 5.56mm fmj passing through me, and I demand neigh require more folks to shoot at me and at least hit close enough to kick rocks up into hard enough to knock me back behind my berm.

    Sincerely,
    Ivan Popupikovski

  28. avatar RidgeRunner says:

    I look like a gentleman farmer. Weed farmer.
    Nah, I look like the other 50-something white dudes in my neck of the woods, camo ‘n carharts, Sumner County Co-Op hat (brim folded just so), camo muck shoes or work boots or Ariats. G-Shock on the wrist and antler wedding band. The surgical steel skull ring with ruby eyes (a nod to Keith Richards) is about the only thing flashy. Big, nice lifted Ram truck with extras gets attention (usually envy), but it’s bed is mostly full of feed or corn, implements, or something my wife had me pick up.
    I live way in the country but work in the city and travel to LA frequently for work; hate it out there, it’s the only time I’m not packing. S&W BG .380 is ALWAYS in my pocket at home, truck always has Sig .45, usually a Glock 19 and maybe the AK or some other long gun in there, too, depending on the time of year.
    Generally it’s safe but it’s not as safe as some might think, lots of meth heads and pill addicts in the sticks these days.

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