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Thread: Cooper's Color Code

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    Senior Member crunker's Avatar
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    Question Cooper's Color Code

    Although I am not licensed to and do not carry firearms on my person, I've taken it upon myself to try to apply Jeff Cooper's Color Code mindset to my day-to-day activities. As such, I try to minimize the time I'm in condition white as much as possible, and I feel that I can honestly say that apart from when I'm asleep, I'm almost never completely unprepared to react to a dangerous threat should one appear.

    Apart from that, I actively try to keep myself aware of my surroundings; in other words I try to stay in position yellow for as long as possible. Although doing so for potentially hours on end was, at first, a bit mentally stressful, I think that I've gotten used to it over time.

    What I was curious about is what, in your opinion, should cause someone to jump from code yellow to code orange?

    Code orange, of course, means that there exists a specific reason to be concerned. Rather than being in a general state of awareness, one's focus centers around one subject or group of subjects, the object of one's concern, and while one doesn't necessarily take any sort of violent actions towards these subjects or even call 911, one is prepared to stop the object of one's concern should the need to do so arise.

    In other words, one has a reason (not even a reason necessarily, a hunch will do) to be particularly concerned with a given actor or group of actors.

    What ought to cause this sort of concern?

    If you see someone openly carrying a firearm, should you go to code orange? What if someone seems intoxicated or potentially on drugs, but is apparently unarmed? Should you go to code orange if there's a large group of unfamiliar teenagers or young men in the area, loitering or conversing loudly in urban slang? How about if there are a group of bikers nearby? Or a bunch of cleanly-shaved white guys with bomber jackets? What if it's just late in the evening, and someone approaches you from the other side of the road?

    I'd appreciate any input I get with respect to the issue, particularly from those who do carry firearms and have been trained in the legal and practical aspects of doing so.

  2. #2
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    Im the same way as you. Im always in the yellow, unless Im at home hanging out with friends and doing whatever. Now if I hear some loud or crazy noise come from outside or something Ill go check it out, and when stuff like that happens Im always in the orange. A while back I was at my girlfriends and we were about to go to sleep, and there was a loud crash. I grabbed my pistol and looked EVERYWHERE in that house. Turns out it was a broom that fell over and knocked some stuff over.

    I work till midnight or 2 AM on the weekends too, and when I need to go get something I either go to the gas station down the road, or Wal-Mart down the road. 2 Weeks ago two people got shot at the gas station, and there are ALWAYS people there. They use it as a ghetto gathering point. The cops have to go there almost every weekend to clear them out. So I avoid that place unless I just need something real quick. And Im always in the orange when I go there and the parking lot is full of cars with huge rims and bass booming all over the place. A while back I went and counted 24 cars there just chilling taking up parking spaces and the pumps. Hopefully since that shooting they will get more strict on not letting anyone loiter there.
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    Strangle Hazard thank mr skeltal's Avatar
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    Just read up on Cooper's Color Code, having never heard of it before. I've done something similar for years, just being generally aware of my surroundings. If I'm in a crowd like at the zoo or a park, I keep practiced by scanning crowds, watching hands, looking for anything out of place, being aware of exits/cover, etc. Not all the time, that would drive someone crazy, but every now and then to keep fresh so when I ever am in those orange/red situations it would be second nature as to what kind of cover would be best in that particular type of environment, etc.

    If I see someone openly carrying a gun in a holster, I am frankly 99% less concerned about them being a threat than the average stranger. If they meant harm, they would most likely not be carrying openly, and an armed fellow citizen can only be an asset in a bad situation, assuming they have even the most basic training of being mindful of what is beyond their target etc.

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    Senior Member fm2176's Avatar
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    I hadn't thought about the color code for a while. I guess you could say that I'm always in the yellow, though sometimes my PTSD kicks in and I become super-alert (orange+?).

    Seriously, though, it doesn't take much for me to transition from "yellow" to "orange" or even to "red". I find myself applying it to much more than just self-defense awareness, though, and have probably gone to orange more often while driving than anything else recently. For example, during the 500+ mile trips I make, it is not uncommon to see a car swerving or otherwise being driven erratically. The driver could be tired, drunk, or putting on makeup, but I either hang back, or kick up my speed to pass them in a hurry.

    Back on your topic, though. Someone carrying in the open does not necessarily raise my alertness, but I do try to look at the total package. After all, I was once that young guy that carried openly, and while I was of little danger to other law abiding citizens I was also possibly too gung-ho for my own good (and the good of those around me). Essentially, if something bad happened, I'd be wary of getting between a young do-gooder with a gun and the bad guy, as each might hurt or kill bystanders. Besides that little concern of mine, though, I see no reason to get upset about someone carrying a sidearm in public. As Rick Scarf stated, odds are they mean no harm; if they did they wouldn't be showing their hand.

    I believe I've shared a couple of stories where I've bluffed my way out of potentially bad situations. At least once I thought I was being followed by some hoodlums, so I adjusted my "gun" and shifted my jacket to make it appear as though I was armed. On another occasion, a group of younger men split off the sidewalk as they approached my car, coming up on both sides of the vehicle. I had a shotgun in the car so I placed it in my lap so they could see it as they got closer. I don't know (and I'm glad of that) whether either of those groups or some of the other examples I've shared meant to rob or injure me, but to date i haven't had to defend myself.

    Being alert is good, as is being prepared, but to quote Chuck Norris "the best defense is not to offend". In more recent years I've learned to stay away from areas where a situation might develop. As a Baton Rouge-area Recruiter I had to venture into some areas unarmed, but I always made a point to go in daylight and try to take a battle buddy with me. Now that that gig is over with, I choose where I go and how long I stay there. I don't feel too uncomfortable in bad areas after working in Baton Rouge and SE DC, but I do go out of my way to avoid them.

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