top of page

In the Box vs Out of the Box Thinking

One of the key skills to learn and practice is how to step out of the box and look at your daily processes. You do many tasks during the day using a routine process, the same steps over and over. You are predictable. We call this a "soft" target. If you are predictable, you are a potential target to not just an adversary but also to be in a place or location that is a target. You may be the innocent bystander located in a business or restaurant when a crime happens. The skills and mindset you learn to practice now could save your life and the life of others. Learn to practice these steps now so they become routine. Some may say it is paranoia but I say it is being smart and practicing safe steps in your daily life and routine. An out-of-the-box thinker should develop habits that includes conducting a risk analysis and identifying threats to your plan so that vulnerabilities can be mitigated. This is a responsible thing to do for you and your family. Self-reliance vs the mindset that someone else will deal with it and you will be okay. If you have watched the news the past months, it seems many grabs a phone and starts video taping the event. You should be putting distance and safety between you and the event immediately. Remember, be a part of the 5% who recognize problems and separate from the problem using your practiced plan vs the 95% who race to the problem to see more.

Here is a short simple example of the in-the-box thinker vs the out-of-the-box thinker. Take a look at decide where you need to adjust and correct your day-to-day actions. Only you can fix process and not be part of the 95% group. If you are still unsure of how and what to do, read my book, Hope for Survival, and/or read Jonathan Gilliam’s book A Sheep No More.

Let us get started:

In the Box Planner

It is a special planned Friday evening that I have planned with my spouse. We are ending a long work week and have reservations to go have dinner at a favorite place, the Greenbrier located in “Old Town.” We enjoy the location, food, music, and price. We have been several times and appreciate the fact the parking is always easy and the food is served timely, once ordered. No matter what room we are seated, the acoustics of the piano is great. A nice soft background of old classics to match the décor of the place. Hearing a conversation is never a problem.

Another nice feature of the restaurant is the location which offers other small businesses within walking distance. Often after dinner we leave dinner and walk across the street to a local ice cream parlor and enjoy the treat at the tables located on the sidewalks. We have visited the area several times but never noticed anything beyond the ice cream parlor. Typically, we eat, have ice cream and head home. We have heard friends talk about the park across the street by the Greenbrier and the passing train. We just haven’t taken the time to enjoy all the offerings and beauty.

Without much thought, we arrive and park in the first available parking place. Once parked we exit and head towards the restaurant. Once inside we are seated immediately. Once we order a beverage we hear noise coming from the front entry point. We are seated with our back to the door so every time we hear noise from the front we have to turn all the way around. Eventually we settle in and ignore folks coming and going. Dinner is served and we direct our attention to our food. The world around us is no longer of interest.

When we are finished our meal, I pay the bill and head towards the front door. On the way down the front stairs I hear motorcycles down the street and I mention it to my wife who reminds me the bikes were already down the street when we arrived and went in for dinner.

There is a drizzle in the air so my wife opts for no ice cream. In my mind I am thinking good because I want to get home, climb in the recliner and watch the Friday night football game while the spouse plays on the phone.

Out of the Box Preparedness

We had planned the evening for a few weeks. Our busy schedule through the summer had prevented us from finding time to enjoy our favorite local restaurant. A nice older place, the Greenbrier, in the area of "Old Town" on the outskirts of the city. This is a great location to spend the evening offering easy access and a low crime rate historically. It’s a multi-room place full of tables and cheer. Many business professionals and retirees visited the place to catch up with friends and enjoy great food. When approaching the front entrance, a “No Gun Zone” sign is posted, however, it is a store-bought sign and does not have the city code on the facility status so I know my wife and I can legally carry our side arm concealed since we have concealed carry permits. They can ask us to leave if they by chance detect our protection, however, at least we have it on us while we are in the establishment and if asked to leave, we are still protected.

The building is a single floor facility that is over 100 years old. Original wood design and squeaky floors. One could choose to dine outside on the beautiful deck that offered up to ten tables. The view is fantastic with lots of old tall trees and the sound of nature periodically. During the warm summer evening, the humidity often keeps folks on the inside listening to the sounds of a local piano player banging out some classics of the WW II era. One of the several attractions to the place, aside from excellent food, is the old upright piano and the train that passes by the place four times per day with its loud whistle blowing as it approaches the area and the clack-it-t-clack of the tracks. Inside the restaurant the vibration of the train rolling down the tracks causes the floor and tables to vibrate the water glasses and silverware. It’s a very unique setting.

The dining area on the interior offered four multiple rooms for guest to dine. Each room offered wide door space for entry and exit between the rooms for movement of guest and workers. The place is well lit offering a clear view of the antique art displaced on the walls portraying the community history and building of Old Town. Aside from the main dining area, the three alternate seating rooms offers about fifteen tables and seating for maybe 65 guests. The staff always knows to put us at a table located against a wall with a clear view of the entry point, main room, and access to the hallway exiting out the rear. The selected table is not bolted to the floor so we can lift and use it as a shield if needed. Now, they don’t know why we want to always be located at the specific area, and we simply say it has a lot of meaning to our history eating at the Greenbrier. None of the alternate rooms offer escape routes from the room except for the windows, if needed. All-in-all, the establishment could support approximately 300 dinner guests. All guest enter the place through the front entry point. There is also a door located to the rear of the facility that is used by the kitchen staff for deliveries and garbage removal. The area is fenced in with a six-foot privacy fence to keep animals from the garbage. Access to the area is controlled by a double doored gate. The gate is secured with a carabiner on a folding hatch holding one door to the other on the interior of the gates. The rear entry door is a solid door secured with a key lock and a dead bolt. To use this door for emergency exit one must pass out of the dining area through the kitchen/preparation area before locating the door. In your mind, you know during any type of event requiring a quick escape, you must go back out the front or through the rear entry point. Or, use the windows. If you have to use the window for escape, you know the tables are covered in cloth fabric so you can grab and use one to break the windows and use the table cloth to break excess glass or else roll up and use as a escape rope down the side of the building if needed.

The exterior area around Old Town is a very small street about 100 yards in length. Across from Old Town direction is an ice cream parlor that we enjoy a cone of homemade ice cream after dinner. The remainder of the street is a flower shop, old antique shop, and a small pool hall offering music and alcohol. Across the street near Old Town where we enjoyed dinner is a park with covered seats and tables for picnics, and a train track where a train passes through several times per day, blowing the steam and horn to alert folks to the approach and passing. On most occasions we will find parking near Old Town. Parking allows us to pull or back in to the slot. Most parking slots are nose to nose except on the end where four parking slots are single slots. A person can back in to a double slot or else pull through a single slot as available. If observant, a person can park to allow a quick easy departure if needed.

Between the parking area and the Greenbrier restaurant, there’s plenty of décor like shrubbery and flowers. There is a small bricked in space that appears to have an out building made of wood. The brick wall is about five feet tall and it appears to be stacked landscaping bricks. They appear to be the large 22 lb. type. The bricked wall has a gated entry point with a pad lock that appears to not be locked during business hours.

The Old Town area can be approached from three different street patterns. Two of the street routes includes multiple traffic signals with two-and four-way traffic patterns. The third pattern has multiple stop signs over several blocks until we would reach another four-lane highway.

If an event would occur in the Greenbrier or Old Town, we would have the option to leave the community going in one of three directions. If exit by vehicle is not possible, and we must move on foot, we have multiple options available across the train track and towards the makeshift depot, or, across the street and towards the intersection by the ice cream parlor, or, escape to the outbuilding offering the fenced in area with single point entry.

With the pre-knowledge in place of the Greenbrier, it can be a much more enjoyable and relaxing evening because we are in control of our environment and ability to control our situation. When the event occurs and others are screaming and running around in panic, we know our plan and will separate and put immediate distance between everyone else and the situation. We know once we exit the establishment, we must be cautious to secondary threats on the exterior of the Greenbrier. It is much easier to function and adjust with two sets of roving eyes and ears, than a single set trying to rove and hear while my wife is yelling and asking “what’s going on and why are we doing this.” We must utilize all tools available to us. Our brains.

The threat we face and available time to make a decision will determine our decision and responses to the threat. Remember my discussion on fight or flight? Brain freeze? This is one of the places we would apply these skills.

Everyone should want to constantly have a plan working and adjusting in our head, regardless of the situation. We must be constantly adjusting and creating space and distance from things we may perceive as a potential threat. With practice we will be perceiving threats before they become threats. We should be discussing our thoughts and plans with our spouse so we both are on the same page. Understanding how each other thinks and reacts is important. If I say our trigger word, my spouse should immediately respond to move out. If we don’t discuss it before hand, and I say a trigger word, I may get the strange look and waste time getting us out of harms way.

What I have discussed here are basics to give you a general picture. A more complete detailed assessment and discussion would include the Risk Analysis and identifying potential vulnerabilities and how I would mitigate them. I would include many more components and features to consider. But this should get you started.

If you have questions feel free to shoot me a note.


Bravo Echo – Out

72 views0 comments


bottom of page