Ep. 16 Should I Shoot? Why You Need to Always Be in Condition Yellow


Editor’s Note: The following is a post from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.

Check out the last five episodes in this series:

“Should I shoot?” is a moot question if you aren’t carrying your gun or you don’t have one within arm’s reach while you are in your home. If you have a concealed weapons permit or are blessed with living in a constitutional carry state, the gun you have at home while you are out and about can do nothing for you. The same concept applies when you are home and all your guns are safely locked away when you need one to save your life. Please don’t take it for granted or conduct your life in the mode of, “Bad things don’t happen where I live or travel.” Plan for the worst and the rest is gravy.

Unless you live under a rock or have zero contact with the outside world, it doesn’t take much to grasp things have gotten really bad. Five Dallas Police officers lost their lives in the line of duty — murdered in cold blood. Several more officers in other states have also been ambushed. There are a few places I put the blame for lighting the fuse, so to speak. It starts at the top and then add in the media who won’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. With tension already at an elevated level and then adding emotional kerosene to the fire, it makes for the perfect storm. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, I’m afraid.

An argument on Facebook between two “friends” turned into a deadly confrontation for an off-duty police officer in Missouri. The suspect decided duking it out on the keyboard wasn’t getting his point across, so he went to the officer’s home and forced entry by throwing a planter box through a door. The officer’s family was in the home and he used a firearm to defend himself and his loved ones. What if he didn’t have a firearm nearby or on him? This story could have had a much different ending.

Yes, it has gotten this bad. What was once just a site to look up old friends and, for some, a place to share every aspect of their day has turned into a launching pad for violence, so please act and prepare accordingly. I’m not saying not to voice your opinion on “your page,” but be mindful that some folks, for whatever reasons, are looking for a fight that goes beyond the keyboard.

Playing the “what if?” game here, ask yourself what you would have done if a similar event happened at your home. Are you prepared to defend your loved ones? If you have already thought about it and have a couple plans to deal with someone breaching a door and entering your house, then you are ahead of the curve. If you haven’t envisioned this happening at your house, now is the time to get a plan or three worked out and make sure the entire family is on board with it.

Taking the planning a bit further out of the house, what if the suspect had decided to ambush you while you were walking to the car or mailbox? I’m not trying to scare you into putting bars on your windows and never leaving the house. I’m trying to get you mentally prepared — let’s call it permanently locking you into Condition Yellow (relaxed but aware of everything going on around you).

Situational awareness and proper training with your firearm could be the difference between being a victim or being someone who prevails in a deadly force encounter.

For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Mongo August 19, 2016, 12:54 pm

    Condition yellow is a great concept; it just involves being aware of your surroundings and for heaven’s sake, LEARN TO ACTIVATE AND RESPOND TO YOUR SIXTH SENSE!!! If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t. We have got to condition our sixth sense and learn all of the signals. Don’t walk around every day being distracted by your phone or even family members. You are responsible for your family, and sometimes it’s protecting them from themselves: Don’t have your face buried in your phone walking in/out of stores; have your keys in your hand so you don’t have to stop and look when you get to the car; ask the kids (make sure spouse is paying attention!!) where the exits are in case of a fire; avoid parking around the side of the store-park in front, etc. Get in tune with your spirit and Holy Spirit, He will speak to you too. Think ahead, but don’t overthink yourself into a paranoid frenzy playing “what if”. K.I.S.S.

    Stay armed, stay aware, stay safe.

  • Warsaw Wizard August 19, 2016, 10:31 am

    As a retired army shooter and small arms instructor I am always in condition yellow. My concern is, when the politicians ban all guns (hand guns and rifles) our environment will become one large “GUN FREE ZONE” open to the whim of those wanting to do harm without the fear of reprisal. I strongly suggest that every gun owner and second amendment supporter vote very carefully in November.

  • Ron Stidham August 19, 2016, 6:21 am

    Prepare for the worst, the rest is gravy. Well said, but is hard to be in condition yellow constantly. We all have jobs or events to attend to. The things that keep our lives on track are a big enough distraction, being vigil is hard work. I mentioned PTSD in a earlier post, the strain is unbearable for some of our soldiers coming home. I know this first hand working with freshly discharged military man and woman. Their lives are in turmoil. They have trouble fitting in the population, they cant just turn it off. Condition yellow, yes it is sadly necessary for these are bitter times for us all. Being on alert is some thing we all need to prepare for. Just don’t over think yourself into a frenzy, its easier than you might think. Be smart, be prepared, be safe. Take these words with you in your daily lives, and routines. God Bess Us All.

    • Don R. August 19, 2016, 12:22 pm

      Condition yellow is aware of your surroundings without noticing anything “out of order” (condition orange). As a disciple of Col. Cooper and former LE experience, from the time I awake until my head hits the pillow at night I maintain condition yellow at least 98% of any given day. There are times you lapse into a momentary meditative mindset, but as long as you are interacting with your environment, it is actually almost natural to be in condition yellow. It helps to occasionally test yourself by searching your immediate environment for specific items (car models, clothing, hair color, etc.), but it becomes part of life. You are not paranoid, just aware.

  • DRAINO August 11, 2016, 9:59 am

    Absolutely starts at the top!! Never has there been a more divisive exec in office.
    This social media madness is more bad then good, in my opinion. More people need to be situationally aware instead of nose stuck in the phones. Security is EVERYONE’s responsibility. You people who are consumed by internet need to put down the devices and join the human race.
    Condition yellow – Good term for it. Love these articles. Keep it up!!!

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