6 Rules For Keeping A Low Profile

Public outrage over Ferguson and then the Eric Garner Grand Jury decision resulted in violence and destruction of property. This combination of issues affects all Americans and has us concerned about the excessive use of deadly force by our law enforcement officers, the persistence of racism and attendant social unrest should concern us all.

During the course of daily life, any one of us could come into contact with a rioting mob as it swarms and blocks an intersection we are traveling through, á la the attack on Reginald Denny after the 1992 Rodney King verdict. We could lose life or property to arson such as happened to business owners during the Ferguson and LA Riots.

Many of us could be put in harm’s way in the course of our work-related duties like the law enforcement officers injured by the Garner Grand Jury protest which turned violent in Berkley or we could be targeted for revenge as angry protesters have threatened.

Independent of which side of these issues you find yourself, keeping a low profile is one of the best ways to avoid becoming a victim, whether it is a victim of the use of excessive force by law enforcement, of racially motivated violence, of mob violence or of a targeted act of revenge.

There are rules to live by that can help you keep a low profile and thereby mitigate these and a whole host of other risks. I can only list so many in an article format, but I will attempt to do so without oversimplifying rules pertaining to a subject of life and death importance to the point of trivializing them.

1 -Don’t Be There

Many times, people are attacked simply because they are in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Avoiding potentially dangerous combinations of place and time is often all that is necessary to avoid a violent confrontation.

Do you really need to buy fuel or groceries at 1:30am? Could they wait until tomorrow? Do you need to stop at the convenience store? Would a larger, safer store have what you need? It could possibly even save you some money?

Another application of this rule is to not let your sensitive information “be there” either. I imagine Darren Wilson wishes that the unscrupulous members of the media who convicted him in the court of public opinion long before the Grand Jury decision had not been able to look up his home address so they could punish him by putting his family in danger of thugs who swore they kill and rape them.

Anyone can be attacked, forced to defend themselves, and then be sued for doing so. If this happens, you will end up having to defend yourself again in court, and yet again in the media in addition to the initial attack which occurred on the street.

Do yourself a favor and shore up your privacy. Buy a course that explains how to reclaim a significant measure of privacy, even in our connected world.

2 – Know What You Are Laying Low From

There are three factors which, when manifest together at the same instant, trigger the legally justified use of deadly force in self-defense. These factors together are also a reliable indicator of danger.

If you are forced to use or even to threaten to use deadly force, you will likely be judged by these three criterion, so it is in your best interest to learn them and use them to govern your application of the use of force continuum. The three criterion are: intent, ability and opportunity.

Opportunity is when an attacker could likely get away with a violent crime against you, such as when you find yourself in a dark or deserted area or in the middle of a chaotic event such as a protest. You are less likely to be attacked in a crowded place with a clear police presence. Violent crimes can, and occasionally do still happen in such places, but far less frequently.

Ability is the attacker having the tools to get the job done. To pose a threat of death or grievous bodily harm, an attacker must be armed or a disparity of force must exist. A disparity of force exists in an attack when an attacker is substantially larger or more physically capable than the victim.

Disparity of force often exists in situations where the victim is significantly less physically mature, elderly, has a physical or mental handicap or is a female fighting off a male attacker of her size or larger. Under any of these circumstances, a disparity of force will likely be determined to exist, barring some unseen disadvantage or advantage.

Contrary to what some martial arts instructors teach, if someone succeeds in killing you, it will almost certainly be with their hands or a weapon held in their hands, so get in the habit of scanning people’s belts and hands for weapons as an indicator of ability.

Lastly, for use of deadly force to be justified, the attack it seeks to prevent or stop must be intentional.

If the other two criterion are present and positive, it is time to abandon your low profile and show your attackers your teeth and claws. Force potential attackers to manifest intent by issuing a verbal challenge before they get too close for you to draw your weapon and deliver aimed fire.

In my opinion, this is best accomplished by shouting, “Stop! Let me see your hands!” in command voice. If the person throws up their hands and backs away saying that they wanted to know what time it is, tell them that they don’t need to get that close to ask you what time it is. Whatever their reaction, it is far better to blow your low profile and risk causing a scene than to lose your life for the sake of proper etiquette or for fear of offending a creepy stranger.

If opportunity exists and an attacker manifests intent, but lacks ability, (i.e. the attacker is unarmed, is an equal match to you or weaker than you) the use of deadly force is not justified and you would only be justified in meeting the attack with equal force.

Be sure to research the laws that govern the use of force for every jurisdiction you travel to because they often vary substantially by jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions have castle laws and others have “duty to retreat” laws.

3 – “Shoot Me First” Status

Self-defense circles have long referred to clothing with overtly tactical features as “shoot me first” clothing, and the moniker illustrates an important principle.

People make a dozen decisions about you the moment they set eyes you … your age, income level, education, health, sex and many other factors … and how much of a threat you pose. Yes, overtly tactical clothing will get you noticed, but many guys overlook the fact that being a physically fit military age male with his hair cut high and tight will also get you “shoot me first” status.

If this description could be describing you, your task becomes something that does not come natural to physically fit military age males: cover up the masterpiece of male perfection you’ve spent your life escaping & evading carbs and pumping iron to chisel.

No more muscle-mapping Under Armour compression T-shirts to show off your hard-earned physique. Baggy hoodies with Velcro-lined pass-through pockets, loose-fitting checked or patterned shirts to keep weapons from printing, snaps instead of buttons and trousers without noticeable cargo pockets are the order of the day.

Stay away from combat boots, military-style sunglasses and accessories, and tactical packs and messenger bags covered in PALS webbing for MOLLE pouches.

4 – Carry Concealed

If you carry, keep in mind that the moment you reveal that you are carrying a firearm, you earn priority “shoot me first” status. I am sure this will seem so basic to many of us, but I still see people arguing in favor of open carry over concealed carry all the time, so it must not be sinking in for many.

Wearing a firearm openly, while legal in many areas, is a surefire way to get noticed, and to keep a low profile, you do not want to do anything that will get you noticed. Wearing tactical clothing, expensive clothing, sunglasses or “loud” clothing gets noticed. Body order, cologne, unusual hair or facial hair style, length or coloration get noticed.

Openly carrying a firearm will not only get you noticed by everyone, it is enough to get hoplophobes to dial law enforcement in a panic and give them your location, physical description and tell them anything they think might get them to respond to the threat that they imagine you represent to them. Legal does not necessarily equate to low profile and many officers do not understand the law.

Others are so vehemently opposed to civilian carry that they will stop you and question you anyway, under the guise of a consensual contact, hoping you do not know the law, that they will be able to spot or invent a violation or that you will give them an excuse to “teach you a lesson”.

I am not arguing the legality and I believe that an armed society is a polite society. I am arguing that if your goal is to not be noticed, then I would not carry openly because even if you do not see people taking notice, they will still be taking notice.

Whether you carry openly or concealed, be aware that merely gesturing toward your weapon can get you charged with brandishing in some jurisdictions.

Also keep in mind that as soon as you draw your firearm, you become a bullet magnet, so be sure that you step well away from anyone you care about before you reveal your ace in the hole. Put some distance and degrees of angle between you and your loved ones before you draw your weapon. Be sure to familiarize yourself with firearms laws for any jurisdiction you travel to as well.

5 – Overt vs Covert Camouflage

Overt camouflage is primarily used in rural and wilderness areas. Camouflage pattern clothing augmented with natural material from your area of operations and combat counter-tracking are powerful tools to keep your presence concealed.

Covert camouflage can be useful anywhere, but it is most effective in urban areas where people are everywhere and for the most part, go overlooked by nearly everyone. Sometimes referred to as “going gray” or “assuming a gray man persona,” covert camouflage is the art of hiding in plain sight.

Learn both overt and covert camouflage. Prepare for both and train when to employ each. Take the time to create or acquire gear that will help you transition from one to the other quickly such as reversible clothing, more than one color/style of crushable hat or two ultralight packable packs, one carried inside the other so you can switch from camouflage pattern to a subdued solid color in an instant.

6 – You Will Reap What You Sow, But Only After You Sow

The simple, yet oft overlooked truth of The Law Of The Harvest applies to self-defense & self-reliance in spades. Technology is a powerful tool, but it has come with the unfortunate side effects of shortened attention span and a strong tendency to place far too great a value on convenience.

Man lived for millennia and numerous civilizations rose and fell without ever progressing to the point of the industrial revolution. Yet as soon as we overcame that obstacle, we quickly lost touch with the fundamental principles of independent living so thoroughly that if you learn a few basic skills that anyone who lived to see their teens would have known before the industrial revolution, you will be seen as an incredible survival genius and producers will hunt you down to offer you your own reality TV show. Survival is largely a DIY proposition.

Despite the endless parade of claims to the contrary, there is no one thing that you can simply buy and display in a case labeled “In Case Of Emergency, Break Glass” that will save your life in the event of a catastrophe. You have to put in the “dirt time” and learn the skills involved in sustaining life.

The fundamental concepts of survival are not difficult to comprehend, but you do have to invest a little time in repetitive skill training. Like so many other self-reliant disciplines, keeping a low profile is all about putting in the time to repeatedly train in the fundamentals and make the necessary preparations.


This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

Written by

Cache Valley Prepper is the CEO of Survival Sensei, LLC, a freelance author, writer, survival instructor, consultant and the director of the Survival Brain Trust. A descendant of pioneers, Cache was raised in the tradition of self-reliance and grew up working archaeological digs in the desert Southwest, hiking the Swiss Alps and Scottish highlands and building the Boy Scout Program in Portugal. Cache was mentored in survival by a Delta Force Lt Col and a physician in the US Nuclear Program and in business by Stephen R. Covey. You can catch up with Cache teaching EMP survival at survival expos, teaching SERE to ex-pats and vagabonds in South America or getting in some dirt time with the primitive skills crowd in a wilderness near you. His Facebook page is here. Cache Valley Prepper is a pen name used to protect his identity. You can send Cache Valley Prepper a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com

Latest comments
  • Your fist paragraph sounds like you are calling the officers involved racists. There is not one iota of evidence to support this claim. As a matter of fact, statements like this just inflame the general population. This is what the media does, and as a result, rioting occurs. I would expect this from mainstream media, but not from you.

    • It cannot be denied that Cops can be racist and that many are, in fact, racist.
      The term “Racist” can be applied to any nationality towards any other nationality.
      It is a fact of life that everyone profiles other people even in their same racial neighborhood and the same can be said about pets, especially the notoriously vicious Pit Bull, for example.
      Yet you seem bothered that the fact is provided as part of the article.
      Racism will not go away because it is a basic part of humans to learn who or what is the natural enemy and in the case of humans, we learn racism as a means of measuring an adversary or potential for conflict.

      • I did not say there is no racism. There is an probably always will be. However, the article specifically intimated these two incidents had racist overtones. This could not be farther from the truth. Had there been racism in the most minute detail, the officers involved would have been federally charged for civil rights violations. And you can bet Holder wanted that more then anything. To claim racism only incites violence. I know for a fact there are members of law enforcement who are racists. Just like there are racists in every other facet of our society, in all races. My only point is, in this case, to infer these officers were racist when absolutely none existed only does harm to the innocent officers, and allows cities to burn. If there had not been false claims of racism, I’m sure the law enforcement would have handled the rioting much more aggressively, and innocent business owners (most of them Black) may not have lost their businesses.

        • Thanks for pointing that out, Marty. I could have worded that better.

          To clarify, I certainly did not mean to imply that the actions of the officers in the Ferguson incident were racially motivated or excessive. I did not mean to imply that any of the crimes committed during the civil unrest that occurred in reaction to the verdict were justified either.

          My intent was to recognize that a racial divide exists, that the civil unrest is a threat to life and property, and that racism, in all of it’s incarnations, and use of excessive force by law enforcement inflame an already dangerous situation.

          In my opinion, most law enforcement officers I have dealt with, the vast majority, have demonstrated solid understanding and application of the use of force continuum and the circumstances that justify the use of deadly force, but every time an officer errs in judgement in these areas is a matter of grave importance, just as it is for everyone who carries a firearm. Like it or not, when we carry, we strap on increased responsibility and liability.

          Law enforcement officers will always be held to a very high standard because they are instruments of justice. Any time people are given power and authority, there need to be checks and balances to make sure that they do not abuse the authority granted them by the consent of the governed. This is necessary because history has amply demonstrated that it is the nature of man to tend to grow overenthusiastic in the exercise of any measure of power or authority.

          • We are really seeing an uptick in police involved shootings lately. Some of them don’t appear to be justified. It is not up to us to judge until all the evidence has been presented and ruled by the courts. If a law enforcement officer is found guilty in a court of law, I will be the first to insist that officer be held accountable. But let’s let it come from the courts. Let us remember, due to a corrupt press and a more corrupt Sharpton, Holder and Obama, Officer Wilson has lost his career and his family lives in fear all because was guilty before proven innocent. Just saying…

  • The recommendation to wear baggy hoodies and sweatshirts is NOT the thing I would be wearing today in certain areas or circumstances. Yes, you can hide your weapon a bit easier, but that means the other guy (LEO) knows you can hide weapon easier as well, thereby making you just as much of a target.

  • While we’re on the subject of advertising our intentions, let’s not forget the “Wait, I’m reloading” bumper stickers and the “Never mind the dog; Beware of Owner” lawn signs…or even the NRA Life Member ball caps. The First Amendment is as sacred as the Second, but keep the Fifth in mind and don’t incriminate yourself before the fact. As the author stated you may have standing if you are a victim defending yourself, but making yourself a target is literally asking for trouble, perhaps even from the “good guys”.

    • I liked this article. Maintaining a low profile is always a good idea, especially for the armed, well trained individual. The one legal point that was left out was the concept of ” jeopardy”. As a retired police office, I am aware that I will be held to a high standard if I am involved in a shooting situation. I intend to be able to say that, ” I felt my life was in jeopardy, I was in fear of my life”. This will go a lot further with responding police than a macho attitude. Also, if the questioning gets serious, ask for a lawyer. Most of us will not be thinking real clearly after a deadly force encounter, and slowing things down a bit, might be a good idea.

  • well thought out and written article.

    I’m off the grid, don’t take to much to others. Don’t comment very often.

    But you, helping others, with this blog…I’d say, good on you.

    What you wrote is absolutely true.

    Anonymity is essential.

    • I appreciate the comments and kind affirmations from all of you who took the time to comment.

      People with the vision and strength of character to travel the path of self-reliance and greatness in response to stressors are truly the salt of the earth. It is good to share principles that help us find fulfillment. The message of the value of privacy is largely lost on our increasingly convenience-addicted society. They wait in line for the newest shiny widget to trade their privacy and freedom for a small measure of convenience. They can’t wait to trade their birthright. A birthright paid for in blood sweat and treasure.

      Do not believe the lies that privacy no longer exists, that you have no right to privacy or that privacy and the ability to keep a low profile hold no value.

  • Excellent info…things I never would have thought of!