Prepper Mindset

Survivalism explained to “non-prepared” friends: “I want to be able to weather any common event, storm, power outage, robbery with no problem at all. Conveniently, if the end of the world as we know it comes then I get to avoid the inevitable shootouts at WalMart.”

– Author Unknown –




Rethink your attitude. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, wildfires, terrorism, riots and social unrest, nuclear accidents, violent crime, medical emergencies? Every one of these disasters has occurred in the past 24 months, most of them right here in the United States. September 11th is proof that the government can’t stop it from happening. Hurricane Katrina is proof that the government can’t take care of you after it does. With disasters it is never a question of if, but rather a question of when. It is naive to think otherwise, and negligent on the part of the individual not to make a survival plan tailored to the type of disaster that might be expected in their part of the world.

What about smaller, less dramatic calamities? A dead car battery, a flat tire, a car fire, a city-wide blackout, a person laying unresponsive in the street, a child choking at the next table over in a restaurant, a suspicious man following you as you walk back to your car.

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Be The Most Dangerous Person In The Room:

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Combat Mindset and the Cooper Color Code:


Wikipedia’s Article on Jeff Cooper & the Cooper Color Code:

The most important means of surviving a lethal confrontation, according to Cooper, is neither the weapon nor the martial skills. The primary tool is the combat mindset, set forth in his book, Principles of Personal Defense.

The color code, as originally introduced by Jeff Cooper, had nothing to do with tactical situations or alertness levels, but rather with one’s state of mind. As taught by Cooper, it relates to the degree of peril you are willing to do something about and which allows you to move from one level of mindset to another to enable you to properly handle a given situation. Cooper did not claim to have invented anything in particular with the color code, but he was apparently the first to use it as an indication of mental state.

White: Unaware and unprepared. If attacked in Condition White, the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy or ineptitude of your attacker. When confronted by something nasty, your reaction will probably be “Oh my God! This can’t be happening to me.”

Yellow: Relaxed alert. No specific threat situation. Your mindset is that “today could be the day I may have to defend myself”. You are simply aware that the world is a potentially unfriendly place and that you are prepared to defend yourself, if necessary. You use your eyes and ears, and realize that “I may have to shoot today”. You don’t have to be armed in this state, but if you are armed you should be in Condition Yellow. You should always be in Yellow whenever you are in unfamiliar surroundings or among people you don’t know. You can remain in Yellow for long periods, as long as you are able to “Watch your six.” (In aviation 12 o’clock refers to the direction in front of the aircraft’s nose. Six o’clock is the blind spot behind the pilot.) In Yellow, you are “taking in” surrounding information in a relaxed but alert manner, like a continuous 360 degree radar sweep. As Cooper put it, “I might have to shoot.”

Orange: Specific alert. Something is not quite right and has your attention. Your radar has picked up a specific alert. You shift your primary focus to determine if there is a threat (but you do not drop your six). Your mindset shifts to “I may have to shoot that person today”, focusing on the specific target which has caused the escalation in alert status. In Condition Orange, you set a mental trigger: “If that person does “X”, I will need to stop them”. Your pistol usually remains holstered in this state. Staying in Orange can be a bit of a mental strain, but you can stay in it for as long as you need to. If the threat proves to be nothing, you shift back to Condition Yellow.

Red: Condition Red is fight. Your mental trigger (established back in Condition Orange) has been tripped. “If ‘X’ happens I will shoot that person” – ‘X’ has happened, the fight is on.

Black: The USMC uses condition Black, although it was not originally part of Cooper’s Color Code. Catastrophic breakdown of mental and physical performance. Usually over 175 heartbeats per minute, increased heart rate becomes counter productive. May have stopped thinking correctly. This can happen when going from Condition White or Yellow immediately to Condition Red.

In short, the Color Code helps you “think” in a fight. As the level of danger increases, your willingness to take certain actions increases. If you ever do go to Condition Red, the decision to use lethal force has already been made (your “mental trigger” has been tripped).

The following are some of Cooper’s additional comments on the subject.

Considering the principles of personal defense, we have long since come up with the Color Code. This has met with surprising success in debriefings throughout the world. The Color Code, as we preach it, runs white, yellow, orange, and red, and is a means of setting one’s mind into the proper condition when exercising lethal violence, and is not as easy as I had thought at first.

There is a problem in that some students insist upon confusing the appropriate color with the amount of danger evident in the situation. As I have long taught, you are not in any color state because of the specific amount of danger you may be in, but rather in a mental state which enables you to take a difficult psychological step. Now, however, the government has gone into this and is handing out color codes nationwide based upon the apparent nature of a peril. It has always been difficult to teach the Gunsite Color Code, and now it is more so.

We cannot say that the government’s ideas about colors are wrong, but that they are different from what we have long taught here. The problem is this: your combat mind-set is not dictated by the amount of danger to which you are exposed at the time. Your combat mind-set is properly dictated by the state of mind you think appropriate to the situation. You may be in deadly danger at all times, regardless of what the Defense Department tells you. The color code which influences you does depend upon the willingness you have to jump a psychological barrier against taking irrevocable action. That decision is less hard to make since the jihadis have already made it.

He further simplified things in Vol. 13 #7 of his Commentaries.

“In White you are unprepared and unready to take lethal action. If you are attacked in White you will probably die unless your adversary is totally inept.
In Yellow you bring yourself to the understanding that your life may be in danger and that you may have to do something about it.
In Orange you have determined upon a specific adversary and are prepared to take action which may result in his death, but you are not in a lethal mode.
In Red you are in a lethal mode and will shoot if circumstances warrant.”

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Be A Leader:

“Leadership is the ability to tell someone to go to hell, and they leave to eagerly pack for the trip.”


“I do not fear an army of lions, if they are led by a lamb.

I do fear an army of sheep, if they are led by a lion.”

-Alexander the Great-

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Don’t Be A “Sheeple”. Be The “Sheepdog”:

Urban Dictionary’s Definition Of “Sheepdog”:

Certain special people, who watch over the rest of the people. The rest are called sheep. Sheepdogs prevent the “wolves” (bad people/things) from hurting the sheep. Sheepdogs understand violence is sometimes necessary in order to protect the sheep. The sheep really don’t like the sheepdog. Sheep prefer to go along their merry way, oblivious to the perils of life. Sheep tolerate sheepdogs’ existence in order to keep the wolves away. Police, soldiers, firefighters. A Sheepdog protects sheep from wolves.

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Be the “Boy Scout”:


“Be prepared.”

– Motto of the Boy Scouts of America –

“Make good scouts of yourselves, become good rifle shots so that if it becomes necessary that you defend your families and your country that you can do it.”

– Lord Baden-Powell, Scouting For Boys

Are You ReadyExpect problems. Be prepared for them.

This means that you need to be mentally and emotionally prepared for something bad to happen, to have the skillsets to know what to do, and to have the proper gear and equipment to handle it.

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Be the “Gray Man”:

“Don’t look conspicuous. It draws fire.”

-From Murphy’s Laws of Combat-

Urban Dictionary’s definition of “Gray Man”:

A person who can blend in to any scene or situation without standing out, hiding his skills and qualities.

Thoughts On How To Be The Gray Man:

  • Practice “urban camouflage”. Blend into your environment and try not be noticed.
  • Project confidence so as to discourage aggression, while at the same time not projecting over confidence so as to attract unwanted attention.
  • Consider the pros and cons of tattoos when trying to blend in to your environment. Consider when to hide scars and when to use them to your advantage.
  • Dress so as to blend in various environments.
  • Adopt an attitude so as not to draw attention.
  • Do not draw unwanted attention with the vehicle you drive.
  • Consider the advantages of owning a “Q car”.
  • Use body posturing so as not to look suspicious.

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Be the “Minuteman”:


Urban Dictionary’s definition of “Minuteman”:

Term for a volunteer soldier in the American Revolution, who were supposed to be ready to fight against the British at a minute’s notice. These were often nothing more than farmers that happened to have a gun or two lying around.


President Kennedy’s Commemorative Message on Roosevelt Day, January 29, 1961

“This year, the celebrations of Roosevelt Day has special significance for Democrats everywhere; for we celebrate not only the triumphs of the past but the opportunities of the future.

Twenty-eight years ago Franklin Roosevelt assumed the leadership of a stricken and demoralized nation. Poverty, distress and economic stagnation blanketed the land. But it was not long before the great creative energies of the New Deal had lifted America from its despair and set us on the path to new heights of prosperity, power and greatness.

Today America is the richest nation in the history of the world. Our power and influence extend around the globe. Yet the challenges and dangers which confront us are even more awesome and difficult than those that faced Roosevelt. And we too will need to summon all the energies of our people and the capacities of our leaders if America is to remain a great and free nation — if we are to master the opportunities of the New Frontier.

The dimensions of our problems overwhelm the imagination. At home millions are unemployed and the growth of our economy has come to a virtual halt. Abroad, we are faced with powerful and unrelenting pressure which threaten freedom in every corner of the globe, and with military power so formidable that it menaces the physical survival of our own nation.

To meet these problems will require the efforts not only of our leaders or of the Democratic Party–but the combined efforts of all of our people. No one has a right to feel that, having entrusted the tasks of government to new leaders in Washington, he can continue to pursue his private comforts unconcerned with America’s challenges and dangers. For, if freedom is to survive and prosper, it will require the sacrifice, the effort and the thoughtful attention of every citizen.

In my own native state of Massachusetts, the battle for American freedom was begun by the thousands of farmers and tradesmen who made up the Minute Men — citizens who were ready to defend their liberty at a moment’s notice. Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of America, cannot succeed with any lesser effort.

It is this effort and concern which makes up the New Frontier. And it is this effort and concern which will determine the success or failure not only with this Administration, but of our nation itself.”


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Think Outside of the Box:



Urban Dictionary’s definition of “Think Outside of the Box”:

Try to solve the problem with unorthodox methods. Consider any idea, no matter how unusual.

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Practice Situational Awareness:

“Somewhere out there right now someone is preparing for the day you both shall meet. How prepared will you be?”


Urban Dictionary’s definition of “Situational Awareness”:

Possessing the trait of always knowing what is going on around you; awareness of one’s situation.

Situational-AwarenessPay attention to your surroundings. Always know what is going on around you. Recognize danger. Use you knowledge of what has happened in the past and your observations of what is happening now to predict what could happen in the near future. Listen to the voices in your head (your intuition). If something doesn’t seem right, it isn’t.

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Learn To Read Body Language:

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Recognize the Players:

Learn to recognize knowledge, skills, abilities, and assets of those around you. Examples:

  • My neighbor has a hybrid vehicle that gets 55 MPG.
  • My neighbor has a swimming pool with thousands of gallons of water.
  • My neighbor is an avid hunter that can shoot and process game.
  • My neighbor has solar panels that can charge batteries
  • My neighbor has a gas-powered generator.
  • My neighbor is an avid gardeners and produces more food than she can eat.
  • My neighbor is a surgeon.
  • My neighbor is a dentist.
  • My neighbor was an electrician in the Navy.
  • My neighbor was an emergency medical technician before she went to law school.
  • My neighbor just rebuilt the engine in his ’65 Mustang.

None of these people are whom I would describe as “preppers”, yet they each possess extremely important skillsets or assets, especially in a prolonged emergency situation. Teach yourself to watch and listen for key information about people which might indicate that they have skillsets and assets that might benefit you in an emergency. Maybe your neighbor that owns a lawnmower repair business doesn’t sound like a good prepper asset, but just wait until your generator quits working on a hot night. You are going to wish that he was your best friend.

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Carry Concealed:

“The police do not provide security in your home, your business or the street. They show up after the crime to take reports and do detective work. The poorer the neighborhood, the riskier it is for peaceful residents. Only an armed citizenry can be present in sufficient numbers to prevent or deter violent crime before it starts, or to reduce its spread.”

-Libertarian Party Platform-

“Your attacker is in more danger from you, than you are from him.”

-Jeff Cooper-

Coming soon.

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Related Savannah Arsenal Pages:


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