See, say, do

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- "Head's up!" "Keep your head on a swivel." "Have good situational awareness." "Be aware of your surroundings."

Do any of these admonitions sound familiar? If you've played sports, been in the military or attended personal security classes, one or all of them probably do. So, why bring them up now?

The reality is that there's not any specific reason to remind everyone to be vigilant. Rather, it's good practice to keep this way of thinking fresh in our minds. No matter where we live, what we're doing or what kind of dangers might be present, being aware of what's going on around us is key to our health and wellbeing. Whether you're on the slopes, in a car, or walking down the street, attentiveness will help prevent bad things from happening.

Many people these days are so connected to what's happening in the virtual world of electronic devices that they have no idea what's happening right next to them. I recall a security video I saw about a year ago of a man on a train who repeatedly brandished a handgun in front of everyone, but no one even noticed him do it because they were engrossed in their smart phones.

Even though we're blessed to live in a relatively safe part of the country and in a community where the majority of people are friendly and helpful, that unfortunately does not apply to everyone. We have to be alert all the time to the reality that there's a small percentage of people who commit crimes or want to harm others for various reasons. We have seen tragedy after tragedy in recent years which proves bad things can happen at the mall, at the movies, at school, at work and pretty much anywhere else.

Should we all run and hide in a doomsday bunker with a case of green beans and a small arsenal? No, not unless you're trying to get onto some reality show or become "that family" in the neighborhood. What each of us can do is remain aware of what's happening around us, avoid bad situations if they develop and report suspicious activity.

An easy way to remember is this: "see, say, do." If you see something, say something about it to the appropriate people (police, security forces, etc.) and if you have to, do something (this can be leaving the area or defending yourself if absolutely necessary).

Terrorists and other "bad guys" hope everyone fails to notice them before they attack. They definitely don't want us to be vigilant and report them. You don't have to be a hero or risk your life to make a difference. Keeping yourself and others safe is as simple as see, say, do.