Even the most intelligent and aware person is to some degree enslaved to the subconscious processes of their mind. Without total focus on the task at hand most people blink when they see objects “flying” towards them in 3D movies, for example. Many of these processes are very useful (automatic breathing for example, or the reflexes that call you to deal with a burning or biting sensation), but they are also extremely predictable and can be used as weaknesses by the dregs of society. A large part of these techniques can be termed “misdirection”, and that is what we will look at today. Although it is extremely hard to control most subconscious responses, you can at least be better informed and more alert, possibly saving your life now or in a disaster-laden future.
What is misdirection?
A catch-all term for a variety of techniques that can be used to distract someone. Misdirection can be as simple as jingling shiny keys in a baby’s face to keep it from crying and as complex as a plan for stealing guarded secrets from a covert installation but they all rely on normal human weaknesses. The more guarded and aware the foe, the fewer weaknesses are available for exploitation. There are always a few that exist, and unfortunately the chief one is often used against you by thieves and looters.
Routine is the biggest difficulty whenever you try to defend much of anything, from a fortress to your purse or wallet, and is easily the most prevalent weakness thieves exploit. Generally speaking, using routine to catch you off guard is extremely easy because it uses your brain’s own efficiency against you. Think for a moment of a time when you were extremely tired from a long day and drove home from work in a daze, and how you still managed to make it through a route of several miles basically by feel. That is your brain creating efficiencies, removing the need to waste energy problem-solving by creating easy to use shortcuts in your thoughts.
However, if a road you normally took to go home was suddenly closed for construction, you would have had to suddenly start figuring out new plans and a lot more conscious thought would be needed in order to get home, right? A thief uses that moment of indecision between the usual routine and adjusting to the new obstacle to hit you hard and fast, usually in a way that puts him at an advantage. Many purse snatchers, for example, will steal purses by grabbing them while the owner is focused on talking with friends or eating a meal. Even if they notice, it will take valuable seconds for the victim to break out of the “normal life” routine and start reacting to the theft by which time the thief is already long gone.
A few examples of intentional misdirection
Of course purse snatching relies on the owner being distracted by someone else, with the thief merely taking advantage of the opportunity. True misdirection involves an intentionally placed distraction so that the victim and their valuables are in an ideal place for theft and/or violence. A two-person team may employ a good looking woman to suddenly walk up to men, distracting them long enough for the true thief to snatch a bag or pick a pocket, or in a post-disaster scenario just pop them in the head and take what they can loot quickly. The classic case of sending a smaller, more innocent looking thief to the front door to get you to open up for the larger (or better armed) thieves who pop out ready to charge inside is also a common misdirection technique.
In a survival situation, distractions could also be more drastic, such as stalled cars in the middle of a roadway or even people just standing in the middle of the road. All obstacles intended to get you to slow down enough for looters to get their hands on your vehicle and possibly end your life.
The key to all of these is that moment of distraction and indecision when they have the opportunity to strike. Generally speaking, the best way to protect yourself from being the target of a misdirection scheme is to be not worth the effort and time required to trick you. Why risk your subconscious betraying you at a crucial moment when you can simply appear too poor, too guarded, or too alert for someone to try stealing from you? Of course desperate people and vicious groups won’t care much how guarded you are, but at least it will minimize the chances of lesser thieves and looters trying to steal scraps.
Additionally, you should make a point to be aware for odd occurrences and moments when “things just don’t feel right”. Let’s be honest here guys, most good-looking women aren’t going to just wander over and talk with you for no reason much as you might wish they would. “Helpful” strangers offering out of the blue to help carry bags or to clean up something off your shoe may just be average, kind people, but why take the risk? This may strike as being close to paranoia to some, looking at everyone with suspicion. Of course in previous history that was pretty much the default outside of your own local village, so perhaps it’s more just realizing the reality danger instead of being naive.
Any other ways to fight misdirection techniques? Do you have any experience in being robbed that would apply? Let us know in the comments below!