How to: Hide in Plain Sight

Moving through the city during a loss of civility (Government-speak for breakdown) can be extremely dangerous, even life-threatening. Sadly, there will be many predators who wait for just such occasions to prey upon those weaker than them. We call them opportunivores. They  only obey the law because they fear punishment. When Law enforcement is removed from the equation, they become law unto themselves.

Avoiding these predators may require different strategies. One is to move in a large enough force, and to be threatening enough, that the predators move on to easier targets. Another is to move when the predators are not vigilant. A third, and more flexible method is to learn to blend into a crowd, and not do anything to draw attention to oneself.

This is called becoming a grey man

There are people moving around us every day whose physical presence is so minimal that we do not even know they are there. They are, for all intents and purposes, invisible. The grey man is the one we want to emulate in a disaster. The problem is, none of us have ever seen a true grey man. Because if we noticed him, he was not truly a grey man.

So who is the grey man, and how do we find and emulate him? It will require some time observing crowds of people. The process is based on an understanding of how your mind remembers what it sees.

reticular-activating-system

The principle is simple. The mind remembers that which stimulates it. If there is no stimulus, there is no noticing. Breaking this idea down further, the brain contains a filter for all sensory input called the Reticular Activating System. It is a part of the brain that filters sensory data. For example, your eyes send a complete stream of data down the optic nerve. The RAS scans that feed and determines what parts of the process to filter and what parts to pay attention to. This allows the brain to conserve bandwidth by not having to process all the visual data. What does the RAS filter out and what does it send through? The brain is looking for first, threats. The RAS will send data related to fast movement, threatening movement, movement on vectors that will intercept your own. It also looks for bright colors, human shapes, reflections, bright light, implied movement, and other similar things that STIMULATE the brain. The RAS ignores areas of continuous color, shadow, dull, natural colors, slow movement, and off vector movement.

The RAS is a very effective movement for sound input as well. It filters sounds that are unnecessary for us to notice, such as the sound of the refrigerator running, but alerts us to sounds that may represent a threat, such as the sound of someone trying to jimmy a window at night.

I have a friend who lives in New York city. I was on the phone with him one day, and just outside, an ambulance went by. The sound of the siren was incredibly loud in my ears. I interrupted him and told him to wait till the ambulance went by. He said, “What ambulance?” The sound of the ambulance was so common that he filtered it out completely in spite of the fact is was so loud.

So what does the RAS have to do with being the grey man? Simply this. If you do not create a stimulus that the predator keys in on, you are invisible to him. Just like my friend who could not hear the ambulance, a grey man moves around our awareness without triggering any alarms.

How is this accomplished? It seems simple enough.Just blend in. But there is actually quite an art form to this.

Size

This is an element of being a grey man that we have little control over. The best grey man is ordinary in every respect. He is of average height and weight. He has no physical feature that draw attention, ie, no big nose, bald head, etc. For example, I have a very hard time being a grey man because I am a big man. I am 6’2″ tall and weigh, well a lot. People remember me as “that big dude.” But the grey man fits within the bell curve of size and weight, and has no features that are outside the norm.

Dress

Dress is an element within our control. For the most part, natural and neutral colors work best. Browns and greys. Nothing to create a memory. Style of clothing tends to be very conservative. Nothing showing skin nothing too fashionable, nothing too out of fashion. Ordinary is the key word here. I work with mili and ex-military all the time. The standard “uniform” for their civilian wear consist of 5.11 Tactical pants, (referred to by some of my friends as “shoot me first pants),” a khaki cotton button-down shirt with epaulettes, Oakley shades, desert combat boots, and a shaved head. Add to that a nice MOLLE backpack with a trunk monkey patch on the outside, and you have “target” written all over you. No one doubts that you have some very cool gear in that pack. And they will want it. But as cool as that looks, it will draw the attention of both LE and predators.

Movement

One of the key elements of camouflage is learning to match your movement to the baseline. If you spend any time in a city, you will notice that every neighborhood has a unique flavor. We call that the baseline. It refers to the sound, motion, activity level of the neighborhood in a normal situation. The speed at which people move, the way they gesture, the volume and speed with which they speak. All these elements and many more make up the baseline. You can learn the baseline for a given neighborhood by simply sitting somewhere and watching.

The element of matching the baseline is probably the single most important element of personal camouflage. Learning to walk like the natives walk will hide you better than just about anything else.

Route

A key element in avoiding trouble is not to go where trouble is. The only sure way to avoid a bar fight is not to go into the bar. This means you must know the terrain you live and work in like a native. You must know what neighborhoods are safe (relatively) and which ones to avoid. You must know roads and routes, locations of police stations, gas stations, convenience stores and emergency clinics. You should know what areas have street lights at night, and which are dark, etc. Where the choke points are, and where LE is likely to set up blockades. Being a grey man means you avoid trouble by not going where trouble is.

Learning to See the Grey Man

The following exercise was one I developed for the Urban Escape & Evasion class I teach. To learn to see the previously invisible grey man, go to a public area with lots of foot traffic. Sit back and watch the crowd. As a person walks by, notice the stimulus that drew your eye. In your mind (not out loud), create an insult about that person’s stimulus. The more outlandish the better. Before you all get offended here, the purpose is to pound into your consciousness the stimulus – what you notice about each person. “That guy has a huge nose.” “That guy has completely bizarre taste in shoes”. “Do they sell men’s clothes where he bought those pants?” “Wow. That almost looks like he got dressed in the dark.” Remember your purpose is to find the stimulus.

Then after a few minutes, someone will walk by and you will not find anything. Nothing to make fun of, nothing to ridicule. Pay attention to that person. Observe them carefully. See how they move, what kind of energy they project. See how they interact with others, what they pay attention to (or not). If possible follow them for a bit. Observe them move. I am sure from having done this myself, and observing as classes do this that the key to becoming a grey man lies in your ability to observe and mimic.

Summary

The grey man is the person who moves around the periphery of our awareness without creating any stimulus. This makes that person invisible for all practical purposes. Being invisible will greatly reduce the risk of falling prey to the two legged predators that will make life so interesting when this thin veneer of society peels away and reveals the pure ugly evil that lays underneath.

 

About the author

Urban Survival Times Contributer

At Urban Survival Times our mission is to be the best survival blog providing a vast array of knowledge, tactics, and skills in the survival and preparedness fields, to any and all who wish to become more prepared for whatever may come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2017. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.