When Things Turn Bad

The Dangers of Denial

An example of the wrong situational awareness level is the story of Terry Anderson, the Associated Press bureau chief in Lebanon in 1985.
On March 15th, 1985, Terry Anderson was driving in Beirut when a car pulled in front of his car and nearly blocked him in. Due to the traffic situation — and perhaps a bit of luck — Anderson was able to avoid what he thought was an automobile accident.
The next day, Terry Anderson drove the same vehicle on the same route and at the same time as the previous day. But his luck ran out when the same vehicle successfully blocked him in the same location. He was then kidnapped and held hostage for the next six years and nine months.
Although a long list of Westerners had been kidnapped in Beirut at this time, Terry Anderson did not think he could be targeted, and so did not see the near miss for what it was: a failed kidnapping attempt.
When travelling in a region where security is volatile, it is necessary to adopt the right situation awareness level. Faced with a non-conventional situation, assume that what you observe is perhaps not as insignificant as you think. So take the necessary measures to not end up in the same situation again. and to not demonstrate less luck as the time before.
Many victims of kidnappings and attempted assassinations are often able to look back and describe in detail how they were watched. They also concede having had clues that they were about to be targeted, a kind of 6th sense about people or situations or a subtle suspicion that things were not quite “right.”
Because of their mindset at the time, however, they failed to pay attention to the warning signs and take into account what their guts said.
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