Shane Morris

Shane Morris is a retired soldier and teacher.  Contact at (Subject:  “Notes”)

Sometimes, you can do everything right and still get killed.  US Army Combat Applications Group Master Sergeants Shughart and Gordon were tacticians of the first order, yet they still died on a dusty Somali street some twenty-seven years ago.  In 2015, many described the on-air murders by a disgruntled former fellow employee of TV news reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward in Virginia as a classic example of an “unwinnable” situation.  Posthumous Medal of Honor winners Shughart and Gordon voluntarily placed themselves into a truly unwinnable position in order to protect the downed crew of Army Blackhawk “Super Six-Four” for as long as they possibly could.  The scores of fanatical Muslims who died at their feet were proof they did everything right until they finally ran out of cartridges and were overrun before reinforcements could reach their position.  The Virginia news reporters on the other hand were in a position which could have proven very much winnable had they availed themselves of that most critical survival ingredient:  situational awareness.

     The first “Man-at-Arms” series of articles for this column dealt with the late LTC Jeff Cooper’s Four Rules of Gun Safety.  This week, we begin the first of four articles on his Levels of Awareness, sometimes referred to as the “Color Codes.”  These levels of awareness were described by the El Jefe as:


Condition White:  Not paying attention.

Condition Yellow:  A relaxed state of awareness.

Condition Orange:  Identify a potential threat; form a plan of action.

Condition Red:  Put your plan into action.


     Let us over the next month reconsider each of these levels of awareness as they related (or could have related) to the infamous Virginia TV reporter murders.  Ideally, the only time we should be in Condition White is when we are asleep, or when we have our back to our living room wall inside our locked home, engrossed in one of the good colonel’s many books, with our well oiled 1911 within easy reach and our trusty hound at our feet.  Can even the best of us slip into Condition White from time to time when moving about the world?  Of course we can.  However, those who understand the Color Code are much less likely to stumble through this life completely oblivious to their surroundings.  

Instead of tying his late daughter’s memory to the “common sense” disarmament mob; the understandably distraught murdered reporter’s father could have actually made a difference by urging other young women to always be situationally aware.  Remember...Consistently ask of your surroundings:  “Is there anything out of place?  What’s behind me?”

Next Week: Condition Yellow

Congratulations this week to the Bluegrass’ newest physician, Dr. Caleb H. Morris.  Outstanding!

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