Hiding in Plain Sight

You are just going about your day when things fall apart. You are forced to move from Point A to Point B. This could be getting from work to home or from home to a more secure location. You strap on your trusty pack of supplies and head off.  Unfortunately, now you are in a very vulnerable position. While you planned and gathered your supplies, you might be in the minority. Others may have realized that things are bad and only going to get worse. This may lead them to desperate measures and your supplies may look like their lifeboat.  Alternately,  you may have to travel through areas that are far from friendly on a good day. This can put you in contact with violent individuals or groups.

In these instances, it may be very beneficial to use “The Gray Man” strategy. This strategy is all about blending in. The idea is to not draw attention to yourself. This prevents the desperate or predatory individuals from focusing on you. The hope is that you can avoid conflict and reach your destination without incident.

The first part of this involves your physical appearance. Dressing like you are an elite commando might keep trouble away in some areas but in others it may invite conflict. Those that are desperate may only see your gear and feel the risk is still worth it. Others may see you as a challenge and a way to assert their dominance. There is no one “best” way to dress. It will depend on your environment. Some general rules can cover the basic strategy. Dressing in the most common clothing of the area will help. Obviously used jeans and a T-shirt could blend you into a college campus or suburb neighborhood.  A book bag is going to fit in more here than a full blown tactical pack. This would be a different story if traveling through Kuwait. Each area is somewhat different and you must decide yourself. Avoid logos and branding that is flashy or may offend.  You need to not only pass, but not be memorable.

The second part of this is the way you act. If you are traveling along in a crowd of evacuees, downcast eyes and a tired look will make you out to be just another face in the crowd. Avoid making eye contact, keep a steady pace, and don’t get involved in the drama around you if possible. If traveling through areas prone to crime, walk with purpose and be alert without looking arrogant or nervous. Just be another passerby too alert to offer an easy score.

In regards to your gear, as stated above, your pack should look common to the area. If necessary, distribute as much gear as you can around on your person. This will let you either hide your pack on you, such as under coat, or ditch it if the risk is too high.  Weapons should be concealed if at all possible. It is better to use them as a surprise if needed than to try and ward off danger by flaunting them.

While this skill may be as much art as science, it is well worth mastering. Be observant of those around you and learn who goes unnoticed by most. These may or may not be people who have homed this skill and use it daily. Either way you can learn from these people how to perfect your own “Gray” self.

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