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TMI: Too Much Information
By: Gabriel Suarez, Warrior News, March 2008

Reprinted with Permission

I sat at the restaurant eating my dinner and, as I often do, scanned the room around me while I chewed. I wasn’t expecting an Al Qaeda attack or anything of the sort, it was simply an habit from the old days that will not die.

At the table next to me sat a husband and wife, in their fifties, looking forward to retirement in Florida, but now saddled with an unruly teenager who was recently arrested for drugs. The teenager attended some high school named after some long dead politician, and he was in his senior year.

Across the room sat another couple, young, probably newly weds. The husband was either a police officer or a CCW guy fresh from military service in the Marines.

The last table was occupied by a family of four. They were Christians and the father was in the refrigeration business. He was taking muscle relaxants for his injured neck, and his wife was allergic to MSG. The kids as well were a storehouse of free information.

How did I pick up all this personal intell on all these good people?

Simple. I listened.

As I walked out into the parking lot after paying my bill, I’ll bet I could tell you which group belonged to which car as well.

Is this a big deal? I don’t know..you tell me.

I think it is.

In a world where the bad guys are busy probing the populace for easy targets, allowing yourself to appear as an easy target is simply stupid. Specially when a little extra care would avoid the problem completely.

How about the thousands of CCW carriers. How many of you are legally concealed as opposed to totally covert? Sure, its nice to wear all of the CCW fashions. But what are you really hiding?

Bad guys look at gun magazines. So do ostensibly “good” guys in positions of authority that don’t like the idea of lowly, scum-sucking civilians owning, much less carrying guns. Are you making yourself an easy target?

What about the robbers who walk into their next take-over robbery, or the terrorist who is scanning the place before blurting out the characteristics “Allah Akbar” prelude to a mass killing? What if they “make” the gun guy before the gun guy has any idea of what is happening?

Will you be a deterrent, or the first target?

What of the myriad ways an enemy can make use of the information such as : The names of your kids, where they go to school, your home address, your work hours, where your parents live, etc.

How many of you have one of those “My Child Is An Honor Student At Good Guy School”?

Sure we are proud of our kids, but I do not have such things on my vehicle. How hard do you think it would be for a thug to kidnap your kid with such information and either use them to get to you, or ransom them, or worse?

American CCW folks are law abiding, honest, godly people. But they need to think like the enemy to see their own weaknesses. What we are talking about here is Operational Security, or Op Sec for short.

In the civilian world, we also often hear the term TMI…or Too Much Information. Usually this is directed at discussion with kids describing their stomach flu or something of that nature. Nonetheless, TMI and OpSec are similar in that your information, be it sensitive or disgusting is not for publication.

Watch what you say in public. Think the worst of those within ear shot. You want a private conversation, don’t have it in a public place. And if you must, then keep your voices down so only those involved in the conversation can hear it.

A stranger asks you for personal information? Tell them to pound sand. Or if you must provide it for some reason, make a “mistake” and give them bad information. Yes, lie. Change the numbers of your address or give them a different address. Same for phone numbers, dates of birth, and social security numbers. If you must give out the true information, be as guarded about it as you would be with your pin number to the ATM.

Look at your daily dress. Sometimes the job will determine the clothing, but if not, then avoid all the gun school wear and CCW Gucci gear as it will mark you for scrutiny or for targeting. If you don’t care, then keep doing what you are doing. What I will say is the casual construction worker look or the moderately paid office worker look will not get any attention, while the pressed and starched CCW vest with matching pants and gun logo hat will get stares from everyone.

Look at your car. How many unnecessary stickers describing you or your family appear there. My favorite OpSec faux pas is the stencil cartoon of all family members along with their names and ages sharply detailed on the back window.

Come on guys. How many of you would walk into the “soon-to-be-released” ward of the local mental hospital for the criminally insane and give a 30 minute briefing on your family and where they can be found? That is in effect what you are doing.

Home address. How many of you have your address printed on all your personal info? On your CCW or driver’s license? Consider getting a mail drop. A mail drop is a physical address with individual mailboxes such a Mail Boxes, Etc., or a UPS Store. Have the psychos and terrorists show up there when they want to find you and not the real address.

These are just a few things to consider. In future articles we will get into the mind set issues of alertness and profiling which will give you an edge when the passive Op-Sec principle of guarding information is bypassed.

The bottom line is that all the skills and weapons in the world will not save you if the bad guys can target your weak points and ambush you. So not only must you stay alert, but also guard your information like it was worth its weight in gold.

Gabe Suarez


This article has been reprinted with permission from Gabriel Suarez.



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