ODA 226 wrote:
1. Avoid contact with anyone.
2. If you don't want to get compromised during a Bug Out, avoid roads, trails, powerlines, waterways and populated areas.
3. Lay low during the day and move only at night. Collect water from sources only at night.
4. Travel along predeterimined and pre-scouted routes.
5. Have a Primary, Alternate and an Emergency Plan for EVERY Course of Action.
6. Exercise strict Noise, Light and Smell Discipline.
7. When moving at night, move slowly & deliberately. You want to SEE the other guy before he HEARS you!
8. Stop, Scan and Listen before you begin to move.
9. DON"T STEAL ANYTHING FROM ANYONE!
10. Never forget that your ultimate goal is to survive and thrive!
This strategy has never failed me in training or IRL. Please consider changes to YOUR Bug Out tactics also!
I will argue against the Grey Man being a myth, in the sense of the Grey Man being the unnoticed man (or woman). The so called 'definition' that seems to have become attached to the phrase here on ZS has gotten, IMHO, terribly misconstrued. In a true SHTF scenario, that's a real tough one to make a call on before-hand. An inner-city environment is about as close as most of us come to it. And, the larger the city, at least here in the US, the closer that inner-city environment comes to a SHTF scenario. My own city isn't too big, but it IS close enough to NYC that we get a lot of gang oriented drug dealing up here. Where I live, last population check, is a little over 25,000. We have our own areas that no sane person would walk in alone, especially if they don't already live in those areas. so, how does this relate to the topic? Simple.
I walk anywhere in this town I want to. Not because I'm the baddest dude walking, not the case by far. I'm not the biggest, or the baddest, nor am I one of those people involved in the illegal doings of those neighborhoods. I'm not saying everyone who lives there is a drug dealing low life, but there are enough who are that the neighborhoods get the reputation for it. So, how do I manage to walk through these areas, at any time of day or night, and avoid problems? As you can see by my profile pic, I'm not an especially tough looking guy,and in fact, I look older and (perceivably) weaker than I actually am. I'm not a black belt in anything, and I don't carry a gun. In short, I ain't freakin' Batman here.
How I do it is simple- I go grey as possible. I dress to fit the area, while avoiding gang colors. I don't talk to people, or get involved in anything. I rarely use the stores in the areas. I pass through, and that's about it. 99% of the time, this is all I need. The other 1% is when the grey approach has not worked, and someone else approaches me. An example: One night, while walking home from a friend's place, I had to pass an area well known for the drug dealing going on there. I was on the opposite side of the street, but some dude decided to approach me anyway. He was on my radar immediately, as I was watching for trouble, due to the area, and the group hanging out. When he got closer, he asked me "What you need, man, what you need?" (meaning what drugs did I want). I didn't break pace, but turned my head toward him, "game face" on, and told him all I needed was for him to go away. He was completely at a loss for words at that point. He finally shrugged, and went back to his friends. He managed to see past 'the grey man', because he WAS LOOKING for people- no one would have gone past unseen. When he approached, he got to see what his friends could not- my 'game face'. It's a look I adopt that says to anyone taking a look that "this man has no sense of humor". Or patience for A-holes. It works all the time at my job, where I do night security.
This 'game face' is where, and how, I can project a show of force, without it having to be visible to anyone not close by, or breaking any laws- it's still legal to look pissed off, last I checked. This is why I say that the grey man DOES exist, CAN exist, and can still project a show of force, without giving up that grey man status to the rest of his surroundings. It wasn't about what gear I had, or didn't have. It wasn't about whistling in the dark as I walked past, or sneaking past with an empty cardboard box over me as a disguise. And it wasn't about throwing down on a possible threat with superior firepower.
When I walk through these areas- and I sometimes must, or I don't bother with them- I stand out. I have to, it's simply a matter of build and race. These neighborhoods are primarily Black or Latino in makeup, and I cannot pass as either. I'm 6'2", and 210 pounds. I'm never going to pass as one of the Mexican or South American guys who have moved here. I'm certainly never going to be mistaken as being Black, either. Yet, I walk where I will, and the only times I get noticed at all, it's a nod of the head in passing, if that.
Would/could this approach work if the SHTF here? I cannot honestly say one way or the other- it's an unknown, and depends on too many also unknown factors. Would a pack make a difference? On a normal day, probably not, not for me, not for my area. When it's all gone to hell? It likely could- as ODA has been pointing out, anything of perceived value is likely to make you a person of interest to people you don't want to meet. If it's a small group, or a single guy, like in my example, that game face may be enough to make them re-think it- if they are armed, or desperate enough, or using drugs and in an altered state as a result, the game face probably isn't going to be enough. The best bet there is not to be there in the first place- failing that, un-ass the vicinity. If you've been seen, and approached, you've already failed in a big way, and your last chance is to either stand and fight vs. uneven odds, or run like hell.
ODA has offered some excellent examples, all based on real-life experience, and anyone lacking that experience would do well to listen and learn from it. The Grey Man isn't about super ninja skillz, it's about not being noticed. If you are visible, what you carry is too, and can make you a target.