Western Rifle Shooters Association

Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Fight Is A Fight Is A Fight

Few in the American gun world are unfamiliar with Colonel Cooper's color codes for threat awareness and preparation to engage:

...Here it is, straight from the famous "Wednesday lecture":

White - Relaxed, unaware, and unprepared. If attacked in this state the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy and ineptitude of your attacker. When confronted by something nasty your reaction will probably be, "Oh my God! This can't be happening to me."

Yellow - Relaxed alertness. No specific threat situation. Your mindset is that "today could be the day I may have to defend myself." There is no specific threat but you are aware that the world is an unfriendly place and that you are prepared to do something if necessary. You use your eyes and ears, and your carriage says "I am alert." You don't have to be armed in this state but if you are armed you must be in yellow. When confronted by something nasty your reaction will probably be, "I thought this might happen some day." You can live in this state indefinitely.

Orange - Specific alert. Something not quite right has gotten your attention and you shift your primary focus to that thing. Something is "wrong" with a person or object. Something may happen. Your mindset is that "I may have to shoot that person." Your pistol is usually holstered in this state. You can maintain this state for several hours with ease, or a day or so with effort.

Red - Fight trigger. This is your mental trigger. "If that person does "x" I will shoot them." Your pistol may, but not necessarily, be in your hand.

The following are some of Jeff's additional comments on the subject.

"Considering the principles of personal defense, we have long since come up with the Color Code. This has met with surprising success in debriefings throughout the world. The Color Code, as we preach it, runs white, yellow, orange, and red, and is a means of setting one’s mind into the proper condition when exercising lethal violence, and is not as easy as I had thought at first. There is a problem in that some students insist upon confusing the appropriate color with the amount of danger evident in the situation. As I have long taught, you are not in any color state because of the specific amount of danger you may be in, but rather in a mental state which enables you to take a difficult psychological step.

"Now, however, the government has gone into this and is handing out color codes nationwide based upon the apparent nature of a peril. It has always been difficult to teach the Gunsite Color Code, and now it is more so. We cannot say that the government’s ideas about colors are wrong, but that they are different from what we have long taught here.

"The problem is this: your combat mind-set is not dictated by the amount of danger to which you are exposed at the time. Your combat mind-set is properly dictated by the state of mind you think appropriate to the situation.

You may be in deadly danger at all times, regardless of what the Defense Department tells you. The color code which influences you does depend upon the willingness you have to jump a psychological barrier against taking irrevocable action. That decision is less hard to make since the jihadis have already made it."

He further simplified things in Vol 13 #7 of his Commentaries:

"In White you are unprepared and unready to take lethal action. If you are attacked in White you will probably die unless your adversary is totally inept.

In Yellow you bring yourself to the understanding that your life may be in danger and that you may have to do something about it.

In Orange you have determined upon a specific adversary and are prepared to take action which may result in his death, but you are not in a lethal mode.

In Red you are in a lethal mode and will shoot if circumstances warrant."


What I do not understand is how so many American gun owners -- including many who engage in combat-simulation training with their pistols, rifles, or both -- can and do fully adopt Colonel Cooper's color codes for encounters with street miscreants, but then completely lose that focus when the predators carry neither a knife or a gun, but the reins of executive, legislative, and judicial power.

Nowhere in any of his works have I ever read any evidence that the color code system was intended by the Colonel solely for use against amateur criminals such as burglars and street thugs.

Should one be less wary when dealing with humans who wield the awesome power of the State, rather than a switchblade or pistol?

Isn't a deadly threat a deadly threat?

Isn't a fight a fight?

Put me down for Orange.

Alea iacta est.


Blogger QCRenegade said...

Indeed. I fear not the man that wields the sword, but the man that wields the pen is to be feared like the devil himself. Put me down for orange++.

Fortudine Vincimus

December 11, 2008 at 7:54 PM  
Blogger ParaPacem said...

One more orange, please; and let me raise a glass to Jeff Cooper. When men of his kind stand up, men of the best sort will follow them.

December 13, 2008 at 4:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>> but then completely lose that >>focus when the predators carry >>neither a knife or a gun, but >>the reins of executive, >>legislative, and judicial power.

It is not just legislation, it is pretty much everything.



In Liberty,

December 13, 2008 at 5:20 AM  

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