After sitting down with Matt Sampson for an interview on New12 Westchester, we had the chance to talk a bit further about how people can be aware of their surroundings in public.


Public places, just constantly be looking for what is normal behavior for wherever you are. If you’re in a mall, a church, a school, a public place, constantly be looking for what you’d expect to see people doing. Whenever you see anyone who deviates from that baseline, who is acting abnormal, that person should attract your attention. You should be confident in that assessment that they’re acting differently for a reason. It can help you focus your behavior on a specific person instead of the crowd as a whole to begin to recognize threats before violence happens.

There was a group of Marines that I worked with who, before they were deployed to Afghanistan, went through our course. When they were in Afghanistan, they were on patrol through a marketplace. They were used to seeing people be very comfortable, very relaxed around the Marines when the Marines were in the marketplace talking with them. There was one vehicle that drove past them, and the looks that they were given by the people, the males inside the vehicle, were what we would call very dominant behavior. They were aggressive. They were posturing.

One of the Marines that went through the course recognized that, that stood out from what he expected to see. The Marines went on high alert. As the vehicle went just a little bit further down the street, two guys got out of the vehicle and went in separate directions which for that Marine, he said, that’s not normal either. All the Marines began to pull away from that vehicle as quickly as they could. Soon after the two guys left the vehicle, the one remaining person in the vehicle detonated the car bomb. Had that Marine not recognized those cues or not been confident that there was something off about that vehicle. When he came back, he talked to me, he said that was the training, it was the course that ultimately let him realize that he should be nervous.