What Would I Do If...
When I was a cop, I had a habit of mentally planning out "what ifs." When I pulled up to the quickie mart at 2:30 a.m., I went through different scenarios in my head... a robbery in progress, or a domestic attack? When I made a traffic stop... what if the passenger throws out some contraband, or the driver is a wanted felon? When I sat at a stop light... what if the car coming up behind me doesn't stop in time, or the car pulling up beside me is an ambush?
It can border on paranoia, but it also contributed to keeping me safe and alive. I still try to keep my senses sharp and map out different scenarios, but probably not as much as I used to.
A couple of things happened today that have crossed my "what if" threshold before. One was the Va. Tech police officer getting killed in his patrol car while doing a traffic stop on another vehicle. There were apparently a number of bystanders who saw it happen. The other was a Va. state trooper got in a shootout on the side of the highway in the county where I used to work. Reports are that motorists stopped and helped.
As you drive along, have you ever thought about what you might do or how you might react if you saw an officer on a traffic stop getting attacked? Would you do something different if it was a "resisting arrest" vs. an armed attack? Do you know what mile marker you are near if you have to call 911? If the guy shoots the trooper and goes to get back in his car, would you be willing to ram him? I don't know that anyone can really say for sure how they will react, but by having mentally rehearsed different bad situations, a person is more likely to act and do "something," rather than freeze or panic.