"Professional gunfighters, including police officers and front-line soldiers, train themselves not only to use their weapons accurately but to be mentally willing to use them.
It’s one thing to pack a gun but an entirely different thing to yank it out of its holster and take a human life.
A favored method for preparing the mind for the latter eventuality is the adoption of a color-coded threat assessment system – much the same as U.S. Homeland Security has taken for its own. It works something like this:
White: Complete safety, very little chance of a threat. This is the color code when sitting on the back porch enjoying a beer on a lazy summer day, or when playing golf (provided you are not on a course featuring large alligators in the water hazards).
Yellow: Mostly safe, but best to have your guard up. For instance, walking down the streets of any large city. Unlike Code White, in this situation you want to be fully attentive to your surroundings – mostly relaxed but alert and actively scanning for potential threats.
Orange: Under this condition, you‘ve identified a potential threat. For instance, a couple of guys following you down a dark city street, switching sides as you do and closing the distance between you. Or a car has pulled slowly to a stop outside of your house late at night, and people get out and start walking furtively toward your home. Sure, they might be lost and looking for directions, but at this point you need to be fully attuned to the idea that you may need to take action.
Red: At this point, there’s no doubt left. In the case just above, for instance, you hear the breaking of a downstairs window. Having progressed through the color codes, the trained gunfighter now knows that the next thing happening is that he or she is going to pull the trigger on the intruder and so prepares the gun and, as importantly, the mind for that to happen. In this way, when the confrontation happens, there will be little if any life-threatening hesitation (as least as far as your life is concerned)."
Complacency is costly.