This is a part of a series of posts about urban survival. Guides, skills, tips and gear for travel, crises and everyday life. – view all survivalist posts

“Survival in any form for any environment is an act of prevention and or recovery.”     -John Cain

Whether a subject is pre-targeted or not, the act of aggression is usually prompted by an opening – an opportunity that’s often created by the subject where then the aggressor can make a move.

In most cases, these “opportunities” are task fixation related – the subject singularly focusing on an activity in the open public, negating situational awareness.

The most common fixation is using the smart phone for any given task. It dominates our visual bearing and consumes our attention capacity.

Just like doing your business on the toilet, using a smartphone while waiting for a bus, riding in the subway, having a smoke on the corner or waiting to cross the street, is quite natural and normal.

Urban Survivalist: Task Fixation in Public Spaces /// Vinjatek

But doing this leaves you vulnerable and visibly targetable. This exposes your defenses to be robbed, attacked or otherwise maneuvered against.

A subject off-guard and oblivious to their surroundings is the most opportune advantage an aggressor could hope for. Any remotely clever aggressor is also an opportunist and there is no greater opportunity while in public space.

Sidestepping from urban survival to tactics, there are strategic tactical applications that can be instead utilized with “purposed” task fixation in public:



While there are advantageous reasonings, in most cases for everyday life, it’s best to minimize.

I’m not saying don’t ever use your phone in public, I use it all the time, just be vigilant when you do by accounting for locale, people and your condition.

Always be alert to the world around you.

[The featured photo was taken in New York City.]

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  1. OMG, my little brother had his iPhone taken exactly because of his habit of doing this TWICE! But to be fair, we live in a pretty bad city.

  2. Mark Scháperkótter Reply

    This is one little gem of a post. I knew this instinctively, and seeing it spelled out feels really good! Thanks.

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