Wikipedia defines a Black Swan as an… ‘Unexpected event of large magnitude and consequence.’
Basically it’s an event that occurs outside the expectations most people hold and is low probability but high impact if it does occur.
I am a trained and experienced operator with years in the field dealing with asymmetric threats, the frictions and uncertainties that only a combat environment can offer, as well as the general malaise of interpersonal violence that spans the world just like many of you reading this article.
I would consider myself more aware, capable, and prepared than most. I have managed the stress and complications from fixing a flat tire to a firefight in the red zone and consider living conditions in blown out sections of Baghdad ‘normal.’
However, I am not prepared to handle everything, and sometimes all I’ve had working in my favor is a f**k-it drive on mentality.
Often, what has given me great leverage in accomplishing my missions outside the immediate skills I utilize on a daily basis has been a tested network of support systems run by my latest company of employment.
If that network was interrupted or unavailable for a lengthy period of time, my risks would increase ten-fold; for as bad-ass as I think I might be, I know in the end, I am still dependant on a plethora of systems I overlook or take for granted every day.
Enter the Black Swan moment.
Black Swans are so far on the outside chances of probability that you can’t or don’t plan for them, but when they happen they are life-altering.
For me, a Black Swan moment is more than just a show-stopper, it’s a killer.
Example – Look at the most recent Black Swan moment that occurred in Haiti. No one there was prepared for the epic destruction that occurred, and the outcome has been a violent and brutal de-evolution of civility into its more feral components.
If you want to know why I have a bug out bag prepped, carry a firearm daily, keep my vehicle maintained with a full tank of fuel look no further than the Black Swan.
Having a load of cash on hand, my comms gear operable, my rifle cleaned, my battle rattle organized, and my 72 hour sustainment pack available is the habit I’ve developed to help me manage the unforeseen just long enough to figure out my next move.
The end of the world may never come, and I’ve probably packed for nothing, but it does provide me some piece of mind.
Are you ‘ready’ to handle a Black Swan? If so:
(1.) What are you doing to manage the potentials for a Black swan in your AO?
(2.) How would you handle a scenario like the one in Haiti?
Editor at Large
Bubba G. is an active protective professional presently performing contract duties in the Middle East and has well over 15 years of military, high risk contracting, international training and martial arts experience.