Safety Doesn’t Have To Be ScaryMacYoungSafety

Simple steps to avoid violent crime, attacks and conflict

By Marc MacYoung

Publisher Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN 9798710227503

Length 272 pages

$19.99 paperback at

Reviewed by Nancy Keaton

I know my situational awareness stinks. I know I need to work on it. I’ve looked for information and found some useful ideas, but I still felt like something was lacking. I wasn’t finding specific enough details to tell me what to look for.

This book fills that void for me. It is chock full of not only specific details to look for but also explains why the bad guy is doing them and why those details and signs are important to recognize.

So how do you know which situations to avoid? How do you know what to look for? Advice to just “keep your head on a swivel” or “be situationally aware” is just dandy except what exactly does that advice mean?

It’s like when you tell your child to “behave.” It’s important to explain what that means and in what situations. “Behave” in a library (speak quietly, sit calmly) is completely different from “behave” in a park (run and play, make noise, just don’t bother people). As adults we need the same kind of in-depth explanation to know how to be situationally aware. We need details. 

This book is for those all along the self-defense spectrum – those who carry a firearm to those who choose not to use any kind of weapon. This book is for those who are willing and prepared to use violence to defend themselves but even more so for those who have decided they are not willing or able to fight, in which case you MUST know how to avoid bad situations to begin with. This book is for anyone who simply wants to stay safer and just need to know how.

As MacYoung states, “This isn’t a ‘self-defense’ book. Think of it more as all the things you can do before things get to self-defense and violence.” 

He understands that, “If you’re like most people, you don’t want to take martial arts or carry a gun around with you. So is there anything you can do to stay safe and not have to go to those extremes?” He clearly answers this question throughout the book.

MacYoung talks about so much more than just the typical advice of crossing the street if you see some scary-looking guys up ahead. He teaches us about how emotions, attitude, childhood experiences, and yes, sorry, how even your own ego, plays a role in situations you may encounter, how you react to them and how the person you are interacting with may behave and why.

MacYoung starts with explaining various physical areas where you may encounter trouble, such as “robbery corridors” which are areas within a mile of a highway or freeway, and discusses other “transition” or “fringe” areas such as parking lots and buildings with only one way in or out. 

He explains how criminals think and how you think and advises, “Criminals and violent people use how you normally think against you.” This is an important concept to understand. Thinking that the bad guys have the same morals and values as you do is what gets a lot of people into a bad situation. Just because you are incapable of doing something horrible to another human does not mean they aren’t. MacYoung says that to the criminal, we are simply ATM’s with legs. Nothing more. Expecting them to have empathy and compassion is setting ourselves up for a bad day. 

Next we learn how to recognize who is paying attention to us and what they are looking for in their next victim. One of his best, easiest pieces of advice to follow is, “At an event or location, leave when the families with small children leave. Why? Because that’s when the troublemakers show up.” MacYoung says that this is known as shift change. Knowing this simple solution is a piece of advice that is easy to follow every day in basically every situation.

We get an in-depth look at the types of criminals out there and what their purpose and goal is. MacYoung details specifically how to avoid bad situations, such as simply not being alone in a dark alley late at night or not responding emotionally to someone else’s actions or manipulations.

Advice is also given on how not to respond if you are faced with someone who may attack you. Emotions, ego, power, and control all affect how we respond to bad situations and whether we even end up in them. He tells over and over that controlling the need to get in the last word or having the last say or challenging the criminal can keep you safe.

MacYoung asks you to think about whether you are willing to use force to defend yourself. If not, there are specific things you can do. If you think you can use force, then there are other specific things you MUST be willing and able to do.

This book teaches us how to recognize “normal,” “abnormal,” and “dangerous” behavior and how to react to each of them.

We learn about our “inner monkey” and how it can react without thinking, more out of ego and emotion than logic, and what’s necessary at the moment to preserve our life. It’s entertaining but also enlightening to recognize it within ourselves, as well as how to control it to keep ourselves safe.

An added bonus is that beyond just looking at criminals and their behaviors, MacYoung discusses our everyday interactions with family and friends. He explains how we understand and participate in socially accepted behaviors in differing situations, and why things may go sideways based on our background and even our childhood experiences.

The education provided in this book about the types of criminals that are out there and why they behave the way they do, along with the simple detailed steps to be situationally aware are very clear and very do-able with very little effort. This information is exactly what I have been in search of and I highly recommend this book that is applicable to people of all ages and backgrounds.

To read more of this month's journal, please click here.