Marine. CIA. Special Forces. A veteran of multiple theaters of war spanning decades. Alex Mason is a pretty certifiable badass in all senses of the term. What sort of skills make up such a man? We’ll take a look at a couple, today, and how you can work on these skills as well.
Threat assessment is the ability to judge a person’s intent to harm, and their capability of doing so. We’re going to be working off of the Secret Service handbook of threat assessment here, specifically the three principles of threat assessment.
1) “The first principle is that targeted violence is the result of an understandable and often discernible process of thinking and behavior. Acts of targeted violence are neither impulsive or spontanteous” Basically, if a person wants to cause harm to and/or assassinate a person, they will plan it in advance. If you think a person may be a danger to you or someone you care about, it’s worth talking to friends and associates of theirs to see if they’ve been planning and/or orchestrating something.
2) “The second principle is that violence stems from an interaction among the potential attacker, past stressful events, a current situation, and the target.” If a person is premeditating violence, there’s usually a cause. This could be a past slight or insult, some environmental condition forcing them into it, or even some monetary incentive. Look for motives.
3) “The third principle is that a key to investigation and resolution of threat assessment cases is identification of the subject’s ‘attack related’ behaviors.” This goes hand in hand with the first principle. When a person decides to commit violence, and begins to plan it, they will start exhibiting behaviors related to that plan. They may spend time training, exercising, acquiring materials, learning about their target, or something along those lines. Altered behavior can be a good sign of intent to commit violence, if coupled with principles 1 and 2.
If you’re interested in more on this subject, I’d suggest looking at the whole document. It’s available online for free!
Alex is an excellent marksman and sniper, which is often accredited to his growing up hunting in Alaska. If you shoot, here’s a couple tips to improve your own accuracy.
This applies to both handguns and rifles, and is one of the most repeated tips on improving accuracy. Make sure there is NO ammunition in your gun before you attempt this(in fact, some experts say remove all ammunition from the room, just to be safe). Point your unloaded gun at a target, and just practice keeping the sights still as you squeeze the trigger. Most people will find out they actually have a tendency to “pull” to the right or left when they fire. Dry firing cuts down on ammo costs and eliminates recoil and fatigue from interfering with your practice, so it’s a great option.
Seriously, The Alex Mason Workout was specifically designed to help reinforce the shoulder and arm muscles that help brace your weapon. Strong, stable muscles are important in handling recoil, especially with larger weapons and gauges. Also, being in shape helps reduce fatigue after you’ve been shooting for a while.
Learn About Your Weapon
Every gun has its own little quirks and idiosyncrasies. This is worth asking other people about. I’d recommend asking around on online gun forums, or in your local sporting goods store or target range. Learning the little quirks about your particular weapon can really help out.
Take a Break
Finally, as with everything, forcing it can make things go worse. Sometimes your head isn’t in the game, or the wind is off, or maybe it’s just a bad week. Pack up, head home from the range, and take a break for a few days. Return feeling refreshed, and ready for action next time.
Alex Mason is an individual who has been thoroughly brainwashed, and feels the effects of this mental programming constantly throughout the Black Ops series. The brainwashing drives him to hallucinate things, act irrationally, and sometimes violently. However, he is also a highly trained soldier, and his mental toughness is probably the only thing that has gotten him through such tribulations relatively intact. Here’s a few tips for building willpower of your own.
Engineer Your Own Tribulations
Persevering through hardships is something that gets better with practice. It can be something like Cold Shower Therapy, exercise, or even something as simple as working your way off a bad habit. Every time you have success in something that pushes you to your limits, your limits increase a tiny bit.
Be Honest with Yourself
Knowing your limits is just as important as stretching them. You can only surpass what you’re capable of if your honest with yourself about what you think you’re capable of. Basically, you need to know where the line is before you can train yourself to cross it. Also, you need to be honest with yourself in both success, and failure. In success, don’t allow yourself to take away from your victory, even if it’s a small one. You did a good job, you should mentally give yourself a pat on the back. Conversely, if you screw up, or fall short, own it as quickly as possible, and move on.
Have a Purpose
Setting goals is important. Keeping an eye on those goals is just as important. Some people have goal outfits that they hang on the wall when they’re trying to lose weight. Personally, my goals are a bit esoteric, so I write them on sticky notes around my workplace, so I think about them every time I sit down to do something. Having something you’re pushing towards makes pushing all the easier.
That’s it for our Alex Mason Skills breakdown. I hope you enjoyed the ideas, but remember, getting out and doing is just as important as reading. Pick one of the snippets from above, and go work on it, right now. I promise, the internet will be here when you get back. Tomorrow we’re going to venture inside The Mind of Alex Mason. Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome.
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace