I recently had the opportunity to read Left of Bang by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley, and wanted to share some thoughts about this book, especially in light of recent incidents.
It might be helpful to start with an explanation of the term. The bang, is when an event happens, and usually refers to a violent act. Right of bang is the reaction and response to the event. Left of bang is where observations are made and data is looked at, to try and prevent the event from happening. This data or information must be looked at to separate the important information from the unimportant, in order to make a knowledgeable and appropriate preventative decision. So how does one operate in left of bang mode? The following are a few steps discussed in the book:
- Establish a baseline – determine what is normal for people, areas, situations, etc.
- Be proactive in seeking what is out of place – for example, it could be something happening that isn’t typical, or it could be something that isn’t happening that should be taking place
- Look for multiple indicators of what isn’t normal
- When you identify things that don’t ‘seem right’, be ready to act
- Make the best decision you can, if you make a good decision on the spot and act, it’s better than trying to reason the perfect decision and possibly allowing the ‘bang’ to occur
While the techniques discussed were initially developed for the Marine Corps for use in combat situations, and were referred to as combat profiling throughout the book, there were many situations discussed where people in everyday life used their sense that something wasn’t normal to prevent events from occurring, from a potential bombing at LAX, to stopping a child’s abduction.
As a retired law enforcement officer, with over 35 years of investigative experience, I found Left of Bang to be a very insightful and informative book.