The Gray Man

What is a Gray Man?

A gray man is someone who blends in where he/she goes.  It is a person who does not stand out.  This can be useful is a lot of different situations, like if, God forbid, you were near a mass shooter at a mall or something, they are going to start shooting people who stand out to them in some way, if you do not stand out to them at all then you have a smaller chance of being a target.  This is also good for if the government or some group gets too aggressive and you want to not be noticed because, say, Christians are being persecuted.

The Art Of Blending

How is this accomplished? It seems simple enough. Just blend in. But there is actually quite an art form to this.

Size

Height is an element of being a gray man that we have little control over. The best gray man is ordinary in every respect. He’s of average height and weight. He has no obvious physical features that draw attention, ie, big nose, bald head, facial hair, etc.

Dress

Dress is an element within our control. For the most part, natural and neutral colors work best; Browns and grays. Nothing to create a memory like a T-shirt with a saying or photos. Style of clothing tends to be very conservative. Nothing showing skin, nothing too fashionable, nothing to out of fashion. Ordinary is the key word here.

This is one thing in a bug out situation that I think is key.   A lot of people, myself included, have a bug out backpack that should get them out of a situation no problem, but that backpack looks like something you would see on a soldier in Afghanistan and really sticks out in a crowd.  This is likely to get you killed or at least get your gear stolen.  That is why I think a really good bug out bag looks like a normal backpack that you would see on a college student, and wouldn’t think twice about.

Some people talk about how they change into really gangster style clothing when they are going through a certain part of town to blend in, but I think that is silly and not necessary. A plain natural colored shirt and some jeans will blend in most everywhere and won’t leave an impression in anybody’s mind.  I think about this whenever I buy shirts.

This also applies to how you dress your car or front yard.   Putting overly political or identifying stickers on your car or signs in your yard can only serve to paint a target on your back.

Mannerisms

Since the gray man attracts no attention, his mannerisms must be small and discreet. No sweeping gestures. Energetically, the gray man is withdrawn. He does not project confidence. He does not look around much, he avoids eye contact.

Movement

One of the key elements of camouflage is learning to match your movement to the baseline. If you spend any time in a city, you will notice that every neighborhood has a unique flavor. We call that the baseline. It refers to the sound, motion, activity level of the neighborhood in a normal situation. The speed at which people move, the way they gesture, the volume and speed with which they speak. All these elements and many more make up the baseline. You can learn the baseline for a given neighborhood by sitting somewhere and watching.

The element of matching the baseline is probably the single most important element of personal camouflage. Learning to walk like the natives walk will hide you better than just about anything else.

I think that this is key when there is social unrest or something like that.  The people most at risk from a group of rioters is somebody who they think is against their cause.  If you are caught near a riot then just try to blend in while moving quickly to the nearest egress point.

Learning to See the Gray Man

To learn to see the previously invisible gray man, go to a public area with lots of foot traffic. Sit back and watch the crowd. As a person walks by, notice the stimulus that drew your eye. In your mind (not out loud), create an insult about that person’s stimulus. The more outlandish the better. Before you all get offended here, the purpose is to pound into your consciousness the stimulus – what you notice about each person. “That guy has a huge nose.” “That guy has completely bizarre taste in shoes” “Do they sell men’s clothes where he bought those pants?” “Wow. That almost looks like he got dressed in the dark.” Remember your purpose is to identify the stimulus.

Then after a few minutes, someone will walk by and you will not find anything. Nothing to make fun of, nothing to ridicule. Pay attention to that person. Observe them carefully. See how they move, what kind of energy they project. See how they interact with others, what they pay attention to (or not). If possible follow them for a bit. Observe them move.

The modern gray man philosophy

A Grey Man never stands out in a crowd.  He never wears or carries anything that would be deemed out-of-place for whatever environment he’s in.

A Grey Man is never the most vocal person in a room, but he’s always the best listener.  And he is truly listening to what others are saying; not just waiting for his turn to talk.  By doing this, he gains valuable insight into the people around him.

A Grey Man trains in private.  No, this doesn’t mean he has to find a secluded part of the range or pay for one-on-one instruction.  But, if he acquires “a particular set of skills“, a Grey Man doesn’t go out of his way to let people know that he has them.

A Grey Man avoids confrontation.  He doesn’t court danger by intentionally putting himself, friends or family in harm’s way.  He doesn’t feel the need to let people know that he’s a “bad ass” (especially if he is one).  A Grey Man with skills never starts a fight because he knows he might have to finish one.

A Grey Man is careful about the company he keeps.  Because he knows that other people’s poor judgement could undermine his own efforts to keep a low profile.

A Grey Man maintains situational awareness at all times. Despite his carefully crafted “cloak of anonymity”, a Grey Man is always aware that he or others around him could be put in harm’s way at any time.  He understands “bad things happen to good people” and he is not surprised or shocked when it happens.  Because of this, despite the fact that we live in a connected world, he never walks around with his head down looking  at his phone like most people do.  His head is always “on a swivel”.

A Grey Man strives to be as self-sufficient as possible.  In a SHTF situation, being able to survive and get home without having to rely on the charity of others, is essential because not everyone in a desperate situation will have the best of intentions.

In the Information Age, the Modern Grey Man understands that Privacy is becoming a rare commodity. He knows how to go off the digital grid, if necessary.

Sources:

Gray Man Strategies 101: Peeling Away the Thin Veneer of Society

How to be the Gray Man when SHTF

How To: The Modern Grey Man Philosophy

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