know your enemy


English: Essa-queta, Kiowa Apache chief.
English: Essa-queta, Kiowa Apache chief. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let it be distinctly impressed upon my readers, that the Apache never attacks unless fully convinced of an easy victory. They will watch for days, scanning your every movement, observing your every act; taking exact note of your party and all its belongings.

Let no one suppose that these assaults are made upon the spur of the moment by bands accidentally encountered. Far from it; they are almost invariably the results of long watching – patient waiting – careful and rigorous observation, and anxious council…

-John C. Cremony “LIFE AMONG THE APACHES, 1850-1868,”

When I read this quote it made me think about work. When you coppers out there are putting together a case, planning a warrant service or a tactical operation, are you putting in as much intelligence work as you possibly can?

Do you know the players? Do you know the addresses they frequent? The cars they drive? Their girlfriends/boyfriends and their “down low spots”? Do you put in the hours of observation and surveillance that you should?

“Never attack unless fully convinced of an easy victory”.

Good advice.


3 thoughts on “know your enemy”

  1. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”
    ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    1. I’ve seen this quote from Sun Tzu thrown around a lot over the years, but the thing to consider is that it is less ‘philosophical’ and more ‘practical’ than most Western readers take it to be. Translating the metaphorical/poetic style of Asian communication sometimes leaves the Western mind with a “Snatch the Pebble from my palm” impression – as if it were meant for ‘personal enlightenment.’ But Sun Tzu was a scholar/strategist of war…

      So when I read “know yourself” and “Know your enemy” I think of things like SALUTE reports, Intelligence, Recon, POW (5 S’s), and so on when it comes to the “know your enemy” side. On the “know yourself” side, I think of LACE-A reports, 5 Paragraph order information, 4 B’s (Beans, Bullets, Bandages, Bad Guys).. and so on.

  2. So true, watching your opponent long enough and you will find habits, routines, and mistakes. Unfortunately, on the street you don’t always have the luxury of time. Never underestimate your opponent, but have faith in your own training.

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