Revisiting the Terrorist Threat

A while back I took a look at the threat of terrorism from the standpoint of personal safety.

I said what I had to say on the subject, and I really had no plans to address the issue further. But attack after attack, and some of the attacks come close to home for me, living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex where five Police Officers were murdered and another eleven injured.

And then there were so many emails asking advice on all of these different situations, I felt that I should revisit the topic. I will try to keep things focused on the main idea of personal safety, but due to the nature of the subject, some people may end up getting their poor widdle feelings hurt. All I can do about that is apologize in advance.

We had the Islamic terrorist attacks in San Bernadino and Orlando. We had Police Officers murdered by domestic terrorists in several states in the U.S.A. Europe has been hit repeatedly by Islamic extremists. The day of this writing, Islamic terrorists stormed a Catholic Church in France and beheaded an 84 year old Priest during mass.

All of this is enough to make my blood boil.

But my anger means nothing. Neither does yours, unless you are in a position to give orders to end this nonsense.

So we must act on those areas that are under our control.

I teach all people who are interested in personal safety that it starts with ourselves. We have to first come to the realization that safety is our responsibility. We cannot count on the Government. Look at the response to the Hurricane Katrina or the BP oil spill and then honestly ask yourself if you really think the government can even find its own butt with both hands. Currently, the government is overly concerned with how their response will look and this causes a paralysis preventing any real action.We cannot count on Law Enforcement to save us from everything, and they will probably be minutes away when the SHTF. And we all know that in a crisis, we might not have enough seconds to add up to the minutes we will need to wait for help. When the Police get there, they will do the heavy lifting. They are professionals, and so when they arrive, get out of the way. But until they are there, you have to do what it takes to stay alive, and if possible, to stop the threat.

This means training and learning to identify the options.

If there is an attack of the type in France today, terrorists storming a Church (or any other public venue), your options are pretty clear-cut.

  1. Run
  2. Hide
  3. Fight

We all make decisions every day. While taking responsibility for our personal choices seems to no longer be in fashion, we will still ultimately be held accountable. If you run or hide or fight, you hold no guarantee of safety or survival. But a choice must be made.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these choices. When a tiger jumps out of the bushes, it is not cowardly to run. Each option needs to be based on your own individual strengths (or at the very least a knowledge of your weaknesses). Example; I am old and have bad knees and a bad back. I really cannot run. I am also six and-a-half feet tall and weigh 255 lbs., and that makes hiding a challenge. So, the OODA Loop does not really come in to play for me. Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses and play to your strengths. And be smart. If you have access to getting out safely and thus opening the chance to notify authorities more quickly – do it. This might save lives. If you are in a position to stop the threat before further loss of life, or better still – before loss of life at all – do it.

Stay aware. Since the Dallas attack I had been a virtual turret-head every time we leave the house. My Wife noticed and has kindly asked me to stop. I have noticed everyone and everything, except the good things. I have probably looked a bit like the hyper-ninja that I warn my students about becoming. I have toned it down. You can stay aware without the “I’m watching you! And you! And especially YOU!”

If you opt to run, escape, get somewhere safe and notify the authorities. It is human habit to think that someone else already has made the call, but what if no one has? Make the call. It is much better to be one more person giving information to Law Enforcement, especially if you consider the fact that you might be able to tell them something that saves the lives of potential victims or Police Officers.

If you hide, you need to understand the difference between cover and concealment. Concealment means you are harder to see. Cover means the bullets will not reach you. Sounds like a small difference but they are worlds apart. If your hiding place is a different room, you may need to barricade the entrance once you and whoever was with you are inside.

But even this is not enough. Barricades can be breached given enough time. You need to be prepared for this. Find whatever you can to use for a make-shift weapon. Anything heavy will create impact trauma. Scissors are sharper than most of the knives in your kitchen right now.

But keep your wits about you. When the Police do arrive, they will be coming in. They will be on an adrenaline rush like you wouldn’t believe, and they will have weapons drawn. The language will probably not be PG either. Follow their commands, do not make sudden movements, and please do not point.

Obviously, if the terrorist detonates a bomb, none of this matters except to parts about calling for help, if you survive the blast and are coherent enough to make the call. But we need to all understand that there is a point where we have to fight back. And sometimes the decision is made for us. When a person wants to kill you over an ideology, you really have your choices boiled down to a very simple two; die, or fight. We can be the most peace-loving people on earth, but we need to stand ready to stop those who would destroy those we love. I am all for peace, love, and food on the table. But if I have to fight to make those three possible, then I will fight.

None of this is recommending paranoia.But anyone can look around and see that things are not good right now. Until national leaders decide to stop the threat posed by terrorism, we all need to be prepared to do our part should the need arise.

Have a plan, be ready and aware, and hope for the best.