Image – http://www.ibtimes.co.uk
NYC/Washington D.C. Beslan. London. Mumbai. Boston. Nairobi.
Quite the list of cities world-wide.
19 Hijackers killed 2296 in NYC, Washington D.C and Pennsylvania on 9/11 in a coordinated attack spanning multiple cities.
A group of militants took 1100 hostages, and ended up killing 385, of which 186 were children, in a siege that lasted several days in Beslan.
4 terrorists killed 52 and injured seven hundred in London using coordinated bombing attacks of public transit infrastructure.
A group of 24-26 terrorists conducted 12 coordinated/ simultaneous shooting and bombing attacks in Mumbai killing 155, injuring 600+, and taking several hundred hostages in a well coordinated attack that lasted several hours.
2 brothers killed 3, and wounded 140 at the Boston Marathon using improvised explosive devices. In the ensuing operation to capture the brothers, one police officer was killed and several more wounded.
10-18 attackers killed 70, injured 200 and took multiple hostages in Nairobi in a siege that lasted 3 days. Graphic Photos and reports of torture have emerged in the wake of this still developing story. Its so new, there isnt even a wikipedia article dedicated to it yet. Not to mention it hasnt garnered much press in the US.
69 terrorists killed 3000 people and injured at least 2000 more, in 6 major metropolitan centers globally (2 of which were in the United States)…and thats just since 2001.
These incidents are relatively low to medium frequency events with medium to high impact when they occur. They occur for several reasons: political disputes, religious quarrels , or the perpetrator just wants to cause havoc and terror.
The perpetrators may be pragmatists who have undertaken these terror operations in the furtherance of a goal, and once the goal is met they are happy to be done with the mess, such as the IRA in the 80’s. Or more likely they are idealists with ever-changing or unrealistic demands and arent able to be negotiated with like many islamic terrorist groups. This is why most governments have taken a “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” stance… it is impossible to know when the perpetrators will be happy and stop whatever they are doing, and the fact that negotiating with these terrorists leaves them vulnerable to future attacks whenever the thought strikes in an opposing faction.
These events occur in many different places: Symbolic such as the World Trade Center, Functional such as the public transit system in London, Vulnerable such as the targets chosen in Mumbai or Nairobi…or the targets could be chosen for any combination of the three. Know that there is always a reason targets are chosen by terrorists–even if it is simply because it is a “low-hanging fruit”.
The terrorists are usually killed or caught. Funerals are held for the slain–and then everyone moves on almost as normal. The news stops reporting, and we stick our collective heads back in the sand until the vicious cycle repeats itself in a couple years. Most people don’t care that these things are happening, or worse, they don’t even know. So predictable.
I say all that to say this: You should care that these events are occurring around the world. And here is why: It is not a matter of if these events will occur in your town or city–it is a matter of when. And for the “It will never happen here” crowd–most cities with a population of about 100K or more have some low hanging fruits that would surely wreak havoc and terrorize folks. A little imagination and ingenuity is all it takes. And small town USA isnt immune either.
Between Domestic terrorists such as McVeigh and Nichols of OKC fame, International terror cells such as the one that perpetrated the 1993 WTC Bombing, or Transnational cells or individuals (come on, you dont think every two-bit asshole who is pissed off at his government has the chutzpah to pull this stuff off do you? Or that there arent organizations who have grievences with multiple governments around the globe?) theres no telling who it might be, or when, or where, or why.
I’m not even talking about the oddball nutjobs who loose their shit and go on shooting sprees in schools, movie theaters or at work. Thats a whole ‘nother level of WTF.
This isn’t fear-mongering or scare-tactics…this is reality today. Utopia does not exist, bad things happen to good people, and there are a whole bunch of people who want you, yes YOU, dead for no good reason. This is not supposition…this is cold hard fact.
It matters not that you are the kindest hippy in the room–they still wish to see your bloodied corpse rotting away. They don’t care that you love puppies, and drive a Prius, and make your kids eat only the finest organic grass fed tofu while wearing Birkenstocks and drinking smoothies. They. Don’t. Care.
And that is why you should care. They want you dead. And me. And ALL OF US that arent them or believe what they believe.
What can or should you do about it?
First, we much acknowledge a few things. For some reason, either ignorance or laziness, we seem to primarily focus on past attacks or the efforts of dumb criminals and terrorists, giving little thought to future events or a smarter bad-guy. We are vulnerable in so many ways that a truly intelligent or thoughtful foe scares me. We must realize that we cannot eliminate the risks, but we can mitigate the risks. I am talking about individual measures, not the anti-terrorism, or counter-terrorism measures undertaken by our government.
#1 – Carry Your Gun
There is nothing complicated about it. No need to invest thousands of dollars. Simply carry your gun, always. It is nearly impossible to guard every possible target (cost, manpower, etc), but if a good percentage of us are prepared to project lethal force towards the bad guy we can stop or at least inhibit them. We can compare various incidents and argue this method of mitigation, or that tactic to prevent an attack, but there is one universal constant: Whether it is a lone gun man or a complex multi-cell attack, what stops a Bad Guy with a Gun is a Good Guy with a Gun.
It should be noted that I am not advocating that because you have a gun, you are now a steely eyed death dealing hostage rescue expert. But, it does give you a fighting chance if you choose to take it. One thing for sure, giving up and becoming a hostage is certain death.
If you choose to un-ass the area saving you and yours, and whomever cares to follow is fine too. Live to fight another day and take care of our family.
Life is made of choices, so choose the options which have consequences you can live with. I cannot tell you what you should do when that day comes.
#2 – Pay Attention
I don’t want to digress into some Department of Homeland Security PSA, but pay attention to your surroundings. We, as a society, tend to go through our days in oblivion…completely unaware of what is going on around us. You don’t have to be a busy body with the local PD on speed dial, just look around every once in a while.
Taking things a step further, actively examining your environment can strengthen you mind to notice things which are out of place. Now, I am not talking about counting the number of telephone poles on the way to Wal-Mart. Real life isn’t like Jason Bourne, “I memorized the make, model, and license plates of all 59 vehicles in the parking lot, there are 28 light poles, and 157 shopping carts — 20 of which track to the left.”
Things, people, vehicles out of place… take note. Give them a second look. Often times it’s more of a “feeling” than specifics. I am in no way recommending that you start interrogating some transient sitting on the curb at the local stop and rob, but if he starts to act suspiciously then pay attention.
EXAMPLE: You stop for fuel at a less than stellar gas station. A local, with nothing better to do but sit in front of the gas station, watches you pull in (no big deal). He watches you as you get out and pump your gas (no big deal). He watches as you enter the store (no big deal, but a little weird if you arent a hot chick). He has now started following you into the store (yeah, now somethings up). Now he strikes up some conversation and is walking with you back to your car (“DANGER, Will Robinson”).
Now, I write this out like you need to be told, but think about it for a second… You already know this. You have a built in sense for danger. I doubt most people would go through that scenario and not think, “leave me alone, freak-boy.” But will they have the moxy to take action? I think where most people go wrong is they ignore those feelings/ thoughts that something just isnt right. They get worried that they will offend someone. And they end up dead…because they couldnt react and were behind the curve when the bad-guy decided to take what he wanted of theirs.
The best tactic to stay in control, is to listen to those impulses and feelings you are getting (your 6th sense, if you will). Don’t get sucked into the “social norms” that the bad guy uses against you. I am not saying to punch someone in the face, but dont be hesitant to say, “Hey, back off, man.” The bad guy will know he’s been caught, and move on to a softer, easier target.
Trust your gut. It is rarely wrong.
#3 Be prepared
Start looking at your life and make strides to be more self reliant and able to survive without systems of support. Often the biggest issue you see, whether its a flood, a storm, a power outage, etc., is if you don’t have enough food and water to live for 24hrs, then you are going to have to venture out into whatever chaos is going on. Furthermore, the last thing emergency services need to worry about is you calling 911 because you don’t have any food or water, and only 1 dose left of your vital life-giving medication.
Start to take steps, small ones, to protect you and your family from disasters both big and small. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having the ability to help yourself in bad times or incidents means that you are unlikely to need someone else to come save you. Hope is not a tactic.
Let us know what you think!