[Credit: Charlie Hebdo]
"One man with a gun can control 100 without one."
— V. I. Lenin
"Peace is neither won nor maintained by the unarmed."
"Every man is a counter-terrorist."
With all political, free speech and moral issues stripped aside, what are the learning points from the Paris terror attacks?
It's a pretty straightforward question, isn't it?
First, let's look at this analysis from Stratfor Global Intelligence:
Such attacks will continue in the West as long as jihadism survives as an ideology. They will be limited in scope but intended to cause terrorist theater that spills well beyond the limits of the attack to create vicarious victims. Because of this continuing threat, citizens should practice appropriate situational awareness and be prepared to properly respond to danger.
Read the whole thing, of course. It follows a number of think tank analyses (most notably, Rand) on the shifting nature of terrorism. This story from Reuters sums it up pretty well:
In this age of the lightly-resourced, self-starting urban guerrilla, the jihadists have discovered a formula that lends a chilling new dimension to their trade. Not only can anyone be a victim, but with such a low bar to entry, anyone might be a perpetrator too. The brothers who shot dead 12 people at the satirical weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, planned their killing spree in plain sight.
Add to this the high drama that Mumbai- and Paris-style attacks generate — televised scenes of manhunts, special forces and sieges — and they begin to look like an even more attractive force-multiplier.As I mentioned in my previous post, we as Americans are having a very hard time understanding this new model...why would anyone not want a 55-inch curved screen television, unlimited Internet access and a 57 different brands of toothpaste?
What we don't see is that Islamic jihad provides a certain group of people with a life meaning that is largely absent from most of current Western civilization. Part of that "life meaning" is the Koranic imperative to slay the infidel ("I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them..." Quran 8:12, among many)...that would be us, BTW, As Anjem Choudary wrote in USA Today, “Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people’s desires...in an increasingly unstable and insecure world the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike."
You betcha there, bubba! So let's run the learning points:
1) YOU ARE GOING TO BE ON YOUR OWN
As we have seen with active shooter situations, the police are minutes — sometimes many minutes — away for an "event" that is measured in seconds.
2) THE SHOOTER(S) HAVE ALREADY MADE THE DECISION TO KILL
Unlike more common street crimes, there isn't a "build-up" or "lag time" between the initial contact and the situation escalating to lethal violence. Killing is the point of the exercise, and it will begin immediately. This also means that "pre-event indicators" that serve us well in normal times are pretty much worthless here. The big pre-event indicator, as Gabe Suarez notes in the article linked above, is people in balaclavas with battle rifles.
3) THERE MAY BE MORE THAN ONE SHOOTER
And they may not all arrive in one car, or at the same time. They may have accomplices scattered throughout the city, or waiting for them at a different locations or meeting the initial aggressors at a certain time, etc. The point is, you can't know!
4) YOU CAN'T MAKE ANY ASSUMPTIONS ON WHAT THE SHOOTER(S) WILL LOOK LIKE
Nationality, age, sex, size...whatever...no assumptions whatsoever even make sense. We've already had a situation where a concealed carry holder was killer because he failed to register, or ignored, the woman behind him. Hey, Hayat Boumeddiene is cute as a button; so is a pigmy rattlesnake.
5) THE SHOOTER(S) MAY BE WELL TRAINED
Maybe better trained than you. Which means they will respond quickly and ruthlessly. Note the Stratfor analysis that the Paris shooters seemed to be trained in small in small unit action. Note the seamless execution of the LEO on the ground begging for his life. CCW holders often have a sense that in any situation, they'll be better trained than their aggressors...such an assumption in a terrorists attack is suicide.
6) THE SHOOTER(S) WILL PROBABLY BE BETTER ARMED AND ARMORED THAN YOU
You have your EDC, which may be a pocket pistol or an easy-to-carry smaller handgun. They may have for real, e.g. full auto, assault rifles, rocket propelled grenades, explosives and full plate body armor. Do you sense that this puts you at at disadvantage?
7) THE SHOOTERS ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE THEIR OWN LIVES...OR GIVE UP
As we've researched mass shootings/active shooter incidences for THE BEST DEFENSE, we've note that those incidences end with the shooter taking his/her life or just giving up. That is NOT the mindset here! In fact, it's the opposite...the shooters are going to engage, and put as many bodies on the ground as possible.
8) THE LIKELIHOOD OF YOU BEING CAUGHT UP IN A TERRORIST ATTACK IS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME AS YOU BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
And yet, people die from lightning strikes every year.
So what are the implications of these learning points for your everyday life?
Read Gabe's piece referenced above. Then let's talk about it...