Be Aware & Prepared

As the fallout from the Boston bombing continues, Americans are coming to terms with the realities of the terrorist threats we are facing in our country.  Part of this is adopting a prepared mindset to meet the threats where they occur.

The Chechens are here. So are Muslims from Dagestan, Albania, and Bosnia. Much has been made in the press about the more Caucasian look of the Tsarnaev brothers. But what sets the radicalized segments of these ethnic groups apart from their Middle Eastern counterparts, is not so much the racial aspects of their ethnicities, but the way they fight.  While most are more than willing to fight to the death to avoid capture, and will kill you in a heartbeat, they are not so willing to die easily.  They don’t like to waste their hard earned Jihadi talents by blowing themselves up in the middle of a random crowd. They prefer to inflict maximum harm on the “Kafirs” (infidels) and to live to do it again and again.  They work very hard to ensure they live to kill more on another day. 

Most  American Soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan recognize the Chechen Jihadis as the most  dangerous fighters of all the enemies we faced there. They were the toughest, most disciplined, and brutal. One only has to do an internet search for and watch the video of the execution of an unknown Russian soldier,  or look at the pictures of the Beslan School massacre to come face to face with the reality of how profanely brutal they can be.  [1]

There is much discussion about how the United States should deal with the dynamics of the “new” terrorism threat the Boston Marathon bombing heralds. While there is a key role for the federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as the intelligence communities to play, the reality is they cannot be everywhere at once.

I will never forget the feeling of vulnerability I had for the thousands upon thousands of people stuck in the forty mile long parking lot that had been I-95/ I-395, as I rode my motorcycle up the break-down lane on my way back into the Pentagon in the early morning hours of September 12, 2001.  I had visions of multiple shooters conducting armed attacks against the many unarmed commuters who were stationary targets in their vehicles on that morning and the week that followed.  My fear was based on the attack just 20 miles away and nine years earlier by Pakistani Muslim, Mir Qazi, at Langley, Virginia. Mr Qazi murdered  two and wounded three other CIA employees as they sat in their cars at a traffic light .   

Since 9/11, we have seen the attacks against tourists in Mumbai,  school children in Beslan, apartment dwellers in Moscow, train passengers in Spain, commuters in London, car bomb attacks in Mexico near the US border, and one Muslim Army Doctor who turned on his fellow Soldiers at Ft Hood.

The Boston Marathon bombing occurred at time and place where there were many police agencies and emergency medical personnel present. They quickly secured the scene and treated the wounded after the attack. It was the brave and well executed efforts of those personnel which ensured everyone who made it to the hospital alive, survived - an unprecedented emergency medical accomplishment.

But the attack also demonstrated that law enforcement cannot fully reduce all vulnerabilities to terrorism at large public venues. The bombing  was only a “simple” attack with several bombs. What if it had been a complex attack followed up by shooters or successfully synchronized secondary devices timed to go off in the immediate vicinity as the first responders rushed to aid the wounded?  

In other venues,  imagine if Adam Landza or James Holmes had been accompanied by additional Jihadis when they shot up their school and movie theater.

In spite of the great efforts on the part of non-politically appointed career law enforcement and intelligence officials, our federal and local efforts to protect the American people from harm are limited. They are greatly hampered and undercut by the corruption, incompetence, and political "divide and conquer" mentality of the Obama Administration – an Administration more concerned with the sexuality of a professional basketball player and the “radicalism” of the TEA Party, than with the protection of our borders and citizens from the very real Islamist threats.

 It is not a question of “if?” but “when?” the next attack will occur. It will be at a time and place where any number of vulnerabilities exist, and quite likely without a significant armed police presence and a multitude of emergency medical personnel on hand.

As Americans, we need to be prepared to defend ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors from attacks. There is no substitute for the response time of an armed, concealed carrying citizen to shooting incidents.  One armed citizen can make all the difference in the world, as Charl van Wyk did with a .38 revolver when he put a stop to an attack by four terrorists armed with grenades and automatic weapons in the 1993 St James Church massacre in South Africa.  If you cannot carry concealed, the availability of a securely stored rifle, handgun, or shotgun, accessible in 30 to 90 seconds from a vehicle or office,  is infinitely better than no weapons at all.  

We also need to be prepared to perform first aid until the arrival of trained medical personnel.  Even the most ardent pacifists can be convinced to be prepared to save a life by clearing an airway, stopping arterial bleeding with a pressure bandage or tourniquet, and stabilizing the c-spine following an attack.  

America, we do not need to be paranoid. We need to be aware and prepared. Any high-visibility public event can be a target of terrorists. We need to meet this reality head-on.  


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