How to survive a terrorist attack in the post terrorism America.
In a world where ISIS claims responsibility of London’s most recent Terror attack, people remain shocked, once again, that such an atrocity could happen in their town.
We shouldn’t be surprised, though, because murder is just a means to an end for a terrorist. In a moment, we’ll discuss how to survive an attack. First, though, let’s talk about how we even got here.
Terrorism is more prominent now than it has been in past years. The reason why is obvious: Terrorists have grown bolder, ever increasing their ingenuity and willingness to destroy life to increase their agenda. In fact, there is a likely chance that any of the western countries can be attacked by radical jihadists, at any point in time without warning.
I’m not trying to scare you, just deliver the cold, hard facts.
Federal agencies do what they can to stop it, but some attacks slip through the crack, as is growing more obvious with each terrorist attack.
European countries, like the one where an attack has just occurred in London, seem to have already fallen to radical Islam, with no inkling that its spread will stop. It’s likely too late for Europe, but there are some things that we, here in America, can do to prepare for the inevitable.
How is it inevitable? Listen, I can’t predict the future. But, I can look around and see what’s going on. Let’s backtrack a few years to get a handle on what I’m saying …
Back on September 10th, 2001, many Americans would have thought it crazy to think they’d ever witness two jets fly into an iconic set of buildings the very next day.
But, it happened and our world was forever changed.
And it continues to happen in places like Orlando, San Bernardino, Berlin, France, London, and the list continues. Europe, in particular, is really up that proverbial, paddleless creek, without the ability to protect themselves.
They have been disarmed to the point where even many of their police are unable to carry a firearm. And, as a result when terror strikes, they are able to do nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nada.
They are forced to wait for special police to arrive, who are authorized to use weapons to stop a terrorist threat.
In America, we are blessed by a Constitution protecting the individual right to keep and bear arms.
That, my friends, is the only reason why the United States hasn’t turned into a giant heap of molten fecal matter. Make no mistake though, because that is exactly what our opponents want: A disarmed populace.
The second that happens, we will find ourselves up the same creek that the UK, and the rest of the world, is in.
While all of this may sound purely like it’s just an opinion of mine, a lot of this actually comes from folks who call the UK “home.” Many of them look up to us because the only weapon they can get their hands on is a knife. And, even then, they can get into a lot of trouble for having one outside their home.
There is no force equalizer, in many other countries, like here in most of the United States. I say it that way, using the word “most” because as we found out, if a couple of terrorists open fire at a Christmas party in California where people cannot defend themselves appropriately, people are going to die.
It’s that simple. So, to the gun grabbers out there, I’ll keep my guns. Thank you.
So then, how do those of us who live in free America survive a terror attack?
First, never has there been a more important time to keep your head on that proverbial swivel. What this means is that we all need to be aware of our surroundings at all times.
You needn’t be worried about a terrorist attack to know what’s going on around you, however. We should already be doing that.
Why? Because crime happens in this country, no matter the cause and who is performing the transgression. Certain places are more prone to crime than others, and even more caution needs to be taken when in these places.
Keeping your head on a swivel is a three part deal.
- The first key in surviving a terrorist attack is to know your surroundings at all times. We’ve already covered this in the past, and in detail but it bears repeating : You have to know what’s around you to survive.
- If you see something out of the ordinary where a threat is not yet imminent, it can’t hurt to say something to the police.
- If you see an imminent threat, you must act.
I know this all sounds simple at first, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Let’s tackle the second one, first.
The neighbor of the San Bernardino terrorists thought some things were out of the ordinary. Yet, she didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to be labeled as a racist. Please read what I’m about to say next very carefully:
Her political correctness got a lot of people killed.
I don’t blame the neighbor for that attack, but our society as a whole. When everyone walks on eggshells to protect feelings, nobody is safe. Hopefully, the PC culture is out the door with a new president who is the epitome of anti-PC culture.
Again, I say to you, if something seems strange, can it really hurt to notify someone who can do something about it? Sure, if you’re wrong some feelings might be hurt and your relationship with that neighbor may be permanently damaged.
But, if you’re right? Do you want that on your conscience? I know I don’t.
Next, if you see an imminent threat, meaning that someone just pulled out an AR-15 at a Christmas party, you must act.
I want to stop for a second, and talk about how terrorists hurt people. It isn’t always done with guns. Sometimes they use bombs, and, if that’s the case, there isn’t much you can do.
Other times, they use trucks. Here me on this … if you’re walking down the street minding your own business, and you suddenly hear screaming behind you with crashing sounds, don’t stand there.
Seriously. If you start to hear screaming, there’s a 99.99% chance that something is wrong. People don’t just start to scream bloody murder for no reason. Assess the situation as quickly as you can, and get out of the way. Your first response is going to be to run away.
Don’t run away, get out of the way. Running and getting out of the way are two different things, and you stand a better chance of living if you get out of the way. Now, I feel inclined to say that when you act, you must act as quickly as you can, so running is a part of the equation.
What does this look like? If you’re walking down the street where there are buildings, jump in one of them and run to the back. Again, your instinct will tell you to run, but unless you’re a cheetah you can’t outrun a speeding truck. You run a great risk of being ran over if you’re running away from the truck, down the street.
Anyway, I digress …
Now, what does “must act” mean? I suppose that answer is different for everyone, but to some degree you need to do something. When terror strikes, or you’re facing an active shooter situation, you’ll find yourself doing one of four things.
- You’re going to freeze, dead in your tracks (likely literally dead if you do this one).
- You’re going to run. (acceptable if this is your choice. Just be prepared to run faster than whatever projectile is being fired).
- You’re going to take cover (which would be my first step, more on this in a moment).
- You’re going to fight back (which would likely be my second step unless I needed to defend myself immediately, in which case it’d become my first step).
First and foremost, for me anyway, is to take cover. You won’t be able to do anything if you’re dead. But, where did I take cover? Ah, that’s where having a good sense of situational awareness comes into play. I already know what’s near me at all times, so finding a spot to take cover in is easier.
I’m also aware of any ingresses or egresses to make use of, should the stinky stuff hit the fan when my family is around, and I feel it’s safe enough to move them.
This is probably a good time to point out that you’ll never know for certain if an attacker is working alone or has an accomplice. Has the other person started shooting yet? Or, are they waiting? Heck, have they already started and you just didn’t realize it because of the fog?
This is one of the reasons why running towards an exit can be a bad idea. Ultimately, it’s up to you, and you alone know whether the risk is worth the reward.
Moving on …
Getting out of sight is important. If the bad guys don’t know you’re there, they may not go looking for you. Then, while I’m behind cover, I can further evaluate the situation. At this point, I need to make another decision:
Do I try to protect everyone else at the potential cost of my own life? Or, do I stay where I’m at to only defend myself if the attacker comes near me?
One of every Marine’s heroes.
While I can’t speak much about this because every situation would be different, I can say that if you don’t have a way of stopping a threat, like with a gun, you should stay hidden as much as possible, until the threat can be stopped by someone else.
Otherwise, you’ll just be in the way, ending up dead.
That does not mean that you should not try to locate a weapon, if you don’t have one. It’s safe to assume that if an active shooter incident happens, that he/she won’t stop until everyone is dead, or he/she dies. You should immediately come to the conclusion of “it’s him or me.”
In other words, if the threat approaches and sees you, you should never assume that he’ll let you go if he’s already killing other people. Chances are good that if you’re seen, you’ll be dead.
Therefore, if you don’t have a firearm on you, try to locate another weapon without leaving your cover. Just about anything can be used as a club or a pointy object that you could stab an attacker attacker with.
We’ve got a series coming down the pipeline that involves locating and making opportunistic weapons, so stay tuned for that.
What about my gun? Should I use it? The answer to that depends upon several factors, many of which I will not cover here because this will turn into a book. Instead, I’ll cover the most important factors to consider:
First and foremost, how much training do you have?
In other words, if you just bought your first gun 3 weeks ago and you’ve been to the range twice, you should stay put until you are approached or your life is in immediate danger. Once your life is in immediate danger, your only option is to do what you must to survive the attack regardless of your training.
Remember, if the attacker is already killing people, it would be foolish to assume that he’d let you go for any reason.
At this point, you have to make split-second decisions. What you need to come to the realization of, is this: Is this attacker wearing body armor? This is important because your defensive strategy changes from one scenario to the next.
If he’s not wearing body armor, center-mass shots are always best to bring an attacker down. I would not unload an entire magazine/cylinder into one person, however. Remember, there may be more than one terrorist, and you may need your ammo.
If he is wearing armor, the game changes a bit. Let’s say that he’s got a vest on that looks like it may be bullet-proof. Your first instinct would be to go for a head shot. However, unless you’re a pro shooter, the chances of you making a head shot under so much stress are slim, at best.
You always want to aim for the biggest portion of body you can see. So, if an attacker is in front of you, getting ready to shoot you but has body armor on, shoot at his groin.
Also, don’t just put one shot on him and hope for the best. I, personally, would send 2 or 3 shots to his groin, and then another 2 into his chest in case it wasn’t body armor I saw.
Chances are good that an attacker would be momentarily stunned by 5 shots depending on the quality of the armor, even if it didn’t pierce it. This is especially true if he’s wearing groin protection. Shooting a man there will hurt like hell, regardless, and you’ll need every advantage you can get.
Don’t ever just think that shooting him a few times ends the debacle, because it might not.
Where do we go from here?
That’s about all I’ve got this time around. There is a lot more I can say, but I’ll end on this note. Your mental state and the amount of training you’ve got under your belt will decide if you live or die in any situation when you’ve got to defend yourself against another.
It’s important to get to the gun range to practice target shooting, drawing from the holster, and different types of drills, so you know your limits before any defensive situation presents itself. Knowing your limits and what you’re capable of before any sort of critical incident happens, will save your life.
The amount of training you’ve got under your belt is directly related to how successful you’ll be when you need to defend yourself against any threat.
Get to the range and train as often as you can. Your very life could depend on it.
What I want to know now, is how you prepare for such an event. Let me know in the comments below.