Thursday, October 30, 2014

All right class, circle the terrorist ...

Ready for a test?  
Pick out the real terrorist attacks from these headlines.

NY woman beheaded in what horrified witnesses first thought a Halloween prank
29 Oct 14

Palmira Silva, 82, 'beheaded' in London garden
14 Sept 14

Attack on Canada’s Parliament
26 Oct 2014

Shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Washington
26 Oct 2014

Boston Bomber  Google it yourself if you don’t remember

Pick up any newspaper, electronic news group and you’ll find shooting/stabbing/death everywhere.  Which, if any, should be classified as terrorist attacks in response to ISIS’s call for lone wolf attacks?  Which should just be considered “normal” jihadist and which are simply (did I really type simply?) criminal attacks?

We’ve seen some of this in the past.  Gangs, protest groups (even polite, well-behaved protest groups) need a certain amount of notoriety to give them street cred.  For this you need media coverage and a large enough event to make the local and national news cycles.  Want to protest open mesh manhole covers? (For any reason you wish!)  You first flood the media as well as city and state departments, mayor;s and governor’s offices with literature about the plight/danger/safety of open mesh manhole covers.  Shortly after that you need to chain a large number of people to manhole covers and report it to the police.  The media, you savvy protester you, has been notified in advanced and are waiting for the police to arrive or the protestors to be run over by a confused motorist.  Note, the leaders are typically at locations that are relatively safe.  Send the fodder out to do stupid things at chancy locations!

If you can get the protest to occur in more than one location, the better your street cred will be.  Get it to happen in another country staged by independent morons and you are now a player on the world stage.  At least to the next news cycle. So you need to repeat often.

Our response to ISIS is, of course, giving them credibility in the jihadist market place.  Their strategy is simple.  Generate horror, outrage and morbid interest by releasing beheading videos periodically.  As far as I know all the beheadings could have been done on a weekend long since past and before they were on anybody’s awareness radar.  Releasing the videos over time gives the illusion of the ability to function despite our and other nations’ awareness and efforts to find them.

This illusion of power plays well to the simple-minded and powerless members of any society.  It’s a simple message. Find someone less powerful than you and kill them to empower yourself and make jihad, what ever the hell that means.

Still, don’t dismiss them completely.  The gun doesn’t care that the shooter is simple-minded, confused, pissed off over imaginary problems, or simply just nuts.

So, where am I going with this?

The holidays are coming up.  Many Americans get stressed out trying to make sure they get the perfect, relaxing holiday.  I suspect it’s true of many other countries as well.  While we focus on family and friends, helping the less fortunate, and making this holiday season better than the one before, make sure you pay attention to your surroundings.  Watch for what’s not normal, what’s out of place, what’s different.  You don’t have to look for ninjas, just stay in condition yellow: purposeful awareness.  

I’ve addressed this before.  Professional firearm trainers, other bloggers, the police websites, everyone with a lick of sense says the same thing.  Pay attention to your surroundings.  Avoid crazy crowds, know where the exits are and if it looks like trouble might be starting, get out now.  

Don’t worry about what officials, safely behind the lines, say, ignore that peer pressure to comply, or the person(s) you protect whining about 'I’m so embarrassed,' and 'what will someone who doesn’t matter think.'  

Don’t go, stay out and get out if something seems wrong.  At worst it you’ll have a semi-funny story to tell over brandies and at best you’ll be somewhere safe whispering over and over again “Oh, those poor people trapped…”

Which of the above news stories are about terrorism?  I think all of them.  It doesn’t mater if it’s Islamic in nature or the product of a diseased mind.  They all evoke horror and I doubt anyone can claim these acts didn’t evoke terror in someone, even if it was only the victim and their family.

Don’t let that happen to you.

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