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Old October 3, 2010, 12:35 PM   #1
sliponby
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"soft target" terrorists concerns

Moderators, if this thread is in the wrong place, please move.

Lately, I am becoming more concerned about so called "soft target" terrorist attacks in the U.S. and, in particular, my home area. I live in a small town with a large university.

Lessons are surely learned by terrorists from incidents such as Virginia Tech, where one lone gunman killed 32 innocents and wounded many others before killing himself. Note, he was not taken out by LE so the carnage could have been much worse.

It seems as though LE supervisors are reluctant to aggressively advance on the shooter(s) and, as was the case in a mass shooting in Binghamton, NY, would rather secure the area and wait for the perp to either run out of ammo, kill himself, or give up.

Many colleges and universities, such as the one in my town, do not allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus. This does nothing more than create "free fire zones" for BG's or terrorists.

Like I said, I have concerns about our state of readiness and vulneralibility.
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Old October 3, 2010, 12:41 PM   #2
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That tends to be what they do here, seal off the area and await developments, and they've been criticised for it.
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Old October 3, 2010, 01:32 PM   #3
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The police aren't a combat force. That's what the SWAT team is for. There's not but so much that can be done. The sad fact is that if someone wants to cause destruction on a VT scale, there's not much in the way to stop them. There isn't enough money to have a SWAT team for every police dept in the country.
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Old October 3, 2010, 02:15 PM   #4
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It's certainly something to consider; I bet we will see some sort of terrorist attack of this type sooner or later. Something like the hotel attacks in India or the similar plan that seems to have been in the works for targets in Europe.

Not really sure what we could do to prevent it. There are vast numbers of hate-filled scum all over the world willing to take a crack at it, and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to sneak into the US with a sack of hand grenades and kalashnikovs and shoot up a bunch of defenseless victims. The logistics seem to be less problematic than another 9/11 type deal where quite a bit of training and detailed planning was required.

I dunno, I hope I'm wrong.

Not sure a handgun would even be particularly helpful against a gang of well-armed suicidal freakazoids. Better than nothing, but dang...
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Old October 3, 2010, 02:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
The police aren't a combat force.
Neither are the unarmed masses.

:barf:

IMO, "bad guys with guns" are the times that cops are SUPPOSED to be cops, the most. That's when they earn those guns on their hips and the "thin blue line" prosecutorial immunity reputation they enjoy.

If they can't be held accountable to PURSUE danger when innocents are being killed by it... what good are they at all?

Back on topic...

OP: this is why we all carry. Protection of self, family and community within the bounds of the law. Our ability to interdict trouble is drastically impaired in comparison to the investigative empowerments that law enforcement officers enjoy, and our civil liability for poor judgement is a LOT higher than officers.

All any of us can do is trust our instincts and sixth senses, clear out of an area when our neck hairs rise, and report anything "hinky" to those empowered to investigate further.

And keep the pistol handy for those highly unlikely, but critical handful of seconds where it might mean the difference between life and death for good people.
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Old October 3, 2010, 03:02 PM   #6
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All any of us can do is trust our instincts and sixth senses, clear out of an area when our neck hairs rise, and report anything "hinky" to those empowered to investigate further.

And keep the pistol handy for those highly unlikely, but critical handful of seconds where it might mean the difference between life and death for good people.
Exactly, Azredhawk, . . . but I fear that there will be a whole bunch more "soft" targets before the powers finally decide that there is a war, . . . we are in it, . . . and if we don't do something, . . . we will lose.

I know without a doubt that if the bg's wanted to do something at a high school football game, . . . NCAA football game, . . . world series game, . . . at least the first few would be successes, . . . and if they wanted to bust our chops really bad, . . . they'ld do several on the same day/night. Our leaders are not committed to stopping it.

Just have to follow Az's lead.

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Old October 3, 2010, 03:11 PM   #7
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Beslan was a trial run.

It will be replicated.
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Old October 3, 2010, 03:24 PM   #8
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The encouraging news is that since Va Tech cops have been training to take on and take down the active shooter using the first, or first few, cops to arrive on the scene. There has been a fair amount of publicity about this in the last two years.

On top of that, both police formal training and police journals are covering the issue of how to deal with the legally-armed civillian shooter who is also on scene and actively engaging the BG(s). Boiled down to the simplest terms, they are being trained to look at behavior and technique - the one standing out ion the open shooting towards to crowd running away is probably the BG while the person hunched down behind cover trying to get a clean shot is most likely the legally-armed civillian trying to protect innocent third parties. My guess is they will be mightily confused if both sides are hunkered down exchanging aimed slow fire.

Alo I can say is no matter what I am not getting one of these. http://www.dsmsafety.com/home.html

stay safe.
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Old October 3, 2010, 03:41 PM   #9
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Not sure a handgun would even be particularly helpful against a gang of well-armed suicidal freakazoids. Better than nothing, but dang...
You might be able to 'harvest' a better weapon from your opponent
Quote:
OP: this is why we all carry. Protection of self, family and community within the bounds of the law....And keep the pistol handy for those highly unlikely, but critical handful of seconds where it might mean the difference between life and death for good people.
I might add that this is probably not the area where a J-frame or Keltec P32 will carry the day. Carry a fighting pistol with spare ammo.
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Old October 3, 2010, 04:22 PM   #10
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Virginia Tech was a gun free zone, as are schools and universities in most states. I attend a university that is also "gun free." I also have a license to carry a concealed weapon, but am forbidden by law to carry on campus. Any campus.

The police are useful only after the fact. If we fear an armed enemy (which we do), we must force local, state and federal government to honor the Constitution which assures us the right to "bear arms."

I don't read of "gun free" zones in the Constitution.
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Old October 3, 2010, 06:00 PM   #11
Glenn E. Meyer
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This is an old debate. So before we just go off and complain, let me tell you a summary of the endless debate:

1. Many departments are training for immediate active shooter responses.
2. What about carry everywhere being allowed by law?
a. You run up against antigunners, of course.
b. The more powerful enemy is the liability lobby. This strongly supported by business interests (even those who are supposedly conservative - esp. when they want tax breaks). They have calculated that it is cheaper for you to get shot by a nut, then paying off if an armed citizen that they allow on their premises does something bad - like shooting an innocent, going nuts themselves.
c. Some conservative gun owners think the private property argument is defending some right (you are in your castle, blah, blah) and won't support the imposition of carry rights in their businesses or at schools. They are delusional. Don't open to the public, don't expect tax payer paid police to come to your joint.
3. One objection to campus carry is that the concealed carry type is seen as untrained and prone to screwing up. A principle of risk evaluation is the emotional one that the loss of an innocent life (oops, you shoot Suzy Cheerleader) is not allowed even if it saves others. It's not rational.
4. Thus, are you trained to a level that one could claim you are reasonably competent to act in a critical incident?
5. Oh, training requirements are unconstitutional. I shoot better than cops, anyway - oh, Yawn.

That's the lay of the land - deal with all these. In supposedly gun friendly TX, the 'conservative' business interests were crucial in killing campus carry. Also, the OC folks have some kind of bug not to support campus carry if they don't get OC - sigh.
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Old October 3, 2010, 06:01 PM   #12
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Beslan was a trial run.

It will be replicated.
Exactly right I think. While it may not have been intended as such, we can be sure it has been studied by the other side and studied well. Our country, by it's very nature (socially) and vast physical size, is liberally studded with soft targets of opportunity. Some would disrupt operations for awhile, some would be great tragedies. My own opinion was formed years ago and prior to 9/11. I think it is a matter of time before we have incidents like Beslan here in the US. I also think our population, to include law enforcement and military, are nothing near ready for what is going to happen in the long or short term.
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Old October 3, 2010, 06:57 PM   #13
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with all due respect Mr. Meyer

Not all of us have been members of this forum for 10+ years with over 7K posts. Are you trying to thwart the honest exchange of ideas, opinions, fears, hopes?
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Old October 4, 2010, 09:12 AM   #14
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With all due respect - we have a search function. With all due respect, subjects like this bring up repetitive threads with little new information.

Thus, I summarized the major arguments to see if we get beyond cliches and attaboys.

Being in the profession, I have more interest in this arugment than most. Thus, I like us to cut to the chase.

There is a risk. It has been well known. It has been intensively discussed.
What do you about?

Talk to your legislators. Ok - better know what is going on when you do, rather than just chant " The threat and the 2nd."

If you make the case, you need to:

1. Refute the arguments that the young are irresponsible. Know the research on frontal lobes and risk.
2. Deal with the liability concern.
3. Deal with the private property, liability scum of conservative business interests. Deal with the property rights ideology which is perverted by these types.
4. Deal with the training issues vs. the mantra that all should carry due to the 2nd. Deal with the risk aversion to hurting innocents.
5. Deal with pure antigunners.

If you don't want to know these concerns - then you are not going to contribute to the fight for campus carry. Just demanding gun carry in fact is counterproductive as if question on these issues and looking silly - isn't going to help.
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Old October 4, 2010, 10:15 AM   #15
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The most current trend in active shooter training is for the first 3-4 officers on scene, regardless of jurisdiction, to aggressively enter the target and pursue the threat. There are even some that advocate the lone wolf philosophy, but think that it would most certainly take a special officer to do that remotely safely.

In my area, active shooter training is quite popular, and in most cases is very well put on.
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Old October 4, 2010, 11:42 AM   #16
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My expectation is that the next round of real terrorism will involve big explosions, not people running around shooting everyone in sight. It has been tried and it works.
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Old October 4, 2010, 11:43 AM   #17
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Quote:
Lately, I am becoming more concerned about so called "soft target" terrorist attacks in the U.S. and, in particular, my home area. I live in a small town with a large university.
First the good news. You live in a small town. Even with the large university, you aren't likely to be subjected to a terrorist attack.

Quote:
Lessons are surely learned by terrorists from incidents such as Virginia Tech, where one lone gunman killed 32 innocents and wounded many others before killing himself. Note, he was not taken out by LE so the carnage could have been much worse.
No doubt terrorists are learning lessons. They have been learning them for a long time. So have the good guys.

Quote:
It seems as though LE supervisors are reluctant to aggressively advance on the shooter(s) and, as was the case in a mass shooting in Binghamton, NY, would rather secure the area and wait for the perp to either run out of ammo, kill himself, or give up.
Interesting that you picked a non-school based incident in New York to reflect on your school-based concerns brought up in Virginia when you live in Alabama. Have you checked with your school and local law enforcement to determine if they have active shooter programs in place?

Quote:
Many colleges and universities, such as the one in my town, do not allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus. This does nothing more than create "free fire zones" for BG's or terrorists.
And because terrorists have learned so much from these incidents, they are attacking unarmed US college campuses left and right? As for most of the BGs in these situations, if you take a look at the folks involved, they are not strangers to campus coming onto campus to reek havoc. Same with non-robbery workplace shootings.

So you are concerned. Very good. What have you done to help your current situation? Since you can't have firearms, what sort of other self defense activities have you engaged in such that if there is a crisis that you may be able to respond in the best manner possible given the situation?

When you went to the campus and local police departments, what insights did they give you? Do they have active shooter programs?

What is your college's position on active shooters? How about fire or other catastrophe. After all, your campus buildings and occupants are more likely to be in a fire than a terrorist attack, though terrorist around the world often use fire in their attacks.

Do you have a plan worked out with peers on how you will respond to such an attack, either in fighting back or evacuating to safety?

Look, just because you can't have a gun on campus doesn't mean that you are helpless or cannot be an active participant in stopping the opposition or in saving lives. It just means you won't have a gun at the start of the incident, maybe not at all. You know this already. So you need to have plans and options in place before something goes wrong, not afterwards.

Of course as noted, if you can't carry on campus and want to, then you need to be an active participant in working toward that goal in your state and on your campus.

Quote:
Beslan was a trial run.

It will be replicated.
You think Ingush and Chechen rebels will attack another school in North Ossetia? That was 6 years ago. When do you think they will make another attack based on the trial run?
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Old October 4, 2010, 01:17 PM   #18
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I suspect that one of the reasons the police or other "first responders" act carefully and with what seems to be extreme caution is that you cannot necessarily immediately identify the threat. Sure, if someone is actively shooting other people, that's a given. But what if he has an accomplice acting as his cover? Besides, what does a terrorist or other person gone berzek look like? Does he wear certain clothes. Is his head a certain shape? Is he a Middle Easterner or a Middle Westerner?

One thing that no doubt Homeland Security is (hopefully) thinking about is what is a prime target for terrorism? There is probably no strategic or tactical consideration here. It is purely psychological or mostly so. The general idea is to get the United States to change its foreign policy. I have no idea what would work best because nothing that has been tried in the last 50 years has worked except when Reagan was president. He retreated. Every other president has attacked except Carter, when nothing happened.
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Old October 4, 2010, 01:27 PM   #19
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I live in a medium sized town. I never worry about terrorist attacks. I suppose if I lived and worked in Manhattan, LA, or Chicago, I might share these concerns. But, terrorists don't really seem to care about anything that isn't a large, populated and important landmark.

Anyway, as far as firearms go, a gun isn't going to help you much if someone has planted a powerful bomb in your vicinity. If someone gets concerned enough about terrorist attacks, I'd suggest moving to and working in a small town.
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Old October 4, 2010, 01:47 PM   #20
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You think Ingush and Chechen rebels will attack another school in North Ossetia? That was 6 years ago. When do you think they will make another attack based on the trial run?
No, I think that a degraded and less centrally organized terror network will look at less grandiose and elaborate means to inflict the terror that is their trademark. If it is true that our efforts have degraded the centralized core of our terrorist enemies, then perhaps they will look for easier but nonetheless very effective means of committing their asymmetric and propaganda-driven attacks.

The OP was about soft targets.

In the United States, on the matrix of soft target/high terror opportunities, an elementary school would be incredibly simple but effective terror target. A domestic, self-initiated, poorly trained cell with a handful of simple rifles could perpetrate an act of terror that would seize headlines in this country for weeks or longer. A few dozen dead elementary students in middle America would be devastating to the psyche of the average citizen in this country, many of whom have altogether forgotten that our children will never live in the same country that I grew up in: one that had not been attacked by foreign terrorists on our own soil.

I am not suggesting that Muslim extremists from former Soviet states will mount a terror attack on PS 101 in Brooklyn, or anywhere else for that matter. I'm suggesting that in this country our liberty requires certain exposure, and that the atrocity at Beslan is a handy blueprint for a small, modestly funded and unimaginative bunch of jihadis looking for their virgins.

Don't even get me started on an organized, trained and well-funded bunch of terrorists simultaneously hitting a bunch of malls across the country on the day after Thanksgiving.

My rifle goes anywhere I go by vehicle. My handgun goes everywhere I go.

That is all.
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Old October 4, 2010, 01:51 PM   #21
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That is a good point about appearance and caution.

Currently in my classes, I have students from the Middle East - some female in traditional garb. I have students from Africa, India and Asia.

Given what we know about the tendency to shoot inappropriately based on ethnicity - it would be a risk to assume anyone is immediately a risk or not.

Certainly, we have had had Caucasian rampage shooters.

As far as changing our foreign policy, that is not the domain of this forum. While interesting, it's not for us.

I certainly don't want a SWAT team or civilian mowing down some nice young lady with a scarf.

One problem is that we don't train our kids. If I were a parent of a child from an obvious ethnic group - I would be scared about such.
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Old October 4, 2010, 01:53 PM   #22
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Old October 4, 2010, 01:58 PM   #23
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My expectation is that the next round of real terrorism will involve big explosions, not people running around shooting everyone in sight. It has been tried and it works.
My personal belief that if there is another organized large-scale terror attacks it will be a series of shootings in public areas, such as shopping malls, and or sporting events and they will happen at the same time.

Quote:
The most current trend in active shooter training is for the first 3-4 officers on scene, regardless of jurisdiction, to aggressively enter the target and pursue the threat. There are even some that advocate the lone wolf philosophy, but think that it would most certainly take a special officer to do that remotely safely.
Things have defiantly changes since I retired, but we were expected to protect the citizens of the community that hired us to do so. No one wants to be put in the position of having to hunt an armed gunman in a building, but sometimes you have to do things you really don’t want to do.

I have a former college and good friend who is the security manager for a large state university; shortly after the V.T. shootings he requested that I join him in a series of “brainstorming” sessions with the administration of the university in an effort to review, improve, and implement an updated security protocol for the university. Every one of us who had L/E experience were opposed to allowing students or any non L/E to carry weapons anywhere on the university grounds. We did suggest the following, the use of the existing siren warning system in conjunction with a text message alerting of the potential danger and the instillation of solid core doors with deal bolt locks on every classroom, thus creating a semi safe room in every classroom. The university implemented the first two suggestions but do the cost (?) did not approve the door replacement idea.
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Old October 4, 2010, 02:04 PM   #24
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VT, Northern Illinios, the Amish School House, Columbine - for instance - have been in our consciousness for several news cycles.

They have not caused a massive push for armed students and teachers among the general public.

In fact, a Mumbai attack would probably lead to a push for armed guards everywhere (which we couldn't afford). If a squad of AK armed folks hose a school, a CCW type arguing that they could win the day with J frame probably would look stupid on TV.

After some school shooting, a major gun school offered free gun classes to the staff - the school principal said it really made him angry as the last thing they wanted was more guns. OH, horrors - says the choir.

But if you don't understand the emotional reaction, you get nowhere.

If people see guns misused, they usually don't MORE guns around. Human nature - deal with it.

The best thing is to push legislators to get rid of the ability of public places to ban carry. This includes business locations, schools, government buildings, etc. - unless there is a technical reason for a ban.

However, we have to shut up the private property types. They stand in the way of such and are used by the liability lawyers.
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Old October 4, 2010, 02:30 PM   #25
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To Mr. Meyer, who complains that we don't teach our kids, what exactly are you driving at?

And as for armed guards, many schools do in fact have armed guards. And in the shooting spree at the Indian reservation school some time ago, who got killed first?

What were the terrorists trying to accomplish in India? Did they succeed? Will terrorists be suicidal?
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