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.
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. 
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
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.