ISIS’s June jihad against the West rolls on. Istanbul has been Western on again and off again for thousands of years. I suppose they’re “on” right now given yesterday’s attack. Forty to fifty are dead and hundreds wounded following the shootings and bombings.
This story is not about the attack, per se – too many of those happening to give full coverage. This is about what you can do about these things – beyond posting flag overlays and “We Are Turkey” or “Istanbul Strong” on Facebook.
There are strategic and tactical measures involved in avoiding and/or dealing with such events. They are related but different.
Strategy: a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
Tactic: an immediate item done in support of a strategy.
When confronted by mindless violence and terrorism one can (must) employ some level of strategic thinking. That should include relying, to some degree, on official plans and actions. Turkey sits right on the border of the Islamic State’s wars. They have plans, strategies to keep terrorists out of their country. Should terrorists make it in, they still have alternate plans – airport security, armed police, etc. The United States is in a similar situation, thousands of miles away, thanks to decades of suicidal military and immigration policies.
The best of these types of plans obviously don’t work sometimes. It is therefore important for the individual to modify his personal strategic plans accordingly. Airports and other popular destinations may be terrorist targets of opportunity. Thus, one might want to avoid them if possible. If not, move as deep into the “secured” areas as fast as possible.
The simultaneous usage of firearms and explosives presents a different kind of problem. The knee-jerk reaction of some is to call for a ban on guns. This never works but, even if it did, there’s the bomb issue. Bombs themselves are illegal in most places, their use is certainly illegal. However, it is impossible to make illegal all the simple things one can do to build a bomb. Others have a knee-jerk reaction to such events in calling on good guys with guns to stop the bad guys with guns. In and of itself, this generally works – it did at the Istanbul airport yesterday evening. A terrorist with a gun stopped shooting when a police officer (with a gun) shot him. Then again, there was a bomb.
Tactically speaking, the police and the individual are essentially on the same grounds when terrorists strike – in the “sh!t hits the fan” scenario. In these cases what you do and how you do it can help save your life. If you cannot avoid the situation, how you handle it is critical.
The police officer’s actions in the above-linked story are a case study in fighting modern terrorism. The officer won the gun battle and then had to run for his life before the terrorist detonated his bomb (graphic video is embedded in the story).
Daily Mail. Use the link above to see video.
The safest course of action for surviving these attacks is to get away as fast as possible – run, don’t walk, don’t be a hero. If you can’t run, get behind something solid. If there’s nothing solid, hit the ground with you head pointed away from the attacker and covered by the arms.
If you are armed and engage the terrorist, only do so observing the four cardinal rules of gun safety – they really are universal. Assume the terrorist has a bomb. This is part of “knowing your target.” Assume the bomb will be detonated – either by a wounded/dying terrorist or by your shots themselves. Watch the Daily Mail video and the officer’s actions. It’s his job to rush into danger. In a similar situation you should try to do the same thing (if you must) from behind cover or from a distance.
None of this is pleasant to contemplate but it is reality. It’s a remote reality, like a tornado or a house fire but we routinely practice how to handle those. There are almost too many possibilities to plan against in stopping terrorism but a little something is better than nothing.
Viernheim Shooting Update: NOTHING.