Take a Fighting Stance

ali stanceIn the media aftermath of the horrible shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a news-feed article appeared saying how we now have to ramp up security at night clubs.  Why just night clubs?

There is no way to predict where the next shooting, and there will be a next one, is going to take place.  There was the Aurora movie theater attack in 2012 and since then we’ve seen attacks occur at retail malls, restaurants, manufacturing plants, governmental agencies, and the list goes on.

Too often, the reaction vis-à-vis security is knee jerk.  And it involves putting a band aid on what is unfortunately a deep wound.  There is a lot of hoping and praying that it won’t happen here, wherever here is.  The last time I went to a movie, a short animated video played before the previews that cautioned the audience to be aware of suspicious behavior and know where the exits are.  As the sum total security for that movie venue, it was not very reassuring.  It is understandable that theater owners don’t want to scare their audience away.  But terrorism wins when we stop going out to clubs and movies.  The public will surely accept and endure far more rigorous security measures that may include bag checks, metal detectors and armed guards if it means the threat is mitigated.  Wouldn’t you?

Mitigating the threat is not an easy task and there is no fool proof, one size fits all solution.  Regardless of a terrorist’s motivation be it ideological or the result of mental illness, completely preventing a lone wolf from acting is near impossible.

G4S got heat for passing Mateen in multiple background checks.  But most terrorists do not have a criminal background.  Their response to his colleague’s complaints about Mateen’s anger issues and deranged behavior is unclear at this point.  But note that the FBI with far more resources than any security company had Mateen under an investigation that included surveillance and in person interviews over the course of 10 months in 2013-2014, and that didn’t go anywhere, either.

There are some tactics worth implementing, right now, dependent on the specific environment being secured.  Rather than wait for a perfect solution that doesn’t exist, why not just throw everything we’ve got at the problem?  Let’s take a fighting stance.  For example, pushing the ring of security out as far as possible so that there are obstacles and contingencies for a would-be attacker to deal with well before they enter the protected environment.  Training all personnel in awareness, to know what to look for that is suspicious and giving them tools and clear protocols to use in the event of an attack.  Conducting ‘what if?’ drills.  Anything that hinders or stalls an attacker is worth implementing, from a taser to pepper spray.  Heightened use of K-9s.  Conducting bag checks.  Using metal detectors.  Installing armed guards specifically trained in active shooter tactics.  From media reports, the armed officer at the Orlando club may not have been able to bring Mateen down, but surely he facilitated the escape of some that night.  The controversial questions around gun control aside, who wants to bring a knife to a gunfight, regardless of how the attacker got a gun?

Our continuing to be reactive is going to result in more tragedy and more frustration.  We have to get ahead of our enemies.  What ideas would you bring to the table?

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous on June 15, 2016 at 7:58 am

    And what of the law abiding, concealed carry permit holder who wishes to remain armed to protect him/herself and family in public venues? I never go out to restaurants or movies unarmed, and their are many like me. What happens when the metal detector exposes us? is it better we dont go to such places? What if a single concealed carry permit holder was in the Orlando club? Might not such a person who engages an attacker not at least buy time, maybe helping to save more victims? How does disarming or ensuring the lack of arms by all attendees make such places safe? What of attacks against security lines at whatever standoff distance is chosen?

  2. Anonymous on June 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Israelis know and understand the true nature, depth and extent of the Islamist threat. The vast majority of Americans are either clueless or still believe the violence is committed by a small radical segment of the Muslim population. America will not take an aggressive approach to this issue until some catastrophic event takes place and even then, it will be a measured, gentle approach designed primarily to avoid collateral casualties. Our President clearly favors Muslim ideology over our constitutional form or government and vast numbers of Americans are unaware of this and continue to support him and his party. We have removed all references of Islam from our law enforcement and counterterrorism training and scrubbed a large amount of critical data from our intelligence data bases. In the clear light of day, we continue to import Islamists into America while we are neutering our military and law enforcement agencies. That is treasonous act which will go unpunished because we the people, will allow it. We will accept whatever lame excuse the traitors give us because to do otherwise would require that we offend someone and take action. We cannot survive the continued growth of Islamism in the U S and the world and may have already past the point of no return with the number of Muslims we have accepted into our country. Factual education on the nature of the Muslim faith would help but that will not be allowed. The Middle East has been at war for most of the last 2000 years and whole generations of Muslim men have no life skills other than making war and using force. Their lives are so miserable that death has been elevated to the ultimate reward for obedience and a respected method of escape. They use force to be husbands and fathers and the use of force is woven throughout their religion. They understand and respect only the application of massive and extreme violence. I know these things because I took the time to study Islam, understand the nature and depth of the threat and pursued a career that I thought would allow me to make a difference. I have only arranged to get a front row seat to the destruction of civilization. Based on even the most aggressive positions of our supposed leaders, the
    U S will be unable to generate the will to use the force required to defeat this threat before it is too late. We are too involved in watching television and checking our iPhones to notice the surrender of our country to people who will either subjugate or slaughter our children and grandchildren. Maybe our young children will develop the will to fight this threat but they will know that we chose not to be aware of reality and sat idly by, absorbed in football and the Home Improvement Network, while our leaders knowingly and willingly gave away their future. They will ask how could we be so blind? I ask myself that every day of my life.

  3. Anonymous on June 15, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Not so much a comment here, but questions on the premise of applying too much emphasis on physical security solutions. Are we investing too many resources in attempting to prevent “black swan” events instead of developing anti-fragile solutions? Are more marginally trained and engaged guards at “no gun zone” nightclubs going to prevent or save more lives than say allowing citizens with concealed carry permits to carry inside these clubs? What about better arming your average patrol officer to respond and ensuring they carry the correct emergency medical equipment? How many individuals died in Orlando because of lack of rudimentary medical supplies such as tourniquets or someone carrying QuikClot or Celox hemostatic clotting agents that apparently were not readily available? My most vivid image of 9/11 are the people jumping from the burning Twin Towers. Of the hundreds of billions of dollars we have since spent on anti-terrorism endeavors, how much has been spent to prevent people from having to jump from burning buildings above the 8th floor? If tomorrow, a terrorist flew a plane into a skyscraper, despite our best efforts to stop such an event, or even if it was an accident and not deliberate, how are those above the fire going to be rescued? I am all if favor in applying more security, but only after careful risk versus ROI analysis is performed. But, might not, building more robust systems that are anti-fragile and that can recover from “black swan” events provide a better ROI on our limited resources?

    • Anonymous on June 20, 2016 at 10:59 am

      An excellent comment, one which I wish I had written myself. As in instructor in physical security I often pose the question, “is there another way to deal with such problems”. Racism will never be a solution to a problem.
      Most security firms we deal with wish to spend their entire training budget on firearms courses, whilst our “combat medics” course comes in way down the list of priorities. For those who have firearms, unfortunately far too few are competent shooters and come to us with very basic and often misguided “retaliation training”. I have many time, with military and police CP teams recommended, that the weapons be removed from active officers until further training has been completed. Target shooters who score 90% and more on the range can score as little as 4% under stress testing……96 bullets from every 100 fired do not hit the desired target. Very often private security score 20 times higher under stress than police !!
      More guns is definitely not the answer, in my humble opinion, more training is, and medical training at that.

  4. Anonymous on June 15, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Although everyone should know by now they are responsible for their own safety, the answer is not continuing to make half hearted attempts to shore up our defensive responses while we surrender our rights. The answer is the application of massive and extreme violence directed at the source of the threat and the root of the problem. We know where this comes from and yet we expend an unbelievable amount of energy ignoring reality, blaming those who try to expose the threat, neutering our military and scrubbing our law enforcement data bases of those “offensive” dots we are supposed to be connecting. They are at War with us and we continue to ignore that fact. This will not stop because we are able to shoot a few Jihadists as they try to slaughter innocent people. Sadly, it will require the violent death of friends or family members of a large part of the American public to wake this country up.
    Study Islamism and know the enemy. There is a point of no return and the clock is ticking.

    • Anonymous on June 20, 2016 at 11:13 am

      According to FBI statistics only approximately 3% of terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11 have been committed by Muslims !!!! 7% by Jewish and more than 40% by Christians.
      Study Islam and “Know the enemy” you said. you may have studied Islam, but do you really know who your enemy is ?
      I like so many others have seen what Jihadists can do with my own eyes and it’s not pretty, I wonder if our tax dollars are being spent in the right place.

  5. Anonymous on June 15, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Something I learned a long time ago. You have to get in front of any violence if you are going to control it. If a gang moves in you area you have to jump on it and make all targets harder for them to deal drugs, robbery and carry out any crimes. America needs to get in front of this or there will be more terrorist attacks. I am sorry our government is leading from behind. Take AR-15 or AK-47 off the market. They will use shotguns, then revolvers, then single shot rifles and pistols. When all the guns are off the list then they will use swords or knifes. Oh yea they have already done this in the USA with Americans in foreign countries or recently the de-headed employee in the US. It is kill or be killed when a terrorist attacks. They push the issue we must get in front of the curve are more of our families and friends will die.

  6. Anonymous on June 16, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    The tragedy in Orlando was domestic terrorism against LGBTQ citizens – plain and simple. Don’t forget this fact.

    • Anonymous on June 20, 2016 at 11:15 am

      Well said

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