Before I begin, and out of great appreciation, I want to thank Dana Stamos and USAdojo.com for inviting me to write “Get Real”. This website has a lot of great writers, great articles, and lot’s of great training tips and its nice to find all this on one web site.
Additionally, I would like to reach out to those families and neighbors who have been affected by the recent tragedies. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of you. I would like to condemn those people who we have been forced to watch on television or to hear about on news radio, the ones who have shown a total disregard for human life.
This week’s article: AMERICA – Soft Targets Among Us!
I have lived for many years and I have seen much and for this I am thankful. I have lived longer than some, and less long than others. I have traveled around the world and have met more people than I could ever count. For this, I am grateful.
In my travels, I have seen the good, the bad, and most certainly the ugly in our society, and in our world, and I am very concerned for our Nation and for our people as individuals!
Like many of you I stay busy with daily routines, and I actually had another article ready to kick-off “Get Real” on USAdojo.com, but before my column was published, terror struck our nation once again. We’ve all seen it! It happened in the final moments of the Boston Marathon. Most of us sat in front of our televisions, we listened to our radios, or watch the tragic event on our computer monitors, even as we worked. We couldn’t help staring or listening in amazement and shock, as tragedy struck us once again. We felt anger, fear, sorrow, and concern as we watch the grisly scenes unfold before us. We all asked ourselves, “How is it that the greatest nation on earth could be attacked once again”? Aren’t we protected? Where are the precautions we are suppose to have in place, where are the safeguards.
At first, it was chaos at the finishing line of the Boston. Smoked filled the air and the blasts spread shrapnel everywhere. People ran to get away from the blasts, while trying to protect themselves and their loved ones. We all know that running away is a normal reaction and our basic instinct is to do so. And yet, in Boston we watched others who run towards the carnage, the destruction, in the aftermath, as the victims lay injured, crying in pain, or even dead! Those who ran toward the victim’s that day did so without thoughts of their own personal safety. They ran directly into the firestorm, into the smoke, and the carnage. Civilians, emergency responders, runners, on-lookers, and even some victims ran to those who were severely injured, maimed or dying.
They were people from all walks of life, from all over Boston and the world, people who ran to help those individuals who were injured and in need of help and comfort. Those people, ladies and gentlemen, are the true heroes, the people we all want to be and the people we all can be with the proper training.
When events such as the Boston Marathon bombings take place, they force us to ask ourselves, as American’s, who are we, that others would commit themselves to taking away our freedom, our human rights, and even our lives?
Simply put, we are known in the world of terrorism as “SOFT TARGETS”. Google or Bing the term. Take a look at the most recent posts that show up. You will see articles with the term “Soft Targets” used are all over the internet, and you will hear the term used on our news programs and on our televisions. But what does it mean?
After September 11th, 2001, America as a nation started the process of a hardening that would allow us to protect ourselves from terrorism from within or from without, but we too easily became complacent and allowed our protective armor down. One of the issues we have as a nation is that, during a crisis, Alphabet soup agencies begin to share intelligence information with one another, but over time they slip back into their closed door policies and this makes the protection of our nation much more difficult.
Several years ago, I wrote a letter to Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security, regarding her recommendations to eliminate the Homeland Security Advisory System. Many of us in law enforcement or in the counter-terrorism community expressed our concerns regarding the elimination of this terrorist warning system. Our concerns were heard and a revised National Terrorism Advisory System was created. The revised system works, but the IMHO, the newer National Terrorism Advisory System, still needs to add into the mix a larger range of national readiness and response levels for our country and our agencies.
Since September 11th 2001, there have been many articles written or discussions about the subject of “Soft Targets”. Terrorist organizations like Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and others write, publish and even create videos of manifestos, outlining their intentions to strike “Soft Targets” in the United States. This is nothing new, it has been the “norm” for some time. We just don’t want to acknowledge it.
Experts in the United States have been telling us that “Terrorist Attacks” on the streets of America, like the one that took place at the Boston Marathon on April 15th 2013, are the “New Normal”, but it still shocks us. Are you shocked? You shouldn’t be!
How is it that the United States of America, the greatest nation on earth, has become a “Soft Target” battlefield? Why are we so trusting of others, and so hush-hush about possible attacks on our homeland? Why is it that other nations are always on alert for such events, plan for such events, protect themselves from such events, and yet the United States remains in a “Code White World”? Why are we ripe for the pickings of countless terrorists groups (both foreign and domestic), who strike us without warning? When will we learn to protect ourselves as a nation?
It is evident that we need a strategic plan to defend ourselves, and our homeland, otherwise we are sitting ducks, just waiting for the next attack. These attacks may come from sleeper cells, a jihadists group, or, in some cases, from our own home grown domestic terrorists. All of these groups lie in wait, planning to strike us in the heart when we least expect it?
Is the United States of America too SOFT, COMPLACENT, APATHETIC, DISINTERESTED, CARELESS, and too TRUSTING? Are we oblivious to the fact that there are those who would deny us our freedom and our very existence. Yes to all of the above. So what do we do. We must Harden Our Soft Targets both at home and in public.
Hardening Our Soft Targets – Home
It is my belief that you should never drop your guard, never become complacent, and never give in when the wolves are at the door. We have to be ever vigilant, and forever ready! It is our responsibility to watch our own backs and the others we protect, whether in public or at home.
Hardening Our Soft Targets begins with you! That’s right! You who are tasked to protect yourself, and your loved ones against criminals, terrorists, and those who would kill or destroy us, or our way of life. And, with all due respect to our our fine law enforcement officers, there is NO duty on their part to act or protect our lives as our government would have us believe.
The question is, who is going to protect us? We are going to have to learn to protect ourselves, that’s right, you and I! We need to be prepared.
“Hardening Our Soft Targets – Home” begins with you having a “Survival Mindset”.
- You must first be willing to survive, not just dependent upon others to help you to survive.
- You must prepare yourself to survive the threat, any threat that occurs.
- You must also prepare your family members to survive as well.
- You must harden your homes by using locks, alarms, trimming of shrubs, get a dog, neighborhood watch programs, and of course, visual observation of your surroundings or others.
- You must prepare your home to take a defensive stand. Know your local laws for self defense.
- You must have an action plan in your home for defending yourself and your family inside your home.
- You must train with a home defense firearm safely, and then you must practice often.
- You must store a safe and ready defensive firearm in your home. Know how and when to use it.
- You must practice often with a safe and unloaded firearm while at your defensive stand location in your home. Know what room, what cover, or what concealment you will use to protect yourself and your family.
- You must always keep your cell phone charged and ready to take with you to your defensive stand location. Call 911, or have a family member call 911 as needed.
- You must always fight to survive, and you must protect yourselves and your love ones from any attack that might come.
- You must never give up, never give in, and you must always be prepared to win the battle.
Hardening Our Soft Targets – In Public
- You must prepare yourself to survive a potential threat while out in public.
- You must plan for unexpected events, and you should have a plan a, b, c, d, and all the way to z, if necessary.
- You must always be prepared for anything that might be unexpected, tragic or even catastrophic.
- You must always know your avenues of approach, escape, and alternative routes to get you and others out of harm’s way.
- You must teach yourself to watch others. Watch body movements, mannerisms or what might be construed as strange activity.
- You must learn and act upon the phrase “If you see something, say something”. Then do it!
- You must apply for and get trained to carry a concealed firearm. Then go through a legal purchase of a firearm. Choose the right one that will do the job for you! Ask questions.
- You must get trained and licensed to carry a firearm, and then you should practice regularly with your firearm. Carry it always (as described by your local or federal laws).
- You must always be cautious while out in large groups, sporting events, shopping malls or theaters, and you must watch for the suspicious activities of others.
- You must ride or drive with caution, and be aware of your environment, you’re surroundings, and the activities of other drivers.
- You must (if you are challenged) fight to protect yourself and others. You must survive the threat as it unfolds before you.
- You must never give up, never give in, and you must always be prepared to win.
There is nothing in society more important than our ability to live without fear. We want to be able walk, run or drive in the streets of our great nation, without concern about terrorist attacks. However, the tragedies of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon have shown us that fear is justified and we should no longer be “shocked” by the “New Normal”.
We are viewed by many as being “Soft Targets,” but this does not mean that we, as “Americans,” must give up, quit, or simply give in to the ideals or beliefs of others, especially those who would deny us of our freedom and the human rights our country offers all who live here. We, as individuals, and as a nation, must learn to “stand and defend our homeland” and to fight for our lives and for the life of our great nation “from all aggressors, both foreign and domestic”.
So, ladies and gentlemen, it is time that we “GET REAL” and “STAND READY TO FIGHT” for our nation, for our families, and for our lives, and my column here on USAdojo.com will help you do just that!
Stay Safe, Stay Ready and Stay Prepared Everyone, and don’t forget to “GET REAL”!