The New First Responders

“Multiple Terrorist Attacks Raise Questions of Coordination.” So goes the Powerline headline referring to the three June 26 terror attacks in Kuwait, Tunisia and France. Is it possible the attacks, occurring within hours of each other, were a coincidence? One would have to work in the Obama Administration to believe that. The death toll in these attacks has now surpassed 60.

These terrorist atrocities, and the recent, thankfully foiled attack in Garland, TX are of a piece, a new wave of terrorism that will cause us all to reappraise our personal and national security. Specifically, the police and firefighters are no longer “first responders.” We all are.

The terrorists involved in the Garland attack, it is now known, had direct connections with terrorists abroad, and all four of these attacks involved so-called “known wolves,” or people already known to and being investigated–to one degree or another–by authorities. Yet they were not intercepted and there is clear evidence of foreign terrorist influence, training, even direction, usually ISIS influence.

ISIS, busy consolidating its “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria while spreading its influence throughout the Middle east and North Africa , has turned to social media and the Internet and is having substantial success in recruiting willing domestic terrorists. There can be no doubt that many terrorist organizations would love to carry out an attack like 9-11. Should Iran obtain nuclear weapons, they will, but on a more destructive scale. In the meantime, they have shifted their focus to attacks carried out by a handful of terrorists, or even one.

Such attacks cost little and require no complicated command and control apparatus. All ISIS terror masters need do is radicalize malcontents here and there, suggest a variety of targets, and sit back and watch the carnage when their wind up terror toys choose and attack a target.

This is the new wave of terror, and we’ve already seen it in America, which is terribly vulnerable to such attacks. Attacks carried out with individuals or small groups are fiendishly difficult to detect and derail prior to the attack, but their influence is unmistakable. America is a land full of soft targets.

Even our military installations–military members and their families and military facilities are favored terrorist targets–are soft targets as we discovered during the Ft. Hood attack. Service members are not allowed arms at continental US installations. That made it easy for a single, committed Islamist terrorist armed only with a handgun, to kill and wound a great many of our soldiers.  Other soft targets: schools, churches, shopping malls, theaters, sporting events, parks, beaches, everywhere and anywhere people gather in numbers. By establishing some places as gun free zones, we have created terrorist magnets, places where terrorists can be assured they’ll have plenty of time to kill before the police can possibly interfere.

Concealed carry has never been as important, and potentially life-saving, as it is now.

It is often said, and as often denied, that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. There will always be those that will deny this reality, but where terrorists are concerned, it is a reality that can’t be ignored. Can terrorists be deterred? To a much lesser extent than common criminals.

Criminals are motivated primarily by profit. They’ll avoid places where they have reason to believe victims are armed. That’s why America has relatively few “hot” burglaries, burglaries where the residents are present and able to shoot burglars. Criminals want the goods or the money, fast, and they want to get away unscathed and undetected. Not so with terrorists.

Terrorists certainly take into account the kind of resistance they might face, but that does not absolutely deter them. They arm themselves in the expectation of overcoming any kind of resistance. They plan to have the element of surprise, and they have no conscience; they don’t worry about accidently shooting innocents. Shooting and blowing up innocents is their purpose. They can shoot in any direction at any time without worry about collateral damage. Most plan to kill until they are killed, which allows them to take unreasonable risks and often, run up the death toll.

Without question, even in an era when the kind of terrorist attacks about which I speak are becoming more and more common, the odds are in the favor of most Americans. It is very unlikely any of us will find ourselves under attack by terrorists. However, there is nothing preventing such an attack from happening at any place or time.  We expect attacks in places like New York City and Washington DC, but Ft. Hood? Garland, TX? Tucson? Oakland? Montgomery County, MD? Houston? Denver? Moore, OK?

That’s why concealed carry is so important. We carry concealed handguns not for the attacks we can predict. If that were so, we could intercept or avoid them. We carry for the attacks we can’t predict.

With Independence Day only a few days away, a joint bulletin from the FBI, DHS and National Counterterrorism Center warns of an elevated terrorist threat level throughout America on and around July 4. The Hill reported:

The warning comes the same day as terrorist attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia. During his statement on those attacks, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned law enforcement to be ‘vigilant’ around the holiday.

“Particularly with the upcoming July 4th holiday, here in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI continue to communicate with state and local law enforcement about what we know and see,’ he said.

‘We are encouraging all law enforcement to be vigilant and prepared. We will also adjust security measures, seen and unseen, as necessary to protect the American people.

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Since that warning, the Administration has turned schizophrenic, sometimes downplaying the warning, other times, reinforcing it. This is to be expected when we have a president that can’t so much as identify the enemies, and their ideology, sworn to kill Americans and conquer the world. It does not, however, lessen the potential threat. Consider this from PJ Media:

“The FBI has admitted that there are probably hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Islamic State sympathizers in the U.S. who may have been radicalized online. This has led to the FBI beginning a roundup of potential lone wolf terrorists.”

“But what can a single person armed with a handgun do against armed terrorists? They’d be useless against rifles and explosives.”  What can they do? They can do what a single traffic cop armed only with a handgun did in Garland, TX. He shot and killed both terrorists armed with long guns.

In virtually every American, and not a few foreign, attacks, engagement ranges were easily within handgun range. Seldom do terrorists take concealed positions and shoot from distance. They want to be up close and in a target-rich environment. That’s where the greatest death toll may be achieved and the most sensational headlines written. Armed Americans also have the advantage of surprise and anonymity. A single terrorist shooting into a crowd can’t watch everyone, and is vulnerable to the sides and back to a single handgun wielded by someone that uses cover, concealment and movement to get to an advantageous position. Even if that is not possible, would it be better to simply wait for one’s turn to be slaughtered, or to be able to draw and fire, perhaps killing the terrorist?

The police will come, eventually, but in virtually every case, they will arrive only in time to help those bleeding but still alive, and to hold back onlookers as the investigation begins. Occasionally, they may arrive in time to engage the terrorists, but by then, many will have been killed and wounded, many who need not be harmed if even a single person present was armed and aware of their surroundings.

“But armed people will only make things worse. They’ll shoot everyone and will be shot by the police when they arrive. They won’t be able to tell them from the terrorists.”

Worse? Worse than what? Scores dead and wounded? When a terrorist attack occurs, no one is more likely to know exactly what is happening and exactly who to shoot than the people present when the attack begins. By the time the police arrive, the terrorists will likely already be dead. It would then be a simple thing to ensure that arriving officers are met by people that can point out the good guys and the bad guys. Police officers are trained to understand that they can’t simply shoot everyone in sight in ambiguous situations. They understand the dynamics of these situations and train for them.

Now more than ever, the first line of defense, the true first responder, is the law-abiding American exercising their rights under the Second Amendment. That kind of patriotism never goes out of style, and is always necessary. In a time when our government will not fight the terrorists overseas, we will have to pick up the slack here.  God help those that are unprepared and untrained.  The police won’t be there in time to do it.