The world is abuzz with questions about the recent attack on the citizens of Paris. How could this happen? Why did this happen? And perhaps closer to home, could a similar horror happen to me?
I do not have any trite answers to ease your concern, shock, and panic over a seemingly random terrorist attack. I can, however, share my own thoughts as well as those from some of the most trusted and credible people in my circle of colleagues.
Bracing for the New Reality
The first to weigh in is Richard Broome who reached out Friday evening, before the full scope of the tragedy was widely known. Here is what he had to say in a special message to the readers of Backdoor Survival.
The events in Paris Friday evening were a dark day in “The City of Light.” Terrorism became more real yesterday. In time, we will all look back at what we will ultimately realize was an epic event that should have sent us all a clear message. “I am coming to get you. This isn’t going away. It is coming to America too.” We have a rising tide of global jihadist aggression underway and I think most people are missing the religious fervor behind this movement and the terrorists’ willingness to do anything it takes to win.
Here is where strong leadership in this country is really going to matter. In a time of coming elections, we need leaders who do a better job of telling all Americans what we really stand for, the values and meaning of America, the special sauce that makes up our country, and the need for our national commitment to defeat ISIS.
Can we turn this around? Yes. We can.
Richard Earl Broome
For quite some time, Richard has been warning us that we at the brink of a tipping point. I agree. Re-read the article Stepping Up to Manage the New Reality and come to terms with the need to open up a dialogue with yourself and take your mental preparedness to the next step.
Survival is the Focus
On the heels of Richard came my friend Daisy Luther. Friday night we had an extended chat about the Paris tragedy and how that event would impact us personally. Of grave concern to both of us was the upcoming holidays and the travel plans already in place as families hit the highways and airways to visit loved ones.
With her permission, here is some of what she wrote on her website Sunday afternoon.
Massive disasters happen when people are going about their daily business. People go to concerts, fly to visit relatives, take vacations, run marathons, walk to work, take public transit, and shop at the mall. No matter who you are and where you live, if you aren’t an agoraphobic hermit, there are going to be times when you are part of a target-rich environment.
And if you find yourself in the midst of an attack, the motivation of the people attacking doesn’t matter at all. You are in just as much danger whether the perpetrator is a member of ISIS or a member of a secret government agency. A bomb is a bomb, an AK-47 is an AK-47, and a machete will lop off your head, regardless of the motivation of the person wielding it.
So stop with the accusations and focus on what is really important – your survival.
Think about what you would do in an event like the ones that have taken so many lives and harmed so many people. Thinking through events before they occur is what allows us to act quickly when they do happen. Believing in the possibility of bad things helps you to accept it and move to save yourself and your family, while others stand there in shock, making targets of themselves. It’s time to consider what you would do to survive a terrorist attack.
What would you do if you were swept up in a terror event?
The world has always been populated with those who seek power, attention, and control. Acts of terror are nearly always about one or all of those things. The perpetrators are predators, and the victims are the prey. If you are a target of the first wave of the attack, there may not be a lot you can do about it. If you’re hit in the back with gunfire, if you happen to be on a plane that is hijacked and crashes into a building, if you are going about your business and your location blows up, there isn’t a lot you can do.
But if you are fortunate enough not to be a victim of the first wave, then you can survive. And often, before the first wave occurs, there are minute details that can tell you something is wrong. One of my favorite movies is The Bourne Identity. If you haven’t seen it, despite Jason Bourne’s amnesia, he possesses skills that are ingrained into his psyche. As a former operative, he was trained to be highly observant and to make rapid assessments of what he has observed.
While most of us haven’t been trained as operatives, we can still maintain a high level of situational awareness merely by being observant. One way to develop your skills is to play something called Kim’s Game. My friend Scott, at Graywolf Survival, used to use the game to train his soldiers in situational awareness.
He wrote: Situational awareness is key to understanding your environment so you can know better both your circumstances and your options. There are myriad examples that could be given but would you notice the bulge (called printing) of someone’s ankle from a concealed weapon if you were asked to follow him to barter for goods? Would you remember enough details of the turn of a path you passed two hours ago to be able to find it again? If you were attacked, would you be able to give a good enough description of the subject and getaway vehicle to have him identified?
A higher level of situational awareness can help you in many ways, should you be unfortunate enough to be present during an active of terror.
It can help by:
Allowing you to identify a threat before it becomes active
Allowing you to locate exits and routes to the exits
Allowing you to determine sources of cover
If you can identify a potential threat before it exists, you can sometimes prevent an attack or at the very least, you can protect yourself and your family more effectively. A book by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley describes this as being on the “left of bang”. The left of bang is a term used to describe the moments before something bad happens, when you have an inkling that something is wrong, but you just can’t put your finger on what it is.
The book, Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life, discusses how establishing a baseline can help you to identify a threat. (I can’t recommend this book strongly enough.)
A baseline is a “normal” for your immediate environment. Once you have a baseline for behavior in a specific environment, then it’s easier to spot anomalies. According to Left of Bang, it’s the anomalies that should put you on high alert. “Anomalies are things that either do not happen and should, or that do happen and shouldn’t.” Watch this video with Patrick Van Horne to learn more about positioning yourself to realize something is wrong before a disaster actually strikes.
You can read the rest of the article here: How to Survival a Terrorist Attack.
Making Contingency Plans Has to Come First
In my own way, I have been attempting to steer you toward making contingency survival plans; plans that take into account local risks. That said, planning is hard work. Heaven knows it is much easier to take out a wallet or a credit card than develop a plan. Of course, you already know that but knowing and doing are two separate matters.
Let this be a call to action. We live where we live and most of us are going to stay put and hunker down in place. Please everyone, take a look around you and evaluate the risks then take steps to ensure you are not a victim.
How do you do that? In John Forsythe’s book Fight, Flight, or Hide. The Guide to Surviving a Mass Shooting, the author talks about taking cover during an attack, even if that means taking flight or hiding. As a matter of fact, he says taking flight (aka escaping or running away) may be the best option if you can do it.
If you can not run, at least take cover the best you can and don’t try to become a hero by putting yourself in the line of fire unless you are armed and ready to shoot. Even then, think twice.
Coming to Terms With the Toughest Prepping Decision I Have Ever Made
It has always been my intent to evacuate my temporary location in the Central Arizona desert and head back home to Washington State at the first sign of trouble. After all, that is where my preps are located along with a small, but mighty support group of like-minded friends. There is abundant water and fertile soil. My island home in Washington State is an idyllic survival platform.
What was I thinking? To take to the road and hope to get home before the SHFT comes down in a major way is foolhardy. A much safer, sane, and better option would be to take my chances where I know I have shelter. I already have water and already have food storage. Now I need to learn to forage in the desert, build up my sick room supplies, and create a defensible perimeter. It is time to find a local range and purchase more ammo.
Coming to terms with staying put is the toughest prepping decision I have ever made. It kept me awake most of Friday night but I know it is the right thing to do.
The Final Word
As I write this, France is bombing Syria. This may only be the beginning.
I tell you this not to scare you but to motivate you to take action. Examine your current preparedness plan. Most likely it covers natural disasters, pandemics, and an EMP or cyber-attack. Does it also include surviving a terrorist attack?
As Richard says, they are coming for us. Does it really matter who “they” are and “why” they are doing this? I say don’t stew about it and forget about playing the blame-game. Instead, avoid becoming a victim and learn to become a survivor.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you live near a major population or tourist center?
Do you live in a location in close proximity to military or defense installations?
Is your home close to a nuclear plant or major power substation?
If so, then please heed to the need to be ready for a major tipping point occurring in your own back yard. Starting now, be aware of your surroundings and observe everything. Stay close to home if you can.
If something seems off, don’t dismiss it. Learn to trust your instincts and escape or hide if you sense the bad guys are nearby. Don’t worry about appearing foolish. You are not being silly; you are being smart.
Prepare yourself mentally and be ready to act. Worry about the blame game later because in the moment, it will not matter! These are troubling and uncertain times. Be safe, my friends.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Below you will find links to the items related to today’s article.
Fight, Flight, or Hide. The Guide to Surviving a Mass Shooting: This is the book that taught be that hiding or running away does not mean you are a coward. As a matter of fact, doing so can be an act of bravery. The Kindle version is only $2.99. Recommended!
Leaving The Trees and Good Crazy (Leaving The Trees Journey) (Volume 2): These two books of fiction, by Richard Broome, present a post apocalyptic survival story unlink any other. The lessons I learned from Leaving The Trees can be found here: Leaving the Trees: More Lessons of Survival.
Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath: The hallmark book, by award winning journalist Ted Koppel, will hopefully educate the sheeple and motivate them to embrace the message of preparedness. For the rest of us, there is much to learn about the state of preparedness, or lack thereof, at the highest levels of our government. Read more: Prepper Book Festival 10: Lights Out by Ted Koppel.
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