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How Not to Be a Victim and Survive A Terrorist Attack

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
How Not to Be a Victim and Survive A Terrorist Attack

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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.

How Not to Be a Victim and Survive A Terrorist Attack | Backdoor Survival

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.

We must.

Richard Earl Broome
Bozeman, Montana

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?

Kim’s Game comes from a novel by Rudyard Kipling and is something you can play with your family, any where, any time. Go HERE to learn more about how to play it.

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!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

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Below you will find 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

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.

Sabre Family Home and Property Protection Pepper Spray:  Not everyone is comfortable with a firearm plus, getting started with guns and ammo is an expensive proposition. That, plus the training required means that you should have some other means of self-defense to get you by while you are learning about firearms. But even a hand held pepper spray such as the Sabre Compact Pepper Spray will keep you protected.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2 oz.  making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.


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20 Responses to “How Not to Be a Victim and Survive A Terrorist Attack”

  1. I live in a small town about an hour away from Omaha, NE and SAC AFB. Which will be one of the first if not the first target in a nuclear war. So most of my preps are for if a tornado or house fire hits, but also I have prepped for nuclear war. The fallout will hit my town, no matter what. I never really thought about it until I started prepping, but I took your advice and thought of everything that could possibly happen near or around me. And since the terrorists are either moving toward having or already have nuclear capabilities, I now have to think about what used to be a far-fetched possibility. It sucks that this world is so polarized that dying from atomic radiation is a possibility. It sucks that I have to teach my children how to protect themselves from nuclear fallout. But that’s what’s possible living where I do. I don’t want to move, but I have prepared for the possibility that I will have to leave very quickly, and may not be able to leave at all. Many of the ideas and suggestions on this page where very helpful in making all these decisions, so please keep up the good work, Gaye! And thank you!

  2. Just a reminder, these events clearly show that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Whether from terrorists, or a heart attack. Therefore, the most important prep of all that you can do is to secure your survival for eternity. There is only one way. Not many ways. Only through faith in Jesus the Messiah and the repentance of your sins. Not on your ‘good’ deeds. For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. All deserve to be sent to hell. But Jesus paid your penalty and offers a free gift of eternal life to whosoever (insert your name here) receives it. God says today is the day of salvation. satan says, you can do it tomorrow.

  3. I’d love the down load the free Emergency Food Buyers Guide, but I already am signed up for your log. It won’t let me.

    How can I download it?

  4. My Marine Corps combat training was 47 years ago…however, my Vietnam experiences have led me to stay at condition Yellow ever since. I believe that more than once, I’ve taken evasive action to avoid potential dangers and I try to clue other people in on what I “see”—especially those close to me who might listen.

    Good article…unfortunately, 98% of the people on this planet are in a continuous condition Green. (Meaning Clueless and unaware. Unobservant and ill-prepared.) Sad.

  5. The handwriting has been on the wall since the first Tuesday of November 2008. Now here we are, and people are still asking the same old tired worn out questions. What can be learned, what can we do, what now, what next, can we live in harmony with these people??? What a mess.

    • It REALLY isn’t about political persuasion is it? It is about what YOU as an individual can do under your present circumstances.

      Do NOT rely on a governmental administration to take care of you—unless you don’t care if you live or die. Be responsible for yourself.

  6. Not buying the terrorist theory anymore…I’m inclined to go with GOVERNMENTAL COLLATERAL DAMAGE to insight global panic…just saying!

  7. Gaye, I’m confused about your two locations. I thought your goal is to get to the desert in a disaster. But today you mentioned needing to get back to the island at the first sign of trouble. My confusion is about why you wanted the desert location. I’m sorry if these questions are too personal. But I would imagine all your readers are trying to evaluate their own locations. Mine is confusing because it looks like it is isolated in the country but is actually only two hours from DC by car and 30 min by boat and much less by plane.

  8. Wow. ALL your articles are great but this one may be my favorite. I’m very excited about playing Kim’s game, and just happen to have a stone collection. I love this article because it is so incredibly important and timely and doesn’t cost any money to train yourself. Thank you Gaye!

  9. Hi. I am new to the emergency preparedness concept. I am also old, chronically ill with limited mobility. I was thinking about what to do in the event of an outbreak of violence in a crowded concert facility, as happened in France. My first thought was that I should seek the nearest shelter, such as the back of a seat, and get down. Does that make sense?

    • I am sorry to say that at the bataclan,one of the shooter went to the part set aside for people with disabilities and shot every one in a wheelchair. This is the new reality.

  10. This article today is my favorite post your have ever written! The world needs to be prepared and they need to do it NOW. Thanks for sharing Richard Broome’s insights. Great tips, Gaye!

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