While many believe that they are better protected against attack now then they were a decade ago, the idea that terrorism lives in a vacuum and we are controlling the lack of oxygen is absurd.
Terrorism actually poses a greater threat today than yesterday. The intent of terrorism is to create chaos and hysteria that extends far beyond the initial impact of the attack. The objective point is to cripple people and infrastructure by maximizing the social and psychological impact of the attack itself.
In response, we have ramped up security efforts everywhere to prevent future attacks. So we can relax a bit because law enforcement and government have this covered, right? Wrong. The terrorist groups and organizations have been in business for a long time.
This did not just begin with 911. This means they have had many years to probe, test and develop tactics and techniques to defeat our countermeasures. And in turn, we have developed technologies and security practices that are designed to prevent or thwart their nefarious attacks.
However, what we have developed and put in use are tactics, techniques and procedures that are primarily focused on security measures to stop the methods that have been used in past attacks. Every time we have stopped them in the past, they have gone back to the drawing board and devised a new method or tactic with which to defeat our armor. This is an evolutionary process for the terrorist. They will continue to develop new ways in an attempt to launch future attacks.
Take the transportation security administration for example when Richard Reid attempted to put a bomb in his shoe and board an American Airlines flight in 2001. In response the TSA implemented new security measures that mandated all passengers to remove their shoes for inspection before entering the gate. So what did the terrorists do?
After observing these changes that were implemented and shared globally, the terrorist’s switched tactics. In 2006 they employed a liquid explosive with which they would attempt to blow up aircraft.
In response the TSA then put severe restrictions on all liquids that passengers were able to bring into the terminal. Even passenger’s water bottles were restricted in defined areas of the airport and there were limitations placed on the amount of liquids that travelers could take in carry-on baggage.
In reality, the TSA like many government agencies has had a graded response that is reactionary. Because the truth of the matter is that they can only do so much to prevent these catastrophic events from happening. Their response while soothing to the public is only a temporary fix until the next attempt.
And while we were talking of aviation security, this illusion of total security is not restricted simply to airport and airline safety. It is a global phenomenon that affects every person and corporation and organization.
Consider the corporate offices for a business for example; which they maintain closed circuit television cameras throughout the atrium, lobby and hallways connecting offices. And in addition, they have two security officers in the lobby as you make entry to the building.
In a higher secure facility they may employ various forms of biometrics at certain key points or areas or other type access control devices that serve to prevent the normal intrusions, but these security measures will not protect those buildings or the people within them from a committed attacker that is dedicated to carrying out the attack.
And what if the attack was executed by professional terrorist actors, whom have planned and conducted surveillance on the target. What then?
Again while CCTV and access control measures can provide a degree of security for the normal criminal, it is highly unlikely that these measures will do much to protect against a suicide bomber or a vehicle- borne improvised explosive device crashed through a building or a small armed contingent of committed Jihadists that launch a surprise force attack on a building or the invisible employee who attacks without warning.
The presence of all these security measures again creates a sense of false security that people buy into, and while they assume they are safe from the threat of attack and fail to exercise good situational awareness because they never thought for a minute that an attack could happen at their office or workplace, they expose themselves to serious danger.
No, without properly trained and vetted security personnel with education in hostile surveillance detection and an understanding of concentric rings of security in conjunction with enhanced physical security and technology, all the traditional security measures are nothing more then an illusion of security.
Keeping It Real
For people, personal security is not simply a task that is solved by taking Tae Kwon Do lessons. No one is immune to violence. Violence happens without warning and it can happen to anyone anywhere on the planet.
In many cases, people that have some conscious concern may feel comforted by undertaking self-defense lessons or by buying a gun, but in truth training and security measures such as having a gun can give people a false sense of security.
In my trade as a kidnap & ransom response consultant, mercenary, tactical team leader and security operator, I have often come across people that over value their abilities and training believing they have more then enough capabilities to handle whatever comes their way.
Many of these people like to prop themselves up with a bunch of initials after their name and with descriptions on social media sites that promote them as for example a “world’s leading security expert.”
And that’s fine, if you are living in America, we are entitled to freedom of speech, and if one wants to sell them as an “expert” whether it be as an executive protection agent or martial arts master or security expert they are protected under those rights.
However, in my line I have experienced violent dangerous people and I humbly would submit that dealing with these people and groups demands a level of experience that these self-ascribed “experts” severely lack. Because when reality hits, and it eventually hits for everyone, these people are not only exposing themselves to a level of danger that they have no training for, they are also subjecting their clients and people they are charged with protecting to grave danger.
Security training can be a powerful tool in the fight against violence, but that is only with proper training. Improper training or not enough education can easily lead to overconfidence and in turn could be disastrous for the individual.
Transplanting Illusion With Reality
So how do we fix the flaws and strengthen our security position? It starts with a practical assessment of the threats that the person, company or organization may be facing. In this day and age, we must concern ourselves with the threat of future active shooter incidents and the potential for further acts of domestic terrorism.
For security managers or administrative executives that are looking to “harden” their facility or office then it is proper training and education that they should be considering as a first step.
Administrators, managers and executives are in a position to offer the best line of defense against security threats for their people. It is not CCTV or the security officers that are at the lobby desk or the access control devices that they recently installed. No, if they want to truly enhance defense then they must start a security-centric culture in their organization; one that reflects upon education, learning and practicing best security practices.
And this is best accomplished starting with the correct education and training classes and programs such as Defense Coach University’s Active Shooter Threat program, Security Operations Awareness And Safety program, Travel Safety and Security and Counter-Kidnap & Hostage Survival programs. All a critical part of enhancing security solutions while providing an incredibly cost effective ROI.
What If I am Just a Concerned Citizen, How Do I Step Up Security?
If you are seeking to better protect yourself and or your family then the greatest weapon you have is your mind. The concept of being aware of your surroundings and having the ability to identify potentially dangerous situations is a critical weapon in your personal security arsenal. It is also something anyone can do with a little education and discipline. This all begins by making security a priority in your daily routine.
The first and foremost step in establishing situational awareness is to recognize that threats do exist and submit to the fact that we all live in societies where bad things happen and bad people are real.
Second, you must take responsibility for your own security. In almost every circumstance it will be you that is involved in the incident and you who are then the first responder on-scene. After all, the police do not know if a crime is being committed unless they are called or happened to be at the time and place when it is being perpetrated. And by the time they do find out that a criminal or terrorist act is in progress, there is the time gap it will take for them to respond. You must therefore be the master of your own destiny and take responsibility for your own security.
Third, learn to listen and trust the “little voice” that is inside you. That gut feeling you get that something is wrong is your primal instincts warning you of impending danger. You should listen to that little voice because it has been developed and honed over millions of years and is ingrained in your DNA.
Last, seek out proper training so that you are not “frozen” with fear or paralyzed when you need to act. Correct training and education will help you bridge the gap between freezing and taking action. Without training there is no orienting response when danger strikes. It is training that is the key component that helps you override that fear circuitry in your brain so you can fight back and survive the attack.
Defense Coach University offers many key programs to assist you in developing or enhancing your personal security goals.