By Bill Tallen, VP Tactical Operations, Pulse O2DA Firearms Training, Inc.
The recent terror attacks in Paris have ushered in a new but not unexpected episode in the clash of civilizations. Americans’ historical confidence in the splendid isolation afforded by the oceans, by our once-feared military power, and by the difficulty enemies once faced in their attempts to operate within our unique and homogeneous society, has now been shaken.
To be sure, the two World Trade Center attacks (1993 and 2001) and several other actual or attempted Islamist terrorist attacks have assaulted our complacency in the last couple of decades. But conditioned by the attitudes and platitudes of government and the media, most of us have focused upon the threat of mass casualty events and weapons of mass destruction, as though nothing will happen until the high bar of 9/11 can be topped, and expecting the state’s security and intelligence apparatus to foil these complicated and long-lead-time threats with their diligence, their professionalism – and their Orwellian snoopiness into our lives. And so far, to their credit, they have done a fair job of it.
When ISIS, its affiliates, or its competitors in the jihadi sweepstakes bring the tactics of Paris or Mumbai or Beslan to our shores, what will be the outcome? When it’s not 20 heavily bankrolled, technically savvy operatives executing a long planned, centrally coordinated attack like that of 9/11; when instead it’s one or two men here, four over there, with small arms, suicide vests, and IEDs, sowing mayhem at multiple locales?
Who Can You Turn To?
One thing we can, unfortunately, predict: the response of law enforcement will be too late to prevent significant, tragic loss of life. As with domestic, mentally unhinged violent offenders, terrorists have a long history of avoiding heavily defended targets and striking where they can have their will for at least several critical minutes before any effective response by law enforcement can be mounted. There are not enough law enforcement officers in America to protect us against this sort of violence. They will respond with considerable skill and unquestionable bravery – and will find, as in most “active shooter” incidents, that a heavy toll in lives and terror has been paid before they can arrive, orient, organize and intervene to stop the carnage.
These terrorist rampages are not substantially different, from the perspective of the potential victim, than the threat of criminal violence. When bullets start flying, questions of belief, ideology, and strategic vision are not what matters most. The simple reality in the moment is that someone is stroking triggers or detonating explosives with murderous intent. If you or your loved ones are at the epicenter of such an attack, can you do more than cower under a table?
What Are The Odds?
Astute observers know that in most of America, violent crime rates have actually been falling for at least two decades. The media feeding frenzy that follows every mass shooting obscures the reality that these events are extremely infrequent and uncommon in this nation of 320 million. But that is cold consolation to anyone in the nation’s inner cities where violent crime is a ferociously growing plague, in a campus “gun free zone,” or anywhere else that an armed sociopath cuts loose. For that person, the theoretically low probability of encountering violent assault has become irrelevant.
Furthermore, the recent past is probably not a reassuring prologue for what we can expect in the near term. Threats are evolving more rapidly than our past practices, assumptions, and normalcy bias can keep up with. Current trends in America include an unravelling of social norms and restraints, polarization and intolerance in political discourse, a faltering economy, and the evolution of gang, drug cartel, and terrorist violence into a chaotic, decentralized storm of 4th Generation warfare in the midst of civil society.
This series will draw upon the curricula and resources of Pulse O2DA Firearms Training, Inc., to address the concepts, tactics, and techniques by which we as individuals, as voluntary networks of simpatico individuals, and as collective organizations – businesses, churches, schools, communities – can prepare ourselves to face violent threats of any sort in that critical interval between the initiation of an assault and its effective neutralization by agents of the state. It’s an interval that will stretch to eternity if you face it unprepared.
“The Best And Most Natural Defense Of A Free Country”
The above quote is from James Madison, in 1789. While social “scientists” may wrestle in the academic mud pit over the question of why violent crime rates have been declining in most of America, the practical mind does not have to look much beyond two factors: our extremely high incarceration rate, and the rapid spread of lawful, permitted concealed carry of firearms by citizens since the early 1990s. We believe that the proliferation of defensive firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens has had a major impact on suppressing violence.
In the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, ask yourself how many legally armed citizens would be present in a typical sports stadium in America; or in a café or on the sidewalks of an American city? We cannot know the number; but neither can terrorists or violent criminals, and we do know the number is greater than zero, and higher than it was in any of the venues struck by ISIS terrorists in Paris. Even one armed citizen – all the more, several cooperating with one another – in the right place at the right time could disrupt, delay, or defeat an armed attack, buying time for innocents to escape and first responders to arrive.
Those opposed to the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, and those who distrust any solution that is not closely controlled and regulated by authority, like to portray the armed citizen as a literal “loose cannon” who will react inappropriately and incompetently, shooting when he should not, at whom he should not, or missing his targets and increasing the body count of innocents. There is no basis in fact for these fears. The actual record shows that even relatively untrained armed citizens have overwhelmingly shown restraint, discretion and skill in reacting to violent assaults.
Pulse trains citizens to high levels of skill in the use of lethal force, to increase their odds of success and survival in a crisis. We also go several steps beyond this, to show the synergistic effect of organizing, planning, and training in teams – as private defense networks – for the defense of life and property. In our next installments, we’ll discuss these empowering concepts in greater detail.
Please welcome the team at Pulse O2DA Firearms Training to the Daily Caller. This series will appear every Saturday. Over the next 10 weeks we will cover: