By Ron Danielowski, Principal/Chief Instructor – Pulse O2DA Firearms Training, Inc
Despite France’s draconian gun laws, terrorists have once again proven that only good people obey bad laws, and they do so to their own detriment.
It is important to realize that the best security practices, people, and technology governments have to offer could not thwart the ISIS attacks in Paris. Nor will these practices, institutions, and technologies thwart the next attack.
Western governments continue to fight the wrong war with the wrong tactics. A few hours after the attack, French president Francois Hollande promised a “merciless response.” What does he mean? Will he now bomb his own country in the heavily populated Muslim suburb of Paris, Porte Saint Denis?
The terrorists that Hollande and Obama decry are citizens of their own countries. The threat is not from Syria but from Islamic terrorists living in Porte Saint Denis, Dearborn, Minneapolis, and Verviers.
The war these jihadists now wage has little to do with territory. Rather, this is a war of ideology between religious and cultural combatants that are diametrically and irreconcilably opposed.
There is no solution to ending Islamic terrorism that does not involve long-term conflict in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. I realize this is a bitter pill to swallow, but nonetheless it is the reality of our time and must be faced if we hope to find a solution.
Furthermore, boots on the ground in Syria, American drone attacks throughout the Middle East, and crackdowns on western Muslim communities will not solve the problem, rather they act as radicalization multipliers, or as the CIA calls it “blowback.”
In real world terms this means that otherwise peaceable citizens pay the price for their countries interventionist foreign policies. Is it any wonder George Washington so strongly warned America to avoid such foreign entanglements?
Experts, think tanks, policy analysts, politicians, media anchors, etc., collectively look for a magic bullet to defeat Islamic terrorism without actually fighting Islamic terrorism. Many in government and media won’t even call it by its name for fear of insulting the terrorists.
Unfortunately, there is no solution to this conflict that does not result in extreme violence. You and yours will either capitulate to it, or learn to fight it – there is no viable alternative.
As is clear to all but the most stubborn, traditional approaches cannot defend civilians from these kinds of attacks. The military and CIA ostensibly defend against external attack and do not provide internal security. Law enforcement, tasked with internal security, was never intended to deal with such a decentralized threat and is incapable of providing personal protection.
Consider the facts for a moment. At best, there are approximately one million sworn federal, state, and local officers who can carry a firearm, many of these people work in administrative positions and are not out on the streets with their fellow officers.
There are approximately 320 million citizens living in the U.S.
Police need sleep and time to decompress just like you do in order to perform at their best, so with cops working only one in three shifts per day, there is only about one cop on the job for every 1,000 citizens.
The fact of the matter is that there are simply not enough personnel and resources to thwart these attacks, and with America already $18 trillion in debt, funding an even larger, more intrusive, and ineffective state security apparatus is as financially unsustainable as it is impractical and undesirable.
Unlike past conflicts that have typically been fought over well-defined territory, terror attacks can and do take place anywhere at any time.
Americans specifically, have been conditioned to wars and conflict occurring elsewhere, and not in their own backyards, in their businesses, or in their communities.
Americans must face the reality that they will have to fight this battle on their home territory. The less prepared Americans are to fight this battle personally, the softer target they offer the terrorists. Lightly or undefended businesses, schools, churches, and communities invite such terrorist attacks.
Strategically bombing ISIS command and control centers in places like Syria is one front, but a small front in this war, and one that has proven largely ineffective. The major fronts are now found in cities across the U.S. and Europe that are home to large concentrations of Muslims. Radicalized Islamic terrorists are spawned from these cities attacking unlimited soft-targets of opportunity. Our cities and communities are where the bulk of this war will be fought, not in distant Middle East or other third world countries.
Most of the attacks utilize crude tactics with everyday weapons wielded by poorly trained civilians. They are not attacks committed with sophisticated weaponry or by highly trained warriors. Yet the reason these attacks are so effective is because any terrorist with light weaponry and a weekend of training can inflict enormous pain and suffering on soft-target unprepared communities.
Thankfully, the reality of these attacks is that they can be deterred, disrupted, and even defeated by properly trained and well-armed civilian populous. A handful of properly trained civilians carrying concealed weapons in the Bataclan Theatre could have dramatically reduced the body count, disrupted the terrorist’s plan, and purchased time for others to escape. Terrorists will not select as their primary targets businesses, churches, schools, and communities that can defend themselves from their attacks.
In other words, we need a decentralized (individual action) approach to security in order to meet the decentralized Islamic terrorist threat. Despite what many would have you believe, providing capable security isn’t rocket science, and that’s the good news – a decentralized approach to security works much more effectively than a centralized (government) one does.
Unfortunately, rather than seeking alternative and empowering solution that can work better than failed models, the natural reaction for some when confronted with terrorist threats is to call for more centralized security measures. This includes people clamoring for a declaring state of emergency, martial law, more surveillance, closing borders, and confiscating weapons from law-abiding citizens.
The urge to call for more centralized and draconian security measures stems from ones own cowardice, from ones unwillingness to accept personal responsibility and risk to one’s own life. Such people lobby for others to step into harms way on their behalf, falsely believing that that someone else’s life is less valuable than their own or that they are owed such services. This is what we call “violence by-proxy” and the problem with such an approach is that it further degrades the ability of civilians to defend themselves from attacks that the state has already demonstrated they are incapable of stopping.
Appropriate roles for the state to play in defending against terrorism include coordination and support for the local populous, and focusing upon larger, more sophisticated threats such as weapons of mass destruction. They do not include restricting our ability to defend ourselves from immediate lethal threats.
The most important drawback to relying on the state for increased domestic security is the limitation of personal freedom that would result. As I pointed out above, such assaults on liberty and self-reliance would provide no additional safety and security, instead it would make Americans more vulnerable to these types of decentralized attacks. Furthermore, such actions by the state would be deeply resented by most Americans, and would feed the disruption sought by the terrorists, making the terrorists plans all the easier to execute on a disarmed populous.
There are many U.S. and European citizens who believe placing “gun free zone” signs on businesses, churches, and schools will make them safer. As experience has demonstrated, this is a preposterous notion. As we have seen, terrorists and other sociopaths do not obey signs, and those putting up such imbecilic signs only identify themselves as soft-targets, thereby inviting an attack, not preventing one.
Others feel that further restricting gun ownership through panaceas such as “enhanced” background checks will somehow make them safer. The problem with background checks is the government officials who determine who will get a weapon.
The recent events on the Missouri and Yale campuses demonstrate that most academics and college students see white men as more of a threat than Islamic terrorists. The problem is that the same groupthink driving these deranged students and academics also motivate the majority of government bureaucrats who determine the qualifications for passing an enhanced background check.
Perhaps the most pathetic scene coming from Paris was not the carnage, but a musician playing John Lennon’s “Imagine” on his piano that was emblazoned with a peace symbol outside of the Bataclan Theatre the morning after the attack. CNN coverage was full of both U.S. and French citizens whining that they just want to feel safe. They do not want their cities militarized and they do not want to feel concerned about who is sitting next to them in a cafe or theatre.
Many of the so-called experts interviewed about the attacks focused on finding a solution to end Islamic terrorism. Saturday morning after the attack, John Kerry was inviting the United Nations to lead the fight on terrorism. Such a foolish move would centralize the response even further, and only more greatly distance us from the solution.
But this is a war that will not be decided by diplomats, generals, or politicians. This war will be fought and won by individuals defending their homes, businesses, schools, churches, and communities themselves.
In conclusion, the primary strategy for winning the war with Islamic terrorists is a time tested and more organic solution based on self-reliance and voluntary associations. One based on assuming personal responsibility for the defense of one’s own life and property, not delegating individual security to a third-party. One based on more individual liberty, not less. The strategy is dependent upon building decentralized networks of simpatico individuals sharing information and lessons in order secure their lives, families, businesses, schools, churches, and communities.
Ron Danielowski is the Principal/Chief Instructor at Pulse O2DA Firearms Training, Inc. www.pulsefirearmstraining.com.
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