As of this writing, at least four people have been killed in a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, Israel. The attack, carried out by at least two attackers, took place in an open-air mall with dozens of stores. Both attackers were “neutralized,” per the Israeli police, with one being shot and wounded, the other being captured. The wounded terrorist is also in custody.
The first lesson to re-learn is, “When seconds matter, police will take minutes to arrive.” In this case, though, the death toll was much lower than Paris or San Bernardino. Like France and California (to a lesser extent), Israeli gun laws tend to be very strict. That said, Israel is less vulnerable than France or California. One big reason is the fact that Israel has lived with a number of terrorist attacks over the years, and when it comes to issuing carry permits, is less strict. Some of the knife attacks that have occurred in the past months have been stopped by carry permit holders.
The second lesson to re-learn is that you are responsible for your own security. In these attacks, police, firefighters, and paramedics are likely to be second responders. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have released some information on how to survive an attack like this. The time you take to review what they have put out could mean you might have some chance of escape.
Now for some new lessons. One of them is that gun control laws will not stop a terrorist attack. California’s strict gun laws didn’t stop the perps. They just violated the law with aftermarket parts. The perps of the Paris attack weren’t stopped by French gun laws, they acquired their assault rifles – real assault rifles, it should be noted – via the black market. In this attack, the attackers used at least one improvised firearm based on the Carl Gustav submachine gun.
The Carl Gustav is a cheaply-made submachine gun that fires the 9x19mm round used by many popular pistols (Glock. Beretta, SiG-Sauer, and Browning), and was only retired in 2007 after a 62-year career with the Swedish military. It has a 36-round magazine. Egypt manufactured a licensed variant.
Another lesson: Strong security can help. Even though the mall attacked was considered a “soft target,” the security measures that were in place did save some lives because the terrorists were kept out of one location. Contrast this to the political correctness that kept at least one person from reporting suspicious activity involving the San Bernardino terrorists. It should be noted that in this case, the terrorists apparently disguised themselves as ultra-Orthodox Jews. Expect to see future attackers to try similar efforts at camouflage in order to get past security.
Tel Aviv joins the list of cities hit by terror. It is virtually certain that others will be added to the list. How long we have to wait – and how bad the attack is – will depend on how well the lessons of Tel Aviv are absorbed.