This past Thursday night, Americans saw – or read – on the news about another terrorist attack. This time, Nice, France’s fifth-largest city and a vacation destination on the Mediterranean Sea, was the target. Like the attacks in Paris, Orlando, and San Bernardino, there are lesson here. What can we learn from this attack by a jihadist adherent of radical Islam (media reports indicate that the attacked shouted “Allahu ackbar”), in which 84 people are dead?
The old lessons still apply. France’s strict gun laws failed to keep the attacker from amassing firearms and hand grenades which he used in a shootout with French police after his truck was stopped. Strict gun laws also failed to prevent the San Bernardino attack, as well. While this will not stop some politicians from pursuing gun control, most people with common sense should be able to note that if you want to stop terrorists, gun control is not the way to do it.
The fact that in any attack, you will be the first responder on the scene, remains all too true as well. Unless they are on the scene as was the case in the attempted terrorist attack at a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, the hard truth is that Policemen, firefighters, and paramedics are actually the second responders. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have put out some information to help you survive. The time you take to review that information could save your life.
Another lesson from this is that a terrorist doesn’t need a firearm or a bomb to wreak havoc. This attack was carried out using the type of truck that someone could rent from U-Haul. The terrorist used the 19-ton truck to mow down the victims for a mile and a half before he was finally stopped – and the death toll from this attack easily exceeds that of the Orlando attack by at least 70%. The non-traditional weapon can be particularly deadly. Oklahoma City used fertilizer and diesel.
On a micro-level, this means that people should also be aware that even someone who is apparently unarmed can be a threat. FBI crime stats reveal that in the United States, personal weapons, like fists, feet, and hands were used more than twice as often as rifles of all types to commit homicides in 2014. Hammers, baseball bats, and other blunt objects – many with legitimate uses – are used 75% more often.
On the flip side, if you are caught in such an attack, you may be able to use a makeshift weapon of your own to protect yourself – or even to just buy time for cops to arrive and others to escape. Remaining aware of your surroundings is something you can do, even when you are prohibited from exercising your right of self-defense.
The last lesson: There will likely be other attacks like this one, and those in Orlando, San Bernardino, and Paris. The question left to answer is, “How bad will the body count be?” That will depend on how well the lessons of Nice, Orlando, San Bernardino, and Paris are learned.