Domestic Terrorism: The Threat Is Real

Osama took two to the head, so terrorism here in the US is a thing of the past, right?  I doubt you believe that any more than I do.  The fact is the threats are still very real.

NY Terror Plot

NYPD just arrested a pair of men on terrorism charges that you’ve likely never heard about if you live outside of the Big Apple.

Arrested on May 11, the two men plotted to detonate bombs in a Jewish synagogue as part of a “jihad” in retaliation for how Muslim people are treated around the world.  The men also planned to bomb the Empire State building as part of their jihad.

Both men were from the north Africa region: one from Algiers, the other from Morocco.

Oddly, the FBI terrorism task force declined to take on the case, causing many to question what exactly the task force sees as terrorism.

Beslan & Mumbai

I’ve discussed these awful terrorsim attacks previously, and have encouraged patrol officers to be ready for such attacks here in the United States.  These types of attacks are still a very real possibility, and we must prepare for them.

Terrorism TrainingDon’t think it can happen here?  Did you know that two men in Chicago were arrested on terrorism charges that were connected to the Mumbai attack?

Respected law enforcement trainer, Chief Jeff Chudwin spoke at the 2011 International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association on these types of terrorist attacks.  Chief Chudwin stated that when, not if, these attacks happen, it falls on the patrol officer to respond and stop the murder of innocents.

Four essential thoughts were laid out by Chief Chudwin:

  • There is likely to be no specific warning in advance
  • Failure to immediately and effectively fight will result in slaughter of innocents
  • Lack of preparation and training ensures failure
  • Lack of command and leadership inspires failure

What Do We Do?

Here’s the deal:  we have to be ready to respond to terrorist incidents in our jurisdictions.  I don’t care how big or small your community is.  Terrorists of all stripes can pick any target to attack.  Taking on a rural high school of 200 students or an urban shopping mall filled with thousands of holiday shoppers will both have a devastating impact on our country.

If you are a patrol officer, train…train…train.  You have to be proficient with your gear.  If you have the option of buying a rifle to carry on duty, save your pennies and get one.  Break out the pistol and dry fire for five minutes every day to improve your fundamentals.

Also consider getting and keeping a “go bag” or “bail out bag” in your squad.  It should have extra ammo and a trauma kit at the bare minimum.

I also advocate getting a plate carrier.  Nope, they’re not cheap.  But they can stop an AK-47 round, so tell me what that is worth to you if you are on the wrong end of that firefight?

If you are a detective or other cop stuck riding a desk, keep gear in the car.  If “shit goes sideways” and you have to run out the door to help your brothers and sisters with multiple shooters inside a hospital, you better have the gear you need already in your car.

If any members of command staff are still reading, think about all of the funerals for innocent children and all of the wives, husbands and children of dead cops you will have to visit when this little piece of hell visits your town.  Once you start feeling that icy feeling of dread in your gut, sit down and realistically evaluate your department’s training.  Are you preparing your officers to respond to a Mumbai or Beslan and win?  Probably not, but there’s still time to change that.

Look, in a Mumbai or Beslan-type attack, we will lose officers.  But, with the right training and attitude we can swiftly end the attack and save a lot of people.  At the end of the day, isn’t saving lives what we all signed up for?


Richard is a police officer with a medium sized, central Florida department, and previously worked for a Metro-Atlanta agency.  He has served as a field training officer, court officer, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, watch commander, commander of a field training and evaluation program, and general pain in the butt to management-types looking to cut training hours.

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Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing on sites like Human Events, The Firearm Blog and Police & Security News.

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