Dec 01 2008

Some things can’t be stopped by “increased security” or “intelligence”

Category: Islam,terrorismharmonicminer @ 9:58 am

New York City is worried and taking extra precautions at hotels.

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, have prompted authorities in New York City to beef up security at large hotels and Jewish centers, including the Lubavitch headquarters.

Accrording to, the New York City Police Department had already been on high alert over concerns of a possible strike over the Thanksgiving holiday. But the attacks in India, which claimed about 200 lives, prompted enhanced security.

I’m glad, of course, that NYC is thinking about this, and I suppose other large cities are as well, although there is an element of “fighting the last war” in this kind of planning. Why defend hotels when restaurants, ball games, city buses, schools, churches, Rotary Club meetings, etc., all have similar vulnerabilities?  Let’s be really clear about exactly what the situation is.

If you have the slightest bit of imagination, you can think of ways to kill a lot of people that would be almost impossible to stop.

We have very high security at airports, but not so much at bus stations, train terminals, or school bus yards. Or shopping centers or swap meets or conventions or a thousand other large groups of people.

Our federal laws declaring schools to be “gun free zones” have only guaranteed a total lack of effective response if a group of terrorists with automatic weapons invades a school, college, or university, and just starts shooting until the SWAT teams arrive. We’ve had a taste of what just a single armed person can do at Virginia Tech. What could TEN do? or TWENTY? What if TEN terrorists went to ten different elementary schools in the same city and began shooting at the same time? Most cities don’t even HAVE ten SWAT teams.

A church in Colorado last year was victimized by a crazy shooter, stopped only because the church had armed people on duty. Dozens could have died that day, instead of the few that did before the shooter was stopped by an armed woman. What if on a nice Sunday morning in, say, Kansas City, ten churches were invaded by 2 shooters each, armed with automatic weapons and wearing body armor?

Consider carefully what can be done about this, and other scenarios that don’t involve exotic weapons or technology, but only widely available weapons, a little training (not as much as you might think) and a lot of determination. There are a hundred things that come to mind, from diesel-fertilizer bombs next to tanker trucks under overpasses to simple “shoot what moves” invasions of public spaces with large groups.

The Bush administration has been so successful in stopping terrorist plans on US soil that we’ve been lulled into a false sense of security, I think. And it may be that plans are hatching, right now, that will come to fruition in a year, or two, or five, of which we have no inkling. Here’s a sad part of it, for me: even if we have an event such as I described above, if the past is any guide, within 4-8 years we’ll have forgotten it, again, and talked ourselves into thinking the threat isn’t so great. And of course, there will be the usual crowd blaming the USA for it, in one way or another, just as there was after 9/11.

None of this even considers what can happen if a real game changer occurs, like Iran getting a nuclear weapon, or giving access to nuclear materials to terrorists, etc.

We have forgotten that which we swore never to forget. We’re going to be reminded. I hope we pay better attention next time, and remember the lesson longer… and don’t learn the wrong lesson from it.  I suspect that when these events begin to occur people will suddenly find themselves willing to consider countermeasures that they’ve been too dainty to entertain up to now.

In the meantime, I’m keeping my family living away from big cities.

Read this (ignore the dopey reviews that miss the main point by focusing on minutia unrelated to the central plot), and ask yourself if, even though it’s fiction, and a little license has been taken, if it seems all that outlandishly impossible?  Echoes of what happened in India are unmistakable.

Consider that another author’s book has an event that is eerily prescient about the 9/11 attacks (an airliner used as a weapon against the government), and was thought to be outlandish fiction at the time.  It turned out to be outlandishly true.

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One Response to “Some things can’t be stopped by “increased security” or “intelligence””

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