Insights and Perspective from AlertsUSA:
The events in Aurora, Colorado were tragic on many levels and our prayers go up for all of those impacted by this terrible incident.
As the Nation struggles to understand what has happened, and why, we felt it was important to step back and point out that multiple arms of the USGOV have been warning of this type attack for over a decade. Not just once or twice, but multiple times yearly in a variety of different types of widely distributed alerts, warnings, advisories and intelligence bulletins, not to mention the innumerable conferences, trade shows, training courses, trade rags and all of the other normal methods of professional information exchange.
Not only do law enforcement agencies large and small receive these intelligence products and train for such eventualities, but often the information is shared directly with private sector businesses of all sizes. This includes movie theaters, sporting venues, restaurants, schools, etc.. And there is good reason.
In 2002 a Moscow theater was raided by a group of approximately 50 armed Chechens. They took 850 hostages and demanded the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya. The siege lasted 2.5 days. Approximately 170 people died with hundreds more injured. This got everyone's attention.
Then there was the school hostage crisis in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia in 2004. This one involved the capture of 1,100 people, 380 of which died in the end.
More recently, the Mumbai terror attack of 2008 was a series of 11 coordinated shooting and bombing strikes across India's second largest city, including at the iconic Taj Mahal hotel, a Jewish community center and, you guessed it, a movie theater. In total, the attacks lasted 3 days, killed 164 and wounded more than 300.
Sometimes USGOV government warnings specifically call out the potential threat posed to movie / performance theaters (the most recent of which was in May, 2012), sometimes not, though they are easily be understood to be included in a category known as 'soft targets'. For example, take these two boilerplate paragraphs from the most recent Worldwide Caution issued by the State Department (they have appeared in publicly available State Dept cautionary and warning statements for years):
Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.
U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services. In the past, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City.
The simple fact is that we live in a troubled, dangerous world crawling with equally troubled, dangerous people. Some will blame guns for the violence, which is about as stupid as blaming pencils for spelling errors. Guns may be a tool or weapon used to commit a crime, but so can a box cutter, butter knife, pencil or rolled up issue of Oprah Magazine.
Nope. The problem is far more complex. America is now a culture that celebrates violence and the lack of personal responsibility. From the degrading, violent lyrics of rap music to the celebration and elevation of thug culture (even by our elected officials), from incredibly violent video games widely available for sale or rent to the many broken homes without a stable, disciplining hand of a father, what the hell should we expect? This culture of violence in entertainment and media was many years in the making and is now firmly entrenched in our society. No sane adult should be surprised we are experiencing a national surge in serious violence.
So as our country tumbles around in the dirt trying to score political points, affix blame and cobble together knee jerk legislative responses, we have a few recommendations of our own.
Most importantly, learn to defend yourself and loved ones. This is a most basic human necessity. The entire Colorado incident should be a serve as yet another stern reminder of how important this is becoming in America. If you expect the police, government or someone else to be your protector, you dramatically increase your chances of becoming a victim. And the times are only going to get worse.
Our next suggestion, perhaps just as important as learning to defend oneself and family, is to increase your threat awareness. These days, it is essential. Know what is going on in the world and in this country. Stay informed of current events and threats. Develop a collection of reliable information tools and resources (alternative sources, don't trust MSM with your safety) and use them. If you are a regular Threat Journal reader and subscribe to AlertsUSA you are off to a great start.
Remember: If you are alert to threats brewing today, you have an excellent chance of avoiding danger tomorrow.
Have a safe week.