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Surviving a terror attack

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POSTED December 14, 2015 12:36 a.m.

About 20 years ago, I was Christmas shopping at a local mall. I had my kids with me and just as we were getting out of our car we heard a loud commotion. We heard screams and gunshots as the doors burst open and people began running for their lives. I especially recall one young father running with his toddler in his arms. It seems that a couple criminals decided to try a smash and grab at the jewelry department of one of the anchor stores. I quickly got the kids in the car and got the heck out of there.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s I served on the Ripon city council and a term as mayor. As in many city councils across the nation, when we met at city Hall, we sat behind desks at a raised dais, my council colleagues thought I was crazy when I kept suggesting that the back side of the dais be lined with armor plate. I consulted my local gun shop and asked Joe how thick the steel plate needed to be to stop a bullet from the typical automatic weapon. It was shortly after a city council in one of the Southern California desert towns got attacked by a disgruntled employee that my fellow council members finally agreed with me and had armored plating added to the dais.  I suspect that armor plating is now standard in all such facilities now.

Since the horrific attacks on innocent people in Paris, most of us knew it was just a matter of time until the U.S. got attacked in a similar fashion.  Sure enough, in San Bernardino, 14 innocent people were killed by maniacs firing automatic weapons and screaming “Allah Akbar”. The threat is now real and imminent, the question is, how can you protect yourself and your loved ones from a terror attack. After doing some research on the matter, it seems that most experts in such matters advise three major components to keeping you and your loved ones alive in such a situation. The three critical strategies are: Run, hide, and fight.

Let’s examine those three elements. Essentially the three elements boil down to a mindset called situational awareness. By paying attention to your surroundings and acting accordingly, you might just save lives, including your own. The first component, RUN, is pretty simple. As you are conducting your daily life, keep your eyes open for the nearest exit. Take note of fire exits, stair wells or service doors. Be prepared to get out at any time danger appears.

 The second survival component, HIDE, is equally simple. Constantly keep your eyes open for places you might take cover if an incident occurs. For example you might hide behind a desk or a sales counter, get behind a tree, or even dive into a fountain, anything to get you out of the line of fire. You might feel pretty silly jumping into a fountain, but if it keeps you alive, you’ll get over it. 

The third survival component in a terrorist situation, FIGHT, is a bit more complicated. I heard some commentator on TV suggest throwing things at the assailant, or blasting him with a fire extinguisher. If you’re desperate, almost anything is better than nothing. I’ll tell you what though, it’s a whole lot better to fight terrorists with a 45 auto or a 380 Ruger than it is to blast them with a fire extinguisher. If you don’t have a concealed carry permit, get one.  Get the training you need, and get a CCW permit if you possibly can. Contact your local Police Chief or Sheriff for more details.

Appropriately, you must take training classes to get a CCW permit. These classes are absolutely invaluable. They are usually taught by retired law enforcement experts and will give you a wealth of information that might help you save the life of someone you love. They will train you in the situational awareness mindset mentioned above, because the best confrontation of all is one you don’t get into! If the vigarow does hit the Mixmaster, you will have the basic skills to save lives. 

Get the training you need, get your CCW permit, and then carry your concealed weapon with you at all times. You can’t save your grandkids, if you haven’t got your weapon with you. Remember, the only thing that can stop a fanatic with a gun is a trained normal citizen with a gun. You think I’m paranoid?  Think it can’t happen here? Maybe so, but that’s most folks would have thought about a Christmas party in San Bernardino. You owe it to your loved ones to be able to protect them from harm.

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