The headline above comes to us from cbsnews.com. While I hardly expect the terrorist group known as ISIS to hijack airliners and fly them into buildings, I wouldn’t be surprised if they do something to kill a large number of Americans in America. I’m convinced that their horrific videos of brutality against their enemies are in small part responsible for their ability to achieve such enormous territorial gains in Iraq so quickly. What better way to enhance their fearsome rep than an attack on U.S. soil? Anyway, if not them, someone. And I reckon that the most likely “style” of attack is . . .
A Mumbai-like massacre by a coordinated team of armed assailants in an American mall. The International Council of Shopping Centers (icsc.org) reckons America is home to some 109,500 malls.
I’m sure the heavy hitters (e.g. the Mall of America) have re-examined their active shooter plans. But I see no evidence that smaller centers have taken the threat seriously. They really should . . .
Malls are fiendishly difficult to protect. They have dozens of entrances and exits, hundreds of hiding places (including hidden corridors), a small, lightly armed and poorly-trained police force and thousands of unarmed civilians. The Mumbai attack not only proved a mall attack can be done but that it can be done successfully. As far as the terrorists are concerned.
Two questions: are you ready and what happens after that?
In terms of readiness, the most effective strategy is to avoid malls. You may consider that “surrendering” to the terrorists. You may feel you have little choice when your kids NEED that new outfit. But there it is. How about going off-peak? Where’s the fun in that, Dad.
After that, situational awareness is key. Are you looking for trouble and do you have an escape route planned? It’s also not a bad idea to have a firearm on your person (and an escape route sussed) both in general and for this potential series of unfortunate
Not that you have a realistic chance of ending a terrorist attack with your gun.
A firearm may provide extra options for egress (i.e. shooting bad guys determined to block your passage) or a last ditch defense against a lethal threat or threats. But you are not a one-man army and you’re facing a squad of trained, determined killers. Even so, better to have one than not.
Oh wait. Most malls are gun-free zones. Whether or not you can carry in a mall depends on your state’s laws and the mall. On the positive side, even those malls with posted legally-binding “No Guns” signs aren’t likely to prosecute a legal concealed carry weapon owner – unless the guy or gal packing heat commits a crime other than simple trespassing. And, as they say, concealed means concealed.
One thing to keep in mind: a terrorist attack is NOT the same as your garden variety active shooter nutcase incident. It will be coordinated. Once the attack begins, the terrorists – plural – will have a plan to prevent people from escaping. They may block the exits, shoot people as they head to exits or blow up people as they attempt to exit. So consider your exit strategy very carefully.
Don’t just rush headlong for egress. Take some time to decide the safest course of action. Also, keep your gun concealed as long as possible. When the cops come in hot they will shoot anyone holding a gun. Period.
I hope the day never comes when terrorists attack America. Again. Realistically, I hope in vain. As I asked above, I wonder about the post-attack response. Will it be legislation to make it easier indeed possible for more citizens to carry concealed or more government-empowering gun control laws? I suspect the answer is yes.