Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lessons to be learned from the Orlando terrorist attack

We've discussed terror attacks like that last night at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on numerous occasions in these pages.  Suffice it to say that anyone with two brain cells to rub together knew that something like this was coming.  Furthermore, it won't be an isolated event.  More such attacks will follow.  Our terrorist enemies have already promised that - and every time they've made that promise, they've kept it.  We know they're coming.  The question is, are we - we as individuals, not just as a society - prepared to do something about it?

Again, I've written extensively about this in the past.  I'm going to recapitulate some of the most important points, and refer to articles to which I've linked in the past, in the hope that I might reach some readers who may have forgotten (or ignored) our previous discussions.

1.  In 2003, John Farnam gave some excellent advice about keeping yourself safe.  We've mentioned it before.  Here it is again.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis, particularly in the light of the Orlando attack.

The best way to handle any potentially injurious encounter is: Don’t be there. Arrange to be somewhere else. Don’t go to stupid places. Don’t associate with stupid people. Don’t do stupid things. This is the advice I give to all students of defensive firearms. Winning a gunfight, or any other potentially injurious encounter, is financially and emotionally burdensome. The aftermath will become your full-time job for weeks or months afterward, and you will quickly grow weary of writing checks to lawyer(s). It is, of course, better than being dead or suffering a permanently disfiguring or disabling injury, but the “penalty” for successfully fighting for your life is still formidable.

Crowds of any kind, particularly those with an agenda, such as political rallies, demonstrations, picket lines, etc are good examples of “stupid places.” Any crowd with a high collective energy level harbors potential catastrophe. To a lesser degree, bank buildings, hospital emergency rooms, airports, government buildings, and bars (particularly crowded ones) fall into the same category. All should be avoided. When they can’t be avoided, we should make it a practice to spend only the minimum time necessary there and then quickly get out.

“A superior gunman is best defined as one who uses his superior judgment in order to keep himself out of situations that would require the use of his superior skills.”

There are doubtless those who'll say that to avoid places like the Pulse nightclub is to give into terrorism.  If any of my readers wish to think that way, be my guest.  The fact remains that in an environment where terrorist attack is possible, even likely, that sort of place is a STUPID place to be - particularly because a 'gay bar' is anathema to fundamentalist Muslim terrorists, who will be more likely to attack such targets.  Therefore, choose your recreation destinations wisely.

2.  If you allow yourself to be disarmed, the consequences are on your own head.  If that was forced upon you (e.g. you had to use an airport, or a hospital, or some other place that you couldn't avoid), I have some sympathy for you.  If your choice to be disarmed was voluntary (as in, for example, going to a shopping mall or nightclub where no weapons are allowed), then I have little sympathy for you.  You made your bed;  now you have to lie on it, and you can't blame anyone else if you don't find it comfortable or safe.

Remember Officer Smith's advice?  We've discussed it, and similar recommendations, before.

Buy a gun. Get a bat. Own some weapon and have enough skill to use it to save your own life and the lives of your family members. DO NOT RELY ON THE POLICE TO SAVE YOUR LIFE FOR YOU.

There's more at the link.  Read it all.  It's important.

If you absolutely have to go somewhere that doesn't allow weapons, ask yourself very seriously whether you have any other choice.  If you do, take it.  If you have no other choice, ask yourself equally seriously what your life's worth to you.  I'm not going to recommend that you break the law, or the establishment's rules;  that's a decision each of us has to make for him- or herself.  Nevertheless, I made my decision long ago.  I will not be disarmed unless I absolutely have no other choice in the matter.  It's as simple as that.

If you can't carry a gun, consider alternatives.  At the very least, I'm going to have some of this stuff available - the largest size I can conceal.  (I highly recommend the gel or foam option, rather than the spray, because the former are less likely to blow back in your face or fill a room with gas, thereby affecting you as well.  I particularly recommend this option for maximum concealment, because it comes with a second training unit that you can use to familiarize yourself with its use.  There's no time to start learning when the proverbial brown substance has already hit the rotary air impeller.)  I'll also have something like this on my keyring, to turn it into a useful defensive weapon in an emergency.  (Punch someone in the eye with something like that, and they're not going to be concentrating on you for a while.  They're going to be too busy bleeding and screaming.  I know.)

Those are bare minimum options.  Whenever and wherever possible, I'll have more - and more effective - alternatives as well.  I've got to the point where if I can't take a gun with me, I'll very seriously question whether it's worth going somewhere.  Think that's paranoid?  Tell that to the clubbers at Pulse last night.

3.  Surrender is never an option.

Handing over your life by surrendering to someone who is in the process of committing a violent crime against you is a form of suicide. Some survive but many do not. The monster gets to decide for you.

. . .

You cannot expect mercy from someone who does not know what mercy is.

. . .

If you resist with a commitment to win you may well prevail, especially if you are armed and trained. If you lose it is still better to die fighting in place than to be taken prisoner and have your head cut off with a dull knife while your screams gurgle through your own blood as we have witnessed on numerous videos from the “Islamic practitioners of peace,” as well as the Mexican drug cartels.

. . .

How will you respond if you are confronted by evil as some of us have been in the past and some of us will be in the future? If you have not decided ahead of time what you will do, you will likely do nothing.

There's much more at the link.  Go read it all.

4.  The late, great Jeff Cooper had a succinct answer to such evil in our midst.

We can speculate at length upon why this foulness has come upon us so strikingly at this point in our history, but I doubt that any incontrovertible conclusion will result ... But such speculation is academic. We have the problem; never mind why. What shall we do about it?

. . .

The man to protect you is you. Not the state, not the agent of the state, and not your hired hand—YOU!

. . .

Still we hear, over and over again, that we should not be armed, that we should not resist, that we should rely on the police for our personal safety—that our best answer to violence is to give up. Such drivel demands a stronger stomach than mine.

One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that "violence begets violence." I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure—and in some cases I have—that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.

Your best protector is you! The obvious way to eradicate crime is to eradicate criminals, but neither the lawgivers nor the constabulary seem inclined to do this. The man who elects to prey upon society deserves no consideration from society. If he survives his act of violence, he rates a fair trial—but only to be sure that there has been no mistake about his identity. If he is killed in the act, there can be little doubt about whose act it was.

. . .

Laws are not the answer. We have laws against murder. We have laws against kidnapping. We have laws against extortion. And murder, kidnapping, and extortion are on the rise. The answer, it seems to me, is wrath. Let the thug take his chances with an alert, prepared, and angry citizenry. It may very well spoil his whole career.

This is not a call for vigilantism: It is a call for self-reliance.

Again, more at the link.  Read it all.

5.  Jeffrey Snider once called America 'A Nation of Cowards'.  Judging by the behavior of so many people at the Pulse! nightclub last night, he wasn't far wrong.

"Cowardice" and "self-respect" have largely disappeared from public discourse. In their place we are offered "self-esteem" as the bellwether of success and a proxy for dignity. "Self-respect" implies that one recognizes standards, and judges oneself worthy by the degree to which one lives up to them. "Self-esteem" simply means that one feels good about oneself. "Dignity" used to refer to the self-mastery and fortitude with which a person conducted himself in the face of life's vicissitudes and the boorish behavior of others. Now, judging by campus speech codes, dignity requires that we never encounter a discouraging word and that others be coerced into acting respectfully, evidently on the assumption that we are powerless to prevent our degradation if exposed to the demeaning behavior of others. These are signposts proclaiming the insubstantiality of our character, the hollowness of our souls.

It is impossible to address the problem of rampant crime without talking about the moral responsibility of the intended victim. Crime is rampant because the law-abiding, each of us, condone it, excuse it, permit it, submit to it. We permit and encourage it because we do not fight back, immediately, then and there, where it happens. Crime is not rampant because we do not have enough prisons, because judges and prosecutors are too soft, because the police are hamstrung with absurd technicalities. The defect is there, in our character. We are a nation of cowards and shirkers.

. . .

Our society suffers greatly from the beliefs that only official action is legitimate and that the state is the source of our earthly salvation. Both liberal and conservative prescriptions for violent crime suffer from the "not in my job description" school of thought regarding the responsibilities of the law-abiding citizen, and from an overestimation of the ability of the state to provide society's moral moorings. As long as law-abiding citizens assume no personal responsibility for combating crime, liberal and conservative programs will fail to contain it.

Go read the rest.

It is cowardice to allow terrorists to proceed unhindered.  If it hadn't been for the presence of an off-duty police officer last night, who returned fire and drove the terrorist into a restroom (where he took hostages), thus preventing him from killing others in the main body of the building, the death toll would likely have been far higher.  I have nothing but praise for that off-duty officer . . . but why the hell didn't others get involved as well?  It matters not that they were unarmed (although they should have been, as discussed earlier).  By choosing not to fight terror, they gave in to terror.  Even if they were unarmed, if enough of them had tackled him, some would have lived long enough to get to him and take him down.  By choosing to run, they abandoned others to evil.  How can they live with themselves this morning?

These are the lessons I've learned (yet again!) from last night's terrorist attack.  How about you, dear reader?  Let us know in Comments.



Guffaw in AZ said...


Something I am already doing, barring the interference of metal detectors.
Just signage? Ignore it.

Easy Peasy.


Snoggeramus said...

Over in Australia, those of us on social media are taking our own cynical bets on who the leftist media will draw blame upon this time. The protected-species homosexual community or the we-dare-not-offend-them Muslim community? They're probably wrestling with themselves at this very moment as to what angle to take. Should be interesting to watch.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the #1 lesson.


Old NFO said...

Lessons relearned... Everyone SHOULD read every link! THank you Peter.

Jon said...

I live in a small town, lacking some things but there is always amazon. Don't go to the mall in Austin. I go to Church, where the priest has no problem with people carrying. Hell, our previous Parish Council Chairman and Vice Chairman carried.

Mike said...

why the hell didn't others get involved as well?

Um, don't forget where this attack took place. The "others" probably weren't MMA fighters or NRA members.

Ender said...

@Snoggeramus I think it's pretty clear what angle they're going to take. It's the same angle they always take no matter who actually did the killing: blame the guns and conservatives.

Anonymous said...

The response by the potential presidential candidaes will prove telling. The response will sway a lot of votes.

BTW, Ramadan in 2016 will start on Monday, the 6th of June and will continue for 30 days until Tuesday, the 5th of July.

Anonymous said...

Apparently there may be other stuff in the pipeline:


Anonymous said...

This is the starting days of ramadown, so this IS to be expected for the next month or so, then forever.
Not one soul in that club had a weapon for self defense.
So, this is exactly what islam looks for in their attacks.
Then when it does happen, it is NEVER islam that is at fault.
It is ALWAYS guns that are the problem and islamophobia that has caused all of these murders.
Fracken libturds!!

Anonymous said...

The Orlando Police took three hours to clear the nightclub.

How many bled out in those three hours?
How many more inside the club were shot?
I thought they learned that was a mistake after Columbine?

Anonymous said...

You are on your own. You are the only one that can rescue yourself, your family, your friends.
Do not expect the police to save you. They will move at their own pace, following their own plans.
Three hours. Three long, bloody hours.

Will said...


I suggest a new rule for the police/deputies: If you arrive at the mass shooting scene, and don't enter in a timely fashion, you lose your .gov job, permanently.

If directed to the scene, and don't arrive in a timely fashion, your job goes away, also.

In other words, do your F'n job properly. If you don't think you can handle that sort of problem, leave now.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the comment about charging the gun man. I think I read 325 people were there - not one patron attempted to stop him ? I cannot think of a nobler way to die then attempting to save innocent lives.

Our condolences to those who suffered any injuries or losses.

Anonymous said...

Not the least bit surprised that this only source of surprise is that something like this hasn't happened sooner.

Someone said that the likely clientele of this bar would not tend to include NRA members or MMA fighters.

So? You don't have to be either of those to fight back. 1 gunman, 300+ people? Look around where you're sitting right now. How many things could you pick up and throw? Think about a nightclub environment. There's glasses, bottles, chairs, tables. Do you think the gunman would have kept shooting if everyone had started pelting him with beer bottles? Even if there was nothing to throw, rushing him and dog-piling him would have stopped him far sooner than he was otherwise stopped.

Yes, I'm monday-morning-quarterbacking this. I understand and accept that it's very easy for me to sit here, without bullets flying around, and say what people could have or should have done. But it's the same lessons as could/should have been learned in the wake of other mass shootings. The same things that have been said about previous incidents, how they could have been stopped far sooner if people had tried something, anything, to shut the shooter down, rather than turning and trying to run...which isn't going to be effective in a nightclub environment anyway!

As Peter has said, and as the linked articles have said, if you have to go to "stupid" places, think ahead about what you're going to do if something were to happen. Encourage others you're with to do the same. And maybe, just maybe, the next time someone opens fire in a public place, there will be a few people there who have given this some thought, and the body count will be far, far, lower.

Scott H said...

The finger pointing has already started. Yesterday the preacher at the church I attend blamed Christianity for both this attack and the Holocost. I walked out in the middle of his sermon.

Stu Garfath. Sydney. said...

Snoggeramus, we both know that here in Australia, pretty much most of the people you see in the street are perfect targets for ANY nasty bastard who has ill intentions.
Virtually all of them are walking around 'fat, dumb, and happy'.
They are completely switched off, mentally, visually and physically, they have absolutely no clue about situation awareness, none at all, they are the perfect targets.

Look at the video taken of the mentally disturbed male who had a large carving knife a couple of days ago here in Sydney, his intent was to attack and carve up any Police officer he could get at, as he was walking through a market place, and up until the time he had to be shot by a Police officer, NO ONE DID ANYTHING to distract or stop him, not one person acted in a decisive way to stop him!.
Welcome to Australia.

Anonymous said...

Being a supposed smart, strategic, military man, I'm surprised you only have one response, get a gun. It's a complicated issue which requires more than just arming oneself. I would think the ideal would be to not have to carry a gun because one might need to defend oneself. You have surrendered to the defeatist attitude of violence. I guess you like living in a country where over 30,000 people a year die by gunshot. Sad.

Bibliotheca Servare said...

Wow. First, that 30,000 Stat is BS, unless you include suicides, and even then it's not really accurate, second, yes the ideal is to "not have to carry a gun because one might need to defend oneself" but guess what? We don't live in an ideal world, mate! We live in the real world, and choosing to remain defenseless because "violence r bad!1!" will not change that. By the way, "get a gun" was not Mr. Grant's "one response"! He even *listed* his advice for you, my good man! For instance "avoid places where a terrorist attack might be predicted to occur, such as malls and gay bars" (paraphrase. My apologies Mr. Grant) and so on! But stating that it's better to be armed -and practiced in the use of that arm- when one is *not* "surrendering to the defeatist attitude of violence" (What a convoluted, tortured sentence, by the it's basic logic. Better to be unarmed and helpless or armed and capable of defending oneself? Hmmm...that *is* a toughie, ain't it? *derisive snort* Being armed does not mean that you are a mass murderer waiting to happen. It means you are a rational, practical person who declines to be dependent on others to protect them from the monsters under the bed. I, sadly, am not yet equipped to defend myself as well as I wish I were...chronic illness has meant delaying many things I wish I could have done and experienced, and training in self defense and the use of firearms is not the most painful of the things on that list...but it's also one of the easier (in terms of knowing where to start. I'm not suggesting that the training is easy) things to remedy, and as I'm getting a better handle on my health issues I plan to work on that issue, because I dislike being unequipped to defend myself and others should the need arise. You evidently feel differently. So be it. But spare us your concern trolling, please. ;-)