Benghazi… as it really happened

Benghazi… as it really happened.

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Terror in the Streets

As of now just about everyone who pays attention knows that there was a incident of “sudden jihad syndrome” in London yesterday where two men brutally murdered a British soldier.

What is being revealed today is that the two attackers did not attempt to flee or attack anyone else.  They waited about half an hour for armed police officers to respond to the scene of the murder where there was a brief standoff before the two suspects were wounded and incapacitated by the police.

During the half hour time-period, the video showing one of the terrorists spouting political rhetoric and walking about with brandished weapons and covered in blood was taken.

While this attack is brazen and frightening for Londoners, I noticed a few things.

One – even in London the police response is inexplicably lengthy and gave plenty of time for the terrorists to disappear and flee or cause mass casualties.

Two – (and this is commonly known) firearms are exceedingly rare in private ownership in Britain so there was no way for the citizenry to apprehend or detain these proven violent men without placing themselves at risk of great harm since one of the two was armed with a pistol and both were openly carrying knives.

Three – there are a number of men visible in the videos just across the street watching the two men. These men greatly outnumbered the two terrorists and could have overpowered and detained them forcefully if the group had decided to do so, yet they did not despite the barbaric nature of the initial act of violence.

Four – British women have bigger balls than British men.  A mother of two engaged the two terrorists in conversation to prevent them from getting more agitated.

Now my wife and I always joke that mothers especially are the biggest threat to violent people in the world because while husbands and fathers recognize their duty and responsibility to put their lives on the line and if necessary lay them down for their families; mothers have a greater responsibility to care and protect their children, which means that they will fight harder and more viciously in order to not just end the threat, but to walk away alive in order to continue caring for their children.

My only takeaway from this event, which is unfortunate for London and Britain, is that such an attack would likely end differently in the United States.  There is a different mindset here (as evidenced in the immediate aftermath of Boston, the tornadic devastation in Moore, and myriad other times).

Imagine such an attack in Richmond, Atlanta, Dallas, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Phoenix, or Indianapolis.  Each of those states permits lawful concealed carry.  Each of these major metropolises has devoted law enforcement professionals that will not wait to assemble en masse in order to confront two armed attackers, but will charge in alone if necessary to stop an active attack.  Those attackers would not have been free for thirty minutes to do whatever they wished… they would have found themselves staring down the barrel of a gun, or many guns, quickly.  Whether they were armed vigilant citizens or police would not matter.

For a country where it used to be a legal requirement that all able-bodied men must train for three hours daily in the use of an assault weapon, this is an embarrassment.

 

 

Paradigm Shift: Terrorism

**EDITED**

It was brought to my attention that perhaps I was being too harsh toward Bostonians as a whole, that families would need to be protected, and that putting what I laid out into practice was impractical and foolhardy.  Upon re-reading what I wrote from the perspective of someone undergoing the manhunt in their neighborhood, I partially agree.  I decided to edit this entry as a result.

Perhaps we’re approaching terrorism all wrong in this country.

Boston in Lockdown for Manhunt

Watertown, Mass. Shut Down in Manhunt for Second Boston Marathon Suspect

Two men (actually one since the older brother was killed in a shootout with police) are effectively holding the entire city of Boston and surrounding suburbs effectively under siege.  That’s approximately 4.5 million people.  Based on the city’s annual GDP, shutting down the entire city for a day will cost the Greater Boston area approximately $850,000,000 in economic production. One man – 4.5 million citizens effectively under siege – nearly one billions dollars of economic productivity lost.  All in the name of public safety.

What you have to consider is how this looks from the outside though.  The city is effectively shut down.  The people, while talking bravely, are acting cowardly by remaining locked up in their homes.  The economic impact alone is tremendous.  The 26 and 19 year old brothers suspected of the marathon bombing and the younger one, still wanted and freely roaming the streets of Massachusetts, serve as an example of a successful terrorist attack.

The impact that they have had is broad and multifaceted.  They took life suddenly, maimed dozens, and traumatically wounded the Boston Marathon for years to come in the minds, if not the hearts, of many despite the rhetoric and chest-beating by many after the fact.  The success of an hardly technical attack directly under the noses of hundreds of Boston police officers and other various agencies and directorates responsible for expressly preventing such attacks.  It immediately highlighted our vulnerabilities.  Future terror attempts will note that airports, aircraft, and firearms were unnecessary to cause terror and lock up a city in fear – common every day items properly combined are just as useful.

The economic impact will be painful as well, although it won’t be as immediately felt.

These observations are being taken by those that aspire to reproduce the same effects.  The means may be different next time, but these two managed to tie up the resources of nearly the entire state of Massachusetts, the FBI, DHS, and who knows what other agencies with little investment on their part.

The next time, the attack could come in NYC, or LA, or Chicago, Cleveland, or any number of other big cities.  The same lockdown and search approach will only further embolden the next attack as the costs in terms of manpower and wealth grow and the fear is just as insidious for those near the attack, despite whatever assurances they give themselves in the aftermath that they will continue living their lives with no changes, as city leaders order them to remain inside under a self-imposed siege in order to deny the benefit of crowds and a busy city to the fugitive on the run.

This from a supposed nation of minutemen?  Massachusetts, the home of the Minuteman, of Lexington Green, of Concord and the opening shots of the American Revolution 238 years old this very day?  The strength of Bostonians in the aftermath of the tragedy on Monday is remarkable, but this mandated lockdown denies the police their biggest ally in the fight to capture or kill the fugitive terrorist – the observant and wary citizenry of the city itself.  Every Bostonian had a reason to want this man located and stopped and to force them to remain docile and “sheltered in place” not only removed them from the equation, but it started a clock for the fugitive as the lockdown could only last so long before it was lifted (which it was shortly after I originally published the first version of this article).

Imagine the message that would’ve been sent and received loud and clear if those same Bostonians had been allowed to respond as their forefathers did 238 years ago today.  The way you stop the next terror event is not by locking up the people for their own protection, but by encouraging an overwhelming show that there will not be a NEXT event because the spirit of the minuteman still beats within the chests of every Bostonian.  Every citizen should have been encouraged to arm themselves and go about their day as usual, protected by those very arms wherever they were, with the vigilance that comes with moving about while armed, and the ability to not only report a sighting of the fugitive, but the ability to provide for your own protection without needing the police to risk their own lives on your behalf.  At the very minimum, such a display would be of the people’s liberty teeth, not as a threat against one another, but as a demonstration for all future terrorists that ANY future attacks will not be met by a voluntary siege, but rather by return fire from any and all angles.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

United States Constitution, Amendment II

That is the reason the Second Amendment was codified as second in the ten of the original Bill of Rights, so that the people are not reliant on benevolent police for their protection, but rather are able to provide for their own protection, so that terrorists and tyrants would forever know that their evil is not only unwelcome, but will be repelled and repulsed, not just by a select few, but by any and all of the citizenry.

Boston, I grieve for you.  I wish for your sake that your city leadership had encouraged you to help them beyond just staying out of their way and treating you as citizens – stakeholders in your city and state – rather than as subjects.

Liberty and Tyranny

I see the debate is framed here as it is in my own country; as a struggle between liberalism and conservatism.

Yet no matter how the struggle turns out, both the liberals and the conservatives feel frustration, no matter who “wins”, neither seem to enjoy the victory as “their” party fails to live up to its promises once in power.

You see there is another, less obvious, struggle at work in the body politic, and that is tyranny verses liberty. Tyranny is the natural course of professional politicians, whilst liberty is the heart’s cry of the populace.

Tyranny lives in the professional politician’s desire to remain in power, to increase his own personal power, and therefore the power of the central government over the people. He sells this through offering to lift the heavy burden of personal responsibility from off the shoulders of the populace.

The amount of this tyranny you allow is entirely based on the amount of personal responsibility you refuse to bear; for personal responsibility is the cornerstone of personal liberty. Surrender your personal responsibility to anyone or anything else, and that other controls your actions.

The true struggle of politics is therefore, how best to balance government control with personal responsibility. And the level of tyranny a people will abide is inversely proportional to their moral ability to shoulder personal responsibility.

Archbishop Cranmer

This is the essential issue at root in terms of our fight for maintaining liberty.  Every year, every election, every political cycle removes us more from our founding principles and ultimately will mutate this society from one of self-reliance, faith, and prudence, but to one of dependence, apathy, and lustful pursuits.

Someone once asked me why I think that the Second Amendment is the most important right codified in the Constitution. Why are guns so important?

Guns, weapons of war held in private citizens’ hands, are the ultimate manifestation in the modern age of personal responsibility and sovereignty, and once the people abdicate or curtail their personal responsibility and sovereignty, then they will have fallen further into tyranny and exposed themselves to more of it in the coming age.

The simple truth is that, while I remain armed and able to exercise lethal force not just in defense of myself, but of others, and of liberty as an whole, tyranny will be stopped.

In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.

Isaiah 54:14

Refuge

Today you will hear many people recount personal stories about 9-11-01, the day that Islamic terror filled the skies with malice, hatred, and evil manifested itself in a few dozen hijackers that killed thousands. 

You will hear about the stories of heroism where men and women alike rushed back into burning buildings to save those that needed help.  Those that stayed behind to ensure that everyone got out.

My story is not like that.

I learned of the first crash while sitting in my AFROTC class that morning.  We learned of it quickly, but the teacher, an Air Force Captain, seemed to believe it had been a small plane.  I left class and remember that day being so amazing.  It was a cerulean blue sky with not a single cloud in the air.

The grass was still green and it was a perfect day in Northwest Indiana.  I walked across campus to a career fair that was being held that day.  I remember the various booths – everything from companies that built machines for the medical industry, to car companies, to the military and other governmental agencies.

“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

Being in ROTC, I was just perusing at the time and hoping to score a few free t-shirts or plastic cups for my dorm room when I remember hearing something odd coming from one of the car companies’ display cars.  I reached in and turned the radio all the way up and heard the broadcaster panicking as the first tower collapsed.  I don’t remember running, but within minutes I was inside a building that was about a mile away and was rushing toward a television.  Someone had already turned on the news, although by then, the news was being broadcast everywhere you could look.  I watched in horror as the country I love, and my fellow Americans, stood helpless as the face of evil manifested itself that day in New York City, Arlington, Virginia, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Every single man and woman in the room came together.  Many cried.  Others couldn’t watch.  No one wanted to leave though because together we were stronger than we were by ourselves.  Color, sex, politics, philosophy, religion… none of it mattered at that moment.  I imagine everyone in that room wouldn’t have thought to identify as anything other than an American.  No hyphens, no exceptions, no additions.  An American.

Much has happened since that beautiful crystalline-skied day, but we still remember.

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed.

Psalm 57:1

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

 

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