Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Reasoning will not work.
There is a spate of terrorist attacks happening in Western Europe currently. Anyone following the news will know of the stabbings, beheadings, shootings, and in the recent past, ramming with trucks and cars. It will get worse the closer we get to supposedly Christian holidays, i.e. Christmas Day. I wish not to enter into debate on why the attacks are taking place but logic should tell you, and this is confirmed by numerous debriefings, that the continued drone and aerial bombing of Muslims, killing mostly innocents, is behind most of the revenge attacks. There is also no way that a devout follower of Islam will easily accept an insulting caricature of the Prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him, being printed widely in Western newspapers. Be that as it may, terrorism is not the answer. However, it might be the logical consequence of exceptionally poor foreign policy decisions of the countries now under counterattack.
I am often asked what to do when you are trapped in a situation where a man (or men) goes on a rampage. To answer properly, we need to look at terrorism history. There was a time, and it is still with us, that Jews were automatically targeted, and I mean targeted. They would be separated from other hostages (Entebbe, July 1976), and the rest (at times) told to depart. Since the Nairobi Mall attack, 2013, this has changed. Terrorism evolved and became even worse since everyone is targeted. Since Nairobi, where 68 innocents died, the captives are asked questions about the Holy Koran and if answering correctly, released. If answering wrongly, death follows quickly after. That is the face of terrorism today.
The conclusion then is that these attacks are killing sprees without a hostage-taking objective. Therefore, you have only one choice and that is to flee and hide if possible. Reasoning will not work. Negotiating will not work. Should you be close enough to physically intervene, and able to do so, then that is a path to consider. Know that such a decision might cost you your life and so it is up to you to decide. There might also be more than one attacker. On the positive side, the terrorists are almost never well trained and probably not expecting to be attacked by their victims. Again, this is a decision to be made at the time. Note please also that the police responders will be in a highly nervous state and prone to shoot first if rushed or disobeyed. They need to be approached with care and in a non-threatening manner. Some will freeze, as we saw in the US more than once, unable to respond as trained and expected. At the end of the day, your survival is your own affair. It is for you to know what to do.
Should you wish to read more on this subject, my book, Terrorist Takedown, deals with terrorism scenarios. Also read my friend, George M James, Code Name Wrangler, and many more of his books from which you will learn a lot. Or attend our hostage prevention and survival briefing where we go into great detail on what to do and what not to do.
Let us keep safe.
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