The question really is:
Are ALL organizations and institutions at a greater risk of terror victimization and targeting?
But, do I really need to even ask this question?
Unfortunately, I do. There are still many who just will not understand violence and criminal victimization can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time.
The Growing Issue of Terrorism
The F.B.I. Definition of Domestic Terrorism:
“Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:
– Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
– Appear intended (I) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
The San Bernardino incident has already been labeled an “act of terror”.
Think about the specifics of this incident and you will see that:
ALL types of organizations are vulnerable in this country! Businesses, Churches, Schools, Universities, Medical Institutions, Associations, etc
Considering the Real Dangers
We need to seriously reconsider the way that we think about terror organizations and, when we do, it will likely significantly raise our already extremely worthwhile concerns about the dangers that they impose on our society.
Islamist Extremists have the following belief:
That their God given purpose in life is to eradicate the infidel; To rid the world of anyone who does not believe in what they believe in; and that “Mosque and state” should be one under the law.
Disclaimer – I don’t claim to be an expert on either the Muslim and/or Islamist religion(s) or the beliefs of the religion(s) so this is a very generalized overview and, as always, not meant to offend or judge anyone. And keep in mind that I am using the word “Extremist” to describe the associated subject(s).
Are Islamic Extremists Wrong?
Now, while many truly believe that what these Islamist Extremists are doing in killing the innocent is criminal, it is nonetheless, their true belief that they are doing what God is calling them to do. It is NOT, however, the belief of most non-Islamic Extremists. So… in our (those who do not share their beliefs) minds they are bad, and in their minds, we are bad! Their remedy and calling just happens to be far more barbaric and, in my opinion, very wrong! I have heard terrorists and gangs lumped into the same types of groups. This, I do not believe. Why? Because gangs know that what they are doing is wrong and they know that they are hurting and preying on defenseless people who have nothing more to offer them than their hard earned money and/or valuables. It’s no less cowardice than terrorism. However, from the standpoint of tactics they are very much alike. They won’t stand up and confront their adversary “man-to-man”. Rather, they attack by surprise, they attack in numbers, they attack those that they perceive to be weaker, and they attack the weaponless with weapons. The most significant difference, however, is the difference between the lawless and the law-abiding! The lawless do not care about being incarcerated; the lawful do! The lawless don’t care much about morals; the lawful do. It’s not a matter of tough vs weak!
The bottom line however, and what makes the terrorist extremely dangerous, is that they truly believe that their God-Driven purpose in life is to kill and, in exchange, their heavenly rewards will be great!
And again, we can say they are wrong and they can say that we are wrong. In the end, there is only one truth!
Think About the Nature of “Beliefs”
Think about, however, the extent to which we will go to to defend our beliefs and morals. Many die defending them, and will even suffer great sacrifice and loss to do so! Think, primarily, of our defense of freedom and democracy. We have many heroic men and women in this country who voluntarily go to war to defend “what they believe” and they kill defending this. Those willing to die for their beliefs present and tremendous danger to their “enemies”. This will give you a much better understanding of what we are dealing with.
This is a Different Kind of War!
When we go to war to defend our freedoms and democracy, there is a fairly defined battlefield and a fairly well defined and recognizable enemy. In most cases, they are those who have chosen to fight! In war, the typically well-defined enemy are considered “fair-game”. Everyone else is not!!!!
In the case of Islamic Extremists and their “Holy War”, there is neither a defined battlefield nor enemy. This makes everyone, everywhere a potential target. And we don’t have a definitive way of identifying our enemy! It can be a relative, friend, neighbor, or co-worker! This is such a difficult and highly dangerous fight!
Terrorists in America
So think about the life of an Islamist Extremist living in small town and big city America that cannot practically follow the ideal path to their dreams:
To travel to the middle east, join a terrorist organization, train with them, and ultimately go out to fight and die for their rewards.
This path is really only practically and realistically available to a fairly small handful.
The problem is that now there is a call for any Islamist Extremist to rise up and participate in this war by killing people RIGHT WHERE THEY LIVE. Now, they don’t have to travel a very UNREALISTIC dream path to earn their “heavenly” rewards. They are being called to earn their rewards no matter where they are and no matter how many they kill. This means that virtually anyone who chooses to join their fight can have a huge impact and their associated rewards by killing virtually anywhere, to include the smallest of towns all over the United States.
And what better a targets than Christian or other Non-Muslim faith-based organizations and their gathering places to include churches, schools, charities, associations, etc.?
Prepare Your Organization
So be vigilant, aware, prepared and have a plan that includes the training of your entire organization! If you have an incident of violence your numbers will be your advantage – but only if they (numbers) are properly prepared! And a vigilant, aware and properly prepared organization is far less likely to ever be a victim in the first place.
I will be following this article with one covering How the Israeli’s Keep Themselves Safe. I have always been a believer in learning from the Israeli’s; those who have been most successful in a world where this danger has existed for thousands of years. And they are pretty darn good at it! Stay tuned!