We’re not here to cover the attack. We’re here to cover the aftermath.
Having already discussed ISIS, radicalization, and the OPSEC (OPerational SECurity, the ability to keep the whole plan private) both involve in July’s Tactical Review: Radicalized there is almost no reason to go back over it since virtually all of Radicalized fits in the case of the San Bernadino shooting (the suspects weren’t on anybody’s radar to any great extent, they were radicalized by ISIS, etc. etc.) almost to the letter.
If there is a noticeable trend in the aftermath of the San Bernadino shooting, it is the now irrefutable trend of police asking citizens to arm themselves and for off-duty police to carry always. That is how we return to the Midnight Run. This week, we have everybody from INTERPOL, Snellville, GA, From Detroit to Milwaukee, and from Arizona to the campus of Liberty University.
We don’t even have to touch on the politics of the last few weeks much, since Congress very quickly shut down gun control measures and the President is reverting to the take-my-ball-and-going-home method of executive ordering things he can’t get passed. So that’s nice of all involved.
Let’s get started.
1.) INTERPOL. Let’s start with the old classic. Shortly after the 2013 mall siege in Kenya, the leader of INTERPOL, an international police organization, gave an interview to ABC News in which he pondered whether an “armed citizenry” would be needed to more quickly mitigate attacks like the siege. He said there were really only two possible ways to confront terror on a micro level:
“Societies have to think about how they’re going to approach the problem,” Noble said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”
2.) US police. Also in 2013, the Law Enforcement-facing news service PoliceOne did a survey of 15,000 law enforcement officers in a first-of-its-kind story. The vast majority of those polled saw concealed carry as a much better alternative to gun laws, which respondents believed would have little to no effect on overall crime. (Side note: We don’t do “gun crime” here. “Gun crime” falling is irrelevant if other violent crime is surging.) In short, the belief was that physical security is effective, and “assault weapons bans” and similar laws are useless.
3.) Detroit. Detroit is, overall, a fairly violent city with only St. Louis having a higher murder rate. (Again, note that the focus is on the criminal act of murder, not what the weapon is because the weapon is irrelevant.) That being said, the chief of police there has told the press that he believes an armed citizenry would make terrorists think twice about attacking Detroit as they did Paris.
“A lot of Detroiters have CPLs (concealed pistol licenses), and the same rules apply to terrorists as they do to some gun-toting thug,” Chief James Craig said. “If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens.”
Oakland University criminal justice professor Daniel Kennedy agreed that terrorists would be reluctant to attack armed citizens.
“We don’t have laboratories where we can test these theories, but there is something to the argument that terrorists want a high body count — and if they can only shoot a few people before they’re taken out themselves, it wouldn’t have the kind of impact they want.
He reiterated that viewpoint today, during an appearance on FOX News.
4.) Sheriffs. The Sheriff of Ulster County, NY (about 100 miles from NYC) made headlines this week after urging those able to carry to do so. He also asked all police officers (including off-duty and retired) to carry as well.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, never one to mince words or take a soft approach to criminal activity, largely echoed these sentiments, asking citizens to “take action” in the event of an attack in a video posted on Facebook.
5.) Snellville. In Georgia, the Snellville Police Department is taking it a step further. Like virtually everyone else on this brief, the Department asks off-duty police to carry, but Snellville went further asking civilians to both carry and step up their training. Interestingly, the Facebook post also links to Georgia Carry; which both an information clearinghouse for GA gun laws and an advocacy group in favor of loosening gun laws.
6.) Milwaukee. Sheriff David Clarke, quite possibly the only sheriff more outspoken than Joe Arpaio, produced a radio ad in 2013 urging citizens to learn the law and learn how to use a gun.
, Clarke tells residents personal safety isn’t a spectator sport anymore, and that “I need you in the game.”
“With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” Clarke intones.
“You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back.”
Clarke urges listeners to take a firearm safety course and handle a firearm “so you can defend yourself until we get there.”
“You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?”
The ad didn’t go without controversy. With some critics wondering aloud if Clarke was auditioning for a Dirty Harry film.
7.) Liberty University. In a semi-awkwardly phrased speech, the head of Liberty University urged students, staff, and even visitors (all of whom, obviously, who were properly licensed) to carry on campus. He told the audience “I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed-carry permits we could end those Muslims before they walk in and kill.”
He later clarified that he meant “terrorists” not all Muslims.
8.) Gun control. With all that in mind, where does gun control fit in? Quite frankly, it doesn’t. As discussed back in Radicalized, terrorism breaks all conventional rules. The San Bernadino shooters not only had thousands of rounds of ammo but also purpose-built explosives. In addition, their OPSEC was incredible. They weren’t on anybody’s radar, barely anybody knew what they were actually doing, and they managed to stockpile everything without raising any noticeable suspicion. All of the gun laws proposed require transactions to be done over-the-table, not under it. A straw purchase, that is, the purchase of a gun by someone who lies on a form to get a gun for someone else, is already a very serious Federal crime.
Additionally, terrorism has, by definition, no respect for the laws of the society it intends to attack. The whole purpose of terrorism is to change how a society thinks by way of violent action. Gun control/”gun safety”/”gun violence prevention” operates exclusively in the area terrorism cares least about. It doesn’t operate in the field of tactics, we do. It doesn’t look at the cause of violence (outside of basically saying the gun made the person shoot, in a fetishistic manner Linoge has captured beautifully on multiple occasions over at Walls Of The City), while we do. It operates in emotion, self-defense advocates operate in logic and, again, tactics.
Its lone pillar, the US terrorism watchlist, is itself a violation of a person’s right to due process (requiring nothing but “reasonable suspicion” to be secretly added) and includes a ton of people who shouldn’t be on it More than a million names are on the “watchlist” as of late last year.
Gun control, as a concept, is stunningly ill-equipped for the terrorism debate. The rules it proposes are rules that don’t apply in the first place.
9.) Bottom line. Wishing absolutely no disrespect to firefighters, police, and EMS teams, the name “first responder” is a bit misleading. Generally the people able to respond to something first are the people around it; the motorists around a car crash, the individuals around someone entering cardiac arrest, or the neighbor with the fire extinguisher. So it is with unlawful violence. Police, especially Sheriff Clarke, have made a point of saying that they would prefer citizens respond themselves and do what they can until help can arrive. They aren’t the first responders. We can be, and the police want us to be.
Now, more than ever, we need to start acting like it.
Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.