Tactical Review: Shock Value

“What is the world coming to?”
“Who could target teens and children?”
“What sort of person would do this?”

These questions littered social media in the wake of the terror attack in Manchester, England. As this was an attack by an ISIS militant and extremist, the answer was very simple.

The people who could do such a thing are the types who see it as part of a larger strategy. Who fully accept that they may be killed in the process, and indeed see that as an end in itself.

This week, we tackle both events. As usual, we will take a clinical approach to both, focusing on tactics and motives.

1.) Suspects. Shortly after the Manchester attack, Britian’s terror alert system was raised to its highest level, indicating the belief that additional attacks were imminent.

The suspect had traveled to Libya for three weeks, only being in the UK for a few days before executing the attack, according to US officials. Essentially, the theory is that the suspect was radicalized in Libya, in order to carry out attacks in England. This is in-line with recent developments suggesting that the UK government was warned about British extremists returning home.” As we have discussed previously, the primary ISIS tactic, regardless of how the attack is perpetrated, is to radicalize someone, whether by propaganda online or directly in person. This presents a number of challenges for most Western societies, and will (and has) pushed immigration to the forefront in the UK’s coming election, as well as reheating the discussion in the United States. (The UK General Election is still slated for June 8.)

It is also worth noting that, while the suspect may have perpetrated the attack alone, he did not work towards it alone. Police in Britain have made what they call “significant arrests” in locating a network that surrounded the suspect and helped him acquire the materials needed for the attack. The network could be fairly large, as recent government reports have suggested upwards of 23,000 jihadists live in Britain.

2.) Location/Victims. The goal of terrorism is to shock and horrify a society; to completely offend every last one of its values and to engage in violent behavior against extremely vulnerable parts of that society. Ariana Grande is seen as a pop star popular with younger audiences (a “favourite of pre-teens” as one source put it), and as such many teens and younger were in the audience when the attack occurred.

Previous attacks throughout Europe have included the attack on Parliament, the Nice bombings, and the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015.

None of which explicitly targeted children and teenagers as this one did. This, as Stratfor’s Fred Burton points out, represents a clear shift in strategy for the terrorist group.

Described at it’s most basic level, the event was a night of entertainment for younger people and (presumably) their families. The attack sent the double-message of making otherwise innocent events like that one a nightmare and showing no compunction against killing teens and children.

And, as there is clearly a network of conspirators, both facts were accepted as necessary for people who saw it as part of a broader strategy. We view it as shocking, we see it as a depraved act and the product of madness.

They see it as a key tactic in terrifying a society and making it appear very, very vulnerable. The definition of “terrorism.”

It’s also worth noting something else in terms of the location; multiple reports suggest that the security at the venue did not check bags, and that this had been a concern weeks in advance.

3.) Final thoughts.. The purpose of this Review is to demonstrate that we’re dealing with people who hold no regard for their life or anyone else’s, and who seek to exploit as many holes in a free society’s laws as they can to achieve their own ends.

It is also to demonstrate that they are not monolithic. There is a network, there are motives, and there are ways to deal with terrorism. Already we’ve seen calls for the British people to gain the right to self-defense that we have in the US.

Shock, horror, and anger are exactly the reactions ISIS is looking for. While there are certainly reasons for such emotion in the wake of the attack, there is also a much stronger avenue against such attacks. By analyzing the weakpoints exploited by the suspects, their tactics, their motives, and in general their strategy; we can see a pattern forming and devise ways to counter the threat.

But, in order to do that, we must remember to do two things above all else: stop thinking of ISIS as a monolithic, almost ethereal entity, and continue to demonstrate strength in the face of a threat that has the explicit purpose of shattering us.

And as always…

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.


Springfield Armory addresses the current controversy with a slick video, a PD in Texas holds a gun buyback, and a torrent of lawsuits planned for Campus Carry in Georgia. Plus, a new bill that would force the death penalty for anybody who murdered police.

1.) Springfield Armory. A long, complication story that was exhaustively covered over at AR15.com has apparently culminated in a slick video from one of that controversy’s main targets. My InSov colleague at This Is The Line found a video Springfield has released trying to both do some serious damage control and reaffirm the company’s support for the Second Amendment.

At this point, you either believe them or you don’t.

2.) Gun Buybacks. For some reason, the police department in Fort Worth, Texas held a gun buyback today. Any guns, $50 gift card, no questions asked.

Not much more to say on that, really. We all know that gun buybacks don’t accomplish their stated goal.

3.) Blue Blood. A bill that would essentially make attempted murder or murder of a first responder a death sentence passed the House this week. Critics call the bill redundant, and argue that it could drive a deeper divide between law enforcement and the community at large. Supporters see it as forcing extremely harsh penalties for those who deliberately target first responders. President Trump has not signaled whether he would sign the bill, but has heavily shown his support for law enforcement, often comparing how he intends to treat them with how he believes his predecessor did.

4.) Campus Carry. After a failed protest at the NRA Convention in Atlanta, and a lot of bluster that went nowhere when the the bill originally was signed, opponents of Georgia’s new Campus Carry bill are now looking to grind the bill down with a ton of lawsuits. The suits are expected to be focused on the grammar in the bill, what the AJC calls “murky language.”

At this point, it’s obvious that campus carry WILL come to Georgia, though how is anybody’s guess at this point.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.


This week, a recap of news surrounding the death of Bearing Arms EiC Bob Owens, plus two setbacks for Constitutional Carry, and some good news out of Tennessee as an NRA-backed bill passes the Senate.

1.) Bob Owens. Robert Eugene Owens, the founder and editor-in-chief of Bearing Arms, was found dead this week of an apparent suicide. Moments before, Owens had posted to Facebook “In the end, it turns out that I’m not strong. I’m a coward, and a selfish son of a bitch. I’m sorry.” This post was seen as wildly out-of-character for the by-all-accounts friendly and selfless Owens by most of those who knew him.

Gun control advocates eventually sounded off, not exclusively in a negative tone, surprisingly enough.

Bearing Arms other half, Jann Jacques, penned an article for Bearing Arms a day or so after the events occurred

A memorial has been set up on GoFundMe for Bob’s wife and daughters who are 9 and 17.

We are asking everyone to respect his family’s privacy during this most difficult time, and I’d like to personally remind everyone that what you write impacts more than just the stupid thread you’re writing on.

Please know that his family will be reading what you write and act accordingly.

I would turn off the lights here at Bearing Arms, but that wouldn’t honor Bob or his work. Please give me a few days, and I promise we’ll be back. Or rather, I’ll be back.

We most certainly are diminished.

Of course, our condolences to his family and friends. As of this writing, the GoFundMe linked above is still in operation if you are so inclined.

2.) Legislatures. You wouldn’t expect Louisiana or Texas to be opposed to Constitutional Carry, and yet both have, in some form, shot down such a measure in their respective legislatures. Louisiana simply voted it down out right, whereas, according to Texas State Representaive Jonathan Stickland, the bill wasn’t voted on but is dead regardless. Stickland places the blame on party leadership, noting that Democrats cannot be held responsible for stopping a Republican bill in a Republican-controlled legislature.

Stickland notes, however, that he fully intends to continue fighting for permitless carry in future legislative sessions.

3.) Smart Guns. There is also a bill in the US House mandating that only smart guns be manufactured within 5 years. This isn’t going anywhere, and is kind of a bizarre attempt to mandate technology known for failure and putting way too many steps in between the gun being loaded and the gun being fired.

Not worth discussing further, so we won’t.

3.) Tennessee. The Senate in Tennessee has passed an NRA-backed measure that would require cities/counties that do not want people carrying in their buildings to hire security, install metal detectors, and check bags. The measure passded by a large margin of 26-5, however it is slightly different than the bill the House sent the Senate.

The NRA claims the bill would hold local governments responsible for the safety of citizens in their buildings.

4.) Blowback. Finally, a few thoughts on the annual Fourth Of July special, Blowback. For those unfamiliar, Blowback may be a bit jarring, as we dispose of the mostly-clinical approach of the news, Dirt and Blood, and the Tactical Reviews. Instead, Blowback is an article dedicated to American history, self-reliance, and yes the concept of American Exceptionalism. In short, Blowback celebrates and embraces American patriotism in the classic sense.

Last year saw Blowback expand on the origins of the American flag, which largely set the tone for the month. This year, Blowback will continue to focus on the origins of this country, which will dovetail into future editions on the free speech movement, and an update on Lethal Ignorance; which focused on first-aid and severe weather.

This week, we ended up taking on a negative tone, and for that I apologize.

Blowback will have no such negativity. It’s extremely difficult to study American history and come away with a dim view of the country.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.3

Grab Bag: May 2017

Campus carry is signed into law in Georgia, the French go to the polls once again, and Trump shows his support for religious liberty.

1.) Georgia. After what was basically a five-year standoff between a Republican governor and a Republican legislature, campus carry was finally signed into law this week, complete with the expected promises of doom from people who had previously seen the Governor’s scathing veto statement last year as proof that campus carry was dead in this state. The bill does have quite a few limits, as Students For Concealed Carry’s Robert Eagar and Ja’Quan Taylor noted in a Reddit AMA, but the bill is an excellent step forward.

Congrats to those responsible for getting this bill through.

2.) France. Macron and Le Pen won the election two weeks ago, and their runnoff is this weekend. Euronews is definitely the source for news on the election as it happens tomorrow.

Anyway, major stories in that election include an avalanche of leaked documents from Macron’s campaign suggesting extremely close ties to the banking industry. Macron has denied the allegations that he is under that sector’s control.

“I’m not under the thumb of the banks. If that were the case, I would have carried on working for them. If I was under their control, when I was in the French cabinet, I wouldn’t have proposed a law to cut the banks’ monopoly. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have presented a programme which is also for the middle and working classes,”

The election is Sunday, with results likely coming during Sunday afternoon here in the US.

3.) Trump. Fulfilling a campaign promise, President Trump signed an executive order that eased restrictions on the political activities by religious organizations. Trump said that “”no one should be censoring sermons.” The purpose of the order was to alleviate the “burden of the so-called Johnson Amendment,” according to FOX News.

Stay alert. Stay informed. Stay free.