Bastille Day attack: Terror response needs fresh ideas

Bastille Day attack: Terror response needs fresh ideas, by David Kilcullen.

French security expert Olivier Guitta has estimated that in France intelligence agencies have to keep tabs on 100 times as many people as a decade ago. BKA and DGSI calculate that 400 to 600 operatives, many holding European passports but trained in Syria, are in western Europe.

Some are operating in small, clandestine cells while others have infiltrated the refugee stream entering Europe from the Middle East and North Africa. For comparison, 400 to 600 operatives is the size of the whole combat element of the Irish Republican Army during the last phase of the Troubles in Northern Ireland — sufficient to sustain an urban guerilla campaign indefinitely.

Interesting perspective on the battle stats above, but he does not get it. Islam is not a public health problem…

I’m increasingly of the view that we need a community-led effort akin to the Cure Violence methodology developed by Gary Slutkin and his team to tackle gang violence in Chicago, and since implemented across the US and in parts of the Middle East. This treats violence as a public health problem …

It’s about a meme, not mental health.

How much of a great civilization have we lost when we have to avoid public events or plan our “hard cover”?

A final observation that’s unfortunately necessary: while new responses to the evolved terrorist threat are developed, people may consider some basic additional security precautions. Think carefully about attending large public gatherings or going to crowded venues with limited exit points. Try to avoid crowded times in airports, shopping malls and train stations.

If you do go, keep an eye on the exits, always know where an alternative exit can be found and keep an eye out for “hard cover”  — solid immovable objects that can deflect a bullet or bomb blast. As a rule of thumb, in a bombing you want to be at least 200m from the point of blast, behind hard cover and away from large panes of glass. It may seem silly to mention this, as you won’t know about a bombing until it happens. But many recent attacks involved follow-on bombs, and hard cover could save your life when the second blast comes.

hat-tip Joanne