Tactics, Assumptions & Decisions
Surprise, speed and violence of action. Destroy whatever security forces are local, and gain control of the guard shack where the CCTV feeds terminate in order to gather intelligence and maintain surveillance of the objective. Use knowledge of the layout of the venue and a means to communicate within the team to coordinate action and maximize impact.
Ambush first responders with small arms fire or explosives, slowing their response and forcing law enforcement to marshal and deploy from a distance. Communicate with offsite command and control that are monitoring live feed TV, like the Mumbai attackers, who were directed by sat phone from their handlers watching the event on BBC in Pakistan, in order to respond to a law enforcement entry.
Employ ruthless murder to shock people and drive them into zones of control for immediate slaughter, or use as pawns in the media game, and then slaughter, such as the Moscow Theater or the Beslan school attacks. Negotiate the mass surrender of your victims, then kill them without mercy once they’ve gathered. Perform these acts with joy in your heart and without a second of hesitation. You were born for slaughtering the infidel.
Accept what is happening at the first sight of an AK, or upon hearing shots, explosions and screams. Act immediately and decisively to determine the zone of immediate action and move away from it, fighting your way out if necessary. (Notice the shocked disbelief on the faces of the people in this video, and the time lag between what was obviously an abnormal event and the herd movement to an exit. Also, regarding explosions, be mindful that a long used tactic is to detonate a small bomb in order to drive people toward a larger device. A variation on this theme is one explosion to draw attention, and then a secondary device targeting first responders.)
There may be just a lone shooter, and in that case, it is likely he’s a disaffected domestic convert that has been “Inspired” by the decline of faith in Western values and the Jihad’s excellent media campaign. (Alternatively, he could be just a plain nut. We have plenty of those, too.) If there is more than one, they are probably trained at only a basic level with their weapons and are able operate loosely as a team with bounding over watch and room clearing techniques. They don’t need to be Delta force, or even highly trained infantry. Being willing and armed is more than sufficient for their task of mayhem.
Once away, you can escape, lay in fixed ambush or move through the structure and engage at the times and places of your choosing in a roving sort of ambush/meeting engagement. The latter is a very high risk undertaking but will serve to buy time for other citizens to escape. You will likely be significantly outgunned.
Do NOT expect an immediate and effective law enforcement response. This event would severely strain even a resource rich department like the NYPD. So a citizen inside, say, a store in the suburbs, can’t expect the cavalry to arrive soon, if at all. Bottom line: You’re on your own.
(LE response may not be everything you want. Note reversed magazine and optic)
This will likely be a “come as you are” affair, and what you have on or near you will be what you’ll be fighting with, unless you’re able to upgrade with a weapon the terrorists brought to the fight. Consequently, the magazine capacity of the pistol you’re carrying becomes a concern. (Not to mention having a spare magazine or two in your everyday carry.) And while I think a “truck gun”, meaning a long arm in the vehicle, is useful, employing one under these circumstances is unrealistic. Would you run out to the safety of your vehicle, secure an AR, and then run back in? Here’s a question: How do you think you’re going to look to responding law enforcement running around with a rifle in “Die Hard” fashion, be they local PD, FBI HRT, or, if things get really bad, the professionals from Virginia Beach or Fort Bragg? As amped up as they’re going to be, well, that would be a lot different than talking your way out of a traffic ticket.
Expect mass panic on the part of people who have never before considered this possibility and are suddenly confronted with imminent, violent death. Also expect to have to make instant decisions on who is a like-minded individual that is also carrying a pistol and is on your side, and a terrorist actor that needs shot repeatedly. There are millions of lawfully armed citizens in this country, and an unknown brother in arms could easily be on the scene. (Think of it as a pickup basketball game…in hell.) Communicating with that stranger, who will probably have plans and different skills than your own, could be problematic.
(These guys were at a practical pistol match near the Westgate mall in Kenya. They ran to the sound of the guns. What will you do, and under what circumstances?)
If I can impart the One Big Goal to obtain in this circumstance it would be, “Don’t get fixed in place.” If you lose freedom of mobility you lose options and the odds stack up even worse than they were before. The mobility issue becomes increasingly problematic if your family is present. How about a child in a stroller, or a toddler that has a mind of his own and can run like the dickens? This now an absolute nightmare scenario. Speaking of your spouse/ SO, do you train as a team? Do you have a plan where one partner scoops up the kids and everyone moves toward the exit? I’m not talking tactical movement like bounding forward…just plain hauling ass in a designated direction on a pre-arranged signal. Not fun to think about, is it, but that is where we are now. (I need to put a few brain cells on that problem set myself. Others, such as the “Tactical Professor” Claude Werner are tackling the issue as well.)
What I’ve described is very low likelihood, very high impact event. There are only so many hours in a day, and between family, job, and life, there is only so much time left to train for self-defense against criminals, let alone preparing for something so unlikely, regardless the scale. I understand that, but would argue that a little occasional distance shooting, some work from behind cover and some honest talk resulting in “just in case” plans with the people in your immediate circle would go a long way toward filling those first 15 seconds of a terrible situation with some decisive action that may make the difference. Attending a GOOD first aid class imparts skills that are applicable in everyday life. There are bits and pieces of what I have listed as useful skills that can be acquired over time that would be both fun to learn and beneficial in circumstances beyond this.
In the end, like so many other aspects of life, there are many questions that can only be answered by you, and the specific situation you confront will pose unforeseeable circumstances where you may only be able to choose the least bad option. Remember that these people are 1) not stupid and 2) highly motivated. They will have thought several moves ahead into this game, and they are actually HOPING to die for their cause. One weakness they MAY have is cultural ignorance of how many of us are armed and will fight, hard. It’s not much, but it may be enough. That small, fleeting surprise might be all you have.
(This man is reported to have made multiple trips into the Westgate mall, armed with only a pistol, rescuing dozens. Brave or foolish?)
See you on the range!
John R. Murphy
FPF Training, LLC
NUMEROUS excellent articles on this topic and many, many others can be found at www.activeresponsetraining.net. Greg’s work is uniformly excellent. Never a minute wasted there.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrcyC_S7kSI (Note how long it takes for people to react.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DEe_c_PGgw (Terrorist attack in Paris)