Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris 11/13/2015

This is being written as events are still unfolding, so there may be some bad information due to the “fog of war.”

Having been caught on the edge of a street riot in a major European city many years ago, I've seen what happens when a crowd loses control and is desperate. It is not a pretty sight when they're all around you -- we were lucky enough to duck into a store just before the owner locked the doors and we waited for the police to clear the streets. Paris is likely ten times as bad tonight.

Terrorists have carried out multiple attacks in Paris, France. At least 200 wounded and 100 dead from gunfire, fragmentation grenades, and suicide vests. Martial law is in effect, chaos and lack of information are the rule, the borders of France have been sealed, airports are shut down, public transportation is not running, people are being told to get inside and stay inside. There are reports of the attackers shouting “Allahu Akbar” and other reports of fire-bombs being thrown into “refugee” camps outside Paris that are full of Muslims.

The shit has truly hit the fan.

The more I hear about this attack, the more it resembles the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai (Bombay), India:
  • A small number of (radical Muslim) attackers who don't plan on getting out alive,
  • targeting large gatherings of people, mostly in the wealthy areas of town,
  • using grenades and fully-automatic rifles,
  • creating chaos through multiple, closely-timed attacks.
  • Civilians, for the most part, have no clue about what to do,
  • even though there is a history of terrorist attacks in the city.

With a few differences:
  • Police in France responded much quicker than the police in Mumbai.
  • The French police were much better trained and equipped.
  • Since France is considered a “developed” nation and India isn't, the news coverage is more intense.

How do you prepare for something like this?

1) Pay heed to Uncle Remus' advice to “stay away from crowds.”
Uncle Remus wrote a weekly blog for 10 years before retiring last year, but some of us recall his constant advice to “stay away from crowds”. Crowds make large targets for idiots who don't care to aim their firearms. Crowds limit your mobility. Crowds have a type of group mentality that resembles a herd of herbivores in its reaction to anything.

2) Weigh the risks and rewards of any trip out of your normal Area of Operations (AO).
Is it really worth traveling to a strange city where you don't know anyone, can't speak the language, and don't know the streets just to watch a sports event? Especially when there is a history of violence in the city and things are getting worse rather than getting better?

3) Always have a way out.
On of the eyewitnesses to the attack on the concert hall mentioned trying to get on the stage after hearing gunfire, knowing that there was an emergency exit backstage. Always look for the exit signs in any building you enter.

When driving, always leave room to maneuver your car around the one in front of you. The shoulder or the ditch may be better than sitting still in a traffic jam.

The French government has sealed the border and shut down public transportation. How are you going to get home, or at least to your hotel room? Have a plan, or at least a map to a place of safety.

Know where the embassy is in any foreign country you visit.

Some suggest carrying a gold coin or two to be able to pay for an emergency trip home. Gold takes up very little space for its value and is generally accepted anywhere in the world

4) Be prepared to fight back if at all possible.
If you live in a place that allows citizens to carry firearms, carry the blasted things. I, personally, will not shop in stores with the “No guns allowed” signs on the doors. I refuse to be left to the tender mercies of even the common lunatics running around on the streets, let alone someone intent on racking up a high body count. If you can't carry a gun find some other way to defend yourself -- martial arts, stun guns, mace, improvised weapons, or a bodyguard are all options.

Be mentally prepared to fight back. I have met several people who have been so thoroughly conditioned in “modern” living that they are unable to fight, even to defend their lives. Pacifists will become victims when TSHTF, unless protected by those who aren't.

5) Remember the “Rules of Stupid.”
Don't go to stupid places, with stupid people, at stupid times, and do stupid things. Know how to figure out what stupid is.

6) Have first aid training.
After the shooting is over, there will be people who need medical aid. Pray that you aren't one of them and be ready to render aid to those who need it. Most of us don't travel alone, and being able to help family/friends comes right after being able to defend them.
    My prayers and condolences go out to those hurt or killed in the attack on Paris today. It sounds like the attackers are all dead, mostly by suicide, but the investigations will take a long time to root out all of the supporters and collaborators. I pray that no American city ever witnesses such an attack, but I know that it is possible.

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