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Paris Terrorist Attack – We Need To Prepare Here

French fire brigade members aid an injured individual near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal shootings in Paris, France, November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

 By Mark Young, SouthFloridaReporter.com Managing Editor, Nov. 14, 2015 – We now know that 127 innocent people were slaughtered Friday in the terrorist attack in Paris. An unknown number of other people were wounded, some of whom might not make it.

Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack. French President Francois Hollande said it amounted to an act of war against France. Actually, we should consider this an act of war against the US too.

Note: The following story was posted at 7:30pm Friday.

By Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief, Nov. 13, 2015 – What Happened: An unknown number of assailants have attacked multiple locations in Paris. The attacks included an explosion in a crowded bar near the Stade de France and gunmen opening fire at a popular Cambodian restaurant and the Bataclan theater. Thousands of people watching a soccer match between France and Germany were sheltered inside the stadium even as an estimated 100 people were taken hostage inside the theater.

The French military has reportedly been deployed to various places around the City of Light, and have engaged the attackers at the theater after five explosions were heard. Moments before, gunshots could he heard inside the concert hall — according to witnesses who escaped, the terrorists were shooting from the high ground of the balcony. According to the latest update from the FOX News at the time of this writing, as many as 100 people have been killed in the theater attack alone.

There are presently unconfirmed reports of other attacks at other scenes, and that witnesses have stated that they heard the attackers shouting “This is for Syria” and the signature jihadist cry of “Allahu Akbar” as they opened fire on their victims. At this hour, it is unclear whether or not any of the terrorists have managed to escape after their attacks.

Why it’s Significant: The attacks appear to be well-planned and executed, and bear all the hallmarks of the tactics used in the 2008 terrorist siege of Mumbai, India. That event lasted four full days and claimed the lives of more than 160 people — more than 300 others were injured.

Just like in Mumbai, the choice of weapons is significant — small arms in the hands of dedicated attackers can be as deadly as an elaborate plot involving complex weaponry. The initial reports indicate that the terrorists have nothing more complicated than AK-47s and hand grenades — devices of destruction which are readily available on the black market here in the United States.

Remember that in Mumbai, fire was used as a weapon — fire has been an effective attack strategy since before the days of Genghis Kahn. It was used to brutal effect in Beslan, and has been a recommended tactic on numerous occasions in Al-Qaeda’s Inspire Magazine.

Top Takeaways: Today’s attack comes just a day after a United States drone strike reportedly killed the infamous “Jihadi John,” a British man who radicalized and traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS. The attack could well have been “in the box” —  ready to deploy for an occasion such as this — or it could well be random coincidence that ISIS lost one of its more valuable recruiters of foreign-born fighters.

Either way, the two events happing in such close proximity remind us that the world is small, and that the fight against terrorists knows no borders — at least no borders which are as porous as a sieve.

Further, the multi-location attack in Paris comes on the very same day that the President of the United States said that ISIS has been “contained.” Clearly, that statement is wildly misinformed at best, and idiotically optimistic at worst.

Beyond that, the top takeaways are simple.

1. Know that it can happen here — quite easily, in fact — so police should be prepared with the proper training and equipment to respond to a multiple location attack. Train with your fire and EMS counterparts. Train for blood and bodies everywhere. Red Team your soft targets to get a sense of what an attack might look like.

2. When faced with hostage-taking terrorists, immediate action is required. Reports indicate that hostages have been executed summarily one by one in the theatre and the café. Survivors in the theatre have been posting on social media as they hide from the assault, awaiting their imminent death. “They are cutting down all the world. One by one,” wrote one individual. Those shots were heard on live television but no counterstrike by the military happened until five explosions were heard. One would hope that in the United States, there would be an effective and immediate SWAT assault on the active shooters which would end the killing.

3. When such an attack occurs, do not deploy all your responders immediately to the scene — there may be a second, third, fourth, or more attacks to follow and you will need personnel available to respond to subsequent attacks.

What’s Next: The French President has declared a state of emergency and closed the country’s borders — that’s kind of like closing the barn door after the horse has trotted off to freedom. France has a long history permitting a flood of immigrants from lands where radical Islamic terrorists train and prepare for attacks on innocents.

This is the fifth major terrorist attack in France in just over ten months. On January 7, two jihadis radicalized in prison murdered 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The next day on January 8, Amedy Coulibaly murdered a policewoman before entering a Jewish supermarket where he shot dead four others.

On February 3, a jihadi with a knife attacked three soldiers on a patrol outside a Jewish community center before he was arrested. On June 26, two attackers beheaded one man and injured several others. One suspect was arrested. And of course on August 23, a group of three Americans and one Brit stopped a planned attack on a speeding train before he could shoot the trapped passengers.

What’s next is that unless or until France does something about its permissiveness of the entry of radicalized Islamists into their country, they will be attacked again.

However, what’s next is that we may be in the middle of something new. Perhaps this is a game changer. French President François Hollande said “We will lead a war which will be pitiless.”

In coming days and weeks, we will surely see Dassault Rafale aircraft unleashing hell onto ISIS fighters in Syria and other places. Will F-18 Hornets, F-22 Raptors, and other American fighter-bombers join them? I hope so.

France is the oldest ally of the United States. This may be hard for some American patriots to hear, but if not for France, we may never have become the United States. Without France, the American Revolution very probably would have failed. My friends, the war is back on — and it is us who must come to the aid of our brothers and sisters who also fly a flag of red, white, and blue.

Je t’aime.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Even in his “spare” time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

An experienced TV News manager, Mark Young is highly regarded as one of the most well respected and trusted media leaders in Florida. In over 40 years in the broadcast industry, Mark has managed news operations in small and large markets throughout the United States. As Broward Bureau Manager for CBS4 News, Mark was responsible for all news developments throughout Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Mark now oversees the daily publication of two online news sites “South Florida Reporter” and “Southwest Florida Reporter.”