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November 05, 2007
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Rick Armellino Outside the Box
with Rick Armellino

School invaders don't take hostages

By Rick Armellino

Schools demand special treatment

Many American police agencies still require their patrol officers to respond to an armed school invasion in the same manner that would occur if a bank robber ducked into a school while fleeing pursuing police officers. If active killing is not occurring inside, a containment perimeter is established and negotiators attempt to “talk out” the criminal.

Bank robbers who wish to steal money to spend at a later date are good candidates for the expert services of trained negotiators.  Homicidal and suicidal predators working a plan to murder children before killing themselves should not be afforded the time to talk to anyone.  They must be neutralized at the earliest opportunity.

Whether or not the threat to children is home-grown or international terrorist based, early police contact is the key to saving lives.  Individual law enforcement agency policy must be established to allow pursuit and contact with the threat at the earliest possible opportunity.

Hostage?  Not exactly

Some police trainers have suggested that the term “hostages” be eliminated from the law enforcement vocabulary when the innocents being held against their will are located inside a school.  Labeling trapped and endangered schoolchildren as “hostages” automatically leads to the next logical step for resolution – negotiation.  Hostage is a term best used when referring to the illegal activities of a criminal that threatens the lives of innocents while evading capture.

Armed school invaders do not plan on holding hostages and bargaining for concessions.  Instead, they work a predetermined plan to conduct the mass murder of innocent victims.  Rather than negotiation, first responders should be automatically conducting pre-established and well practiced “Immediate Action Rapid Deployment” (IARD) tactics as they quickly pursue and neutralize an armed threat within a school.

IARD is not a tactic used to save hostages.  IARD is a dynamic process of immediately approaching and neutralizing a deadly threat before a pre-planned massacre is allowed to fully develop into active mass killing.

Can we continue to ignore a serious threat to children at school?

The mainstream media has recently aired a program that focuses attention on the widespread lack of awareness and preparedness that most communities suffer when armed individuals invade a school.  This month, radio and television personality Glenn Beck televised a four-part series which aired on CNN Headline News titled "Exposed: The Perfect Day" which discussed, in part, the following information;

  • Terrorists are planning a huge attack that will happen all over the country simultaneously (read the transcript).  The main target for the attack is our nation’s schools and school children.
  • Glenn Beck explains, "We've obtained a video that allegedly shows terrorists in Afghanistan training for a school takeover scenario and barking out commands in English. Although there were at least eight hours of footage captured by our military, we were asked by our source to only release a very short clip for security reasons and we are honoring that request." Click here to see the video.
  • Anti-terrorist expert Lt. Colonel Joe Ruffini, U.S. Army (ret.) recommends, "... it's so important that federal and state officials start figuring out a way to keep this nation adequately informed. In their (often times noble) efforts to keep us from becoming alarmed, they are encouraging complacency."
  • Former FBI Special Agent Don Clark led the investigation after the first World Trade Center attack.  He warns local law enforcement and political leaders; "Don't leave it up to others to make sure that your town is ready; the burden for preparing lies with each and every one of us. And remember: simply refusing to believe that schools are a terrorist target does not make it so."
  • Kenneth S. Trump, M.P.A. is President of the National School Safety and Security Services believes, "Most public officials inside the D.C. Beltway have publicly taken a "downplay, deny, and deflect" position about this threat for fear of creating panic, but how can we prepare for something if no one will talk about it?”

The dots are out there.  Do your community a favor and connect them

Please take the opportunity to read the following information currently being distributed by anti-terrorist speaker and author John Giduck. His contribution to The Perfect Day series was forwarded to the public electronically by Glenn Beck. Giduck and Beck should be commended for making the following video and essay available for all Americans to view.

 


Beslan Video  (warning – graphic material)
Lessons from Beslan
By John Giduck

America is a nation at war, and some of the battles in that war will be fought on American soil. Thus, it is incumbent upon every American to not only educate themselves, but prepare for the types of attacks we are likely to see. But it's difficult to prepare when one of the most likely targets is hardly ever talked about publicly.

There are two basic categories of terror attacks: the first, called "Decimation Assaults," is where terrorists plant bombs or use suicide-homicide bombers. Because these are so easy to execute, they are the more frequently used type of attack - but their impact is minimal because the body counts and are usually pretty low.

The more preferred, but more difficult to accomplish, attack is the "Mass Hostage Siege." Terrorists know that when they take hundreds of innocent people hostage and hold them for days they are really holding an entire nation hostage. By doing that they attract the attention of the news media, which helps them to accomplish their real goal, which is to spread terror as far and as wide as possible. It's the psychological impact that's most important, and nothing is better at promoting that than a Mass Hostage Siege, especially one that involves innocent children.

To understand how credible the threat is, we need only to look at the achievements of so many terror groups. In the first six months of 2006, 204 schools were attacked in Afghanistan. Three of them were attacked in two days in the first week of July 2007. Between 1984 and 1994 more than 300 schools were attacked in Turkey.

The number of school attacks are rising in places like Pakistan, Iraq, Indonesia and Thailand as well. A new girls' school in Iraq was found to have dozens of bombs hidden in the floor and walls and, just two weeks ago, a school was targeted in Great Britain. I also bet you never heard that the backup plan for the Madrid train bombers was a school attack.

But, despite all of these incidents, Beslan was the terrorists' best case scenario—which means that it is our worst case scenario. So what is the likelihood of it happening here? Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders have publicly stated that before this jihad is over they will see to the deaths of 4 million Americans, including 2 million American children. After several attacks involving children in Russia he said that what he was doing in Russia he would do to America. The head of the Chechen terrorists, Shamil Basayev, made a similar pledge before his death at the hands of Russian Special Forces. Afghan terror camp training tapes depict jihadists attacking students in a school, issuing instructions in English.

In addition, emergency response plans of numerous schools have been found in the hands of people who should not have them and intelligence gathering of schools and school facilities has been occurring in places like Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Florida, Virginia and California for some time now. People with no affiliation to any school have been crossing the border from Canada attempting to buy school buses, and buses in other locations, like Houston, have been stolen.

These are but a very few of the incidents occurring in America today, yet the schools, parents and citizens of our country refuse to acknowledge the threat, or to allow those we turn to for protection—our police— to be properly equipped, armed, informed, and trained for such an event.

There is a Kliebold and Harris in every single school who has at least planned to outdo Columbine. There is a Cho at every college who would love to get the same kind of publicity. There are even the Morrisons and Robertses from the Bailey, CO and Nickel Mines, PA attacks who are just waiting to exact their own revenge. And in every state across this country there are al Qaeda related groups that are, at a minimum, putting together information and plans to attack a school. No matter what the threat, the defenders of those schools are all the same: American police departments.

If Beslan is the worst thing that could possibly happen to our children, then it is incumbent upon our nation to be prepared for it. If we're fortunate enough that Beslan does not ever come to pass, our preparation will not have been in vein as we will be so much better prepared to respond to any other threat to our children and the supposedly safe places they happily trundle off to every day.

John Giduck is the author of
Terror at Beslan: A Russian Tragedy with Lessons for America's Schools.

Leadership required

Nowhere is the lack of law enforcement preparedness more evident can the current environment which struggles to put a quick and strong patrol responder offense together for an event as clear-cut as police responding to and neutralizing an active shooter.

Here’s the problem and it’s a big one; when terrorists or some home-grown nut invades a school, there is no active shooting.  The initial invasion may be the opening act of morbid play.  The final act is only known by the invader.  What occurs between the beginning and end of the event is where true leadership is required.  Denying or ignoring the need for IARD should no longer be an acceptable option.


About the author



Rick Armellino is the Director and Chief Executive Officer of Baker Ballistics, LLC., the manufacturer of the Baker Batshield® personal ballistic shield. He has over thirty years experience in the body armor industry, including Director of Research and Development and President of American Body Armor and Equipment, Inc. Rick's body armor designs have saved over forty American LEO's from death or serious injury during attacks by gunfire. Recently, Rick has partnered with noted ballistic shield trainer, Lt. Al Baker (NYPD, ret.), to advance the concept of Immediate Action Rapid Deployment (IARD) tactics for use by first responders in the approach to armed and hostile individuals in public places.





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