One man, one gun, and 100 lives saved
According to reports, the siege at the Westgage Mall in Nairobi has ended. Credit for the attack — a Junior Varsity version of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s multiple-target, multiple-team, swarm-style, three-day assault on Mumbai in 2008 — has been claimed by al Shabaab.
Five terrorists are reportedly dead, and 11 suspects are apparently in custody.
Sixty-one civilians and six soldiers died in the attack.
What might we discuss today?
I could talk about Shabaab’s relevance. Shabaab has recruited (uh, kidnapped) numerous American citizens — the headlines say they’re mostly from the Saint Paul (Minn.) area, but that’s a gross oversimplification — for fighting both over there and over here.
I could talk about the need to connect with — in a meaningful, tactical way — the security and facilities personnel at the malls, schools, hospitals, and other “soft targets” in your patrol area.
I could talk about the response of the Kenyan military and police forces that ended the siege.
I could, but I won’t.
Today, I choose to talk about one man.
ONE MAN. ONE GUN. ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE SAVED.
According to The Daily Mail, one man — an off-duty (or retired, depending on which report you choose) SAS Marine with a handgun was “having coffee at Westgate mall when it was attacked on Saturday” and returned to the building “a dozen times despite intense gunfire” and “saved 100 lives as terrorists ran amok.”
Today’s tip is blood simple. Prepare. Practice. Prevail.
We are Warriors. Warriors defend innocents from of evil. Warriors run into the fire. Warriors are not fearless, but we have the courage of ten thousand men. We do extraordinary things...
• We Prepare — mentally, physically, emotionally, tactically, and spiritually — to do what needs to be done, when the time comes. And we know that time may be “off duty.”
• We Practice — knowing that simply “qualifying” isn’t nearly enough — and we go above and beyond to become the best we can be in all things. And we never, ever stop learning.
• We Prevail — having prepared and practiced, we know we’re ready — over whatever opposition or obstacle we encounter... And if we fail, we’ll have been valiant in our attempt.
Twelve times into the fire.
I don’t know who he is. I don’t know if I’ll ever meet him or shake his hand.
I don’t know for certain that his ethos is directly aligned with this little list — although I’m pretty damned sure it is — but I do know that his actions in Nairobi are instructive to us all.
And I know for blood [bleeping] certain that those of us who are true warriors can see ourselves in him.
Be safe out there my brothers and sisters.