Spotting A Terrorist Bomber Among the Crowd
Terrorist bombings are becoming more and more pervasive nowadays. In the United States, particularly, the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001 marked a dramatic escalation in a trend toward more destructive and indiscriminate terrorist attacks. In September 2016, for example, four bombings took place in the New York metropolitan area where thirty-one civilians were reported to have been injured. In the following year, another bombing occurred in Minnesota where an office at the mosque that primarily serves Somalis was particularly targeted.
Terrorist attacks are undoubtedly destructive. A More Perfect Union by Paul Shemella illustrates the extent to which a terrorist attack can be damaging and deadly, especially when it is done indiscriminately. In the first chapter of the book, particularly, author Paul Shemella demonstrates how easy it can be for a terrorist bomber to blend into the crowd and covertly carry out an attack. In reality, civilians are indeed often clueless when it comes to identifying terrorist presence.
Defining Terrorist Bombing
Terrorist bombing basically refers to the bombing of a place to incite intimidation and achieve a certain goal. Bombing is one of the several tactics used by terrorists to attack their targets. Terrorists commonly use both explosive bombs and incendiary bombs (e.g. Molotov cocktails) in their bombings. Some of them also use parcel bombs and car bombs to carry out more powerful and targeted attacks.
For most terrorists, bombing is an effective way to deliver a message. Bombing intimidates the enemy, and captures the attention of authorities and the public. For terrorist bombers, bombing, no matter how destructive and indiscriminate it is, is justified with a purpose. This is especially true among religious terrorists and nationalist terrorist organizations that encourage and applaud suicide bombing as an act of courage and loyalty to the agenda. In A More Perfect Union by Paul Shemella, for example, the terrorist bomber believes that his attack is going to be an act of martyrdom and patriotism. In reality, many terrorist bombings, including suicide bombings, are indeed carried out in the name of religion or patriotism.
Identifying A Terrorist Bomber
Terrorist bombers usually carry out their attacks in crowded places. They often execute their plan of action subtly, so casualties are usually high in terrorist attacks. To avoid this from further happening, it is important for people to be always vigilant and cautious of their surroundings.
Paying Attention to Warning Signs
Terrorists usually come up with a plan of action before executing their attacks. They do not just attack straight off without planning and preparing. They often spend days or weeks roaming around, observing, and making purchases as part of their preparation. This can send some warning signs to people around. To prevent a devastating terrorist attack, people should pay attention to the warning signs of terrorist presence at all times. These signs include:
- Presence of a suspicious rented commercial property that terrorists may use to store equipment
- Any suspicious transactions that may include cheque or credit card fraud
- Presence of a person with documents in different names (multiple identities)
- Presence of a person or a group of people who observe and take pictures of the security arrangements of a place
- Online posts from a person or a group of people that promote or glorify terrorism
In identifying a potential terrorist bomber, people should avoid profiling individuals, as this can lead to prejudice and discrimination. Instead, they should be profiling behaviors. This means that people should be observant of those whose behaviors just seem off and suspicious. People engaged in dubious border crossings or stowaways aboard a ship, for example, seem like a warning signal for a possible illegal activity. If a person enters a building with either a restless or calculated behavior, it also costs nothing to remain alert and observant of his or her actions. As shown in A More Perfect Union by Paul Shemella, terrorist bombers usually try their hardest to blend in, so it is important to profile behaviors whenever something does not feel quite right in a place or situation.
Looking for Deployed Assets
People should always trust their instinct whenever there is something quite off about a place or a situation. They should not let this instinct come by. To prevent a terrorist bomber from carrying out a deadly attack, people should respond proactively whenever they notice some warning signs of terrorist presence. When there are deployed assets or people are getting into their positions already, it is high time to alert the authorities – this is the last chance to prevent a possible attack from occurring.