I'VE JUST FINISHED watching a new instructional DVD called Terrorism - You May Be The Target.The DVD covers three things:
1. How to help prevent terrorist attacks from happening in your area.
2. How to protect your life if you're involved in a terrorist attack.
3. How to prevent being a target yourself.
Here on CW, we are focused on what civilians can do to prevent terrorism, and this DVD is packed with good information on just that subject. "It's up to each of us," the narrator explains, "to play an active role in the fight against terrorism."
We cannot and should not rely on others to protect us. Terrorists are targeting civilians. Israel has been dealing with terrorist attacks on civilians much longer than Americans, and they've learned from hard experience that when citizens pay attention and know what to do, lives can be saved. Terrorist attacks can be thwarted. "With the active participation and involvement of every citizen," says James Daywalt, the author of the DVD, "we have a good chance in successfully fighting terrorism. And you are a vital part in that fight."
The DVD covers everything from simple everyday safety precautions to remote possibilities, like what to do if you are taken hostage by a terrorist.
The DVD is a good overview of the subject of terrorism and is very organized. It has a section on a brief history of terrorism, a section on how terrorist cells are organized, sections on how to protect yourself from different kinds of attacks, such as hijacking, kidnapping, bombing, etc.
There are two things I don't like about the DVD: First, Daywalt goes out of his way to avoid saying anything bad about Islam, which in itself isn't really a bad thing, and many people would probably think it's a good thing, but the Islamic kind is the only terrorism most of us are worried about. The KKK has failed to strike fear into my heart in a long time. The IRA hasn't bothered me in months. But Islamic terrorists are out to kill me and everyone I know, and they're blowing things up right and left all over the world, and they're growing in number. It might be interesting to learn about other terrorist groups, but right now it's not necessary or practical.
The other thing I didn't like is that some of the film clips have poor resolution, partly, I think, because the DVD uses clips from the last 40 years. On the other hand, it has a huge collection of clips showing hijackings and bombings and all kinds of different terrorist-related clips, which makes the film more interesting.
But there was a lot I really liked about the DVD. Its emphasis is on ordinary citizens and what we can do about terrorism. The most important thing is to learn how to recognize the kinds of events that might lead up to a terrorist attack, and to report them to the proper authorities. Security professionals cannot be everywhere all the time.
"Your eyes and ears and those of your friends, family, and co-workers," says the narrator, "can be of enormous help in preventing terrorism. You are the only one who knows best what activities do or do not belong in and around your community.
"...your inputs are immediately shared with law enforcement agencies for rapid assessment and investigation, as necessary. As part of your daily routine, being observant and reporting anything out of the ordinary could be the crucial first step in preventing a possible terrorist attack."
How many times have you seen the "heightened alert" sign? Do you know what to do during heightened terrorist threat levels? The DVD lays out for you exactly what you should do: Look for "indicators of terrorism." There are seven things terrorists often do before they launch an attack, and those things can be spotted by a citizen better than a uniformed police officer. Here are the seven indicators of terrorism:
1. SurveillanceThese are actions terrorists often take before they launch an attack, and they are usually in plain view of regular citizens. If those citizens are paying attention and know what to look for, they can report it to the local police, whose system is now tied into national security agencies.
3. Test of security
4. Acquiring supplies
5. Suspicious persons
6. Dry runs
7. Deploying assets
The DVD explains details of each indicator. For example, the first one is surveillance. Terrorists often scope out a potential target first. Things to be aware of are note-taking, recording or monitoring the routines of the target (say, a nuclear facility or stadium), using cameras, drawing diagrams, drawing on maps, using binoculars, possessing plans or blueprints of the site, etc.
If you see something like this and you've never seen it before in your area, you can report it to your local police. They can then investigate. If the apparently suspicious people are innocent and their activities are for a legitimate purpose, no harm was done by checking them out. But if they had ill intent, the discovery of their activities can lead to the identification of a terrorist group. You've just saved lives.
"If you feel you've observed something suspicious, do not dismiss it," urges Daywalt. "Many criminal and terrorist plots have been averted just because someone was observant enough, and reported what they saw to the authorities."The DVD covers lots of different scenarios beyond this, and some of them seem to be remote possibilities, but if you're worried about things like this, it sure doesn't hurt to know what experts would suggest you do in case of a gas attack, for example, or what to do with suspicious mail packages, what to do in case of a bombing outside your building, what to do in an arson attack, what to do if you're attacked with firearms or a grenade, what to do at the initial moments of capture by terrorists, what to do during a rescue to avoid being hurt, and what to expect during a rescue attempt.
Daywalt goes into some practical detail. For example, in the section on what to do if someone throws a grenade in your vicinity, the experts' advice is to throw yourself down on the ground, your head away from the grenade, your feet facing the grenade, with your legs closed tightly and your hands over your head. Grenades explode in an upward cone shape, so you have a good chance of avoiding or minimizing injury by doing this, whereas if you started running and the grenade exploded, you increase your chances of being hit by shrapnel.
I just went to the web site for the DVD and they had this:
For private citizens. It’s absolutely imperative each citizen has a basic knowledge of terrorism and how to recognize and report indicators of terrorist activities; know the basic protective measures against terrorism; and know how to protect themselves in an event terrorist act does occurs. This DVD is an excellent tool and provides viewers with all the basics information each citizen should know and practice here in the US and while traveling on business or pleasure overseas. A must see for every citizen.
For students. As part of educational curriculum in the field of Terrorism and Homeland Defense. Students and faculty will greatly benefit from this DVD as it details such areas as terrorist structure, terrorist organization, terrorist hierarchy, perspectives of terrorism, profile of terrorist, terrorist tactics, history, the five major events/factors that defines modern day terrorism, and much, much more.
For businesses. Both small and large as an Anti-terrorism educational tool. Businesses, just like private citizens, are in a unique position to spot terrorist activities. Such activities may include theft, unusual purchases, elicitation, and myriad of others activities that may indicate terrorist activities. Every business employee should be aware what constitutes a suspicious behavior and emphasizes the importance of reporting terrorist activities to proper authorities. DVD serves as an excellent, Anti-Terrorism awareness/training tool for every type of business. It may be used as an initial Anti-Terrorism training or an annual refresher for every employee.
The DVD is one hour long. It covers basic, fundamental, and practical information you can use to halt terrorism.
At the end of the DVD, a soldier tells his first-hand account of being in a terrorist attack. A bomb went off in a cafe in Bagdhad where he was eating.
Overall, if you're interested in protecting yourself from terrorists and playing a part in helping thwart terrorists' plans, Terrorism - You May Be The Target is a rich resource.
Read more about what to do for each level of Homeland Security Threat Advisory.