The Battlefield is Everywhere

  • Beau Doboszenski, Owner/Lead Instructor

  • Originally published June 6th, 2017

Just thirteen days after a homicide bomber killed children at a concert in Manchester, three terrorists in London rented a truck, got themselves some knives, and proceeded to kill 7 and injure more than 40 on a bridge and market.

Last year, CNN noted there was a jihad terror attack every 84 hours. The United Kingdom is getting more than they used to, but they're taking place worldwide, one every few days.

With so many options for launching an attack, terrorists are terribly hard to predict and harder for us, the Citizen Defender to prepare for.

A couple weeks ago, I talked about the strategies used in the Manchester bombing, which were very specific. Last week I gave a more general overview of how you should think about your defensive development like a castle's defenses: thorough and layered.

Let's address two more methods of jihad terror that you should be preparing for, in light of the recent terrorist attacks in London.

The first is a vehicle attack. From Nice, France to Berlin, Germany, to Ohio State University, Westminster, UK to Jerusalem, Israel, to Stockholm, Sweden, and now in London, UK, the use of a vehicle is increasing for ramming innocent pedestrians and terrorizing urban populations. It's a very simple premise: rent or steal the biggest vehicle you can find, get it up to speed and plow through as many people as you can before your vehicle is stopped.

These kinds of extremely cheap and efficient methods of terrorism will continue to grow. There are no illicit materials that need to be purchased like firearms, ammunition or chemicals. Renting a vehicle doesn't raise red flags. And in thinking about the method of attack, how better to strike fear in the hearts of your enemies than to have them in constant fear that at any moment, a truck driving down the road might jump the curb and come for them?

Here are some ways that you can help mitigate this possible threat:

  1. Use your Outside Scanning Process to be aware of the movement of vehicles in your area

    • The Scanning Process is detailed thoroughly in our regular SMT Training Sessions and in our DVD series: Avoid-Deter-Defend.

  2. Avoid being in a position where you are trapped by other people

    • Being caught "in the herd" can mean that you are trapped (unable to decisively move to avoid the threat) or trampled in the stampede.

    • Stick to the edges of crowds, be looking for avenues of escape and always give yourself permission to take those avenues of escape.

    • If possible, avoid areas with large crowds.

  3. Stay away from areas that a car could quickly access

    • This is true whether protecting yourself from a terror attack or a drunk driver. Mind your surroundings at intersections, crosswalks and along side roads. If a car can quickly gain access to your pedestrian position, you are at risk.

  4. Identify places where you could move if you find a vehicle coming aggressively in your direction

    • Try to place an object between you and the car that will cause the car to "high center" and be stopped.

    • Move in a hard 90 degree direction to the approach of the car. Many larger vehicles and trucks will be unable to remain stable in such a hard turn. Some will even roll over.

    • Get a solid car blocker like a concrete barricade, other or several heavy vehicles or other vehicle barrier between you and the threat.

The other methods the London terrorists used was knives. The more time I spend training defensive tactics and techniques, the less I'm scared by firearms more concerned I become of edged weapons.

Handguns take a fairly sizable amount of time to learn to use and engage effectively. Lots of handgun shooters have terrible training scars like flinches and crushes that throw their rounds everywhere except at what they're trying to aim at. Conversely, I could teach a monkey how to be lethal with a knife in only a few minutes.

Here are some ways that you can defend yourself in a terrorist knife attack:

  1. Aggression is the key to the attacker, so put him on defense

    • If the attacker stays on offense, he will win. It is critical that you take control of the attack. You are no longer being attacked, YOU are attacking.

  2. Try not to stay focused on the knife. Instead, focus on ENDING the attacker

    • Guard your neck, sides and armpits, keep a tight guard.

    • Recognize that you are going to get cut, but even still, you’re going to KILL the attacker.

  3. Either stay out of range of the blade, or close in to extreme contact range and destroy something!

    • Destroy the eyes, rip off the ears, bite the skin off, something MUST be seriously injured to get the attacker focused on their pain instead of their weapon.

  4. If you have a firearm:

    • Shoot center mass first - easiest target.

    • Shoot hip joint second - disable their movement.

    • Shoot center of face first IF you have the skill and capability to do so.

    • Shoot and shoot and shoot until the threat falls. If they don’t, beat them to submission with your firearm. 

  5. Be ready to shoot from retention

    • Note your guard position in retention - defend neck, sides and armpits.

  6. Run away quickly from the threat in case the terrorist has an S-Vest

    • Your goal is 1000 feet.

Having a well-developed system of unarmed combatives is as crucial as carrying that firearm, knife or flashlight.