Tactical Debrief: Christchurch Mosque Terror Attack
Terrorism is an ugly, shape-shifting beast. It comes in all types and with a myriad of motivations, but it is important to note that regardless of the ideology behind it, we as defenders must be ready to respond to defend the innocent.
The attack in Christchurch, New Zealand was despicable. Killing innocent people, while filming your bloody rampage is truly one of the most evil things I’ve ever seen. Glorifying the names of other mass killers on your tools is even worse. This was almost like a mock religious sacrament, the names of demons written on his implements.
From current reports, at about 1:40 pm local time, as worshipers were in mosque for weekly prayers/services, an white-supremecist/identitarian terrorist entered the Masjid Al Noor Mosque and began firing at the unarmed men and women inside.
The attack was vicious and unrelenting. The terrorist was reported to have engaged in a first and second wave of attack, first shooting people until they went down, and then calmly walking amongst the wounded to finish what he started. In a particularly horrid way, according to some witnesses and video evidence, he shot down a woman trying to flee the mosque, and then he made his way to her, and ended her cries for help by shooting her in the head several times.
Once his attack at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque was complete, he got back into his vehicle and headed to the Linwood Masjid Mosque where he attacked again. There, he met a bit of a different scene.
According to one witness:
Survivor Syed Mazharuddin told the NZ Herald: "The young guy who usually takes care of the mosque ... he saw an opportunity and pounced on (the gunman) and took his gun," said Mazharuddin. "The hero tried to chase and he couldn't find the trigger in the gun ... he ran behind him but there were people waiting for him in the car and he fled."
Thanks to this, at the Linwood Mosque, the killer was only able to harm 7.
In approximately 30 minutes, 49 people were killed and 48 more were wounded.
The killer has been arrested as of this writing. It has also been reported that several other suspected members of a terror group were taken into custody as well, and as many as two IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) were identified and disabled.
It is critical to notice, right away, the difference in death/injury between the two locations. In one where none fought back, the kill count was staggeringly high. In the location where someone fought back, the kill count was much much lower.
Defenders willing to fight back DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Priority of Life and Priority of Work
The Priority of Life is a means by which you can determine who’s life to save first in any critical situation. For the Defender, the Priority of Life is: Defender, Family, Other Innocents, the Threat.
The Defender is first because if you’re dead or disabled, you can help no one. The next two, Family and Other Innocents follow in that order as you have no obligation to other innocents until you’ve fulfilled the obligation to your own family. The threat is listed because in terror attacks, it is possible, as with this attack, that there are other people in the terror cell that could be planning attacks, or there may be hidden IEDs. By keeping the terrorist alive, when interrogated the terrorist will often yield useful intel for Law Enforcement. That means, only if safe and possible to do so, keep the terrorist alive.
The Priority of Work is the set of tasks the defender must undertake in order to end the threat. They are: Stop the Attack, Aggressively Treat for Injuries or Triage, Evacuate the Danger Area, Communicate to Authorities for Aid
Stop the Attack
If you are in the Direct Line of Attack, you have no choice but to fight back. Do whatever it takes to stop the Threat.
If you are in the Indirect Line of Attack you have several options, all legitimate depending upon your situation, training, tools available, or other obligations: you could retreat, you could stop the attack, or you could harass or distract the attacker so that others can stop the attack or get away.
Also, I would suggest that you shouldn’t be worried about violating any “self-defense” laws if you engage an actively killing terrorist from an indirect position. If you remember the DMT Foundational Legal Perspective, the terrorist, in the midst of killing/harming another, has taken up all of the legal justification necessary for you to engage from a covered position, or a position of tactical superiority, or even set up an ambush and stop the terrorist.
Aggressively Treat for Injuries or Triage
If you are the one that is injured, treat yourself first. If you pass out or die from blood loss - hemorrhaging is the most common cause of death from terror attacks and violence - you cannot help anyone else. This will be counter to your urge to protect and care for others and you must overcome it.
When triaging, look for others to help. Be the spark to take action and get others involved. It might be having them hold pressure on a bleeding wound, tie a tourniquet - you should have lots of these in a go bag in your vehicle and if possible at least one on your person - or even calling 911.
Also, and probably most difficultly, focus your efforts where you can do the most good. If you have one person bleeding profusely from a limb and another with a bullet to the head, you’ll have to let the head wound person go. You don’t have equipment to do anything at that point with the head wound, but with a belt or a cravat you could save the life of the one bleeding profusely.
It is precisely for this reason that you should take a Tactical Medicine Course with DMT or another training group and be well versed in core TacMed skills.
Evacuate the Danger Area
Unless the situation is contained, as in this case the terrorist fled the first mosque and headed for the second, don’t stay in the kill area. Terrorists often have secondary weapons in place to harm law enforcement that arrive on scene, such as IEDs. The terrorists who attacked the airport in Istanbul, Turkey used this tactic and killed several responding officers, as did the terrorist who attacked Law Enforcement in Houston three years ago, by moving to an elevated position and sniping several officers.
Your evacuation doesn’t necessarily have to be far, maybe only into another room where you can lock down, or across the street. Again, be conscious of secondary kill options like bombs or snipers.
Communicate to Authorities for Aid
You are not a Level 1 Trauma Center and people who have been shot or severely traumatized need that kind of care. Getting authorities on scene as fast as possible will save lives. Don’t assume that someone else is making this call, either assign the task to someone or do it yourself.
Don’t Be Manipulated
It is also very important to know what the political motivations were of the terrorist because there is something that the terrorist wants from you, the person not involved in the attack. Remember that terrorism seeks to achieve a response on a larger scale, to manipulate the opinions and actions of those not directly involved, whether it is the withdrawal of troops from a certain area, or the release of a prisoner, or the advancement of an ideology, there is something that the terrorist wants us, the viewers to do or think. This terrorist appears to be a white-supremacist/identitarian who described himself as an “ethno-state advocate” and an “eco-facist.” His massive manifesto outlines his psychotic and narcissistic opinions on the “protection of heritage and culture,” anti-colonialism, “ethnic autonomy,” workers rights, and environmentalism, and explains his great inspiration was from the psychotic killer in Norway, Anders Breivik.
Liberal YouTube Journalist Tim Pool, I think, outlines the goal of this terrorist the most clearly I have yet heard. This terrorist wants the western world to venture closer to armed civil conflict. He is recruiting foot soldiers for the extremes. He wants one side of the political aisle to point at the other and scream: “It’s your fault!” He wants you to choose sides, and make the other side your enemy.
Do not fall into this trap. Do not let this scum win. Do not play this game.
We, as defenders, should make a commitment to defend the rights and lives of the innocent. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence should be our guiding principles and “dangerous but good” should be our motto. Take positive action. If you attend worship services, find out what the security measures are there, and volunteer to help. Learn the security measures of your child’s school and volunteer to help there too. If you’re not training, you will not be able to fight back effectively if God forbid this situation ever arises at your place of worship. So get to classes, or sign up for the new Digital Training Academy and train.
On the Digital Training Academy there is an hour long intel briefing on terrorism and active shooters, outlining their strategy and methods, common goals, and your priorities when/if you’re involved in a terror attack. It’s for members only, so sign up for a membership and get this valuable information.
I didn’t want to share the news that the Digital Training Academy is live this way, but I also wanted to let you know that this training is available. More news on the Digital Training Academy next week.
Renew your commitment to being a force for good.
Train hard and stay safe.