Combating random terrorist acts is challenging. Unfortunately the events in France are likely a foreshadowing of the future world situation. The guys who conducted the raid outside Charles de Gaulle airport were members of the prestigious GIGN, a group we worked with some years ago. (We have not had the pleasure of working with the police who did the entry at the kosher grocery store.) This is the beginning of a new era of terrorism and a new brand of terrorist. Some will be extremists and some will not. Some will be mentally unbalanced and others will have personal agendas. In a free country the ability to move about without being detected can be enticing to those who would do others harm.
If you view the footage of the two individuals shooting on the streets of Paris it is readily apparent that they had some training, but not to the extent that one could term them ‘highly efficient’ as some newscasters have stated. Unfortunately the response mechanisms in place disallowed them from being countered quickly.
Using cover and knowing your pistol in conjunction with a good caliber could have neutralized the two men as they exited their vehicle on their second stop. It is frustrating to watch. The view from the balcony’s illustrated a fairly close range down-angle shot which could have also been accomplished. Without firearms at distance it is all but impossible to neutralize suspects such as these.
There are no easy solutions to avoid getting caught up in situations like these, but being aware of your surroundings is the first step. If you find yourself in an active shooter situation, if you have exhausted any options to escape unscathed, it would be best to fight back to neutralize the threat with anything at hand. We cover these options in our Active Shooter class where we put the student in compromising scenarios and have them respond accordingly. Most of us don’t know how we will respond until the situation unfolds and the challenge presents itself. It is a real eye-opener! Here’s a link to more info about our Civilian Active Shooter/Critical Response class:
Using common sense is always the wisest overall option. If something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t and you must act accordingly. Being prepared for anything whether you’re a police officer on duty or a civilian in a work environment is what will ultimately save lives. The one person in any scenario who is prepared and has the wherewithal to lead the necessary action can drastically reduce the threat by those who mean them harm.