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Messenger vs. Message (Update)

Update: Much, much more at Terrorism Unveiled.

The CT Blog doesn’t take kindly to too much coverage of Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar and his lead-footed technique for eliminating tar-heels. Claiming it trivializes “real” terrorism it is suggested that students of the problem would be better served studying our own home-grown variety terrorists rather than an ignorant (not kinetic enough) and incompetent (injuries, no deaths) foreigner.

What happened at UNC is fairly superficial as a case of terrorism goes; we can argue over whether it fits some, all, or part of any of the various definitions currently in use. Perhaps more important is that the case highlights the nearly complete disconnect the average Joe still has with regards to the terrorism problem on the domestic front.

Life in a free and open society means you don’t round people up whole categories of people and put them in camps (at least not in this decade). As much as you might like to give that swarthy gentleman and his colleagues the hairy eyeball, the fact of the matter is that they’re probably looking in your direction and wondering why you’re looking so furtive. As much as the “papers please” crowd might like to have a better handle on who should and shouldn’t be here, the sheer numbers involved means that people are going to slip through the cracks.

If anything, our citizenry should be more attuned to the problem of terrorism on a small scale (car bomb, bomb in a backpack, etc.) more so than any people living in a police state. Yet time and again we see the failings associated with the inability to look forward and plan ahead for even the most basic, prudent safety steps. By this I don’t mean mindless ID checks or costly facial-recognition boondoggles, but the very basics: Do you know CPR? Basic First Aid? What not to do if someone starts shooting or sets off a bomb? The evac plan for the office you are sitting in right now? How you and your family will re-connect if something goes horribly wrong while you are at work and they are at home?

Focusing on the Jeep-driving half-wit might be distracting, but preparing for the next one is anything put trivial.

Additional thoughts at Captain’s Quarters and ThreatsWatch.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.