What to Do If You Are Involved in a Lone Wolf Attack or Mass Shooter Incident
By Drew Berquist, OpsLens
Repeat this to yourself now – ‘Get off the X’. Go ahead say it a few times and imprint it upon your brain. It sounds simple and probably a little confusing at this point, but it may save your life.
Far too often innocent civilians across America are hearing the terrifying sound of gunfire and/or explosions in places that they should not be hearing it. Who would have thought that a trip to the grocery store or a shopping mall would require forethought and planning for such events? Most people still don’t think this way, but our collective level of alertness needs to be increasing.
Mass shooter and lone wolf terror incidents are on a steady climb and there does not seem to be any end in sight for such terror. Extremist groups across the globe have begun to understand that frequent chaos can have more significant impact than the grandiose attacks of the past, which take more coordination. More coordination equals more communication, which means it becomes more likely that the U.S. and foreign intelligence services will be able to identify and disrupt the plans. However, as we have all witnessed, lone wolf terror attacks are far more difficult, almost impossible, to predict and we subsequently are frequently in reaction, vice prevention, mode. Particularly in cases where susceptible individuals in the United States, or elsewhere, are radicalized via the internet and have no previous ties to extremist groups.
With this type of activity on the rise we frequently are asked, ‘What do I do if I find myself stuck in the middle of one of these events?’ The question has been addressed by self-declared experts on multiple network television shows and print publications, but the hard truth with such a new phenomenon is that most are not trained to handle these individual and extremely unique terror incidents, particularly when it comes to interdiction. Given the nature of how these unique events start and often culminate rather quickly before first responders can even arrive on the scene, people – you – are typically on their own.
How depressing, people are not specifically trained to handle this and won’t get to us in time. Great, thanks OpsLens.
Don’t worry, it is not that bad, we will give you some tools that we are taught and can help you and your loved ones improve your odds of surviving and you will be shocked how simple our suggestion is. In fact, you have already repeated it to yourself…
Get off the X….
Elements of training for most intelligence and military operators touch on evading and escaping similar horrific events, but it varies greatly depending on where one serves.
What is common however throughout the services and intelligence agencies is the concept of getting off the ‘X’. Even the most highly trained operators in the world know when it is time to retreat and fight another day, and that is what this concept touches on. While it can happen while performing an offensive action, whether patrolling or performing a direct action mission via ambush or a surprise resistance force, the need to get off the X most typically occurs when you least expect it. For your purposes, enter the increased number of lone-wolf terror attacks.
Drew Berquist is the founder and a Senior Contributor for OpsLens. Drew served as a counterterrorism officer for the United States Intelligence Community, where he performed more than thirty deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan to conduct intelligence operations. Drew has commented on national security matters on Lou Dobbs, Dennis Miller and a number of other shows throughout the country. Follow Drew and his staff of contributors on Twitter at @OpsLens