Thursday, July 14, 2016

The new normal is still terrifying

It seems that news of terror attacks (whether in America or abroad) have become more commonplace over the past few years. Despite that, I'm not the least bit desensitized to it. The exact opposite in fact, as my heart breaks when I learn of innocent, unsuspecting people being wiped out in a blink of an eye.

The incident in France Thursday evening is yet another reminder of a vigilant enemy of the West.

A truck rammed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice on Thursday night, killing at least 70 people in an apparent terrorist attack as the driver also opened fire on revelers, French officials said.

The truck struck the crowd on the Promenade des Anglais, a seaside walk in the city in southern France, authorities said. More than 50 people were reported injured. The driver fired on the crowd before being shot to death by police, officials said.

Christian Estrosi, a former mayor of Nice and currently president of the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, put the death toll at 77. He said in one of a series of Twitter messages that the truck was carrying arms and explosives when it struck the crowd about 10:30 p.m. local time.

Estrosi told BFM TV that “the driver fired on the crowd, according to the police who killed him.”

He added that the driver’s behavior appeared to be “completely premeditated.”

There was no immediate information on the identity of the driver or what motivated his action.

Local authorities were treating the incident as a terrorist attack and urging people to stay home, the French television channel BFM TV reported. It occurred as a large crowd was watching a fireworks display celebrating the French national holiday.

An attack such as this seemed to further galvanize the belief of some Donald Trump for President supporters that a ban of Muslim immigration into the U.S. should remain firmly on the table. Alas, that may be far too simplistic. What we're seeing now with these attacks from radical jihadist elements is they're going after soft targets. Also, said attacks are being carried out by individuals who are already in the Western world but were not necessarily radicalized upon arriving here.

My friend Bryan Strawser, who specializes in security and crisis communications, painted a very sobering reality.

Many of you have been asking tonight what the world is coming to, with what appears to be yet another terrorist attack in Nice, France that has claimed the life of nearly 80 people.

Yet, I'm here to tell you that this is what most of the world has experienced over the last twenty years: an increasingly volatile and uncertain security environment with an ever-increasing risk of attacks against "soft targets" like celebrations in France, a nightclub in Orlando, a staff meeting in California, a football stadium in Paris, or a hotel in Jakarta, and multiple locations in Mumbai in a multi-day coordinated attack.

I've lived in this world, evacuating teammates from my previous employer, and now employees of my clients, from places like Haiti, Cairo, Mumbai, Jakarta, Bali, and others when the world falls apart and the only way out is through resources you'd probably rather not know about.

I expect that we will see more of this sort of attack here in the United States in the coming weeks and months.

As we saw in Orlando and San Bernardino, an individual here in the United States, who becomes radicalized not by traveling to a jihadi training camp somewhere, but through online teachings and lectures - and follows the guidance in Inspire Magazine, is nearly impossible to detect and even harder to stop.

As my friend Caleb said recently, "the war is here, and it really doesn’t care if you want to be a part of it...."

We would be wise to view the threat and our future with a clear eye.

Our country sure picked a bad time to turn the presidential race into a glorified reality TV show.


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