Are We Ready for the Next 9/11?

9-11-01

Are we ready for the next 9/11?

Let me begin with a warning. This is heavy stuff here. This article will evoke several emotions, all at the same time.

I suggest you read it once and then go back to your routine driven life, where bad things only happen to other people. If that is not you, come back in a few days and read it again and ask.

Are we ready for the next 9/11?

This time folks it won’t be planes, trains or automobiles crashing into buildings.

It will be something far worse.

The biggest bang for their buck, the terrorists’, would be something similar to what happened in Beslan, Russia back in 2004.

It is an event few people remember or even know about.

September 1, 2004, started as any other first day of school for the young children attending opening day ceremonies at Beslan Middle School in Russia.

As tradition, the students would put on their best school clothes as opening day was a celebration to embrace the hope of a new school year.

Many parents would also attend the opening ceremonies.

Called Knowledge Day or First Bell, parents would see their children off with bright beginnings and a general sense of hope and renewal as the brand new school year commenced.

Shortly after 9:00 am, a group of Islamic Chechen Terrorists arrived in a several vehicles and set in motion one of the worst hostage events the modern world has ever known.

That terrible day

The first day of school in the Russian culture resembles that of a festival with parents, to include other extended family members of students, attending the opening of a new school year.

The middle school at Beslan was no different with everyone dressed in formal attire and displaying the exuberance of a new beginning and hope for each student.

This hope was interrupted when close to three dozen Chechen Terrorists converged on the school property, shooting their weapons into the ground and the air.

At first, parents and students alike thought that it was just an exercise being conducted by Russian Commandos.

According to other after action reports, many just stood frozen in disbelief as the Terrorists began moving the students and other family members into the school’s gymnasium.

Tactical considerations were then acted out by the Terrorists as they immediately set alive the gym with explosives.

It was also observed that two females were among the attackers who were adorned in traditional Arabic garb and fitted with explosives.

Almost immediately two males were executed in front of the horrified hostages and then drug through the gymnasium for all to see.

Additionally, 21 males were collected among the hostages during the first several minutes of the siege and taken to the second floor of the school and then summarily executed.

Once the initial siege was complete, the terrorists humiliated and intimidated the school children and employed psychological games to further destroy the will of the adults in the takeover.

After building this psychological wall around the hostages, the Terrorists then began to fortify their positions around the school, waiting for a response from Russian Police or Military.

What is an Islamic Chechen terrorist?

Your worst nightmare.

During the mid 1990’s, an extreme form of Islam permeated Chechnya called Wahhabism (which ISIS has also adopted). This was a departure from the more tolerant Sunni form of Islam.

The Second Chechen War saw Vladimir Putin dispatch Russian troops once again to quell and assume control over what he referred Chechnya to as a “a vast terrorist camp”.

It became clear to Putin that the vacuum of Chechnya was being filled by ever increasing Muslim extremists and that re-taking control of Chechnya was seen as curbing the growth and isolating the international terrorism that was occurring there.

It is difficult for Westerners to understand the mind of terrorists, especially those as brutal as the Chechens. There are certain human limits that most, even hardened Islamic extremist, will not cross over into.

This is not the case for those from the North Caucus region, especially Chechens.

Chechens have a long history of working to overcome those human limits for things like torture and the dismembering of adults and infants.

Chechen children are exposed to the beheading and torture of captives at an early age and are often participants in macabre celebrations like dancing with the severed heads of their victims.

It is in this knowledge and understanding of the psychological make-up of this group that will prepare those when trying to make sense of the tragedy at Beslan.

The aftermath

The siege would last for another two days before elite Russian Operatives would storm the school.

In the end, over 400 were killed on both sides to include 186 children.

Aside from the loss of life, the deepest wound from this terror attack was psychological.

The theatre siege at Nord-Ost in Moscow was terrible enough but it is accepted that there is no comparison to the horror or grief of Beslan.

The after action report should be required reading for every military commander and front line first responders.

When combating something so ruthless, so devoid of human empathy as these Terrorists displayed during the attack on Beslan, we cannot idly sit back.

We must take notice of lessons learned, even if it takes us to the very place we would rather not think of.

Things to consider

In an attempt to prepare Americans for the threat of a terrorist attack like the one in Beslan, the first order of the day is for all of us to shed the veil of civility and luxury in which we carry out our lives.

All of us; parents, school officials, military planners and law enforcement commanders must be brutally honest with ourselves and ask the tough questions.

Are we tactically ready for such an event?

Could we, in the midst of dealing with such fear and paralyzing emotion, be able to carry out the necessary actions to stop or impede such an event from occurring?

When we have properly prepared ourselves mentally and psychologically for an attack of this nature, we can then move to taking the necessary steps required to prevent such an attack.

It has been offered that every school be outfitted with a minimum of at least one armed security guard for every school.

This is the case for most states that now have laws directing each high school to have a full time school resource police officer assigned as a primary duty to that school.

Sadly, this is not the case for most of our elementary schools.

Why?

Are they not the most vulnerable of all of us?

Assigning an individual officer to each school however would do nothing to stop an attack like the one that occurred at Beslan.

What can Americans learn from this tragedy

The attacks on 9/11 caught Americans off-guard. It also showed us how vulnerable and susceptible we can be to those willing to do the unthinkable on our very soil.

The unthinkable occurred at the Beslan School in 2004.

For the United States to think we are immune to such atrocities is both arrogant and reckless.

Unfortunately, there are no lengths or limits that Radical Islamic Extremist Terror groups will go to inflict fear and dread upon our American ideals.

A Columbine or Sandy Hook school shooting, as terrible and brutal as both were, will pale in comparison if a Beslan Style attack were to occur at an elementary school within the United States.

It is a topic that most would rather not explore or discuss.

I don’t like to think about it either.

But we must!

How important is this issue to you?

Do you think that we should direct more resources in the prevention of such an attack like the one at Beslan occurring here?

I value the thoughts and opinions of all of my readers. Please, if you agree or disagree with this article, please let your voice be heard and engage either on social media or the comment section at the end.


You can find other ORIGINAL articles like this one and more at The Salty Sarge Facebook Page.

Giduck, J., (2005), Terror at Beslan, A Russian Tragedy at American Schools, Archangel Group Inc. Canada

13 Comments

  1. No one wants to talk about what is necessary to protect ourselves and our country from a terrorist attack. Strengthen our borders, export undocumented people instead of lodging them in jails, housing their families and giving them subsistence for indefinite periods of time. It’s going to happen and while our country staggers in disbelief, our citizens are going to be killed. Time to wake up…People out there hate the USA and want to destroy it and take the land for themselves….

  2. I totally agree. I have talked about the Beslan massacre to many. Most have never heard of it or don’t want to hear it. The ostrich attitude. I don’t like it either, but we are soft and ignorant to the rest if the world. The “Siege of Beslan” by Col. Grossman and friend should be required reading in college and high school. We need to understand the evil that lies beyond and within our borders.

  3. As a former educator, in an American public school setting, I can see this. I went through a school shooting before Colombine. If you are a civilian, you never know what you can or will do until that moment. Will you act, or will you sleep? Most people I remember cowered. I had 400 students run into my room (music teacher), and I went on automatic pilot. Protect the kids. Do what ever to keep them safe. I would like to think I would do that every time. In all honesty, I don’t know. Thank you for a very thought provoking artical.

  4. Owning a firearm and learning the basics is a start, but it might be only just enough to get your ass kicked. It is essential to pull our heads out as a nation and prepare for this tragic event that has unfortunately already occurred. We must acknowledge the terror and evil that exists in order to effectively defend against it. And we must harden our culture through our children, so they too can know and prepare for what evils lurk in this world. Not to live in fear, but to embrace reality.

  5. Sadly, I think that you are 100% correct. Even sadder, is the fact that we currently live in a nation that is chock full of little snowflakes who refuse to call a spade a spade, let alone utter the words “radical terrorism” for fear that it just might offend someone. Political correctness is slowly but surely killing our nation, along with rampant apathy and just plain ignorance as to how things truly are in the “real” world. I have never seen as much hatred, immaturity, intolerance, violence, and destruction committed by those who claim to be so benevolent, kind, forgiving, welcoming, understanding, open-minded and tolerant. Those who seek to destroy our nation must be laughing with utter glee at how we are all turning on one another and attacking each other for our differing political, personal and religious beliefs. We are almost doing the job FOR THEM. All of this division makes us ripe and totally unprepared for a situation such as what you have outlined. And that—is beyond terrifying.

  6. Liberals don’t care. They would rather see children die than beef up armed officers in schools. It will happen here and everyone will blame the president.

  7. I agree, Beslan should be brought up often as a reminder of what we are facing. The problem is that no one wants to properly address the threat because, as Stephanie put so well above, it’s not “Politically Correct”…..
    Similar to the real threat of a terrorist van with a nuke taking out a city, no one wants to even think about these things and even loudly criticize those who would try and wake them up…..
    Ever since Sandy Hook I have been advocating for Armed Officers at every school. Pennsylvania took a step in the right direction when they started hiring Retired PA SP officers at their schools a few years ago.
    Of course the issue there is that parents are then horrified that a Police Officer has a gun on their belt near their little cupcakes and start insisting that the officer be an unarmed “School Resource Officer” who is there to break up fights and make the kids feel good about themselves.
    After Sandy Hook there was a lot of wailing that “if only there had been better doors and barriers!”, but there were….. there was a locked door with a buzzer that the shooter ignored and just shot out the glass and walked in through the opening.
    As I am fond of repeating to all who will listen: “The only way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun.”
    I am afraid that we will need to learn that lesson over again as a Nation and it will not be pretty when it happens.

  8. No, we are not ready. Just like Beslan, most will stand by and watch the slaughter. They will second guess any response made. Officers are leery of shooting now, could they shoot through a hostage to kill a terrorist that is about to detonate a bomb? Kill one to save 100s? These decisions have to be made before the incident happens. Our law enforcement leaders are mostly in the mind set that “That isn’t going to happen here.”

    Or will it?

    No matter what, the outcome will be unacceptable to the these same constituents that applaud President Obama’s cancelling the 1033 program.

    Rules of engagement will have to be different for terrorists. There will be no tasers. There will be no warnings of “Stop, police!”, It will HAVE be a search and kill mission. The current mind set in police work does not train for this scenario and any good trainer knows you fall back on your training during stressful moments.

    Training is expensive and the bean counters won’t pay for it. “It too expensive, we will just call XYZ SWAT team to handle it.” Not knowing or not caring that every second that tick off the terrorists are planting more explosives, killing more people, (Not Hostages, because hostages infer that the terrorists want to live, they don’t).

    Look at what one man did with bumpstocks from several hundred yards away in Vegas. Imagine if you would have had a coordinated attack from 20 well trained terrorists. Toss in a few RPGs or indirect fire from mortars smuggled across our porous Southern Boarder. Maybe a VBIED or two.

    Imagine the officer that has to make it to the door of the hotel room, like Las Vegas, but the terrorists have set up a few claymores in the hallways or stairwells.

    Hell, no we aren’t trained for a coordinated terrorist attack.

    We have been incredibly lucky.

  9. The article touches a sensitive nerve that discloses the truth to the apathetic and to many who fail to prioritize and prepare for the exposed threats.
    While I agree with Stephanie’s summation; one must add the many politicians that disagree with the premise and are more worrried about their budgets and burdened by the unnecessary costs for training, developing contingencies, etc. 9/11 exposed not only our vulnerabilities but our naivety and continued ignorances. Israelíes live and breathe preparing for events such as these. After the Cold War; many within this country have failed to recognize the many faces of the enemy. Yesterday’s communist foe is today’s new business associate. Divide and conquer is an active reality living within our world. It’s not being paranoiac to think. History in the course of human events will repeat itself; just the names and places may change. Such is occurring. Remain vigilant and stay prepared.

  10. One cop in a school is a good start but totally inadequate in a real, coordinated attack. The way to be better prepared is to train and arm those teachers that are willing and able take that responsibility.

  11. The divisiveness and hate was carefully cultured by the last administration. Race relations were set back years by the false claim that “unarmed blacks” were being targeted by a militaristic police department. We were told our police didn’t need MRAPS and such to use against “us”, while leaving out the fact that our police would be the first to respond to a situation just like this–with only hand guns and very little protection. Political Correctness was created to give us new ways to hate on anyone different from us. We could speak kindly of someone, but using the wrong term gave license to have it called hate speech by the PC crowd. Our entire population is easier to control because we are not standing together, but fighting amongst ourselves. Evil people are turned into famous people by media who covers them non-stop, creating a way for the next evil person to decide on a way to become famous while our true heros are ignored, demeaned and criticized.

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