Terror attacks abroad – How to prepare yourself

Rob Reed

Wise words from our friend Rob Reed, who writes as the Michigan Firearms Examiner at


The Paris attacks are, of course, making of think about “what could happen here” and “what can we do, individually?”

From a personal, not policy, perspective, here is what I’m thinking:

You are still more likely to be the victim of a “normal” criminal attack than a terrorist attack. What I mean is, if you are attacked at all, it’s still more likely to be a carjacking, attempted rape, home invasion, armed robbery, etc., than part of a terror attack.

That said, an attack is an attack, and if you are the potential victim, the attacker’s motivation doesn’t matter as much as the immediate threat on your life.

(Although how a terror attack unfolds is different from how a “typical crime” unfolds. The victim selection is different, the pre-indicators are different, the distance between you and the threat is likely different, and how you react is different)

Fortunately, much of what you can do to prepare and keep yourself safe carries over and applies to both types of attack.

Steps to take:

1. Realize that “bad things happen” including “regular” crime and terror attacks.

2. Recognize you are ultimately responsible for your own safety. As the saying goes, “You are your own first responder.” No one will be there to save you, but you, when the time comes.

3. Get your carry permit. Get training so you know how to use the gun effectively. A state-mandated carry class is not enough.

4. Carry your damn guns, people. It doesn’t do you any good if it’s at home in the safe.

5. Learn first aid. You are more likely to need to use first aid or CPR skills in normal life than you are to need your gun. Could you help your spouse if they were choking? Or had a heart attack? Or, if you were attacked, could you keep yourself from bleeding to death from a shot to the leg?

6. Keep a decent first aid kit handy — in your car, or handy at work, at a minimum. Know how to apply a tourniquet and how to create an improvised one if one is not available. They save lives.

7. Lower your risk profile. As John Farnam says, “Don’t do stupid things. Don’t hang out with stupid people. Don’t go to stupid places.” That will reduce your risk profile noticeably.

Every permit holder should already understand the importance of deescalation. Once you carry a gun, you need to go out of your way to avoid road rage, or similar incidents, that can lead to you needing that gun.

Besides that, if you are concerned about terror attacks specifically, think twice before going to events with large gatherings of people that may be attractive targets. Of course, the irony is many of these events are “No gun zones” where the authorities will disarm you, but cannot guarantee your safety from an attacker willing to smuggle weapons in.

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