I think it’s instructive to look at past terrorist attacks to gain some insights about what we might experience in a worst case scenario. One of my favorite incidents for study is the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. It hits close to home because I actually visited that mall when I was in Kenya back in 2008.
CNN gathered CCTV surveillance video showing the tactics used by the terrorists in the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. The video is short and very instructive. Watch it below…
I’ve discussed several of the lessons learned from the attack HERE. This video brings up several more….
1) Long Guns. All the attackers in this event were armed with AK style rifles. You will be dramatically outmatched by them if you are carrying a pocket pistol. Their choice of weapons also brings up the issue of using cover. Quite simply, there aren’t many things you can hide behind that will reliably stop a 7.62x39mm round. Traditional advice about “taking cover” is almost useless in this environment considering the terrorists’ weapon choice.
2) Running. How many people do you see running in the video? Hundreds. Are you physically fit enough to escape? If not, you will be one of the folks shot down if you are stuck in the next hostage siege. This article may help you get back on track. Another point is to wear suitable shoes in public. Flip flops and running over broken glass make for a slow escape.
3) Hiding vs. Escaping. I get in passionate arguments on this topic with people who teach active shooter tactics. Many folks advocate “locking down” or hiding as the first choice in such an event. I don’t. While those tactics work well if there will be a rapidly responding police entry, in some cases (like this) police intervention will take days. The people who “locked down” were found, tortured, and killed. The people who hid were shot. Watch the video around the :56 second mark for proof. If you hear gunshots in a public area GET OUT!
4) Playing dead. Similar to the response of hiding that I wrote about above, playing dead should be a last resort response. Take a look at what happened to the person playing dead in the mall at the 1:46 mark. The same thing happened to students playing dead at both Columbine and Virginia Tech.
5) Team Tactics. In most of the footage, the terrorists operated in teams of two. Their tactics were far from state of the art, but they were effective. Have you ever trained to defeat attackers working as a team? Program yourself now to immediately start scanning for multiple attackers in situations like this. Be careful who you attack. Your “victim” may have friends nearby.
6) Surveillance video. If your long term survival plan is to hide, lock down, or “shelter in place”, have you considered the effect of video cameras? Undoubtedly, the terrorists took control of the video feeds. Watch the video around the 2:30 mark to see the terrorists attempting to identify where the cameras were positioned. You may have been able to hide from a single gunman, but can you hide from the cameras? Have you thought about how you could disable any cameras near your hiding place?
Remember folks, this video was just from the first day. The torture and mutilation had not yet begun. I doubt the rest of the video footage will ever be released, but it is likely to be even more brutal. Come up with a plan now so that you don’t end up tortured and killed when the attacks start happening here.