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Thread: The Suicide Bomber Question

  1. #1
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    Default The Suicide Bomber Question

    OK - not seeking to revive the same conversation in the moved and now closed thread, but Carina asked a good question which is directly relevant to CQC:

    Just tell me Kit what would you do, if there was a man with a bomb in his backpack, threaten to blow himself up in a shopping center full of people? Would you provoke him, or would you try to calm him down?
    What you do, Carina, is use deadly force at the earliest opportunity, and generally in a specific way that I'll not go into. Sadly, many in U.S. LE have been extensively trained in dealing with this situation due to the threat of terrorism of various types. Instances have occurred a number of times over the years, and not from radical Islamists. The Discovery Channel incident is probably the most well known, and I attended a debrief of that incident from the officer whose team and personal actions ended it.

    We would deal with other active threats - such as the shooters mentioned in the closed thread, noted only for the fact they were shooters and not due to their motivations. If someone is in the process of intentionally causing death and serious injury, or has the immediate means to potentially cause imminent loss of life, they are handled with deadly force.

    They are not negotiated with, and doing so violates what we call the priority of life by placing the suspect's life over that of victims and responders.

    These are treated very differently than static hostage situations, disturbed persons barricaded in locations, or suicidal persons who are only a threat to themselves. Those people are negotiated with up to and until they give up or begin actively attempting to kill or injure others.

    Some of us willingly risk our lives to attempt to rescue the people that people like this are harming - first by attempting to stop the killing, next by getting the injured treatment as quickly as possible. That means neutralizing the present and future threat as rapidly as possible by killing them or making them so injured that they cannot continue their action, overwhelming them so they suicide or immediately - and I mean immediately - surrender, or precluding their access to victims.

    We do not willingly throw our own lives away (a critical difference from risking your life), and we do not willingly risk the lives of the public, by allowing a subject to retain the initiative when attempting to calm him down while he has the means to kill us or others.

    When you do that, you place all the decision making over your own life and the lives of those you are sworn to protect in the hands of the very person threatening them.

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    You bring up a good point, Kit. A person with a bomb isn't like a potential suicide standing on a ledge. The latter may be able to be "talked down," but the former has already taken the time to build a bomb and has carried out all but the very last step in a long list of steps of a plan to murder people. It's far too late to "try to calm him down."
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    We use a few catch phrases such as "deny access (to targets)" and "stop the killing, stop the dying." We also teach our civilian community the "run, hide, fight" program. One of our community service officers (a retired Lt. from another dept.) makes a good point about this stuff; most of us, including me, will likely never need to use it. But if we do need it these catch phrases act as a quick mission outline. Everyone knows "stop, drop and roll." Has anyone used it? Does anyone know anyone who has? Was there a huge outbreak of spontaneous combustions in the 70s and 80s that saw the need for it? Nope. But we all know what to do if we happen to catch fire. In today's world we need these new guidelines.

    I think a person with a bomb strapped to him or her is well beyond the negotiation stage. A guy who catches his old lady with another guy might become an active shooter in a fit of rage but a guy who has a bomb has premeditated that event for a while. The bomber most likely has a much grander agenda than just shoot the place up.
    Christopher Covington

    Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

    All views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily represent the views of the arts I practice, the teachers and people I train with or any dojo I train in.

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    Kit, Christopher,

    Do you have opinions on a slightly different scenario, that of airplane hijackers, who, it must be assumed, have explosives? As far as I can see, this is a rather different situation from that of the shopping mall, but is very directly related to CQC.

    I am a (relatively) frequent international traveller, and though I chose my airlines with some care, the recent case of German Wings shows that one cannot ever be certain that the suicide 'bomber' fits the usual profile, for in this case, the 'bomb' was the plane itself.

    I am curious about what changes you would make to the views you expressed in Posts #1 and "3.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Good question, Peter.

    We can broaden the question to "active threats" on an airplane. That would include not only hijackers, but suicidal persons of the kind that try to open doors, try to get into the cockpit, etc. In the German Wings incident - not much you are going to do there if the man is your pilot, has already commandeered the cockpit, and is flying you to your death. Then, yeah, trying to talk to him through the door may be the only option.

    A violent subject assaulting others? A mentally disturbed person trying to get in to the cockpit? Trying to open a cabin door? That needs to be dealt with. Most passengers may be paralyzed with fear or hesitation and not react, but a strong presence taking charge and dealing with the person could galvanize them. This will likely involve some physical altercation and a need to maintain control of the person, but they should be addressed and contained. The cockpit is a primary concern - I understand that cabin pressure will prevent cabin doors from being opened and so you are mainly dealing with a physical violent individual.

    If you knew them to be armed? First, hope there is an Air Marshal on the plane.....

    Otherwise armed with something like the boxcutters, I'd take that fight. Unlikely that you will be killed by a man with such a short blade. Not impossible, just hard to do if you are fighting a defending yourself. Try to take the cuts on the right places and have some idea on how to treat hemorraghing. The question will be does he have a chance at getting into the cockpit? Is he actively threatening and assaulting others? Or is he popping off? Negotiation to lull him into complacency may be a good option, but only if he is not a direct threat to the cockpit or to other people.

    Explosives? Bad day.

    Something to think about would be "will I likely die anyway?" If a person is threatening with explosives and you think they are legit, and if their ultimate aim is to take the plane down, and death is inevitable, I'd rather die fighting than cowering.

    Things that may increase your chances would be things like looking for a manually activated pressure switch or electronic means of detonation - is he keeping his mobile phone in his hand at all times? Does he have some kind of switch in his hand, or some kind of contraption on his body? Prevent access to these things by controlling his hand/hands, getting it away from him, etc.

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    Good thread....and sadly, tragically.....topical.
    Chris Thomas

    "While people are entitled to their illusions, they are not entitled to a limitless enjoyment of them and they are not entitled to impose them upon others."

    "Team Cynicism" MVP 2005-2006
    Currently on "Injured/Reserve" list due to a scathing Sarcasm pile-up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P Goldsbury View Post
    Kit, Christopher,



    I am a (relatively) frequent international traveller, and though I chose my airlines with some care, the recent case of German Wings shows that one cannot ever be certain that the suicide 'bomber' fits the usual profile, for in this case, the 'bomb' was the plane itself.
    The doors of the cockpits can be locked from the inside since the 11/9 and it is said that Andreas Lubitz pilot of Germanwings copied this crash
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slate...y_similar.html

    So if the world had put more attention on that crash, they would have not allowed just one man in the cockpit.

    Now many companies have a mandatory rule, never to leave 1 man alone in the cockpit, so at least this kind of accidents is more difficult to repeat

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    Hello Carina,

    I am surprised that nothing much was heard about the earlier crash. I did not know about it until I read your link.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Quote Originally Posted by P Goldsbury View Post
    Hello Carina,

    I am surprised that nothing much was heard about the earlier crash. I did not know about it until I read your link.
    I didn't know either until the Germanwings crash, because this one affected us directly, it happened in Europe, very close to us, there could have been people we could know on that accident, like the ones of my colleague, who comes from the german town were the school class came, who were in Barcelona for student exchange and died on the crash. So we followed day by day all news.

    Sadly the news of the so called third world are no news and we just will consciously get to know them when they have consequences

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    Quote Originally Posted by P Goldsbury View Post
    Do you have opinions on a slightly different scenario, that of airplane hijackers, who, it must be assumed, have explosives? As far as I can see, this is a rather different situation from that of the shopping mall, but is very directly related to CQC.

    I am curious about what changes you would make to the views you expressed in Posts #1 and "3.
    Sorry I'm late to this question.

    I agree with Kit (not surprising of course). I would also go back to my little catch phrases and say deny access. This isn't a concrete plan but it is a nice little guideline for a plan. What do they want and how can you stop them from getting it? Is it a guy with a knife trying to get to the cockpit? Place yourself and serving carts, bags, etc. between him and the door. Beat him what whatever you can get your hands on. Is it someone with a bomb strapped on them? Could very well be. TSA does a dreadful job of detecting fake bombs; what makes you think they'll find a real one? Like Kit said look for a trigger device (cell phone, some mechanical device, etc.). Use as much deadly force as you can muster. In this situation you can't run, you can't hide, the best you have is fight for your life. It might not do any good but at least you know you went out fighting.

    To me the real issue is your mental state. This is where training for an imperturbable mind is so important (BTW Kit I haven't forgotten about you computer issues at home and life has been super busy, sorry bro). Most people haven't been tested in any real or meaningful way so they are 100% unaware of what they will do when it "gets real." I've heard when stressed we do four things that begin with "F;" fight, flight, freeze and... this is a family friendly forum so I'll save that one... Some folks run to the fight, others run away and a lot of them just stop dead in their tracks. I found out I run towards it several years ago. If you are one of those folks who runs towards it, I've found you won't be able to do much to change the folks running away, but the frozen folks can be directed in some cases with strong leadership and command presence. I think something that freezes people is the feeling they don't know what to do. When you give them a task they can suddenly be helpful and they start to move (not in all cases but some). I see this most in medical emergencies. Everyone stands around gawking because they don't know what else to do. When you start assigning tasks people usually obey and some become very engaged because they feel like part of the solution.

    The first time I went to Japan was in Sept. 2001. I was with two friends Brian and Arman (both used to post here but haven't in years). Our flight back was 9/11/2001. The attendant knew we were in Japan training budo (she was talking to us early in the flight). When they closed off US air space she came to us and explained what had happened (or at least what they thought had happened at that point) and asked us if anything happened on the plane would we be able to help. Of course we would and we were ready. Thankfully that never happened and we got to spend a few days in Vancouver BC. I have never been treated so kind as I was there by EVERY Canadian I met (they have a reputation as being overly kind and they live up to it!). I digress. We made a firm resolution that we would do what we had to do. I think my hair really started to go gray that day
    Christopher Covington

    Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

    All views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily represent the views of the arts I practice, the teachers and people I train with or any dojo I train in.

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    Chris - no worries, my friend, I appreciate it!

    I think a key point here - as in any of these kinds of things, including active threat/shooter response - is that mindset.

    Being functional while operating under the threat of your own death. There is a distinction, though: its accepting the possibility of your death but not the inevitability of it.

    To me, here is the foundation of budo training. It is also the foundation of stress inoculation training in the modern context. Proper training emphasizing stress inoculation does allow one to achieve some level of this kind of fudoshin, as does repeat experience for most people. Some are just naturals.

    Good training PLUS experience PLUS an innate ability provide a still more fertile growing environment.

    That is not to say that budo training today focuses on it or even recognizes it.

    Once you've had some inkling of this, further growth results in being able to lead other people by their tapping into it as well. So many people are stunned into inaction and collapse: the freeze and flight Chris noted - but can and will rally when someone is able to harness his or her own energy and galvanize them into action. And again, some people just have a natural ability to keep their head when the others about them are losing their own, and good training and experience develop it.

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    Anyone with a bomb strapped to them, if not coerced into that position, will almost certainly not negotiate and will detonate the bomb upon discovery. The real problem is finding that someone has such a bomb. If they use a dead man switch it's going to blow no matter what you do.

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