(Bill Worth was requested to submit an article as an Op-Ed piece for Svenska Dagblaten Sweden’s largest newspaper the day after the Pulse Nightclub shooting)
Early on the morning of June 12th 2016 a lone gunman entered a bustling nightclub in Orlando Florida to kill as many revelers as possible. So what is America’s response? We ask irrelevant questions and blame everyone but ourselves.
Was it an act of terror? Was the shooter a Muslim? Was the shooter associated with a radical Islamic terror organization? Was it a hate crime? Were the guns used obtained legally? Why don’t we ban all guns?
None of these questions or speculations matter. It does not matter who the attacker was or if he was part of any radical group. It does not matter what guns were used or if he obtained them legally. What matters is that the nightclub and the people who died were not prepared to react to a terror attack. I would like to ask the one question that no one probably will: “Why are Americans so unprepared to respond to an act of terror?” We Americans live in a fantasy world and believe that “An act of terrorism will never happen here”; how soon we forget the horror of 9/11 and the weekly active shooter events that occur across the United States. We Americans do not seem to understand terrorism. We are so secure in the belief that our military power will protect us from the evil that exists in the rest of the world that we forget that our military is ineffective against terrorism. We are a proud and arrogant nation.
Terrorism exists not in the battlefields of the world but in our neighborhoods. The root of terrorism is terror; terror that causes fear and impacts our lives. Terrorism is not about winning battles; terrorism is about impacting lives. How many people will avoid going to a nightclub tonight? How many people will stay home and not venture out to pursue their regular social activities? If we allow terrorism to negatively impact our lives; terrorism wins. Succumbing to terrorism is not an option. We must fight back.
The key to surviving an act of terrorism is by learning how to prepare and respond. All of us need to be vigilant to those things that seem out of place in the world around us. When a disastrous violent event occurs we need to act quickly. Can I escape? Did you look for all the exits once you entered? Can I hide? Hiding is usually not a good option because you are a stationary target. Am I forced to fight? In the Orlando nightclub attack the shooter had to reload his empty gun several times. There were some seconds when those in the nightclub could have attacked him while he was vulnerable while reloading. Unfortunately, no one knew enough to fight back. Standing up against violence is frightening but huddling in a bathroom while someone shoots you is just unacceptable.
Every business owner and every individual must find ways to fight back against terror through professional preparation and the will to survive. Terror wins if we do nothing.
Bill Worth Managing Partner
Countermeasure Consulting Group: providing expert consultation and training to organizations and individuals on how to prepare for and prevent acts of violence