In 2003, the Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed the existence of a Middle Eastern organization in Chicago that had narco-terrorism ties to Hezbollah. The dismantling of this organization led to arrests in states such as Michigan, Arizona and California. Iran is one of many contributors to Hezbollah. Hezbollah is just one terrorist organization that is against western values and has demonstrated their violence. The terrorist of Beslan were motivated by political beliefs. Modern terrorists are motivated by religious radicalism; a much more motivating principal, especially when it parlays into jihad. Jihad terrorism has no moral boundaries. To counteract the terrorists at Beslan, Russian Special Forces were called into action. Although many lives were lost, it was a learning experience for the world. Russia was the victim of this school massacre. The world should be its students.
It is evident that the threat exists, the means to execute an event such as Beslan on American soil is present, meaning radical terrorist organizations then why have America's communities overwhelmingly neglected to prepare? While the Nile River may not physically crossed continents, De-Nile has arrived on American soil. Prevention is the key to stopping this type of attack.
Building bridges between police and communities is the key. Prevention takes into account deterrence. Hardening America's schools, especially middle and elementary schools through School Resource Officers and community awareness is the best deterrence.
In 2004 United Kingdom experts gave presentations at Rutgers University on how law enforcement can work with communities to deter terrorism. Focal points for community and law enforcement included understanding the following about terrorist organizations. They remind the public that terrorists need:
- Places to live - Experience shows that these types of places are often rented on a short-term basis.
- To plan and prepare - Terrorist attacks around the world have involved a great deal of planning and preparation.
- Vehicles - Cars and trucks have been used to devastating effect in terrorist attacks around the world. Terrorists also need to move around. Car dealers or car rental agencies should pay particular attention to this.
- Money - Terrorists need money to live on and to fund their activities and often raise this by committing check and credit-card fraud. Individuals may create identities to set up bogus bank accounts and then acquire checkbooks to buy goods that are later returned to stores for cash refunds. Credit cards are also cloned and used to buy goods that can later be returned for cash or sold.
Additionally, supplies for making terrorist weapons are often obtained within the country. The London bombing is a global example of how terrorist utilized supplies from within England and utilized them against her citizens.
American law enforcement is fundamentally unprepared to counter a true terrorist attack once it's in the execution phase. From an equipment perspective, long guns, ballistic equipment, shields and helmets, are still a rarity to many patrol officers. The defending administrative excuses for not supplying these items are cost and public scrutiny. Although the active shooter is no longer a SWAT response but rather a patrol officer's, a Beslan type attack will inevitably rely on a SWAT response for a resolution. SWAT teams across the nation predominantly train for Hostage Rescue; however, once an event like this commences casualties will be inevitable.
Strategic and Tactical planning are paramount for a successful resolution. Law enforcement cannot be singled out as America's sole defenders, but rather, the key to preventing this type of attack is incorporating communities as the first responders in the prevention phase. A historic quote that is just as relevant in modern times as times of past is
Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.
This is a quote from the walls of the United States Holocausts Memorial from a survivor. Communities, law enforcement commanders and school officials, should embrace this true terrorist threat and not fall prey to De-Nile and create a unified front in preventing such a horrendous incident from staining America’s soil.