Terror At Beslan

Learning life's lessons so we don't repeat mistakes.


  • May 1994: six terrorists armed with guns and grenades took over a bus filled with 29 children, teachers and parents.
  • July 1994: four terrorists took over a bus with 42 children, teachers and parents.
  • June 1995: 250 Chechen militants attacked a hospital in Buddenovsk, Russia. This was an exceptionally well-coordinated attack wherein the militants first attacked the local police station and then moved from there to the hospital, shooting victims along the way. They knew these victims would be transported to the hospital, thereby increasing their hostage count involuntarily. Hostage total was about 2,500.
  • January 1996: 300+ Chechen & Ingush militants attacked the Kizlyar Air Force Base in Dagestan, Russia before moving to and taking over the Dagestan hospital.
  • January 1996: the same terrorists that took Dagestan hospital, while traveling under "safe passage" back to Chechnya, instead detoured to Pervomaiskoye to take more hostages at a military garrison.
  • August & September 1999: Three apartment buildings blown up in Moscow by Islamic extremist Chechens, killing more than 300 people.
  • July 2001: One terrorist takes over a bus with 36 passengers. He was a veteran terrorist, having participated in the May 1994 event listed above.
  • September 11, 2001 (Not included in the book timeline, but important to recognize): Al-Qaeda terrorists hijack four planes in the United States and use them to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The fourth, Flight 93, crashes in Pennsylvania when the passengers band together against the terrorists. The actual target for this fourth plane has never been known or officially revealed.
  • October 13, 2002: 42 terrorists take more than 800 hostages at the Nord-Ost theater in Moscow. Using an unknown gas, Russian Special Forces assault the theater and rescue more than 600 victims. 129 victims die. All 42 terrorists are killed.
  • December 2003: a single female HOMICIDE bomber detonates herself in Red Square, killing five people.
  • February 2004: a bomb is detonated inside a Moscow subway care during rush hour, killing 39.
  • June 2004: in a two day operation, more than 950 Islamic extremist Chechens and Ingush simultaneously attack four town in Ingushetia, killing 98 people.

That's a ten-year timeline leading up to September 1, 2004. The largest hostage siege situation delineated there is mostly unknown to the United States population: the taking of the Buddensovsk Hospital.

Mr. Giduck then goes through the Beslan School siege one day at a time, examining both the terrorist actions and the surrounding governmental response. He doesn't pull punches when criticizing government officials as they tried to hide from responsibility or failed to make timely decisions while making excuses about unknown data.

After that, thanks to his unique access to Russian Special Forces troops who had been on the scene at Beslan, Mr. Giduck is able to review:

  • The terrorists' plan at Beslan
  • The government's response at Beslan
  • The unexpected Aftermath at Beslan

In Part Four of this book, Mr. Giduck very carefully examines all the implications of the Beslan attack on American schools. This is, by far, the most important section of the book, but you can't fully appreciate it without reading the first three parts. In Part Four, titled "Preparing America for Battle", Mr. Giduck discusses:

  • Preparing America's Schools
  • Preparing Law Enforcement
  • Combining Forces
  • Citizen Soldiers (and he doesn't mean the National Guard)
  • Preparing a Tactical Response
  • How Great the Threat?

With regard to "Preparing America's Schools", I quote from the book, Page 285:

"So, how is it we have yet to pull our heads from the sand, take a long gander about, and start doing something about it? And if we are to start, how far are we willing to go? Are we--as so many have predicted--going to sit imperiously upon our moralistic laurels and refuse to do those things that violate certain opinions we hold dearly, but that have been built upon the luxury of a completely safe and secure existence? Are those who oppose gun ownership ready to have parents and teachers armed, or for every school to have patrolling teams of Special Forces to defend them, every single day of the school year?"

Think about that.

With regard to "Preparing Law Enforcement", I quote from the book, Page 289:

"Though they prepare mightily everyday, a situation like Beslan would force our nation's law enforcement to confront circumstances and tactical hurdles unlike anything they have ever seen before. It will be a war. As a war, they must prepare to deal with factors that are not part of everyday police work, no matter how terrible or difficult. Law enforcement must mentally prepare for threatened, brutalized, and possibly executed children. We can never suffer another Columbine. Police must be prepared to risk their lives to save the children if and when the time comes, as many of the brave commandos of Alpha and Vympel did on September 3, 2004."

Think about that.

With regard to "Combining Forces", I quote from the book, Page 318:

"Is local law enforcement prepared to work with the FBI, FEMA, its own state WMD/CST, and even the National Guard if necessary in responding to such a situation? Have they worked out a critical Incident Command System (ICS)? Have they trained together before? Have they done any of this with sister jurisdictions that will likely respond? What is prepared as between the local police and fire departments? Are private ambulance services a part of the critical incident response plan? Is your police department ready to subordinate itself to another law enforcement agency if that other is better trained or more experienced in SWAT, hostage negotiations and rescue?"

Think about that.

With regard to "Citizen Soldiers", I quote from the book, Page 329:

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