Thoughts of a Former Special Operations Operator

When you look at preparation and preparedness, the first thing that comes to mind are the stereotypes "prepper" and "fanatic". I don't want to be associated with off-the-grid preppers that are sometimes justifyingly portrayed as crazy in the media and on television. 


Prepper. What is a Prepper? What does it mean and what measurable scale could you outline and comprehend? What does it matter if I don't have an underground shelter, spare water, and food? Looking back on the Boston Marathon bombers and what they did to an entire city, state, and to the country, I remember hearing about the state and federal government establishing a curfew and that civilians — law abiding civilians — were to lock themselves down.


"We're asking people to shelter in place — in other words, to stay indoors with their doors locked and not to open the door for anyone other than a properly-identified law enforcement officer," said the Governor of Massachusetts during the manhunt. (Naylor, NPR)


This type of lock down by the government over a manhunt of two amateur terrorists made me think: If two amateur losers with minimal training could shakedown an entire city, and cause anarchy and havoc — with minimal training, support, and equipment — I wonder what would happen if a real terrorist, like the foreign fighters my team fought year after year in Afghanistan and Iraq were able to recruit, train,and  actually execute a coordinated and deliberate attack here at home? My guess is utter chaos; my guess is complete and total lockdown. Do you think your local law enforcement agencies are equipped to deal with terrorism on a large scale? Or even a small scale? A cell of well-trained and eager terrorists. The answer is undoubtedly NO. 


Some of my closest friends are the best and brightest of the law enforcement community, and this has nothing to do with their individual skill-sets or desire, but everything to do with protocol, communication — or lack there of. Basic standard operating procedures, or SOPs. Look at the North Hollywood Shootout back in 1997 which resulted in six civilians and 10 officers wounded, and 19 police officers who earned medals of valor. In comparison, if two terrorists get into a shootout with a Special Operations unit with those exact same results, do you know what would happen? The guys in that unit would probably be relieved of duty and washed out of the unit. Basically, those stats in the realm of good vs. evil are nothing to brag about. And we're talking about a pair of bank robbers who were strung-out on drugs, and armed with modern weapons. 


Starting to see the point? The terrorists, who were formidable and highly-trained, required excessive, violent, and coordinated crushing to rid the world of by an elite unit.


Is our nation prepared to deal with those kind of foes?


And just a quick side note, I like arm chair quarterbacking. If I had been on the scene in North Hollywood, I would've used the armored car to run those idiots over.


Do you think a police officer wanted to do that? Probably, maybe... But why didn't they? It's the point of this rant in summary. It's because they aren't trained nor prepared to deal with those situations. When things end badly in jobs that are 99-percent routine, and one-percent deadly, SOPs must change. We cannot depend on the 99-percent to defend ourselves and our families while we're stuck waiting in lockdown with no firearms. We cannot wait for a domestic terrorist to kick in our door like in Watertown, MA, to be quarantined in a city while waiting to be infected by a disease like Ebola, to be stranded on an ice-covered highway in a car while waiting for rescue like in Atlanta, GA, or to sit on a Louisianan rooftop awaiting rescue from a major hurricane like Katrina.


The point is you cannot depend on the government. The government is run by people just like you and me. They all have specific roles which are guided by specific rules and regulations. Learn how to depend on yourself, your training, and your own personal will. It's a choice. Risk being labeled a "prepper" or a "fanatic" — possibly — but when the day comes guess who will be prepared? You will. 


I'm not telling you to drop a shipping container in your backyard for your underground bunker. I'm not...yet. What I am telling you is to learn what the consequences of not being prepared are, and to learn to take precautions and measures to protect you and those you love most.

- IG: SofSurvivor former Special Operations Operator