Monday, July 14, 2008

Homeland Security?

Today, I spent a large portion of my day in Homeland Security training. Some of it was supposedly confidential (odd, considering we private security types were allowed to attend, though virtually everyone was an actual LEO of some sort or another), but a lot of it wasn't.

We spent a lot of time learning about what an IED is, and how it can look like just about anything, since a person can hide explosives virtually anywhere. We saw their effects, some of the possible triggers, and basically learned that any terrorist attack can have multiple independent secondary and tertiary devices. This is the sort of stuff that's been common knowledge for a while now.

We also learned about radical Islam, which was refreshing in that it didn't get so PC as to apologize for not being Muslim, as is popular now. They even showed examples of countries that Islam is trying to take over violently which don't even have a history of attacking ANY Muslim countries or persecuting Muslims in any way. No new info, really, but it was nice to see some honesty in one of these terrorism talks.

We saw video of attacks in Thailand, where they lack the equipment to protect the bomb squad. Basically, the bomb squad there is a guy in a police uniform with some wirecutters. They are surprisingly effective, and every tool they get helps. Several of their units apparently even have signal disruption equipment, but no protective gear. It was terrible to see one of them burning to death because he lacked the basic gear our bomb squads strap on before they even think about approaching a bomb.

We also learned about some of the reactions terrorists and their supporters have when questioned. Anger, they said, is most common. Considering their beliefs and the videos they release, I'm not surprised.

We were also told about Israel's experience, both with suicide bombers and rockets. One gentleman who'd been a high-ranking cop over there told us how odd it seemed not to have guards searching people at every mall, school, and other potential target. He implied that we'd get there as soon as we had a couple attacks similar to some he's seen, which was worrisome, but it's not as if he can make policy.

They also talked about waging the war in the media and how important it is that the spokespeople for the "good guys" get as much time as possible on the news, making sure everyone sees them as the good guys and people don't hear as much of the other side

On a more interesting note, since I was there as an unarmed security officer, I was one of the very few without a sidearm. I'm okay with everyone carrying, but I sure don't like to be the unarmed guy (sure, they were cops, but that's no reason to trust them with my safety). Surprisingly, I noticed several single-stack 1911s. After I pointed that out to my boss, he noted that one of them was carrying *gasp* cocked and locked. I pointed out that all of them were and that this was the proper way to carry a 1911. He said he didn't want to risk a failure, and he didn't think it was necessary in this setting. I tried to explain the number of simultaneous failures required for a 1911 to go off while securely in the holster made it impossible, but I finally had to give up before we got into trouble for disrupting the presentation. I was just glad to see some cops don't feel outgunned when carrying a single-stack.

Tomorrow, one of the guests is supposed to be a woman who started crusading against terrorism after her son was killed. I tend not to take these sorts seriously, and I'm guessing she'll be no exception. One of the laws it said she's fighting for bans the sale of "gun kits." I don't even really want to think about what might be included in the scope of that. Heck, AR uppers and lowers, T/C Encore barrels, and unbarreled receivers are all possibilities, though I'm guessing they'll try to convince me that it's only going to be the unbarreled receivers, and they'll cite the lack of a ballistic fingerprint, even though those are notoriously unreliable and difficult, since the rifling will change with wear, dirt, or, if a criminal thinks it'll help, a little filing.

Oh, well. I can only hope she's one of those people who'll burn out her spotlight pretty quickly. And I hope she doesn't speak too long. I may end up arguing, and a lot of these cops will be all for her side of things.

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