Terrorists have struck again. Merry Christmas.
There really seems to be no safe place, but if you've attended even one of the Osseo Gun Club classes in the last few months and participated in the Situational Awareness lessons, you know this. A Safe Environment is one where YOU control the access and there are no threats present.
I can only think of one place like that for me, my house.
The market in Germany? An art museum in Turkey? Dangerous Environments. You have no control of the access to either of those places and you have no idea who is around you. In the incident in Turkey, it's even worse as the terrorist turned out to be a Turkish police officer. (German photo - HT Reuters --- Turkish photo - HT Associated Press)
Situational Awareness really is the primary skill for self-defense. Identify that threat early and avoid conflict quickly, or start taking action.
What I haven't been able to see yet, and I would like to, is the minute or so prior to the assassination in Turkey. The cameras were right by the assassin. It would be fascinating to see if we could look at this man and establish any pre-contact cues in his demeanor or facial expressions.
As for Berlin, once again a large truck was used. Just like it was used in Nice, France earlier this year. In the middle east, terrorists would often pack these trucks with explosives and drive them into markets, religious buildings or military installations and blow them up, they're called a VBIED - Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device. So far, we haven't seen them in Europe....so far.
For us as Defenders, we need to keep an eye out for large trucks. Not only is this a good idea because truck drivers don't have a lot of visibility, but the use of a large truck for a mass casualty event is simple, cheap, and scary, everything a terrorist wants.
With the Turkish assassin, life gets a lot harder. First, unless we can see if there are any pre-contact cues, it would be his draw against your draw. (Another reason to get to class and get your draw times down.) If you knew he was a police officer (which is possible that those around him did), if a police officer draws his side arm, you aren't conditioned to start defending against that because for us in America, police officers are the good guys. Once that police officer kills an unarmed man in cold blood and turns on the crowd, well, now you're behind the power curve. He's got his firearm out and he's keyed up for a fight, and you're playing catch up. Tough.
That's the thing with irrational violence. As you and I are people who would never just shoot an innocent man in the back, when it happens around us, we're stunned and off balance. That's why it's critical to condition your defensive responses to an unconscious level. It's not good enough to "understand" that you're under attack, you have to respond to the attack. We've talked about this a lot, it's all about neural pathways and stimulus bridges.