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In the premiere episode of Security USA Today, David Boehm, Albert Timen and Clark Pena discuss the current state of preparation in regard to counter terrorism. Mr. Timen, a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces who has personally participated in anti-terrorist operations and is currently owner of the Kapap Academy, which trains law enforcement and security professionals, shares his insights, along with David Boehm, COO of Security USA, Inc.
It seems that since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the focus in our society has been on terrorism in a way it never was before. That might lead some to believe that we are less secure than we ever were, but David Boehm and Albert Timen disagree. The greater focus on terrorism and the measures that can be taken to prevent it have put us in a more secure position than we were in prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001. Prior to those attacks, the threat of terrorism was very real, as is evidenced in the destruction that resulted, but having never been attacked on our own soil by an international terrorist organization prior to that, we didn't think about it. We almost believed that we were exempt.
The increased awareness following those tragic events has put us in a position where we know more about what the threat is and what terrorist plans might be in the works. We have invested more time and energy into security at many levels, which while making it a more conscious threat, also has us better prepared. Airlines and government buildings have drastically increased security, making them much more difficult to target, so the threat has now been transferred to privately held or public spaces, like movie theaters or malls, which are considered soft targets, as they do not have the same level of security protection.
This transfers much of the responsibility for our safety to the owners of these venues and ourselves. Owners or operators of movies, theaters, malls and other public venues can invest in security measures, utilizing well-trained security guards and a variety of security technology to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack on their premises, but each individual needs to take some responsibility for his or her own safety. Each of us is responsible for being aware of our own surroundings, watching for unattended packages, seemingly abandoned vehicles and suspicious-looking people. While one can't always accurately predict what another person may be thinking or planning, especially without training, certain attributes may stand out, like a person looking extremely apprehensive in a situation that should be relaxed and happy, or sweating profusely when the temperature and level of exertion do not justify it. When we do see something, reporting it to law enforcement of private security may result in lives being saved.
On the institutional level, it is important for law enforcement and security to develop an understanding of the mentality of a suicide bomber, a concept which has not been widespread within our culture, but is prevalent among those who wish to do us harm. The ability to identify potential bombers and predict their actions will go a long way toward helping to keep us safe. Many have voiced concerns over profiling and other aspects of counter terrorist efforts, but we may have to accept that the days of unlimited freedom and privacy have passed and that we may have to sacrifice some level of openness to save lives.
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