Back in the 70’s and 80’s when the issue of International terrorism came up it was largely viewed through the prism of hijackings and abductions. In many cases the victims would encounter the nerve racking ordeal of not knowing what their fate would be when hijackers commandeered airplanes and forced pilots to fly to countries friendly to them. Not all hijackings ended without loss of life but many did.
Today terrorism has taken on a much more deadly turn.
Generally if you are unlucky to be anywhere around the epic center of a terror attack you are likely to be dead or at best seriously maimed. Those are the realities of present day terrorism. As a consequence those who are tasked with protecting the public must adopt new thinking as they do their very best to protect the innocent from those who would visit massive casualty and death on non-combatants.
Most intelligent populations across the globe have already come to the realization that there is a new normal .
That normal is that the days of open borders, and the status quo laissez-faire which once existed may very well be a thing of the past.
Across the Globe security experts are scrambling to get ahead of the game as it relates to terrorism and in general keeping population centers free from massive terrorist attacks . Regardless of the progress they make the game has changed when it comes to soft targets. Despite the best efforts of police agencies the best they can hope for is to minimize the potential loss of life during an attack.
Terrorists only have to get it right once,police and intelligence agencies have to be right a hundred percent of the time . On that basis we must recognize that we probably will not be going back to the days when some individual guarantees were in place.
There is a general consensus it seem these days that all disputes must be settled with dead and mangled corpses littering landscapes. In this no one has clean hands, what we hear are justifications for why people who kill do so, each believing in the justification of their actions.
Whether the killings are done using high tech drones or through crude explosive devices the politics of justification is an age old one which will not be settled anytime soon. What emanates from their ashes are young minds calloused and seared in hatred and determination to exact death and destruction on those to whom they are opposed.
Whether it be in the slums of Gaza the west bank, or cities across Europe , the mangled ghost-like ruins of what was once Syria , Libya , or whether it is New York City, Orlando , or the countless other instances across the globe violence is the way people iron out their differences.
We can argue all we want that this will not happen where we are, guess what It won’t happen until it actually does. Yesterdays attack in Istanbul Turkey happened despite incredible understanding and preparation by Turkish officials which included checkpoints away from the inside of terminal buildings. Nevertheless the death and destruction was massive. Single shooters with the right kind of weaponry and ammunition has demonstrated the extent of the death and destruction they can inflict in the weekly shootings across America the latest being the Orlando night club massacre.
With information easily and readily available across the web people are able to find common cause with others across vast expanses of oceans . They are able to communicate, share ideas and in the process radicalize.
Mass killings or the quest to engage in killing as many people as possible as a political statement seem to be on the rise. I do not want to blame any one religious group as some do in the west without seeking to see things through the prism with which people in other parts of the world do.
What we cannot ignore are the looming clouds of radical Islam and what it means for safety of people in places once thought of as secure havens . Conversely many in the Middle East argue that they are merely responding to the aggression of western powers and the state of Israel . For many in that part of the world they witnessed western and Israeli bombs rain down on their cities and towns decimating their lives and families.
The debate about that equivalence is a legitimate one to which consensus will not come anytime soon.
Back here in the United States many of the young black men who are incarcerated align themselves with Islam . Just yesterday a young man who was recently incarcerated revealed to me that in prison aligning with a cause is a means of survival . He argues some of his contemporaries do not want to be aligned with the Bloods or the Crips or any of the other criminal gangs on the inside, so they self identify as Muslims.
Many of the young men of color who find themselves behind bars are from other places including the Caribbean. After doing their time these men are generally deported back to their country of origin with a radical new world view and anger toward the United States or whichever country they got deported from.
In Trinidad there is an active Muslim community , fractions of which hasn’t shied away from engaging in violence against the state. On the Island of Jamaica there is an ever increasing Muslim population , parts of which came into existence through deportations as I alluded to. To date there has not been any real evidence that this community has engaged in any acts of terrorism against the state or any other interests as for that matter . At the same time the Island is presently gripped in the tentacles of an existential fight against home grown criminals many of whom are using terrorist methods to make their point.
Incredibly the population spends its time and resources tearing down the institutions which are trying their best to provide some semblance of security.
Major countries like the United States Britain France and others has the resources to strengthen security around their facilities but what happen to the innocent public within poorer nations in which these assets are stationed?
Many smaller nations throughout Europe and even poor countries across Africa has suffered untold loss of life and incredible damage and destruction to their infrastructure as a result of terrorism.
Even with limited resources they are being forced to contend with the emerging realities of a changing world. Those countries understand that they have to band together with the agencies trying to protect them and as some say if you see something say something.
As the stakes becomes higher those who survive will be those who aid in their own security. Whether it is a man walking into a bank in Guyana attempting to rob the bank claiming ISIL bona fides ,every instance is a potential wake up call .
As it is on the Serengeti the week who decide to go it alone despite the relative security of the herd will be victimized . Whether terrorism comes through religion or simply because we allow it to happen through home grown punks , terror is terror. Those who would take lives will continue to do so unless they are stopped .