BLOG: Hard lessons from Paris to America - | WBTV Charlotte

BLOG: Hard lessons from Paris to America

On Friday, November 13, 2015 at around 5:00 PM local time, America began receiving the news about a Paris under siege.  A Paris we feel we all know in some way.  A Paris which many Americans, like myself, have visited and hold fond memories.  A Paris which as a government seat has stood as an ally beside America for generations, now was under attack by terrorists. 

For a moment the world stood stunned trying to comprehend the carnage.  As the scenes unfolded to the rest of the world at the speed of the web, we began to see what we know today were at least three operational teams of terrorists, throwing everything they had at the French.  Bombings, suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, mass hostage-taking.  One evening in Paris, Friday the 13th, that will change the history of that country forever.

Meanwhile, back at home in Charlotte, North Carolina USA, we could only listen to our media (social, TV and radio) and imagine what those folks on the other side of the world were going through. Yet here at home, we too have concert venues, cafes, restaurants and sports stadiums.  So why does this matter to us?  Because if we do not learn from the hard lessons learned in Paris just this past week, then we are facing a destiny that will leave us totally unprepared. And being unprepared is not a place you want to be in today's society.

We're quickly learning that many of the terrorists were home grown Frenchmen, aided by recent refugees, some from the very neighborhoods that were attacked.  Neighbors that, like us, have not learned yet how to identify the terror within, but we are all learning that lesson quite quickly (see my past blog: All Crime is Local). 

If you look at the targets the bad guys selected in Paris, they were predominantly venues where they knew people would not carry guns or have prominent security.  Why is that important?  Because no matter how you feel about the gun issue, lives are now at stake.  And the bottom line is, a bad guy carrying a gun fears nothing other than another gun being used against him. If terrorist attacks were being conducted around the world with baseball bats, then we wouldn't be having to have this conversation. But they aren't. So our society must learn to confront the terrorist armed with a gun.  

We do have an upper edge though. Ever since the Columbine High School incident, our police are better trained and better equipped to handle what we refer to as an "Active Shooter" incident.  When someone is shooting inside a location, the police do not hesitate.  They do not wait for SWAT.  They do not ponder the situation.  They immediately enter the location and neutralize the threat.  That alone, combined with the factor of the legally armed citizen, is keeping the terrorists among us at bay. 

Now we need to get the community more involved in combating terrorism/crime in our neighborhoods.  No need to be paranoid, just be vigilant.  Why?  Because there is a high probability that the next terrorist attack to take place in the United States will have ties to a neighborhood in what I call "Any Town, USA."  Do the local cities of York, Salisbury or Morganton sound familiar from recent news stories about terrorist being found among us? 

Please don't wait to become a victim.  If you see something, say something.

Copyright 2015 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Karl de la Guerra, PPS, CLSS

Don't let the bad guys win. Karl de la Guerra is WBTV's expert on personal security. He has spent the past 36 years in the protective services industry, with experience in the U.S. military, law enforcement, and international corporate security. For more information, visit
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