Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Diversity is Our Strength: Terror Attack in London

       The Daily Mail reports that "FOUR people are dead - including police officer and terrorist - and 20 more injured - after killer mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before killer is shot attacking police in Parliament grounds."

Source: "How the London terror unfolded: Path of destruction from Westminster Bridge to the Houses of Parliament"--Daily Mail
       According to the article first referenced above:
       At least 20 people were hit when a 4x4 drove along the pavement on the crowded bridge, knocking down and seriously injuring pedestrians before crashing into a fence below Big Ben. 
       The killer, described by witnesses as 'middle-aged and Asian', then managed to break into the grounds of Parliament, where he fatally stabbed a police officer with two knives. 
       The policeman died at the scene. The attacker, who was shot by armed officers, died after he was taken to hospital. 
       It is currently believed one attacker was involved and he killed three people, including the policeman, and left at least 20 pedestrians and three other police officers seriously injured.
The article goes on to later report:
       Frazer Clarke, 25, from Burton-on-Trent, said: 'We heard a loud bang and screaming and then I noticed some smoke. I thought it was a car crash. 
       'I looked towards the front gate and people were running, a police officer and a fellow coming to the gate with two knives. 
       'He was stabbing the police officer with the knives. He was wearing black tracksuit bottoms, a black of grey top and what looked like work boots. The police officer was stumbling and fell on the floor'  
       Pat McCormack, 21, from Washington in Tyne-on-Wear added: 'I saw him stabbing the officer in the back of the head and the back of the neck. 
       'He was running away but then he collapsed.' 
Another article has several videos apparently showing parts of the incident.

       Whether bad timing, a quick response, or as a result of prior knowledge, Turkish President Erdogan stated just minutes following the incident that "If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets."

       A couple points, the first being of a practical nature: it is difficult to defend yourself, whether armed or not, from someone attacking you with a weapon in each hand. Although discussing a knife-pistol combination, Greg Ellifritz was just discussing this topic a couple days ago in his article: "Your tactical training scenario…a weapon in each hand." Ellifritz warns:
Many uneducated instructors will advise something like “Get distance, draw your gun and shoot.”  That’s great in theory, but it doesn’t usually work in real life.  You can’t move away from him as fast as he can move towards you.  And how quick will your concealed draw be as the attacker is both shooting and stabbing you?
In the scenario that he was discussing--a gun-knife combination--Ellifritz recommended that your best option was probably to attempt to gain control of at least one weapon: moving to the outside of arm holding the gun in that particular scenario. I suspect that the same would apply with someone armed with two knives if you are forced to grapple with the attacker: just pick which hand on which you are going to concentrate.

       One thing I've noticed in my practice is that the arm holding a knife makes a good fulcrum if you let it (or force it) to move along an arc consistent with the arm's normal movement. Rather than fighting to force the arm to stop and move in a different direction, you want to guide the arm to finish an arc or path that the body would normally follow, just changing its course enough so it does not strike you. (Hopefully, you have been practicing an unarmed defense where you step at a 45 degree angle forward and to one side). Instead of parrying or blocking a blow with your arm, as you might if unarmed, you want to grab the attackers arm. Adding your full weight to the arm can easily overbalance your opponent and drag his arm to the ground. (If you have stepped aside at a 45 degree angle, it should also put you to side or to the side and slightly behind the attacker, where you may be able to do all sorts of harm to the attacker's shoulder and/or elbow joint). On the other hand, a straight overhead strike down with a knife can easily be redirected so that the attacker ends up (with your help) stabbing himself in the thigh or groin. In any event, your goal is to get yourself in a position where you are behind the attacker, whether that is behind him because you have thrown him off balance, or behind him as in sitting on his back with his face buried into the pavement, so he can't effectively use the weapon in the other hand, and allowing you to run away or engage in some other act to end the encounter in your favor.

       However, as Ellifritz recommends, this is really something that you need to practice using dummy weapons with a partner, and working out a solution that works with the training you already have. You can pick up Cold Steel dummy knives for around $10 each, so it hopefully won't break the bank to get a couple.

       The other aspect to this incident is the political and social factors. Of course, this is a result of Europe importing people so alien to its culture that they will never assimilate. As Michael Walsh writes in the wake of this attack:
Now here we are, half a millennium later [after the failed Turkish attempt to take Malta in 1565], and the war between Islam and the West has rushed in to fill the vacuum left by the U.S. victory against the Soviet Union in the Cold War. That grim conflict was fought out largely via proxies, and in the back alleys of Moscow and Berlin. Today's war -- which only one side seems to recognize -- is now being waged in front of the Mother of Parliaments.

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