Sunday, July 1, 2018

Excerpt: "Random Thoughts on Killing Trucks (Repost With the Swedish Updated)" by Marcus Wynne

This is an excerpt from an article by Marcus Wynne (full post here) originally from March 2017:

        My friend John Robb at Global Guerrillas and I share an unfortunate gift, the Gift of Cassandra.  As I mentioned in my latest update on this article, we will and we did see more.  One of the many things John Robb has done is introduce the concept of open source insurgency/terrorism; i.e. Widely disseminating the tactics/techniques/procedures used in various terror events, and of course assisted by the media.  We can watch the rapid evolution of the car/knife attack methodology in real time now:  we’ve gone from renting trucks, to stealing trucks, to light cars, and now to hijacking trucks close to the target area.  Knives are easy to find, hard to defend against in the hands of a committed attacker, and like vehicles, ubiquitous.

        Couple of points I mentioned in the original update:  take care with children and strollers and have a plan.  The Swedish attacker deliberately targeted small children and mothers with strollers because they can’t run as fast as the grown ups.

        Intervention can take many forms:  a quick thinking guard rammed the truck with his own van, damaging his but stopping the vehicle.

        For the shooters in the house, not many realistic shooting resolutions to this problem in the very fast breaking initial moments.  Please see below my riff on the neurology and cognition involved in necessary situational awareness and rapid decision making under stress and adapt to those you care about and incorporate in your training.

        To my friends out there working — Good Hunting.

       After the vehicle attack in London today, I thought it may be useful to repost this previous note on truck/vehicle attacks.

A few additional random thoughts after the initial rush of reports today:
  1. Note that the attacking vehicle was a Hyundai sedan.  Not a big heavy truck nor even a smaller moving/delivery van type.  Just a regular small car.  What’s apparent is that the demand on your situational awareness is going to be significantly increased in a time when we will see more of these type of attacks.
  2. A good friend of mine who does security for a religious community that eschews vehicular use on their holy day advises his protectees to walk on the sidewalk and not  in the street.  While that’s certainly good advice, it didn’t much help the people in London who were on the sidewalk when the vehicle jumped the curb and plowed right down the walkway scattering bodies in its wake.  An additional step is to, when possible, walk on the side of the street FACING vehicle traffic, and keep ones eyes reading traffic (both vehicle and approaching pedestrian) about a block out.  Keeping your head up and not buried in your smartphone is a good start.
  3. If you have small children, don’t let them walk behind where you can’t see them.  Herd them in front where you can keep them in your cone of vision AND keep an eye on approaching traffic/pedestrians.  Keep in mind that with young ones, shouting at them to RUN or MOVE is likely to result in frozen panic out in public.  Instead grab them, push them, or throw them in the direction you need them to go.  Don’t take them out of the stroller, pick it up and run with it or throw it and baby out of the way, or run pushing it with baby where you want to go.
  4. If it’s possible (and it wasn’t on the bridge today) move up onto lawns, into buildings, or recessed doorways, around corners, down an alley or gap between buildings.
  5. If you can’t face traffic, head on a swivel and be extremely reactive in the light of any unusual vehicle behavior.  It need not be a terror attack; at one of my favorite restaurants a woman started her car and when she put it in gear put it in reverse and gassed it.  Right up the sidewalk and through the glass doors and plate glass windows into the dining area.  Fast moving people got out of the way before they were run down, with a reaction time measured in less than 2 seconds by the video.  A few were observed racing into the bathrooms right after, which is understandable given the circumstances.
  6. One of the things that renews my often shaky belief in the goodness of people was the response by bystanders to rush in and help before official help arrived.  I was particular moved by the bystanders rushing to help those laying on the sidewalk, and the Foreign Minister personally giving mouth to mouth to a wounded police officer.  We need more politicians like that.
  7. Another thing to consider is the knife as weapon of choice.  A car and a knife are very easy to come by.  I recently spent some time with military knife instructors to whom sticking humans is not a theoretical exercise, as well as with some martial arts instructors in a blade-driven/weapons driven system.  The difference between practicing a martial art that includes knife and practicing the brutal military exercise of knife combat is obvious even to the untrained and especially to those with training and/or experience (several accomplished killers by knife of humans I’ve met have never taken any classes in martial arts or knife technique though they certainly can teach what works and doesn’t work in prison cells, back alleys, or the tunnels in Tora Bora).  For the untrained, run away.  If you can’t run put something between you and the knifer, then run.  If you’re getting stuck, grab the arm and scream for someone to help you.  If you’re trained, do what you know how to do if you can make it work under stress and on the street.  If you can’t, you’re not trained.  If you’re armed, do what needs to be done.
  8. We’ll see more like this.  And we’ll see it in the US as well.  All of the points addressed apply.
  9. Be like those people who went to help.  It’s what separates us from the animals that run down children and old people.

* * *

Wynne continues with a detailed discussion of points for those involved in security for such events, or for law enforcement, including pre-event/pre-incident, during the event but pre-incident, and steps to take during the incident. However, he includes the following points for a civilian that might be caught up in the event:
* * * 

1) Solo civilian armed or unarmed vs. heavy vehicle = no bueno. Period.
2) Have a plan.
3) Said plan should address:
a. Awareness. Keeping one’s eyes on what’s going on, also known as enjoying one’s self and not buried in the cellphone. This also includes accepting that something could happen, and mentally prepping yourself for that.
(COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE-Y DIGRESSION since I kinda do that for a living)

What kills people in these events is the lag time between recognizing what’s happening and doing something about it. Notice I said RECOGNIZING and not SEEING.


Trained (or at least aware person who’s accepted the possibility) SEES SOMETHING AND RECOGNIZES IT FOR WHAT IT IS – ACTS ON A SIMPLE ROBUST PLAN (grab the kids and run out of the way) –

Fewer steps = less time deciding = more time to be alive.

Back to the plan:
c. Small kids, disabled, elderly – grab and go, dude. That’s all you can do. Can you pick up all your kids and run with them? Will they listen to you if you scream something at them like GET OUT OF THE WAY? Could you pick up your diabled father and run with him? You can carry more weight than you think if you use body mechanics, go Google Fireman’s Carry.
d. After the event, have a plan to reconnect.
e. Consider toting a small emergency kit that includes a first aid kit, some cash, a charger for your phone. Pretty easy to tote. See my previous articles on that.
f. Gun toters. Consider the total event. Before you go in blazing make sure you’ve met the needs of those you are responsible for, including yourself. Then BEFORE get a gut check on whether you have the skill, physical fitness, and the opportunity to get in and deal violence on that person – or if you’re just complicating an already complicated event. Your life, your call. Family first dude. The hero in the video ended up crushed under the truck, and no one remembers his name.
Just some random thoughts from some Old Guys on the sidelines. Stay safe out there.  Unless you’re the Achy Man:

* * *

       Anyway, go read the entire article and check out the other content at Wynne's site.


  1. And lock your freakin doors, people. The only time they should be unlocked is when you are getting into or out of the vehicle. Same with your house.