Guns

A Lesson From Mumbai on The Occasional Futility of Common Terror Countermeasures

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Some observations, which seem spot on to me, from security maven Bruce Schneier:

  • If a bunch of men with guns and grenades is all they really need, then why isn't this sort of terrorism more common? Why not in the U.S., where it's easy to get hold of weapons? It's because terrorism is very, very rare.
  • Specific countermeasures don't help against these attacks. None of the high-priced countermeasures that defend against specific tactics and specific targets made, or would have made, any difference: photo ID checks, confiscating liquids at airports, fingerprinting foreigners at the border, bag screening on public transportation, anything…..

If there's any lesson in these attacks, it's not to focus too much on the specifics of the attacks. Of course, that's not the way we're programmed to think. We respond to stories, not analysis. I don't mean to be unsympathetic; this tendency is human and these deaths are really tragic. But 18 armed people intent on killing lots of innocents will be able to do just that, and last-line-of-defense countermeasures won't be able to stop them.

Another salutary thing we can learn from Mumbai, given that the resources and openings to commit horrible crimes like this are quite common, is that it seems there just aren't that many people inclined to commit acts like this, even if they can't really be prevented from doing so.

Instapundit w/links on gun control, and a lack of inclination on the part of even the legally armed to shoot, in India.

Schneier's name is oft-dropped here at reason.

Link via Unqualified Offerings.

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  1. Terrorism is very, very rare, but most people think that the reason it is so rare is because of some measure the government has taken or will take. That is why most people are helpless to do anything.
    I call it the “Alphonse and Gaston” routine about who holds the door and who goes through first. It causes everyone to freeze or, at least, hesitate just long enough.
    Otherwise it would have been easy to nip every one of those little shits in the bud.

  2. The War Nerd makes some interesting points about the nature of the attack.

  3. I’m not saying that these terrorists are bit short in the gray matter department, but give me 18 armed suicidal guys in a major city and sure my death toll wouls top the two measly hundred these fuck-ups managed to rack up. That’s only about ten per nutcase.

    OK, I guess I am saying it. What a bunch of incompetent loser terrorists. It also is beginning to appear that a captured one spilled his guts.

    Fucking dimwitted losers. If I were Pakistani I’d be ashamed of this incompetent lot of special education washouts.

  4. While I’m all in favor of the right of self-defense, I’m not sure I want to go around saying “Yeah, this would have been TOTALLY DIFFERENT if everybody had been packing.” It’s easy to be a tough guy on the internet, but if confronted with an actual gunman the smart move is to find cover, not go out and be a bad-ass who tries to clear the building, gunning down the terrorists that he finds before they can return fire.

  5. thoreau,
    I hope you don’t think that is what I’m saying.

  6. David E. Gallaher-

    Nope, not referring to you, just the general mention of gun control. No doubt a lot of ice cream commandos are sitting in front of keyboards right now explaining that if they had been guests in the hotel the terrorists would have been taken down quickly.

  7. Dear India,

    Don’t adopt stringent new security laws.

    Don’t create a big new domestic security apparatus.

    Don’t make your police prioritize counter-terror over ordinary police work.

    Don’t let the countermeasures you launch against the responsible parties get conflated with the pre-existing agenda of any domestic political factions. Because they’re going to try.

    And fer chrissakes, don’t invade anyone unless they were involved in these attacks.

    Trust me on this.

  8. joe,
    Not only does government prevent effective action with its Alphonse and Gaston routine, it follow up with closing the barn doors after the horses have escaped.

    Peaceful anarchist here.
    Ruthless

  9. They were hunting British and American citizens, J sub D, not firing into the crowded Mumbai sidewalk. They even let Italians go.

  10. It wouldn’t have been *totally* different, but I bet if some asshole tried this in, say, Texas that it wouldn’t have been as prolonged.

    Also, I disagree with the idea that there aren’t a lot of people willing to do this. I think there are, thanks, in part, to our foreign policy choices of the last 40 years. However many of them are too old, too stupid, or lack the logistical support to do anything. I think if you offered free transport to any Pakistani willing to go on a suicide mission, you’d find a fair amount of takers in a population of millions.

    Things like this happen, and they’ll probably happen again, and in the future they could be much worse, involving more sophisticated attacks, better weaponry, and non-conventional warfare.

    I’m not offering any solutions, but it seems like wishful thinking to assume these tactics won’t be used with increasing frequency in the future.

  11. Specific countermeasures don’t help against these attacks. None of the high-priced countermeasures that defend against specific tactics and specific targets made, or would have made, any difference:

    “Last-line-of-defense” countermeasures necessary to prevent any possible type of terrorist attack in any possible location within a country, are also financially unsustainable. You’d have to lock down every inch of the country as tightly as the White House. The U.S. (or India) could afford to do that for about 20 minutes before running out of money.

  12. I agree with Schneier. If al-Qaeda’s primary interest was in killing Americans, then al-Qaeda would be killing Americans…period. Hell, who even needs guns and grenades when all a determined terrorist organization needs to do is mobilize sleeper cells to poison coffee pots across the nation one day. Think 9/11 was ugly, imagine tens of thousands of Americans poisoned to death one morning. Nice thought, huh? Ain’t nothing big daddy government can do to stop a creative and determined terrorist. Embrace the horror.

  13. …go out and be a bad-ass who tries to clear the building, gunning down the terrorists that he finds before they can return fire.

    But dammit thoreau, I kinda look like Bruce Willis.

  14. “Hell, who even needs guns and grenades when all a determined terrorist organization needs to do is mobilize sleeper cells to poison coffee pots across the nation one day. Think 9/11 was ugly, imagine tens of thousands of Americans poisoned to death one morning.”

    Nah. Anyone who’s had a Mickey Dee’s coffee is immune to poisoned caffine.

  15. …go out and be a bad-ass who tries to clear the building, gunning down the terrorists that he finds before they can return fire.

    Handguns are personal defensive weapons. You defend yourself with them.Armed civilians aren’t an ad hoc commando force.Much like individuals pursiuing their self interest economically benefits everyone, those individuals defending themselves does so as well.

  16. I’m also a fan of Schneier, and have met and talked with him a few times. He’s got it absolutely right on security, but he’s no libertarian. He’s of the opinion that the government should be making certain kinds of regulations on software (like making software makers responsible for economic damage caused by bad programming, and setting minimum standards for security measures in software (although leaving it up to the industry to decide how to meet the standards). Actually argued with him on this in public once.
    Still, everybody should read his blog. Regularly.
    Bruce Schneier’s Blog

  17. Excellent points by Schneier! So very true.

    As for me, considering the lengthy history of the CIA in fomenting rebellion and war throughout the world, and considering the very professional way in which this was pulled off, and considering Schneier’s most valid points, it seems there is some measure of probability that there might have been CIA assistance in this attack. Please pardon the cynicism, but Schneier’s analysis firms up my feelings on this.

  18. I agree.

    The TSA took away my wife’s 1 1/2 inch nail clipper as it can be used as a weapn. Five minutes after boarding, they gave her a bottle of White Wine.

  19. THE TSA is a Bunch of BOZOs.

    I have to agree with Brian Doherty. Terrorism and Suicide flakos are probably pretty hard to come by.

    But if we continue our RACIST Policies…particularly our policy to support a bunch of Racist Seperatist like the Israelies…expect a lot more of this. We didn’t support South Africa with Apartheid. We didn’t support the Separate but equal clause in the Southern USA. WHY DO WE SUPPORT a GROUP OF PEOPLE that a SEPARATIST? WHO ONLY WISH TO LIVE AMONG THEMSELVES? Whos ONLY contact with PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF THEIR RACIST FAITH is ONLY COMMERCIAL TRANSACTION.

    America…World…Keep supporting Israel…And you’ll see that THIS TYPE OF SHIT WILL NEVER END.

  20. Forgive me for asking, but what gender are you, Alice Bowie?

  21. Mostly hermaphrodite …
    Been mistaken for a Mexican-Mullato

  22. That’s only about ten per nutcase.

    The dudes at Columbine got 13 combined. The Va Tech guy seems to have the ‘high score’ of 32.

    Ten seems to be about ‘the fleet average’

    not firing into the crowded Mumbai sidewalk.

    There was also the pair that was firing indiscriminently on the platform of the train (subway?) station.

  23. Religion!

    Am I right?

  24. Religion is an Excuse…It’s actually MONEY.

  25. Thank you, Alice Bowie. That clears things up nicely. Regards to the wife.

  26. America…World…Keep supporting Israel…And you’ll see that THIS TYPE OF SHIT WILL NEVER END.

    What, is that some kind of threat?

  27. None of the high-priced countermeasures that defend against specific tactics and specific targets made, or would have made, any difference: photo ID checks, confiscating liquids at airports, fingerprinting foreigners at the border, bag screening on public transportation, anything…..

    Exactly.

  28. While I’m all in favor of the right of self-defense, I’m not sure I want to go around saying “Yeah, this would have been TOTALLY DIFFERENT if everybody had been packing

    On the way back from Home Depot just now I heard that one guy who wrote that book (CRS) say that the ideal target city in the US would be a mid-sized, mid-western city. LA and NY no good because the cops are too good. Other southwest cities? Too many civilians with guns.

    I’m not naive enough to say if the citizenry in India was packing that there would have been a take down. However, nobody in India has a gun and I have to believe that after three days of mayhem that somebody would have shot at least one of the bastards had there been a pistola handy.

  29. Five minutes after boarding, they gave her a bottle of White Wine.

    Cretins.

    Well, your old lady is safe because lips that touch white wine shall never touch mine.

    A comfort to teh gaiz and married women everywhere.

  30. They were hunting British and American citizens, J sub D, not firing into the crowded Mumbai sidewalk. They even let Italians go.

    Did one not claim they were aiming for a body count of 5,000? Such discrimination would seem counterproductive.

  31. It’s easy to be a tough guy on the internet, but if confronted with an actual gunman the smart move is to find cover,

    Interesting, thoreau. That’s exactly what the few armed people policemen did.

    If we can’t depend on the armed agents of the state who are trained to deal with these situations, then I’m afraid I’m going to have to take matters into my own hands.

    In the end, it has little to do with being a bad ass. If I were armed, and lunatics were running around shooting civilians, and I have a clear shot and I have decent cover, I’ll probably see my way to making an attempt to take one down. I may fail, I may not ever get a clear shot, but being legally armed would make me feel ever so much better.

    However, I would like to throw one wrench into the works. In a terrorist attack, where you’ve got a dozen ‘backpacker’ looking civilians shooting at other civilians, if yet more civilians open fire in defense, how is law enforcement to know which civilians are the terrorists, and which are defending themselves? I honestly can’t say I have a straightforward answer to this.

  32. Alice Bowie is an idiot. Thank you.

  33. Embrace the horror.

    Isn’t that the kind of thing that got Spitzer in trouble?

  34. None of the high-priced countermeasures that defend against specific tactics and specific targets made, or would have made, any difference: photo ID checks, confiscating liquids at airports, fingerprinting foreigners at the border, bag screening on public transportation, anything

    I find this to be a bit of a stupid argument. It’s like saying having Marines at the embassy to protect the diplomats didn’t stop terrorists from killing Americans in a luxury hotel down the street.

    Of course these counter-measures didn’t stop this particular attack. This particular attack was designed to avoid those coutnermeasures. If we got rid of the countermeasures, perhaps the Mumbai terrorists would’ve hijacked an airplane instead of a fishing boat. And we now know that crashing a plane into a skyscraper leads to a higher body count than shooting randomly in hotels.

    The counter-measures Schneier talks about are specific to airports. They’ve made airports a harder target, so terrorists went after a softer target. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we should make airports softer targets again.

  35. Did the head of the CIA resign on September 12, 2001?? The head of the FBI? The Secretary of Defense? The head of the FAA? His secretary?

    At least the Indians have some sense of personal honor and responsibility.

  36. One thing this post leaves out is the “countermeasure” exposed as the most pointless of all – the military response on the level of the nation-state.

    The Mumbai attack was undertaken by 10 men with fairly common and prosaic weaponry available on the black market at a limited cost. The 9/11 attack was undertaken by 19 men with plane tickets and box cutters.

    Has EITHER the Iraq or Afghanistan operation resulted in a situation where, in EITHER country, groups of 10 to 19 men can’t be assembled to undertake attacks? Have the Iraq or Afghanistan wars reduced terrorist ranks and operational capabilities to the point where they can’t buy the Mumbai weapons or a handful of plane tickets and some box cutters from Home Depot?

    No. They have not. And they never will. The Red Brigades, the IRA, the Basques, hell – even the Klan – could have pulled off a Mumbai attack at any time. They didn’t need failed states to operate from. All they needed was the desire. That is still true today.

  37. The last line of defense is an armed citizenry. In the US, there would be at least some chance that the intended victims would be armed and be able to defend themselves. Hopefully if this ever happens here, the US won’t let the fascistic Democrats and their dear leader use it as an excuse to confiscate guns and really end our last line of defense. I hope so but I doubt it.

  38. “Have the Iraq or Afghanistan wars reduced terrorist ranks and operational capabilities to the point where they can’t buy the Mumbai weapons or a handful of plane tickets and some box cutters from Home Depot?”

    No but it has killed 1000s of their recruits who would have otherwise been engaged in mischief somewhere else and discredited Al Quada in the Muslim world after they resorted to killing other Muslims. Al Quada is very popular in the Muslim world as long as they are killing Jews, Christians and anyone else but Muslims. If they start killing Muslims, not so much.

    You are right in so far as these types of attacks being difficult to stop if someone really wants to do it. The problem is the ideology bent on killing anyone who is not a Muslim and inflicting a Islamic theocracy around the world. You have to kill the ideology to stop the attacks. To do that, at some point you have to overthrow or deter the governments who spread and support that ideology.

  39. You can’t guard against every kind of attack. It’s not possible. So you have the choice of implementing futile, liberty-destroying, security theater methods (which the government prefers), or having a distributed solution in the form of armed citizenry. Neither one is going to stop attacks, but at least the latter retains liberty and saves a ton of money.

  40. rst,

    Did one not claim they were aiming for a body count of 5,000? Such discrimination would seem counterproductive. I’ve heard that claim, too, from the U.S. media reporting on what Indian sources allegedly got out of the yahoo terrorist they captured.

    Two points: first, there were witnesses, people who were captured and let go, who said that the terrorists were checking IDs for British and American citizens.

    Second, as the War Nerd in shecky’s link says, these are ignorant yahoo cannon fodder. Some guy with a robe and a beard tells them they’re going to exceed 9/11, they believe him.

  41. “Second, as the War Nerd in shecky’s link says, these are ignorant yahoo cannon fodder. Some guy with a robe and a beard tells them they’re going to exceed 9/11, they believe him.”

    Exactly. It is harder to be an arch terrorist than people think. It takes training time and money and a safe place to do it in. A guy like Mahuamad Atta who can learn to fly a plane and lead 19 people on multi level operation is tough to find. Even building bombs is harder than it looks. To do a big attack like Bali or 9-11 or worse a chemical of nuclear attack, you need a lot of money time and very sophisticated people. Without that you end up with a bunch of yahoos running around with guns shooting people. That sucks but ultimately doesn’t accomplish much.

  42. You Can’t Guard against every kind of attack…This is TRUE.

    And searching everyone’s shoes and purses before going on the train, bus, or plain is as effective as searching no one.

    I live in NYC … I see young Police officers randomly search bags on the Train almost every day.

    Consider the following:

    A. Do you think this officer even knows what a chemical/biological bomb or explosive looks like ?

    B. If this officer did, in fact, stop a SUICIDAL TERRORIST and ask to check his bag…What do you think THE TERRORIST WOULD DO?

    ***The ONLY PURPOSE THE Police randomly search in NYC Trains is for DRUG Interdiction…as searching for terrorist…this approach would be completely ineffective.

    The Psyco suicidal maniac is difficult to STOP.

    The Government PUTS on the SHOW of HIGH Security because they are a bunch of ASSHOLES that seek ultimate control. They don’t welcome critizism or difiance in ANYTHING they do.

  43. Bag checks and the like aren’t meant to interdict terrorist attacks, so much as deter them.

    “Hey, everybody! Checking bags here! If you try to get a bomb through, we’re gonna find it, cuz we’re checking bags here!”

  44. Why are you PUTTING emphasis on PUTS?

  45. Joe…They do NOT Deter them in the LEAST.

    Anyone who cares to do it (blow up a Bomb in Public places) would do it.

    Luckly for us, there aren’t many people who really want to do this. Thanks to the great prosperity in America…If you ask me.

  46. I STAND by MY question.

  47. They were hunting British and American citizens

    And Jews. You can’t have one of these attacks without someone going after Jews.

  48. Alice,

    So, there have been a great many people bringing bombs onto the New York subway, have there?

    I’m pretty sure I would have read about that. There’s really no way you can say that there hasn’t been a deterrence effect.

    But agreed about the prosperity here. You sometimes see the question “Why is there so little Islamic terrorism in America?” Probably because the typical American Muslim is too busy saying, “Honey, I don’t like this room freshener scent as well as the other one. Can you get the Country Sage refills next time you go to the supermarket?” just like everybody else.

  49. Sean,

    I wonder about that. The Jewish center they took over, and the rabbi and his wife who were murdered, were Americans. So, was it an anti-American thing, or an anti-Semitic thing? Or both?

    The Indians are claiming these people were from a Pakistani group that’s mainly been involved in the Kashmir fight – anti-Indian terrorists. But then, why would they target Americans and Brits?

  50. But agreed about the prosperity here. You sometimes see the question “Why is there so little Islamic terrorism in America?” Probably because the typical American Muslim is too busy saying, “Honey, I don’t like this room freshener scent as well as the other one. Can you get the Country Sage refills next time you go to the supermarket?” just like everybody else.

    Prosperity and freedom, which tend to go together. If more of these predominantly Muslim countries would follow the lead of Turkey and stopped acting as a bunch of fascist dictatorships and gave their people something to look forward to in life besides dying in the service of Allah, this sort of thing wouldn’t be happening nearly as much.

    Bush’s basic idea was correct, but the best way to go about bringing freedom and prosperity to societies that won’t permit it is the difficult question.

  51. To all those who are claiming that the terrorists are pussies because they only killed “ten” per man.

    First, there were ten shooters and 183 deaths. Thats 18 killed per man

    Second, on top of the 183 killed, there were 293 injured. That’s 46 shot and bombed by each man.

    Third, keep in mind that this was a gunfight that happened in the REAL WORLD, not in a video game. If the terrorist ran out of ammo, there was none on the ground for him to pick up. If the terrorist got shot, He would not find cover and wait for his shield to recharge. Firefights in the real world are very different then what most people are familiar with.
    Finally, If you are shot once, it is pretty unlikly that you will die. As long as the bullet doesn’t hit the vital organs or major arteries, you will probably live. Most people have a difficult time understanding the kill/wound ratio because the only time they see people get shot is in movies. In movies, nobody is ever wounded, everyone is always killed immediantly (BTW, this almost never happens) Thus people have a tendency to only look at the Killed and not at the Wounded when judging a terrorist attack.

    I thought a comment page on a libertarian site would feature more gun-knowledge. I was wrong

  52. No Joe…It’s not a deterrence. As this article mentions, there aren’t many people carry bombs and looking to kill many people. Nobody brings bombs onto the NYC subways with intent on killing people. There are NOT THAT MANY SUICIDE BOMBERS in the NYC…That’s a good thing…and we wanna keep it that way.

    If there were, that silly officer checking GYM Bags with minor marijuanna offenses in the cover of Anti-Terrorist interdiction would BE USELESS !!!

    I’m very very very very HAPPY that we don’t have many SUICIDAL MANIACS…and again, I thank our ever growing secular community (as religion promotes the use of SUICIDAL MANIACS) and the prosperity in NYC.

    I am not deterred by that silly cop. Why, you may ask? because I’m not interested in committing mass murder…me an d the rest of us in NYC with very few exceptions.

    Things are good here. And I enjoy the VAST selection of romm fresheners.

  53. You keep making this assertion, Alice:

    No Joe…It’s not a deterrence.

    I suppose bag checks don’t deter drug smugglers from putting kilos in their carry-on bags, either.

    Your observation about the rarity of terrorism has nothing to do with question of whether bag checks deter people from smuggling things in their bags. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Two completely different questions.

  54. Now, whether the resources put into creating that deterrent effect are being intelligently utilized, given the rarity of the threat, is a legitimate question.

  55. joe, there’s a pretty big difference between smuggling something you intend to sell for profit (like cocaine) and something that you intend to detonate. If the suicide bomber were apprehended I would imagine something and someone would explode.

    I know that if I suspected my bag would be checked I would avoid putting drug paraphanalia in it. However, if I’m going to blow myself up anyway, why would I worry if a cop wants to come over and get a good look at the explosion?

  56. I suppose bag checks don’t deter drug smugglers from putting kilos in their carry-on bags, either.

    That’s my entire point. The Purpose of the random searches is for DRUG INTERDICTION.

    The SUPREME COURT ruled several years ago that such STOP-SEARCH checkpoint for DRUGS is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Please see the follwing link:
    Court Rulling

    WHAT I’m saying is that they use the EXCUSE of TERRORISM to get around THIS RULLING.

    THAT’s what I’ve been saying ALL ALONG.

  57. Not to mention, if it’s my last hour on earth and I want to blow up in front of the Hawaiian Tropics or ESPN Zone, I’d just take a cab. Yes, the traffic is hell in Times Square, and the only good reason to be there is that it would be a good place to detonate myself. But cops don’t check your bags when you hail a cab.

  58. Pantera,

    You are right that it is harder to shoot a hundred people than it looks, even if they are unarmed. That said, I think the point is that a few guys running around shooting people is pretty small potatoes when compared to 9-11 or worse yet a bio or nuclear attack. This was a well planned operation that probably took months to plan. Somehow I am left with the feeling of asking “is that the best you have got?”

  59. “I wonder about that. The Jewish center they took over, and the rabbi and his wife who were murdered, were Americans. So, was it an anti-American thing, or an anti-Semitic thing? Or both?

    The Indians are claiming these people were from a Pakistani group that’s mainly been involved in the Kashmir fight – anti-Indian terrorists. But then, why would they target Americans and Brits?”

    Yes, why indeed ? Why would islamic terrorists target westerners and jew’s ? A real toughie.

    I am going to assume it was a real question & not just tendentious concern trolling, so watch this video.

    http://www.hotklix.com/?ref=content/152704

    Or google works by Hussain Haqqani, Rashid Ahmed or any number of Pakistani experts. Short version – the ISI and/or Pakistani islamists have promulgated and maybe even convinced themselves of some pretty fantastic conspiracy theories which feature the West, the jews and the indians all acting in concert to destroy Islam, pakistan etc, etc. It’s all wonderfully elaborate & would ROFL hilarious, if it did not sometimes result in scumbags blowing shit up.

  60. They were hunting British and American citizens, J sub D, not firing into the crowded Mumbai sidewalk. They even let Italians go.

    Uh huh.

    The death toll was revised down Sunday from 195 after authorities said some bodies were counted twice, but they said it could rise again as areas of the Taj Mahal were still being searched. Among the dead were 18 foreigners, including six Americans. Nine attackers were killed.

    Ten percent were “foreigners” whick I assume includes, but is not limited to, British and Americans. Fuckiin’ awesome display of selectivity.

  61. I thought a comment page on a libertarian site would feature more gun-knowledge. I was wrong

    I have felt that exact frustration here before.

    Most people don’t understand what it is to take on a rifle with their he man custom 45 at 100 yards, much less a rifle in the hands of an individual who’s had some training. While I’d prefer to be shooting back if I have to die, even with a compact 9mm at 75 yards if need be, it’s rather unrealistic to think that you’d come out of such an encounter unscathed.

    However, I would like to think that in the US, you’d have enough people that perhaps one in 30 may be good enough and lucky enough to give a bit back. It is, as they say, much better to give than to receive, quite the more so when it comes to gunfighting.

    What’s up with this “Alice Bowie” caps and bold stuff? Troll battles between he/she and joe no less?

  62. Well Thoreau – one can only hope the endless hours, yes days, weeks and months, our younger generation spends on FPS games (First Person Shooters), in the long run pays off, and those little psychos giddily shooting and kniving their internet opponents gum up some real courage if the time ever comes and emulate their hours of online training to be the big fragmaster that ownz the noob terrorist…
    (Somehow after the univeristy Cho incident where I witnessed the kevlar covered police/swat geared to the teeth cower behind trees and armored enclosed golf cart sized assault vehicles and one locked set of doors till all the shooting was done – makes me think the e-bravery hopeful wish is just that. ) Sorry Joe L.
    I guess the only hope is the islamowackos get ambushed in one of their 5 daily curl up in the fetal position bows to mecca – and then I suspect the “kind, civilized, would be westerners” will just jump on their backside and try to wrestle them unharmed to subdue mode.

  63. I am NOT a He/She.

  64. Most people don’t understand what it is to take on a rifle with their he man custom 45 at 100 yards, much less a rifle in the hands of an individual who’s had some training

    Precisely. Many people don’t understand the power and accuracy differences between a high-powered rifle and a pistol. The last thing in the world you want to do is focus the attention of one or more AK-wielding psychos on you personally by taking a potshot at them from a distance you are almost guaranteed to miss from. Remember also that many things you might think you can take cover behind (like cars or non-solid walls) are like paper to rifle fire.

    This still does not excuse the cops for not firing, as they are given the right to be armed ostensibly in order to protect. Plus, having a bunch of people (cops) taking potshots massively decreases the risk of doing so.

  65. In addition to the body count of the attack [which is not insignificant – the number of terrorist operations which resulted in 200 deaths is very small] the terrorists held the city of Mumbai under siege for 3 days. They also demonstrated to groups of similar size that it’s possible to hold the police at bay for long enough that your operation begins to resemble a large-unit campaign. When you keep up a running gunfight in multiple locations across a city for three days, you are very close to moving out of the realm of asymmetric warfare and into the realm of “Arnhem 1944”. That’s a heck of a punch when you only had 10 guys.

    You don’t think the Palestinians watched this operation scratching their beards? Or the Phillipine Muslims? They have to be thinking, “Heck, we could scrape 10 guys together in a city for one of these ops. Hell, we could probably send 25. 25 guys might hold out for two weeks!”

    The problem is the ideology bent on killing anyone who is not a Muslim and inflicting a Islamic theocracy around the world. You have to kill the ideology to stop the attacks. To do that, at some point you have to overthrow or deter the governments who spread and support that ideology.

    The problem is that one part of the appeal of that ideology is a paranoid vision of the world that claims that the US is a colonial power that is at war with Muslims worldwide. Acting out the delusions of the paranoid and making them true is not a good way to undercut those delusions and convince the world that they’re false.

  66. “At least the Indians have some sense of personal honor and responsibility.”

    In addition to awesome cuisine!

  67. “The problem is that one part of the appeal of that ideology is a paranoid vision of the world that claims that the US is a colonial power that is at war with Muslims worldwide.”

    What a steaming pile of horseshit that is Fluffy. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such crap. Yes, it is all about the US. That is why they killed Indians. It had nothing to do with Kashmir or the fact that Pakastanis and Indians have been at each other’s throats for 60 years. Yes, the Palistinians hate the Jews and blow themselves up all becuase the US. And the wahabbists who are trying to take over places like the Phillipenes and Thailand are just acting because of US imperialism. Yes, the US is the root of all evil in the world. There would be no Muslim extremists if it wasn’t for the us.

    Really, if you are going to say stupid shit like that just go over to KOS or somewhere. You are worse than Joe.

  68. Episiarch,

    “This still does not excuse the cops for not firing, as they are given the right to be armed ostensibly in order to protect.”

    In theory, yes. In practice –

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mumbai_cops_hadnt_fired_in_10_yrs/articleshow/3783461.cms

    On the positive side, they are easy to bribe if you are DUI.

  69. I guess the rule of thumb here is business as usual, and it seems the media doesn’t want that idea escaping their glory fest – so it ends up as an afterthought.
    ” but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2007 that killed 187 people.
    (Punit Paranjpe/Reuters) ”
    ” the past three years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Nearly 700 people have died. Since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that killed more than 130 people. The most recent was in September, when a series of explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100.
    (AP Photo) Abc news photo caption 46 of 48 – as near the end as they could muster without being too obvious.
    So I guess the news is, this one is a bit bigger than all the others the western media didn’t go into a fit over.

  70. Alice Bowie | December 2, 2008, 11:31am | #
    I am NOT a He/She.

    Alice Bowie | December 1, 2008, 10:16pm | #
    Mostly hermaphrodite …
    Been mistaken for a Mexican-Mullato

  71. I am NOT a He/She.

    See “Which” above. I thought I was fairly representing your statement.

  72. You don’t think the Palestinians watched this operation scratching their beards? Or the Phillipine Muslims? They have to be thinking, “Heck, we could scrape 10 guys together in a city for one of these ops. Hell, we could probably send 25. 25 guys might hold out for two weeks!”

    Every terrorist act is, in addition to an act, a bench experiment for others to learn by. This is an unfortunate truth.

    What a steaming pile of horseshit that is Fluffy.

    John-
    I don’t believe Fluffy was espousing this, more so saying that the problem is there are people overseas who do. At least that’s how I read it, in which case you should apologize and show you, yourself, are above joe in that regard. If I misread it and Fluffy comes back and does espouse it, then I offer my own apology.

  73. This still does not excuse the cops for not firing, as they are given the right to be armed ostensibly in order to protect. Plus, having a bunch of people (cops) taking potshots massively decreases the risk of doing so.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that even the Indian equivalent of a SWAT cop is probably even more poorly trained than his US counterpart.

    A number of the news photos showed the Indian police carrying Ishapore-made Enfield clones, which are a WWII design. While even today, Enfields are extremely accurate and fire a round more powerful than the AK-pattern rifles the terrorists were toting, they’re a poor choice for room-to-room combat in a building.

    Regarding the debate as to whether or not armed civilians would make a difference in such a situation (and putting aside the vast cultural differences, and stringent Indian gun regulations) you can put me in the camp of a handgun is a poor weapon to have when you’re facing multiple opponents armed with rifles. Were I to find myself in such a situation, I’d do my best to escape and evade, rather than try to re-enact something out of a John Woo movie.

  74. For the inevitable gun nerds that are bound to show up to correct me about the Enfield design being much older than WWII, yes, I know.

  75. Were I to find myself in such a situation, I’d do my best to escape and evade, rather than try to re-enact something out of a John Woo movie.

    Though I would presume that if it were a choice between having nothing and having a pistol in that scenario, you’d still want the pistol. I would agree that escape and evasion is the best course of action.

  76. Yes. I shoot pistols regularly and am proficient enough to defend myself with one. I would certainly prefer to have a pistol in that situation. I just don’t hold any delusions about using a 9mm designed to be easily carried to engage multiple assailants armed with rifles.

  77. Remember

    Guns don’t kill People
    Cops Kill People

  78. I don’t believe Fluffy was espousing this, more so saying that the problem is there are people overseas who do.

    This is how I see the sequence of arguments:

    1. Fluffy: Since the resources of an attack on this scale would not have required state backing or a failed state as a base to launch, this shows that military conquest of particular states or failed states by the US won’t stop terrorism against the US.

    2. John: OK, but if we conquer those states it helps at the process of rooting out the ideology that inspires attacks.

    3. Fluffy: Not if part of that ideology is the paranoid claim that the US is a colonial power with an itch to stomp on Muslim states.

    4. John: The Mumbai attacks have nothing to do with the US.

    Leading to my response here:

    Yes, John, that is true. It is reasonable to assume that the Mumbai attacks had nothing to do with the US. I just was using the occasion of those attacks, and the general discussion of what countermeasures can stop terrorism, to talk about the fact that I don’t think that certain US military operations can succeed in stopping the potential for anti-US terrorism.

    I don’t think I was clear enough in my earlier posts that I was commenting on how this attack can help the US evaluate its OWN anti-terror methods. My bad.

  79. For the inevitable gun nerds that are bound to show up to correct me about the Enfield design being much older than WWII, yes, I know.

    MG

    Actually the rifles they had would have been chambered in 7.62 NATO. The factory at Ishapore produced them until the 70s (80s maybe even?). Because they never got the new machine tools and patterns to produce the WW2 version (the No 4) (the Australians didn’t either) they continued with the WW1 pattern.

    You can tell the 7.62 version from a short distance by the sharp edges on the magazine which holds 12 rounds (vs the rounded 10 rd mag on the 303).

    They’ve released a bunch into the US surplus market. From what I hear they are excellent rifles. They are apparently still issued to lower level forces like local police and game wardens and the like.

    The army and navy commandos I saw on the TV seemed to have eithe FN-FAL variants or AKs. Though usually you don’t get a clear enough look to make a clear ID unless you’re ann expert.

    From what I heard the military guys did a thoroughly professional job once they were in place but it was late and for that the various responsible ministers and deputies are getting some well deserved flak.

    I also heard somewhere that the local police were just paralysed because of the Indian bureaucratic propensity to do nothing until the right orders have been received.

  80. Isaac-

    Years ago, I put a few rounds through one of the Ishapore Enfield knockoffs. I was kind of annoyed when the fore end fell off of the rifle on about the third or fourth shot.

    Also, the Indian Army issues a home-grown rifle to its troops called in INSAS. It looks like the love child resulting from a one night stand between an AK-47 and an FN-FNC.

  81. MG

    They’re not exactly knockoffs. During the Raj Ishapore was one of the Imperial arsenals. The finish might be a little rough but fore the most part the quality of Ishapore-made or rearsenaled weapons is as good as from any of the factories that prodeced SMLEs.

    You’re experience is atypical, possibly from a piece that had suffer neglect or mistreatment.

    And thanks for the info on the INSAS.

  82. Godammit, i know the difference between “You’re” and “Your”.

    I just don’t tipe gud.

  83. Isaac-

    Glad to hear that my experience wasn’t normal. They are neat guns, and I’ve always had a thing for the quasi-victorian-industrial aesthetic of the Enfield design.

  84. Joe,
    So these guys row up to the shore and head straight for the Chabad-Lubavitch center hoping to find…Americans? Gavriel Holtzberg was Israeli, anyway; he just lived in Brooklyn for a while, as all Chabad emissaries do. I’m touched by your optimism, but like pretty much every jihadist, these guys especially wanted to kill Jews. Think about it: would you even begin to know where to find a Jew in Bombay? These guys had no trouble.

  85. phalkor,

    Lots of reasons. Because you intend to set the thing and leave. Because you want to do it in a crowded train, not outside the platform. Because you might freak out and run away, or give up to the cop. Because they might catch on and shoot or capture you.

    Seriously, you’re on a terror mission, with a thing in your bag or on your person: Do you want the cops hassling you, or do want to make your way towards the crowd in the enclose place without attracting attention?

  86. Alice,

    I wouldn’t put it past them.

    J sub D,

    I saw those figures, and I also saw the first-hand accounts. Both are true. They killed a lot more locals than Americans at the embassy bombings, too.

    Sean Healy,

    You’ve got a point about finding the center. That suggests to me more international jihadist backing and indoctrination, as opposed to Pakistani/Kashmiri nationalist.

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