America's First Freedom - May 2015 - 64

P A R T I N G

S H O T
by

Mike Wood

What Cops Know About
'Lone Wolves' That Most
People Don't

A

spate of terror attacks by solo actors has sent
politicians and the media into something of a frenzy
about so-called "lone wolf" terrorists.

The hysteria is building almost daily-nervous government officials wring their
hands and struggle to devise a coherent strategy for dealing with this threat that
they're no longer able to ignore. For example, last October, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said,
"I believe the fbi is making every effort to stay on top of this lone-wolf phenomenon. I
think the White House is cognizant of it and is working very hard to see that we have
the ability to be able to find them and stop them."
While the lone wolf threat may perplex some politicians, it's a familiar story to
street cops, who deal with solo attackers every day-they call them "criminals." So
here are three truths about lone wolves that all street cops know.
1. Playing "whack-a-mole" is not a credible strategy.
It's appealing to contemplate tracking down lone wolves and intercepting them before
they strike, but this isn't television. Officials may bring all the bad guys to justice inside
of an hour each week, but in the real world it takes a massive amount of time, money,
personnel and resources to do it.
We certainly need a capability to "go hunting," but that cannot be the cornerstone of
a national defense strategy, as Feinstein proposes.
This is true for several reasons. First, ferreting out solo actors is incredibly difficult,
and doing so places a significant drain on scarce resources. We've spent billions,
perhaps trillions, of dollars on things like the "risk-based" Air Marshal program and
nsa eavesdropping, but none of it helped us to stop the Shoe Bomber, the Fort Hood
shooter or the Oklahoma beheader. Even if we do single out one or two crazies, how
can we predict the what/when/where/how?
Further, there are significant civil liberty issues at play. Our legal system
presupposes innocence and protects individual privacy and rights (thankfully), so
there are legal complications associated with pre-emptive law enforcement action that
make the strategy problematic.
2. You can't be everywhere.
Cops instinctively understand that you cannot be everywhere at once. When a
criminal strikes, you're not likely to find a cop within reach-that's actually part of
what made it a good target.
There are people in our government who don't get this. They're convinced that if
they just add more security, or conduct more pat-downs of the elderly and children,
that they'll find all the prohibited items and detect all the threats. For them, the
answer is always "more"-we need more money, more personnel, more surveillance
and more powers.
Cops know it's a losing game, because they've arrived "just a minute too late" way
too many times to buy that. They know that every net is full of holes.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Mike Wood is an
NRA Law Enforcement Division
certified firearms instructor
and the author of "Newhall
Shooting: A Tactical Analysis."
See his website for more
information.
3. The real "first responders"
are already on scene.
Cops understand that the first "first
responder" on every scene is the public.
In the critical moments during and after
an attack, members of the public are on
their own to defend, chase away, pursue,
secure, save and rescue. Uniformed
personnel will bring superior skills,
training and equipment to the fight
when they get there, but there will always
be a delay.
As such, cops know and respect the
value of an armed citizen in thwarting
criminal violence. They know that crime
drops in areas where citizens are armed,
and spikes in areas where they are
disarmed. They know that the best way
to ensure the public is defended from
aggressors is to empower the public to
defend themselves.
Instead of promoting concealed-carry
training and reform-such as national
reciprocity for concealed-carry
licenses-Feinstein has spent a career
trying to disarm the public and turn
them into helpless sheep, dependent
upon their beneficent government for
protection. That government is not
likely to be on the scene for the sheep
when lone wolves strike.
Cops know that the best defense
against a lone wolf is a sheepdog, in the
form of a trained and armed public,
and we would all be a lot safer if our
mainstream media and politicians used
that as a starting point in their efforts to
thwart these attacks.
This redacted article was reprinted by permission of
the PoliceOne editorial team. Visit PoliceOne.com, the
leading online resource for law enforcement, to access
news, commentary, education information, and training
resources that help officers protect their communities
and stay safe on the streets.

America's 1st Freedom (ISSN 1530-8448) Volume 16, No. 5, is published monthly by the National Rifle Association of America, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - May 2015

Contents
America's First Freedom - May 2015 - Cover1
America's First Freedom - May 2015 - Cover2
America's First Freedom - May 2015 - 1
America's First Freedom - May 2015 - Contents
America's First Freedom - May 2015 - 3
America's First Freedom - May 2015 - 4
America's First Freedom - May 2015 - 5
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America's First Freedom - May 2015 - Cover3
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