Straddling the Fine Line of Being Soft Targets

480px-Archery_Target_80cm.svg

A soft target is a military term depicting any person, place or thing that is relatively unprotected and vulnerable to attack and destruction.  The assault in San Bernardino California that killed 14 and injured 17 was an attack on a soft target.  Likewise, the attacks occurring across Paris were assaults on soft targets.  And I woke up this morning with the realization that I am also a soft target.

In the shower, I looked for the unseen bull’s-eye that I nevertheless knew was present somewhere on the surface of my body.  I wondered how many other Americans had awakened with the same realization and were doing likewise.  Probably not as many as should be, I reckoned.

Americans have been soft targets for some time now but I don’t think we truly appreciate it.  It’s denial that ultimately effects how we live while carrying such a dubious and dangerous distinction.  And it’s a repudiation that creates the fine line between freedom and fear on which we must balance ourselves.  Right now we teetering farther and farther onto the side of fear.

The most effective way to avoid indicating as a soft target is to remain in a high level of situational awareness.

Terrorist attacks: Don’t Be a Soft Target by SWAT Operator with Sergeant Glen French

Law enforcement experts have known for some time now that civilians are primary soft targets and the choice of both global and homegrown terror serial killers.  Here in America, it came into focus with McVeigh destroying the Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City killing 168 and injuring hundreds more in 1995.  Since then, we’ve had Columbine in 1999, Sandy Hook in 2012, 2009 Fort Hood, 2013 the Boston Marathon, 2006 the Seattle Jewish Federation Shootings; and there are others.  And we haven’t even listed the varied attacks in Europe.

Homegrown Extremists Attacks since 9/11

Do you think it’s the names that scare us?  I mean, would we be as afraid if these guys were simple run-of-the-mill serial killers?  I don’t know for sure but I do think that when you say “the war on terror”, that conjures up all sorts of horrendous thoughts; bombs, body parts and beheadings.  The word ‘war’ pushes people to herd other people towards a state of fear.  We only need look at candidate Trump to see that.

The other side of the fence where freedom resides is not a side where we can solely remain either.  Rather, we must steady common sense practices with a denial of overt political correctness.  It’s not discrimination or bigotry to question why your Pakistani neighbor would want to purchase two AR-15 assault rifles with rounds of ammunition.  It’s simply good common sense in today’s world and due diligence.  Even your Pakistani neighbor should know that.

In the coming months, it’ll be interesting to see if America lazily settles herself onto one side or the other.  Doing so fully to either would be disastrous.    Total freedom, with ignorance and little vigilance will surely get us killed.  Likewise total fear will cause us to kill inappropriately which will also ultimately cause us to destroy ourselves.

No; the fence must be straddled in order to survive today’s deadly global and domestic political climate.   Too much or too little of either is almost as bad as the terrorists themselves.

“Archery Target 80cm” by Alberto Barbati – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons

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