Before proceeding, I’d like you to read this article by John Robb.

“ISIS has found a way to pierce US counter-terrorism defenses”

We sit here today, faced with news of two more terrorist attacks by so-called “lone wolf” terrorists, a label applied by a mass media which cannot or will not admit that connecting a terrorist to ISIS does not require that the individual have flown to some Middle Eastern ISIS clubhouse, paid his ISIS dues, gotten an ISIS membership card,, and learned the ISIS secret handshake.

That’s not how this works…that’s not how any of this works. Not anymore. Now, all that is required to become an ISIS terrorist is to subscribe to their ideals and goals, and to proclaim fealty with a public act…the terror attack itself. Simply put, all you need to do to be an ISIS terrorist is to say you’re an ISIS terrorist, and then prove it by carrying out an attack.

Crowdsourced terrorism is still terrorism

The problem the world is struggling with is how to counter it, and in every instance, response comes in the form of some sort of centrally-directed, top-down government counter-terror program. I’m sorry, but no matter how good our military, intelligence, and law enforcement organizations are, they will never be able to stay ahead of of such a diffuse and decentralized recruiting system. After all, when all that ISIS (or any other terrorist group) needs to do is to take to the internet and social media to chum up someone willing to take up their cause and kill…how do you stop that? I suppose you could try to shut down those channels of communication, First Amendment be damned. And we already have plenty who feel the same about the Second Amendment.

But those measures would still fail, as prohibition always does, and simply make for a much less free society. A better response to crowdsourced terror would be a crowdsourced defense. While it is true that these terrorists do not fear death…they wish for it…they do fear one thing. Failure. Death in a successful attack is deemed honorable, but to be put down short of their goal is to be a failure and is feared.

Classic British anti-terror device. Known to be effective against terrorists with knives and cars.


Imagine an armed British citizen (you’ll have to imagine it, because such a creature has gone the way of the dodo) pulling a classic .455 Webley (hey, why not?) and putting one into the melon of the London terrorist while he was still on the bridge and looking the other way. Attack over, and failed. Think of any of the other such attacks…Antwerp, Nice, Paris, Ottawa, Orlando, San Bernardino…and then imagine them taking place in a society where the terrorist could never be sure that some unseen person wasn’t getting ready to slip up and end them.

It will likely get worse before it gets any better, and our centralized defenses will struggle to keep up. Don’t depend on them. Arm yourself. Train. Be vigilant.

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One thought on “Crowdsourcing Terror”

  1. Well said Mr. Cole. The concept of a decentralized defense against a decentralized threat takes us back to early America. The central government was ill prepared to deal with marauding bands of Native Americans, outlaw gangs or the individual highwayman in the middle of nowhere.

    The military did engage in major battles against large concentrations of Indians and sheriffs had posses for the likes of the James-Younger gang, but it was up to the loosely organized militia and the individual on the frontier to defend themselves from itinerant outlaws and small bands of Indian raiders off the reservation.

    Modern America seems to think of that history as an outdated concept but, in fact it never really goes out of style because decentralized threats will arise from time to time in our history. Thus the importance of the Second Amendment is ever valid.

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