The scary-as-hell reality of an urban terrorist attack

America’s shopping malls are wide open to attack by terrorists and criminal thugs.  I’ve spoken about that on various occasions, and I’ll repeat here what I’ve warned before:

In today’s racially charged climate, with criminal flash mobs an ever-increasing problem in many cities, the average urban shopping mall now qualifies as a “stupid place” to be.

In 2013 four Muslim fundamentalist terrorists attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in a chilling foretaste of what could happen in any city in America at any time.  I wrote about it that same day.  I urge you to read the warning I gave then, and ask yourself the same questions I posed on that day.  They’re as relevant as ever they were.

Now Foreign Policy brings us an in-depth report on what happened that day in Nairobi, complete with many eye-witness and participant accounts.  It’s the next best thing to a security briefing on what you might confront any day now in an American shopping center.  I have no faith whatsoever that our police and security forces could stop such a thing from at least getting started.  I hope and trust they’d do rather better at shutting it down before it got out of hand:  but if the attacking party is larger, or better-armed, or their assault is timed to coincide with mass street protests that draw too many cops away from the danger zone . . . who knows?

We already know that fundamentalist Islamic terrorists and/or their sympathizers are trying to infiltrate the United States.  Some claim they’ve already done so.  None of us know the facts . . . but I guaran-damn-tee you, they want to.  Nairobi was a foreshadowing of what they’d like to do to the Great Satan, America itself.  Go read the Foreign Policy article in full, and ask yourself:  if something like that goes down tomorrow, in my town, and I’m there, what am I going to do about it?  Am I prepared to deal with it?  If not . . . why not?



  1. It is a chilling scenario especially for people in states like mine without must issue concealed carry. Don't get me wrong, carrying isn't a panacea but its a chance at not being a victim.

    C.F the idiots shot dead at the draw Mohammed contest in Arizona.

    They were thinking "Another easy target like Paris" and ran into the cultural barrier. We deal in lead son.

    I suppose that's morbid and tacky to say but the US has enough shootings by natives that its hard to get the same shock value from one.

    Its why i think Islamic types haven't done it, its not certain to be a big success and between the risk and the media blackout, they won't get much momentum.

    That said its always good to have a zombie plan besides "avoid the mall" which I usually do anyway.

  2. Honestly I'm not sure that sort of attack is best staged during a protest or something where a large host of people are gathered. Surely such an event is the bigger target in itself; a bomb or two, or even a good amount of gasoline and a little sense… I suspect the best time for such an attack would be an event with a high cop:attendee ratio, like a bank robbery as a distraction.

    1. I believe he meant a protest or rally staged by allies of the terrorists, providing cover and the possibility of a second attack location forcing the police to divert large amounts of resources from the response.

  3. Peter, I avoided malls ANYWAY, and have been expecting something like the Nairobi Mall attack for years. Heck, Tom Clancy described a wave-attack of several nearly-simultaneous Mall attacks in "Teeth of the Tiger", 11 years ago. . .) Then again, I'm still surprised someone hasn't attacked the lines waiting for TSA screening at a major airport (had THAT lovely thought while spending ~2 hours in line at TSA in Atlanta, a number of years ago. . .)

    And even though I live in the greater Metropolitan Washington DC area, I've insured that I'm over the horizon, upwind, and have a small mountain range between my home and DC (otherwise referred to as the "Blast Shield" . . )

  4. If an attack occurs while I'm in the mall, I plan to get the hell out of the main corridors, they'll be killing zones. Instead I'll head into the nearest store, go to the back, through the stockroom and out the delivery door. It's doubtful the bad guys will have the foresight or numbers to control the loading docks.


  5. Honestly, I'm shocked that such an attack hasn't already happened. And I am relieved beyond words that we no longer live within spitting distance of the second-largest (soon to be #1 once the expansion project finishes next year) mall in the country. If they hit anywhere, I'll bet my life savings it'll be either Mall of America (which IIRC Stephen Hunter had the hajjis hit in one of his books) or King of Prussia.

    Al_in_Ottawa, that's a good plan. Pretty much the same plan I came up with when I worked at The Supermarket in case of an active shooter. Nobody ever thinks about the storage rooms or loading docks.

  6. Oh, that is a horrifying story. I agree, Peter, it's coming to the USA – and soon. The obvious targets will be places like San Francisco, where they've disarmed all the citizens. Try something like that here in Nebraska, and you would immediately learn how many of us are armed.

  7. Will be reposting this, soon, on my humble blog (with attribution, of course!)

    Too many are whistling in the dark, just as they did before the first Twin Tower attack. Then again before 9/11.

    Sadly, I think most of us who read you understand this, and that you are preaching to the choir.

    Those who need the message will never hear it.


  8. Raptor, you're thinking of Soft Target. Now that I think of it Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy was published in '93 or so and ends with a 747 being flown into the Capitol Building, decapitating the government.


  9. I'm really surprised there hasn't been a Beslan-style attack on a school here. All I can figure is either
    We've been REALLY lucky, or
    The people in charge decided "If we do that, enough of the Americans will be so pissed that they'll force their government to act. REALLY act."

    I'm betting on the latter. So far.

  10. I've been told, but can't verify, that the loading doors for the stores in The Great Mall in Milpitas CA, are locked normally, so they can't be used as emergency exits. Supposedly, the half-dozen or so regular entrances, plus a couple restaurants are considered to be sufficient access for "emergency" use.
    The mall is built in the old Ford Auto Assembly Plant, so it's really big, but it's designed like an oval track, although they eventually put one cross corridor in during a later refurb. People complained about having to walk all the way around to access the other side of the mall. IIRC, it's supposed to be the biggest in the western states.

    So, a half-dozen or so attackers, with chains for the exit doors, could pretty much lock down the whole mall. I'm guessing well over a thousand people, easily, judging by the parking lot.

    The only plus side is that the police have a couple officers stationed there during peak use. But, they just walk around, looking to be in totally white condition normally. I wonder if they realize they would be the opening act, if the place got hit?

  11. In one of the photos shown of that mall attack, you will see a pistolero wearing a "shoot me" vest. Look at the patch on the upper left. I'm pretty sure that's an IDPA logo. They were having a match near the mall, when a participating police/tactical officer got a call about the attack. A bunch of club shooters then proceeded to the mall, and cleared it from the top down, accessing it from that parking ramp. They showed up in a number of photos that I saw in a different AAR, that explained it in more detail.

    Thought I had a link to it. I'll keep looking.

  12. I opened that photo in another tab and enlarged it to read, Something, African Defensive Pistol Association.

    Jesse in South Texas.

  13. Heard this tip a few years back. As soon as you walk into a mall, go to the map (there's usually one near all entrances) and take a photo with your phone so you can locate the exits if needed (not all stores have a rear exit). This kind of attack is why I started carrying a triangular bandage and flat fold duct tape on my person at all times. If I take a round, I will have immediate access to a compression bandage (of sorts) or an improvised TQ if needed.

  14. all of this is a great example of why the 2nd A needs to be ENFORCED nationally and not restricted regionally with gun laws varying from state/state.

    run like hell…and if that doesn't work, you've got options.

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