Burlingame: Preparing for the next strike



Lee’s note: Here’s a great guest column from Peter Burlingame, AKA VIGunfighter,  president of the Self Defense Initiative on St. Thomas. Peter’s work is highly recommended. You can access his You Tube Channel here.

by Peter Burlingame

I know you are watching and seeing the same things that I am. The staging of military aged men in Europe is reminiscent of the lead up to Tet ’68, where the Viet Cong managed to infiltrate 80,000 of their fighters in cities throughout the country, all ready to strike at the same time. Weapons are pre-staged and continue to be smuggled in every day. Italian authorities captured a shipment of six hundred combat style shotguns being smuggled from Turkey, deeper into Europe.

The numbers of men being infiltrated into Europe dwarf those of the Cong. Imagine one hundred simultaneous Paris style attacks all at once. Imagine a thousand. That is certainly in the realm of possibility, given the numbers of refugees in these countries. The security forces would be overwhelmed, unable to respond on so many ‘fronts’.

A couple of months ago Sheikh Mohammad Saleh, “Abu Rajab” a Gaza Imam, exhorted Palestinian youth to carry knives and stab Israelis. Which they did. But the Imam’s words carried to our shores resulting in same types of attacks here at home in the U.S.

There have been a number of attacks in the U.S. already To avoid public panic, the authorities try to avoid using words like ‘terrorism’, using instead, ‘mass shooting’ or ‘work place violence’, to describe the attack at Ft Hood and Chattanooga.  As Shakespeare noted, the name is not important, and if you are stuck in the middle of an event, it matters little whether it is being called a mass shooting or terror attack. The salient point is that they have happened before, and certainly will happen again.

And then, the latest, and most troubling, although not surprising attack in San Bernardino. Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, having pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, carried out what I believe was a premature attack.

The attack itself isn’t what I find ‘most troubling’. The couple had been preparing for a long time and I don’t believe their target was the one that they had been planning for. It feels like they went off ‘half-cocked’. I think there was a bigger target, a larger event that they had been stockpiling all that equipment for.

And I don’t think they are the only ones. That is what concerns me.

It is credible to think that there are other “Farook and Malik’s” out there, with similar levels of preparation, just waiting. I believe the U.S. is in a better position to deal with this than Europe, but expect First Responders as well as hospitals to be overwhelmed.

The San Bernardino Police did an amazing job, responding in just over four minutes and engaging the terror couple quickly. But four minutes is a long time to wait when the bullets are flying.

I have studied how the terrorists train, plan, and operate, since the very first Al Qaeda training tapes were recovered from the camps in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11.

It was chilling to watch them training to take over large buildings, consolidate hostages, separate and move them, practice dealing with ‘problems’. The training went so far as to perform murders of hostages on the roof where the MSM’s cameras can capture it to best effect.

Based on everything I’ve studied for the past fifteen years, we need to keep a number of things in mind:

The first few seconds are critical! Decide NOW what your overall response is. Will you be running Toward the gunfire or Away from it? Either is justifiable based on your circumstances, but when the first shots ring out is no time for dithering. You must ACT!

Recognize it quickly. You have a bare handful of seconds to do Something, Anything to deal with the event that is quickly unfolding.

– Keep your training and practice up to date. Active shooter response is a particular skill set and classes are available. When was the last time you took a tactical medicine class? These skills are perishable. Commit to taking a couple of classes a year (if we have that long) and in between classes, practice what you’ve learned to keep your edge honed.

[yt url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkC0pCiotGM] [yt url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4czhvu-023k]

– Decide on a minimum load out and Always carry it. Pistol, spare mags, flashlight, knife, trauma first aid are minimum and should Always be ON you. Not in a bag, not in your vehicle. On Body. More is fine, but only if you are committed to always carrying it. Because Murphy knows, the one time you don’t carry an item, that’s when he’s going to decide you need it.

– Watch the videos of the knife attacks in Israel. Learn what they look like, what does the precursor body language look like? A second’s warning can be put to good use and make all the difference in the outcome. The attackers have no special training. They don’t need any. Look at how hard it is to defend against. Will you be able to defend against an knife attack, long enough to be able to deploy your sidearm? Are you ready and able to provide self aid to patch up the wounds you might receive?

[yt url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25bg9CI2ZJ8]

– Be alert. Obviously, to what is going on around you. Your first clue might be unusual body language of the flock of sheep surrounding you. Recognize it quickly! Use windows before you enter/exit buildings. A bunch of frozen bodies all looking in the same direction is a clue! This is where step 1, knowing what your basic response is going to be kicks in. Do you exit the building, running in the direction that they are looking, or stay inside, heading for the rear exit, to get you and your family out safely?

-Be alert. Yeah, I’ve already mentioned this one, but extend your awareness out as far as you can. Know what types of tactics the terrorists are using this week. What warning signs is the MSM letting slip? Examine everything with a clear eye. Don’t hate and don’t fear. Those are judgment clouders.

– Running around an active shooter situation with a gun in your hand is a good way to get shot by other responders. Do you have tactics that will enable to mitigate this risk? Know that it is possible that the terrorists might have obtained uniforms that will make identification tricky. A number of UPS uniforms are missing. Police and Security uniforms go missing on a regular basis.

As the Chinese curse goes; “May you live in interesting times!”. We certainly do. And whether you continue to do so may be dependent on how prepared you are and quick and clever your mind is in recognizing and responding to a critical incident that may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

“But what can one man with a pistol do?”

He can “Remember Garland!”

In May of 2015 a man working security at an event where cartoons of the prophet Mohammed were to be displayed and the Geert Wilders, who has made an film depicting scenes of terrorism over which were quotes from the Koran, was a scheduled speaker.
At about 6:30pm a dark sedan pulled up and two men armed with rifles exited the vehicle. The security guard drew his pistol and engaged them. Despite being out numbered and out gunned, and after sustaining a wound to the leg, he managed to prevail, winning the gunfight, and shutting down the attack in fifteen seconds, before it could even begin. He took advantage of those first few seconds. If you want to win, you need to do the same. That’s what one man with a pistol can do.

Disciplina Renumenor Fidelis (Training rewards the faithful)

Peter Burlingame

Peter has been teaching and learning and learning and teaching how people can take responsibility for their own safety and security and to get off of government sponsored ‘Security Welfare’ for the past three decades. He’s taught from Alaska to Florida, New York to California and many places in between in this amazing experiment we call America.
Keep up on what he’s doing on www.youtube.com/vigunfighter



About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Peter:
    Caught this from a Chief Chudwin send.
    Great article and videos. I will post the link in the next PACT LE only newsletter.
    Keep up the good work.
    Hope to see you at ILEETA. I am presenting SOLO this year.

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  4. Here in Australia, we have not had a San Bernadino type terrorist attack,- so far.
    Last November 2014 in Sydney, a lone gunman held hostage a number of patrons, and the owner, in the Lindt Café, smack dab in the middle of the city. He merely walked in, told the owner to lock the front glass doors, and the siege was on. Hours later, after he cold-bloodedly killed the owner, the SWAT people charged, and one innocent hostage was killed in the crossfire, the gunman was killed of course.
    I’m ex military, and always have my personal Situation Awareness set on Condition Orange, always.
    The overwhelming problem here is that people are mentally concreted to Condition White, totally switched off, headphones in, their eyes and ears glued to electronic devices, totally oblivious to their surroundings, so it’s a guarantee that when the shit hits the fan, chaos panic and confusion will be the overwhelming initial reaction.
    Sadly, here in Australia, we are NOT allowed to carry ANYTHING that can be construed as a weapon of self defense in a court of law, be it a knitting needle, stick, pepper spray (it’s an offence to carry such on your person), can of spray paint, and, except in the rarest of exceptional circumstances, in no way whatsoever can the average citizen carry or have on their person, a handgun, to do so will get you in every shade of shit known to man!.
    The bottom line then, is to be alert and conscious at all times, but I guarantee that less than 10% of people here have that mindset.
    When the event happens here in Australia, the end result will make Paris or San Bernadino look like a small dress-rehearsal in comparison.

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  6. Good article, and I agree with everything said. However the events at Garland, Texas did not occur as described. Some time after the event, authorities admitted that a local SWAT team (waiting nearby for just such an occasion), engaged and eliminated the threats. Yes, a lone police office may have been the first in the fight, but the SWAT team quickly joined the fray.

    However, the point of the article is still relevant – one man, armed with conviction and courage, can shut down an attack. It has happened numerous times.

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