French stuff

A guy driving a truck manages to kill (according to current numbers) more people than a guy shooting a rifle in a crowded nightclub. That’s interesting to think about since pretty much any yahoo can head down to U-Haul, load up a panel truck with some inertia-inducing weight, dial it up to 60 mph and plow into a Farmers Market on any given Saturday.

The quick response is “this is yet another reason to always be armed”, which is a tad misleading if you know basic physics. There’s nothing you can shoot that isn’t crew-served that’s going to stop a couple tons of mass clipping along at 40 mph. On the other hand, reports are suggesting that after his episode behind the wheel, the driver came out shooting, at which point..yes…time for a  bullet party.

What probably would have made the biggest difference didn’t sit in a holster, but rather between the ears – situational awareness. Know the risks, know the potential chokepoints, kill zones, bottlenecks, etc….be aware of who is around you….recognize that being in a cluster of poeple might make you more of a target than being alone..know where the nearest exit is. That sort of thing.

Sad state of affairs, but that’s the way the world is today and probably will be that way for the rest of our lives. Folks like you and I, people who are used to thinking this way about personal safety, will probably adapt to it quite easily and quickly. We already operate in Condition Yellow most of the time when we’re out of our homes. For us, it’s second nature. Most every cop I know operates with a heightened Condition Yellow as their default setting. Same for a lot of military guys. Check your factory setting and adjust as necessary.

Coopers_Levels_of_Awareness_Indicators_of_ViolenceIt’s an ugly world out there, and Bad Things really can come wearing a thousand different faces. You may not be ready for all of them, but you’ll still be miles ahead of the oblivious, normalcy-biased souls who stand around texting “OMG terror attack” when the smart person is beating feet in the opposite direction.

“It’s a real war, kid…it’s here every day.”

14 thoughts on “French stuff

  1. I’m probably at orange from the moment I wake up. Kinda sucks in a way. When I take my family out for fun, vacation, movie, food, I am constantly looking at people like they are a threat. I will never change, but yellow is a goal.

    Best wishes to those fighting for their lives. To those behind this sort of attack, I hope there is a hell and it is worse than imagined.

  2. Barriers, movable pop up or whatever for places like this are gonna get a whole lot more popular, I mean seriously in Iraq and afghan Vehichle denial was a huge deal.

  3. I beg to differ here. If the terrorist had been shot, the truck would no longer be controlled. Meaning that it would no longer adjust direction towards the tightest concentrations of people. Also, assuming it had cruise control, that cruise control would have most likely been disengaged when the truck started hitting people, meaning that with the driver dead or unconscious the truck would have also lost speed since there was no longer a foot pushing down on the accelerator.
    If the terrorist had been shot within the first 500 meters of the attack the truck would likely have stopped against a Palm or wall within another hundred meters.

  4. I’m thinking yes there is something you can shoot that would stop a big truck–a 30-06 level rifle a number of times into the engine compartment.

    • It seems unlikely that a 20-ton truck moving at 40 miles an hour is going to come to a sudden halt from a few .30″ holes in it’s engine. While it may stop, or even seize, the engine it doesn’t provide virtually any force to cancel the inertia of the already moving mass. It seems the only way to ‘stop it in it’s tracks’ would be to provide an at least equal counter-momentum in the opposite direction. Certainly, the vehicle may swerve or go off course, but that’s not the same as stopping.

      When the engineer hits the emergency brakes (a system *designed* to stop a train as quickly as possible) it still takes near a mile before the thing comes to a halt. Bringing a large amount of speeding mass to a dead stop is a difficult thing to do. The truck will stop *eventually* if shoot the engine up, but it will not stop *immediately*.

      • Why not shoot the tired. At least it would cause it to be the off to one side.

        • This assumes that either side was less populated than directly in front of him. Additionally, everytime I’ve had a flat tire i continue to go in pretty much a straight line, and if there is any pull to the sides it’s usually mitigated by cranking on the steering wheel. I think the image of a tire getting shot out and the truck suddenly turning 90 degrees might be a hollywood thing.

      • Arm chair commandos!!! By the time most people react to what’s going on the vehicle may have already passed their location. You still have to go through OODA no matter what. We can what if this or that but no one knows for sure. The terrorists are always looking for weaknesses in the security. Once found they will exploit it before you even know the weaknesses exists. What I would have done 20/20 hindsight is always perfect!!!

      • Oh, Im sure it’ll stop the engine. But will it stop the forward momentum of 20 tons travelling at 40 mph?

        • Sorry Cz, my comment was meant to imply that shooting the engine is a bit of a myth. I’m a fan of science and physics, it is proven that an object in motion will remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force.

          To stop a 20 ton truck at 40 mph requires upwards of 350 tons of force. About the resting weight of five M1A2 Abrams tanks. Shooting the engine or the tires are not really going to affect the trajectory of that much force in motion.

          As your OP stated, you need to be alert for incidents before they occur because , as in this case, you might not have anyway to stop or avoid the problem. ie, in a crowded, panicked crowd that will not let you go the direction you want.

  5. The terrorist driver was presented with a “clear field of fire” as we called it in the Marines. Putting tank traps, or even the concrete barriers as used on freeways, could have stopped a truck like this. The barriers could be placed so as not to make the walkers have to move around them, like putting them parallel to the direction of the walkers, but close enough not to allow a vehicle a clear path. The barriers could be artistically painted, and even outfitted with seats for tired walkers to use. People could sit, stand, or cover behind them depending on their need.

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