The U.S. government has advised us to avoid crowds. That’s pretty much all the evidence we need to conclude our government is a collective idiot.
Here is a partial list of the crowds that are mandatory: school and college attendance, commuting, working in factories and offices and stores, security screening lines at airports, government buildings.
And here is a list of almost mandatory crowd situations: weddings, church services, funerals, graduations, movies, sports competitions, parades, farmers markets, fairs, plays, concerts, museums, shopping centers, tourist attractions, etc.
Here in CA they are trying to learn how to predict earthquakes. But they are afraid that such predictions will hurt the economy and thereby do more damage that the quake itself. I suspect the shutdown in Belgium is severely hurting all of its businesses. Actual terrorism would only hurt a few.
Terror attacks by individuals or “fire teams” (3 to 5 guys) in the West are generally unstoppable. For example, in a theater, the doors must not be locked so an unarmed accomplice could open one of the doors from the inside and let the gunmen in.
You could put an armed guard at each door, but the bad guys could just shoot him in a surprise attack and easily run right past him. Plus, the economics of movies probably could not afford such guards.
An armed, plainclothes marshall with the ability to turn the lights on could generally help and would be cheaper, but unable to totally prevent any deaths.
It is a police intelligence problem, an “If you see something, say something problem.” They can get better, but not perfect. There is no stopping this stuff in the West. IS in Syria and Iraq however, can and should be obliterated. And there is no need for coalitions and months and years. Just do it. Lots of really big conventional bombs. I would think it could be done in a week. It would probably have a salutary effect on small attacks in the West.
Conflating IS terror in the West and IS occupied territory in Syria and Iraq is insane. One is a needle in a haystack; the other, a haystack with an IS flag on it in the desert.
Actually, the government nows says to avoid large crowds. Actually, I think we don’t have to do that because IS will probably also avoid large crowds.
Look at the recent Paris incident. They tried to get into the country’s largest stadium, a stadium where the French president was in attendance. If I understand correctly, they could not get past the screeners at the outer gates and three suicide guys ended up killing four people other than themselves. One guy went into the small crowd at a McDonalds near the stadium and blew himself up and no one else was killed.
IS operates abroad in individual or fire team-size units. They can’t handle a big crowd or screeners at such events. They have neither the weapons nor the unit size to attack large crowds. What you need to avoid if you want to get that paranoid are theater crowd settings, venues without screening, and long lines at screeners. TSA pre and the VIP lines at ball games may save your life. The lines outside of a screened event are, as one of my Facebook “friends” said, excellent targets.
Also avoid so-called “gun-free” zones like schools, colleges, the inside of a military base (the gate guards are probably pretty good but bases are too large to prevent all weapons from coming in. The weapons already on bases belonging to the military are locked up and not a hazard—unless the Arms Sergeant is the terrorist.