Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Store clerk helps thwart terror attack on Army base

In a previous article, "The Soccer Mom's role in protecting our communities from terrorism", I used the term "soccer mom" as an analogy for the average citizen in order to demonstrate how everyone can help in the war against terror. I called for a "special vigilance" at the grassroots level and for citizens in every community to question what they see and what makes them feel uncomfortable and to report suspicious activity. The article spurred a lot of interest, discussion, and quite a bit of scepticism. Perhaps the idea of a soccer mom uncovering a terror cell after dropping her kiddies off at the field was too abstract. Yet, the point had to be made that terror cells live among us and that we cannot rely solely on the intelligence gathering efforts of our government to protect us.

This week the FBI announced that a terror plot to kill soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey had been uncovered and thwarted as the result of a tip provided by a clerk at a Circuit City store close to the base. The clerk called authorities after terror suspects requested to have the clerk copy a CD depicting a violent, radical Islamic theme. Had the clerk not been vigilant; had the clerk not been suspicious; had the clerk not cared for his/her community, many Fort Dix soldiers may have died. For all we know (the identity of the clerk has not been released) the clerk may be a full-time soccer mom with a part time job at Circuit City.

As the war against terror unfolds there will be more examples of vigilance such as the one just described. And, over time, what it means to be vigilant will become less obscure. Our vigilance must extend to our workplaces, our social activities, our church activities and our schools. Whether it is a suspiciously parked vehicle, a lone backpack, a suspicious package or letter, a box cutter on a plane, or someone discussing a desire to commit violent acts, we encourage everyone to follow the example of the Circuit City store clerk and report what you've seen.

Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of a long fight against terror on our soil - a fight that will span future generations. Our safety and the safety of our children are at stake, yet, as a citizenry we share a reluctance to get involved. We fear being wrong, offending others, or being called a snitch. Perhaps we've gotten lazy, self centered, or just used to playing the odds. Perhaps political correctness has gotten the best of us. Notwithstanding, it is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their communities. Asset Control and ChooseToCare encourages everyone to remain vigilant and to report suspicious or threatening behavior to local or federal authorities.

Asset Control is a full-service security consulting firm. If you think your school or business may be a "soft target", call us today to discuss how we may be able to help make it less so.


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