See Something . . . Do Something

by Martin D. Masiuk

When passengers joined forces to thwart the ultimate objectives of their plane’s hijackers on 9/11, little did they know they would be inspiring change among every member of society. In light of growing terrorist threats, individuals are now being implored by authorities to remember that, when running and hiding are not an option, it is time to fight.

On 11 September 2001, United Airlines Flight 93 passengers Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Thomas Burnett, and Jeremy Glick took heroic action rushing the cockpit of a hijacked plane. Although the plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, this selfless act prevented an even larger catastrophe and likely saved many lives. “Let’s roll” was then and is today a fitting cry for citizens to take individual action.

DomPrep’s professional readers have repeatedly itemized their frustrations of agencies being understaffed, undertrained, and overwhelmed. The recent acts witnessed in Paris, France, and San Bernardino, California, reinforce what preparedness professionals have known for a long time, western nations are entering the next stage in the fight as the terrorists bring the battle to the homeland . . . with more to come. This warning of a threat-level escalation has been clearly stated by two respected leaders.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey stated, at the Aspen Security Forum in July 2015, “ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] has adopted a model that takes advantage of social media to crowdsource terrorism. They are pushing a message of poison, primarily through Twitter but [also in] other parts of social media; that is a siren song with two dimensions. They are preaching through social media to troubled souls, urging them to join their so-called ‘caliphate’ in Syria and Iraq. Or, if you can’t join – kill where you are!”

Chief Cathy Lanier, Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia framed the discussion in another way. On 23 November 2015, she appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and stated that, in an active shooter situation, “most victims are killed within the first 10 minutes. At the Navy Yard shootings in 2013, 10 of the 12 victims were dead in fewer than six minutes.” She said most law enforcement agencies could not arrive on scene until after the damage had been done. In a situation when a civilian cannot flee, she recommends they fight.

This change from “see something, say something” to “see something, do something” is a new preparedness message, indeed. It is reminiscent of the Flight 93 call to action on 9/11. Because, the energy and commitment to preparedness that started in 2001 has been mostly wiped away, citizens are being told to become resilient, to do something. The enemy is in the homeland and can attack at will.

If a non-weapon of mass destruction like the 7.62x39 mm (AK-47 rifle) or the 5.56 mm NATO (AR-15 rifle) cartridge in the hands of “troubled souls” can cause nationwide – even international – disruption and terror, imagine the short- and long-term complications of biological, nuclear, or chemical nerve agent attacks that could kill hundreds of thousands or millions of innocents. The threat is real, and it is in the house. 

As DomPrep’s publisher for 18 years, I sincerely wish I could deliver a more uplifting end-of-year holiday message. Despite my dire forecast, I do wish DomPrep’s readers, advisors, sponsors, and their families peace, love, and safety throughout the holiday season and into the new year. As Timothy Cratchit, “Tiny Tim,” advised in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, “God bless us, every one!” Now let’s roll.


Martin Masiuk is the president and founder of the IMR Group Inc. It was established in 1986. In 1998, Marty created (DomPrep), which changed the publishing model by using the internet to reach more disciplines in more jurisdictions than was previously possible. His success with DomPrep gave rise to the Preparedness Leadership Council International, where he serves as the Executive Director.