Every time a terrorist or crazy person shoots people at a public event or lobs a bomb into a crowd, we immediately see a slew of retired generals and intelligence officers insisting that the most recent attack was “well planned” and “well coordinated” and, of course, “very sophisticated.” But are these terrorist attacks actually sophisticated in any way?
Omar Mateen killed nearly 50 people at the Pulse night club in Florida. His tactics were effective, but he was simply shooting unarmed people at close range. Micah Xavier Johnson did the same in Dallas, but the media dubbed him a sniper, as if he was making long-range precision shots. Video footage shows he was walking right up to police officers and shooting them without using the optics on his rifle.
The Boston bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, constructed explosive devices out of pressure cookers. The talking heads on television news were certain that they received training outside of America from sinister terrorist organizations in Chechnya. It seems they simply learned how to build the bombs from reading online jihadi websites. Building rudimentary bombs, concealing them in backpacks, and dropping them into a crowd hardly seems sophisticated.
Then we have the Charlie Hebdo gunmen and the shooters who attacked the Bataclan nightclub. Again, they simply had free reign with relatively easily procured AK-47 rifles, and shot unarmed civilians at point-blank range. None of this indicates that these terrorists were highly trained or put a significant amount of time into the planning process.