“Very often, the victims of terrorism are targeted not because they are threats, but because they are specific “symbols, tools, animals or corrupt beings” that tie into a specific view of the world that the terrorists possess.” -Mark Juergensmeyer


First things first here. I am not a profiling or anti-terrorism Guru and nor do I claim to be one. But I will say this, in my five deployments with the Marine Corps to many “less than favorable places” on this planet, I have learned a thing or two about self-protection and the identification and profiling of shitheads with bad intent. With that being said, I do not want this article to create some kind of “turn your communist neighbor into the government” hysteria, reminiscent of the Cold War era. I have no issues with “practical profiling techniques” as I sit here, on my third cup of coffee, half empty bottle of Jameson, listening to ‘Ziggy Stardust’ on a vinyl record.

Even if you completely altered your lifestyle and took every precaution available, you still have zero control over these types of random and violent attacks. However, what you can do to prepare yourself, is be aware of the circumstances and learn to identify risk factors.

What is a ‘soft target’? Ski’s definition: when an aspiring bomber has identified an event or location that has minimal force protection, provides a substantial number of personnel injured or dead, and will be followed by massive coverage from the media. That is a soft target.

“This country swarms with vile outrageous men that live by rapine and by lawless spoil.” – Christopher Marlowe 1587

Why Terrorists Bomb (Reiterating the basics here)
Using terrorism for political purpose is a common tactic, and as such, there are a number of common elements that are almost universal to all modern terrorist activities. The target victims are not necessarily those who are injured or killed. Rather, the attack may have been carried out to influence a government (or group of governments) to take a certain course of action, or to perhaps terminate or cease a current course of action. Over the last several years, while the total number of bombings has decreased, the number of large or spectacular bomb attacks has actually increased. Terrorists commit bombings for a number of reasons:

  • To gain media attention, particularly if the target is highly visible or symbolic.
  • It is a cost effective and efficient way to attack a facility.
  • They can be accomplished with a small number of personnel.
  • There is minimal risk of bombers being detected or apprehended.
  • It can be inexpensive in comparison to alternatives like kidnapping or hostage-taking.
  • Random bombings make a considerably larger impact on the population because more people fear a bomb attack than being kidnapped or taken hostage.
  • Explosives are readily available through purchase, theft or sympathetic supporters. In addition, explosives can even be constructed through the use of legitimately obtained chemicals, fertilizers, and other materials.

10 Basic Steps to not being a Soft Target