With the summer of 2017 over and the fall arriving today, our National Preparedness Month is nearly over. And in that vein, let’s forget about the idiot White Supremacists and the equally vile Antifa dolts for a minute and talk about some issues that are bound to crop up and soon here in the United States.

Terrorism and not the big attacks like 9-11 are on the horizon. One doesn’t have to read the tea leaves very hard to see what is happening and what we have to expect. The news that Islamic State is getting their fourth point of contact handed to them in Iraq and Syria is good news…to an extent. But with their dreams of a “caliphate” dashed by the coalition forces smashing them out both countries, they and Al-Qaeda are going back to do what terrorists have always done. Take shots at soft targets that are easy to pick out and nearly impossible to defend against. Expect many more car/truck type of attacks on crowded pedestrians and attempts to derail our train systems.

In the latest Al-Qaeda propaganda magazine, “Inspire”, the author goes on at length about the “lone jihadi” and how effective he is at “targeting aggression.” By targeting aggression he means targeting women and children in the west, specifically in Europe and the United States.

The latest issue of “Inspire” had a six-page how-to manual for the lone jihadi on train derailing operations. The magazine went on to say, “We present to you the 17th issue of Inspire, devoted to targeting trains, specifically by derailing them from the tracks using a simple tool. And for the first time, we present to you a simple way in designing this derail tool. If implemented, it can greatly affect and damage the enemy in multiple ways.”

So although they’re moving from airlines (more to that later) to trains, they still have a plethora of targets that they can identify that will be much easier to attack with just one or two terrorists and get the maximum exposure for the incident.

They spend a lot of time talking about designing a simple derailment tool that can be used either outside or inside the train. “Railways extend across America, and there are 10,000 daily express trains operating throughout the country transporting different loads and freights. Therefore, 95% of trains’ economic income come from freight transportation, not passengers. Most railways and train movement are concentrated in the Eastern states, where the population density is too high. And on a daily basis, over 3.5 million U.S. passengers use train transportation.”

In this instance, they are exactly correct. If you live in one of the states in the eastern US, nearly every town has a rail line running through it. Trying to secure all of those is impossible. They take a page out of the US playbook, (they read our doctrine closer than many of our leaders do) and speak using our current terminology.  “This method of Jihad is one of the modes of conflict between us and the West — something both new and old — a way of hemming in the enemy and breaking its strength, and this mode of asymmetrical warfare was pioneered by our predecessors centuries ago,” the article states.

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The idea of derailing trains is hardly new, the French Resistance just prior to D-Day in France with the help from Special Operators from the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) blew up or derailed countless trains to disrupt the German war machine. Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, want to attack the civilian populace. They break it down further with sections on Urban Rail Transit, Inner-City Trains, and Regional Trains.

In an attempt to bring its past glory to the forefront, the magazine includes a message from Hamza Usama bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden. He’s being groomed now as one of their future leaders. He gave “advice” for martyrdom-seeking people in the west. We can expect to see and hear much more from him in the future.

So, car and truck attacks will continue in our crowded inner cities, train derailment is the next thing. And a word to anyone out there, if you see anything that doesn’t look right in the circumstances, then it probably isn’t. And report it immediately.

A final word about preparedness. Our airlines have gone to great lengths to protect us in the air against future terrorist incidents. But our security is still far too reactive. Because of the idiot shoe bomber, we still must, in many cases, remove our shoes before going thru security. The planes and boarding terminals are safer than they’ve been in our history. But what about our ticketing terminals?

They’re a sieve. The next time you travel, especially on a busy travel weekend, look at the long queues to get to the ticketing counters. Hundreds, perhaps a thousand people can be lined up waiting to get to the counter with bags in hand. What kind of security do they go thru prior to entering the ticketing terminal?

Anyone can enter with bags and go straight to the lines in our ticketing terminals. All of our security really begins when the ticketing process is over and you try to get to the boarding terminals. The same holds true for returning passengers at baggage claim. Anyone can enter with zero security checks to pick up loved ones and/or business partners. With hundreds of people around a baggage carousel, how easy would it be for a couple of terrorists to hit one of these targets? Far too easy.

When I worked as a security professional and traveled extensively I saw the difference between the US and the airports that the Israelis run. Tel Aviv’s airport a passenger goes thru three checks BEFORE getting to the ticket counter. Then additional checks are done before getting to the boarding terminals.

Our airports are NOT the safe places our leaders think they are. We still have much work to be done there…Hopefully before something bad happens there.

Photo courtesy: Wikipedia (Boston Marathon bombing)