Guest Blog: How Terrorism Will Shape the Future of Personal Security

Guest Blog: How Terrorism Will Shape the Future of Personal Security

Terrorism is on the rise. Solutions are being considered, but an answer is still far out of reach. The most recent attacks in the Istanbul Ataturk airport and the Pulse Night Club Massacre in Orlando have rattled worldwide security. In the span of 16 days, 91 people died, and hundreds more were injured as a result of the rise of global terrorism. Turkey itself has suffered from 4 separate terrorist attacks this year. Major areas like Brussels, Paris, California, have all been attacked. So what is going to happen? And how will it affect personal security?

Professional Assessment Methodology

When security professionals are looking for solutions, they begin by completing a risk assessment. This is meant to uncover the threats and the vulnerabilities. If both are decreased, then security increases. If there is no threat, then there is nothing that will exploit vulnerability. If there are no vulnerabilities, then no threat will pose a risk.

Large Groups

The threat is extremely broad by the nature of the attacks. There is no way of knowing where or when it will happen. Lone wolf attackers also make finding suspects near impossible. With a threat that is insurmountable to address, the vulnerabilities are the only thing that can be addressed. This has lead authorities in major cities across the world to run drills, which simulate large-scale shootings in potential targets, such as sports events and college campuses. 

These large-scale gatherings will have their security increase more and more due to the enticing target they offer terrorist looking to do the most damage. Because the threat is so immense for events and areas that receive a lot of foot traffic, these areas will receive the most attention. Searches, metal detectors, and Police presence will provide checkpoints with increasing scrutiny.

Refocusing Effort

The lack of insight on where you will be and how the threat will present itself will lead to domestic military drills. Local authorities will continue to train as if they were fighting a war at home. Police training for active combatant engagement focuses on neutralizing a threat as quickly as possible, and then assisting victims. This will, of course, have negative effects on the local populations. As law enforcement strays farther from service, and into the realm of tactical response, assistance will be exchanged for increased suspicion.

We can see some of these effects in the behavior of Law Enforcement over the last decade. Police are quicker to use lethal force. And they are generally less trained to deal with the nuances of property and burglary related crime, both of which are currently a low priority. The burden of protecting property will begin to fall more and more on individuals, as law enforcement focuses priorities on doing its best to address perceived terrorist vulnerabilities.


Domestic military preparation will continue the trend of sacrificing liberties, such as privacy. As it stands now, Supreme Court decisions have created all kinds of loopholes in video surveillance laws. As the government and lawmakers weaken privacy rights, these abilities will be passed down to average individuals.

When it comes to your individual protection, it is true that this will increase your general safety. As disturbing as the quote is, it is true that “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear”. Fundamental freedoms and rights will be sacrificed as the public sphere extends more and more into the private. There will be fewer places to go where you can be unobserved. 


There is no way to determine if these inevitable measures will be effective in preventing terrorism. However, power and displays of force are sure to increase as a way of attempting to lower vulnerabilities. How much will slip through the fingers of the tightening fist is unclear. From the track record of governmental bodies tasked with reducing these risks, such as the FBI and the TSA, the size of the task will result in the need for continued refining. That is to say, the burden to protect yourself during a terror attack will also fall on the individuals involved.

Ultimately terrorism will decrease personal privacy. This will improve personal security. Law Officers, with training that does not prepare them to deal with property crime or theft, will continue to shift the burden of security onto citizens. The aforementioned forfeiture of personal privacy will allow citizens to better monitor their property. If they invest the time and money into their security, fewer restrictions in video documentation will allow individuals to better protect themselves. The overall effectiveness of the responses to terrorism can also not be trusted to fix the issue. This will again shift the burden of personal security onto the backs of citizens. There will be more responsibility for individuals and fewer restrictions for them to abide by. The rise of terrorism will lead us into the area of 'Personal Responsibility'.


Posted by Ralph Goodman on Jul 05, 2016

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