Target the terrorist, not the engine block or tires

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

It’s the season for outdoor festivals, concerts, and Independence Day celebrations, Greg Ellifritz notes, and all of those events are vulnerable to terrorist vehicle run-down attacks:

I did an informal poll of the 5000+ people who follow me on Facebook last week. I asked all my police readers to send me comments about what tactics and security precautions their police agencies were utilizing to specifically combat terrorist vehicle attacks. The single most common response was I received was “NOTHING.”


When I asked my question about police vehicle terrorism countermeasures, one officer described a rather unique way of acquiring large vehicles to block roadways. He contacted a local heavy equipment rental store. In exchange for some advertising at the event, the rental facility brought in a bunch of backhoes and bulldozers. The police placed these heavy pieces of equipment at key intersections they were trying to block off. They treated the parked heavy equipment like a “touch a truck” event for children. What young boy wouldn’t want to play around on a parked bulldozer?


Rifled slugs are the best weapon for penetrating vehicles during a ramming attack. The slugs will penetrate deeper into most vehicles than buckshot, handgun rounds, or even 5.56mm rifles.

Officers deployed as interceptors should use their shotguns to stop a terrorist attack vehicle if a physical blockade with the intercepting police cars is unsuccessful. Officers should be instructed to shoot through the windshield, side windows, or door panels to target the driver. It requires fewer shots to stop the driver than would be necessary to disable the vehicle with gunfire. Target the terrorist, not the engine block or tires.


Since many previous attackers have utilized large trucks in their attacks, I would recommend that the officers stationed as blocking/ramming vehicles use large city trucks (like dump trucks or garbage trucks) for this purpose. A police cruiser is not likely to stop a large box truck by ramming it.


  1. Kirk says:

    Couple of thoughts occur, reading this: First, parking large pieces of heavy equipment as blocking pieces around venues…? Has anyone considered that you’re basically leaving the tools necessary for the killers right there, for the taking? Unless those pieces of equipment are completely disabled, this is not a smart move. At. All. Most heavy equipment uses the same key; any Cat dealer will sell you one that works in almost everything they sell. The majority of this gear is not built with automotive-standard ignition interlocks.

    The other issue is that few if any police agencies have given the issues of stopping these vehicular attacks much thought. Marvin Heemeyer points the way, here–His home-built improvised armored bulldozer was basically unstoppable by anything in the inventory of the local law enforcement agencies, and you can expect similar up-armoring by any really serious terrorist. You could probably render the average vehicle bullet-proof for most purposes in a day or two, maybe less if you were a prepared sort.

    What probably needs to happen is much closer integration between the National Guard and local law enforcement, along with much wider deployment of anti-armor assets like Carl Gustav recoilless rifles to every armory, along with training and ammunition appropriate to forming hasty anti-armor teams in conjunction with the local agencies. Or, those agencies need to kit up with light anti-armor weapons, themselves.

    You absolutely will not be able to stop even improvised armored vehicles with standard police weapons. God forbid that a terrorist ever takes advantage of the relatively low security at a lot of National Guard armories, and steals some purpose-built armored vehicles for their killing sprees…

  2. Sam J. says:

    Jesus Christ the police are bad enough already without giving them Carl Gustav anti-tank weapons. Like giving whiskey and car keys to teenagers.

    The police have become an occupying force that let’s “minorities” do what they damn well please with low sentences when they are caught but throw the book at any White person who defends themselves.

  3. EDM says:

    Or, you know, not let Muslims into your country.

  4. Kirk says:

    Sam J.,

    Well, yeah, that’s another issue entirely. What I am addressing is how you stop a VBIED or plain old vehicle attack–And, you ain’t doing that with a police service pistol, even if you’re Karamojo Bell with the damn thing. Sad, but true… A number of Marines have proven that fact, over the years, from the Marine barracks in Beirut back during the Reagan years to that incident in Iraq Mattis talks about. By this time, you would think we would have made it SOP that every vehicle access control point was backed up by a tank on continuous alert, or a recoilless rifle team, but I am told that I’m just a cranky old paranoiac when I bring that shit up in planning.

    EDM has a really good idea, but he leaves out the issue of internal converts. You don’t want to have to deal with Islamic terrorism, the only really effective solution is to take the Mongol approach they took at Alamut. Or, do what the Chinese are doing in the Uighur regions….

  5. Mike says:

    Would a large-calibre anti-materiel rifle (like a Barrett) be good enough to stop either unarmoured or improvised armoured vehicles? While I have no idea about the tactical considerations of stopping moving vehicles, it would seem to be less destructive than rocket propelled weapons, or recoilless weapons. Particularly with regards to potential collateral damage from stray shots. I dread to think what the ramifications would be if a HEAT round from a recoilless rifle ended up hitting a gas/petrol station (publicity, legal, monetary, fatalities etc).

  6. Kirk says:

    There’s a lengthy response to Mike that’s probably hanging in the moderation queue…

  7. Isegoria says:

    I’m afraid I don’t have any comments from you, Kirk, in the moderation queue. I couldn’t find any mistaken for spam, either.

  8. Kirk says:

    Bugger… Must have been a browser glitch that ate it, then. I’ll try to resurrect it on my end…

  9. Kirk says:


    To reconstruct what I said that got eaten by the bitgods, the deal with all this is that you’re really in a bit of a bind, when it comes to dealing with vehicle-borne attacks.

    It’s like hunting for dangerous big game. You have a couple of different approaches you can take, and those are typically either to go for a Central Nervous System kill (CNS, in the jargon), a cardiovascular kill, or (and, the least-preferred…) a musculo-skeletal kill via blowing off a limb or destroying a major joint complex.

    As an analogy, you’re able to do the same thing to a vehicle-borne attack. A CNS-kill would be taking out the driver/operator/controller (if remotely operated…), a cardiovascular kill would be taking out the engine, and the musculo-skeletal one would be taking out the drivetrain or axle.

    If you’re hunting elephant, and you’re really, really good, you can play Karamojo Bell and use a 7X57mm Mauser to make your kills using a CNS-based attack. But, you’d better have someone backing you up who can put that elephant down, should you screw up. Likewise, a real expert could probably take down a vehicle during an attack with a police service pistol, but… Odds are, that ain’t going to work. Especially if the attackers up-armor or improvise armor.

    So, you’re left with a Hobson’s choice: Go for an engine kill, or running gear. Can you damage either with a pistol…? Likely not. You need to destroy an engine or blow off a wheel station, minimum. You can do that with a precisely placed single shot from a pistol, but… Again, the odds are against you. And, if you’re the guy doing the training for this? LOL… How many different models of engine/vehicle do you need to train the guys on, do you think? What if the mooks making the attack are smart enough to put a piece of plate steel in front of that fuel injector pump…?

    Yeah; the bare minimum you really need is something like that Inkunzi PAW that Ian highlighted over on Forgotten Weapons the other day:

    Even then, you’ve got to have enough of them scattered around your potential targets, and have your people trained, and… And… Well, you can probably pick out the same problems I can.

    Best solution? Dissuasion. Convince the idiots making these attacks that doing so is a non-starter, all the way around. For “how-to” examples, see “Alamut” “Mongols”, and the history of the Ismaili sects. Salutary lessons in dealing with terrorism and terror tactics may be elucidated from the long-term effect that the Mongols had on Ismaili conduct since the days of the Assassins…

  10. Kirk says:


    Thanks for the collation and edit; I don’t know why my browser was eating anything with a link in it…

  11. Mike says:

    Thanks for the reply.

    The better solution to most crises is indeed preventing it from happening (yes I am hedging my bets in saying ‘better’ rather than ‘best’, and most rather than all, because we need adversity in order evolve, and that requires bad things to infrequently happen e.g. the immune system being subjected to viruses). And hopefully the new goverment of Italy will be able to start the ball rolling and prevent them from entering the Eurozone. If only Gaddafi hadn’t have been toppled then the situation would not be as bad as it is. What better roadblock to a suicide bomber than an entire country?

    As for stopping Muslims from becoming terrorists/Jihadis, obviously we could not act like Mongols against the Nizari (which is a great story by the way), so perhaps the West could try to promote Western style decadence within the Muslim countries (hedonism, feminism, liberalism etc). Maybe the style of left wing decadence that George Soros has been promoting for much of his life?

  12. Kirk says:

    Well, on Gaddafi…? Send a thank-you note to Clinton and Obama, when it’s over with. Stupidest bit of American “statecraft” in my lifetime, after Carter gave Iran to the Mullahs. We haven’t even begun to pay the bill on that one.

    The root problem with trying to corrupt the Islami world with decadence is basically that they’ve already done that, and it didn’t work. None of the “problem children” are the result of deprivation and suffering–bin Laden, for example? Scion of one of the wealthiest builders in Saudi Arabia. With Islam, decadence breeds guilt, which leads to people then hitting a point where they have to give their lives “meaning”, and in Islam, that means killing the Kufar. You give them decadence and an easy life, they return the favor by killing you because you’re not Muslim and are actually doing something with your life besides memorizing the Koran.

    What I fear is that there’s going to be an existential fight between the revanchist forces of Islam, seeking revenge for their fundamental inability to leave the 7th Century, and the rest of us. Said conflict is going to end in either actual or cultural genocide for one side or the other, because I simply don’t see the fundies on the Islamic side either giving up or reforming. Saudi Arabia is probably going to explode in the next ten to twenty years, because the revolution never comes during the repressive years, but after the boot comes off the neck. The reforms going on over there likely won’t last, because they’re imposed from the top down, and not the bottom up.

  13. Mike says:

    Yeah, I’d forgotten about Bin Laden and his reasons for launching a Jihad against the USA/West. Although he seems to be an exception rather than the rule. If you look at Iran for instance they consume vast quantities of Opiates smuggled over the border from Aghanistan, and it hasn’t caused a massive number of Jihadis to either destroy the elements of the drug industry, or help the drug addicts. It’s the same in the Horn of Africa and surrounding territories where Muslims have a huge addiction problem with Khat, and have done for a long time; and this is not an externally created addiction, it’s entirely the result of native Muslims wanting to consume the stuff. Those are Muslims who are addicts who are not launching Jihads against the West (ISIS and Al Qaeeda are another matter). That’s partly why I feel that Hedonism could be a better approach than the proverbial hot war.

    The other reason is that pornography consumption is known from Western studies to both reduce sexual violence (although, yes, this is debatable to a degree), and lowers testosterone. Not to mention the fact that a muslim occupied with a digital woman is one not occupied with a real woman.

    All of these hedonistic elements combined make for a heady mix that is bound to take to wind out of anyones sails. It has in the past (the hedonistic Roaring Twenties which went arm in arm with appeasement), it does now (the porn loving South Koreans are on peaceful terms with North Korea), so it should do in the future. As long as the right people are effected of course, and not another Osama Bin Laden…

  14. Kirk says:

    Mike, bin Laden isn’t an exception; look at the Palestinians, and the number of educated types that have become terrorists over the years. And, Egypt. And, Jordan. And, everywhere else. It ain’t the poverty-stricken and uneducated what become terrorists, it’s the educated and upper middle class.

    If the Saudis were still herding camels, sheep, and goats? We’d have never heard of bin Laden.

    I’m rather against any cute tricks to solve the problems–In the end, it comes down to a man with a rifle standing next to a pile of bodies. There are no shortcuts, no “Royal Roads”. You want peace with halfwit primitives, then you have to discuss it in terms they understand, which necessitates killing the troublemakers without reserve.

    Long-term, I’m pretty sure that the historical analysis is going to be that our failure to grasp the nettle just prolonged things, and made them exponentially worse. George Bush’s failure to make clear that war-by-proxy and supporting third-party attacks on other nations is not acceptable in an era of relatively easy access to WMD? Ill-judged, and what he’s going to be remembered for and excoriated over in historical analysis. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia both knew and assisted in the 9/11 attacks–And, got away with it. Hell, we made the Pakistanis rich in the process of fighting in Afghanistan.

    We should have demanded the responsible parties (ISI in Pakistan, and the fellow-travelers in Saudi who vetted the terrorists to us, and gave them clean passports…) be handed over to us, tried them, and then executed them. Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia should have been made to pay punitive reparations for the attacks, ones that would have been felt. Instead, we subsidized Pakistan to the tune of billions of dollars, and did nothing to the real criminals involved in the attacks. Bush tried for a cunning, indirect approach–One that required a minimum fifty-year program, and couldn’t be guaranteed to be followed by subsequent governments here in the US. If we had to go to war, the wars should have been punitive campaigns against the actual responsible parties, including whatever Saudi princeling chose to wave his hands over those passports in the Saudi government.

    When the world loses a major city to a WMD strike perpetrated by some third-party knockout force, or suffers the release of a deadly biological agent from same, the name on the blame line is going to be Bush. He should have acted to uphold the principles of Westphalia. Instead, he enabled a Pandora’s Box of non-state actors to make war on the rest of us.

    He won’t be remembered well, and that’s why. He tried to be Mr. Nice Guy, and not kill a few million people. What he did, instead, was to create the conditions under which millions or billions will die in the future.

  15. Mike says:

    The prospect of war with the Muslim world doesn’t strike me as something to be aimed for, maybe there might be some wishful thinking on my part in wanting there to be either a peacefuland mutual resolution, or at least one that minimises harm to both sides. The approach taken by Prince Vladimir ‘The Impaler’ of Wallachia, or the Poles during the Siege of Vienna may indeed be the only method that works (it was the only method that worked in that past). Although that doesn’t mean that other methods shouldn’t be tried. After all the Greeks didn’t like the war very much because they knew that Aries (the God of War) was fickle and unpredictable. Wars, once started, can go horribly wrong in any number of ways. That’s one reason why they should be avoided: because you don’t know what’s going to happen, and it’s an existential struggle so the risks are very high.

  16. Kirk says:

    Mike, the thing with Islam is that it has within it inherent, irreducible characteristics which make it a deadly threat to the world, and everyone else living in it.

    Alone of any major religion, it tells its followers to lie, cheat, and steal in order to further the interests of the faith. You might think this a minor matter, but it is not. The doctrine is called Taqiyyah, and is a foundational part of the faith. If you aren’t Muslim, you can take nothing that a Muslim tells you or promises you as being sincere or honest. Why? Because, if that Muslim is faithful to his creed, he or she has been given the mandate, the religious requirement to lie to you. The implications of this fact must be taken into account with every single interaction you have with someone professing the Muslim faith.

    Any and every oath of citizenship and promise to live in peace with the rest of us…? You cannot trust them. Period. For a Muslim to lie, it is an act of faith, in full adherence to the precepts of their religion.

    How do you live with that as a neighbor? How do you form communities with these morally deficient people among the population? For them, to tell you the truth? That would mean that that Muslim is unfaithful to the very precepts of their religion–So, as long as they call themselves “Muslim”, that means that they cannot be trusted in any way by outsiders.

    Ask the Yazidi how that worked out for them, when the rotten bastards living among them, who they’d protected when necessary from Saddam’s secret police, ratted them out to the ISIS thugs taking over? This is something I have personal knowledge of having happened, and it happened not in some dusty, dry historical tome, but virtually yesterday.

    You cannot trust the Muslim, you cannot live with them in peace or justice. When they come to you professing peace, they lie. When they come to you as refugees, they say that they are merely coming to live among you in peace. As soon as they have enough numbers, then the harassment starts, the sharia enforcement, and all the rest. This is how they work: Ask any of Zoroastrians of Iran, or the Christians of Indonesia.

    In the coming years, we are going to be faced with a choice: Either we force a reform of Islam, or we’re going to have to commit acts of cultural genocide. You simply cannot share a world with believers in Islam, when the easy availability of WMD becomes a matter of some kid paying attention in his high school biology classes, and recreating the Australian work on mouse pox.

    We are nearing a point where the insane cannot be trusted with modern technology, and we’re going to have to do something about it. Unfortunately, the lag between our ability to cope with these things and the potential of the new technology is probably going to kill us. The CDC should be establishing overwatch stations worldwide, in order to catch new diseases and trace them. As well, rapid manufacture of vaccines and treatment drugs is necessary–A weaponized version of something like AIDS cannot wait thirty years before a workable treatment regime and a vaccine is produced.

    Ain’t nobody doing any of this. Anywhere. Fuck, we can’t even enforce quarantine against a sexually transmitted disease like AIDS, ‘cos that might mean “oppressing” a privileged class.

    Odds are very good that we are going to experience the reason why we don’t see intelligent life elsewhere in the universe–And in very short order, historically speaking.

    My take on the dearth of visible intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is that the moment they gain control of their biology, then the nutters take the opportunity to kill everyone else in the name of whatever demon-spawned ideology they have imagined.

    My guess is that the Islamic world is going to be our version of this, and will likely kill the rest of us in a fit of pique rooted in their abysmal failure to adapt or contribute to the modern world.

    Should we manage to survive, my further supposition is that at least a part of the reason will be that someone, somewhere (likely the Chinese…) is going to decide that Islam needs to be reformed, and then they’re going to apply the reform of the grave.

    What’s going on in Uighur territory is disturbing, but I suspect that the rest of us are going to have to get on board and do the same thing with our own mentally deficient. Or, likely, the Chinese will demand it of us.

    Fundamentally, Islam is incompatible with the modern world, or living in peace with non-Muslims. Everywhere you look in terms of territory or landmass, where there is Islam, there is war. Examine the borderlands of Islam, and you find nothing but strife, poverty, and the destruction of non-Islamic culture. It’s taken them nearly a thousand years to eradicate Christianity from its cradle in Syria and the Levant, but they’ve done it. Similarly, look at the destruction of the native faiths in Iran and across the Indian sub-continent where Islam holds sway.

    You cannot be a student of history, and remain sanguine about the nature of Islam, and the effect it has wherever it goes. I don’t like living in the Dar al Harb, but then, I’m not the one who terms it such or is determined to inflict that on the rest of us. I merely recognize reality for what it is, and deal with it accordingly. I could live in peace with the Muslims, just as I do with the Mormons and all the rest.

    But they will not let me live in peace with them unless I submit to their will–Which I refuse to do. Thus, it is war between us, to the knife–And, not by my choice.

    Your reluctance to recognize this reality would likely be termed “humane” in some circles. In mine, I would term it “suicidally delusional”.

Leave a Reply