Interesting story here today about TSA and warnings they think we're mature enough to handle.
TSA makes a distinction between buses, trams, light rail, and Amtrak-type trains and decided that, in America, terrorists are most likely to try to bomb the larger trains, as opposed to the smaller, more ubiquitous, soft-target street buses. They base their predictions on what type of attacks we will suffer here on models and statistics from Europe and Asia.
Whatever their target, and regardless of their affiliation, bus bombers may exhibit some of these characteristics. Your intuition might pick up something that doesn't look or feel right. Listen to your intuition.
They may make obvious or awkward attempts to blend into a crowd, with other passengers. They may be dressed in bulky, heavy clothing that seems out of season ~ winter coats in July. There may be talking about some sort of weapon under or in the coat. You should notify the police ASAP. Try to do it by land-line phone, not cellular because a cell phone signal can detonate a bomb.
Bombers may seem to be trying to stay away from security or police personnel. When doing a recon, they will be less concerned about bumping into security or the cops because they're most likely not carrying explosives at that time but possibly only surveillance items, as described in previous posts here. When bombers are about to attack, they'll want to avoid contact with security and the police (unless they are the intended target, of course) because just before the attack, they'll be strapped with or carrying bombs.
People who don't usually carry weapons or bombs tend to touch them to make sure the weapon is in the right place. So, bombers might repeatedly and nervously handle parts of their clothing, not just have their hands in their pockets or pick their nose. Someone touching themselves in a manner that indicates they are feeling for something (as opposed to scratching) or maybe adjusting something under their clothing may be carrying a bomb of some sort.
A well-groomed, clean-shaven, heavily-perfumed male bomber might have cleaned up because he feels he's about to meet his Maker and wants to be clean for that appointment. It's called ritualistic hygiene. If you know for certain that you saw the same guy just the day before and then he had a bushy beard and was a real slob, the sudden change might add another suspicion to your list. A female terrorist might clean up in a similar way, but probably wouldn't need the shave.
Bombers might be wearing obvious disguises such as a police, security, or EMT uniforms. They wouldn't wear a uniform like that while on recon because of the risk of getting caught early in the mission. They'd use uniforms in an attack in order to quickly get to or away from their target.
My previous post at But the fire is so delightful has more detail.
Anytime you see someone in a bus, train, ferry, crowded public area put down a box, briefcase, backpack, duffel bag, etc, and then move away from it for any reason, you have a likely threat... here are some thoughts.
- Can you just assume he's innocently going to take a leak and he'll be right back. Uh... no.
- Pointing to his left-behind item but not picking it up, ask him loudly; Hey, is this yours? If he pretends he doesn't hear you and keeps on going, that's a problem. If he hears you, looks back at you and then keeps on moving away from the item without answering you then you have a major problem and you need to get off the bus ASAP.
- Is throwing the object off the bus an option? Maybe. If it's a bomb, it may not be motion-activated, it's probably on a timer. But I don't know. Neither will you.
- Follow your instinct and do something.
- Get off the bus, warning the other passengers calmly and quickly: That looks like it might be a bomb. Let's get off the bus right now.
- Don't be afraid of using the emergency doors or using emergency door openers.
- Don't assume there is enough time for the bus driver to call someone, such as a transit supervisor to find out just what the heck makes the object so darn suspicious.
- Don't wait on the bus for ththat transit supervisor to drive over and tell everyone not to worry.
- Get off the bus and move at least 100 yards away from it.
- Be prepared to give a good description to the police of the person who left it. If you see him in the area, quickly point him out to others, especially any police officers who may be on scene.
If you're on the bus, moving, and you see this suspicious man or woman, again, you've got options.
- If you're armed and fully aware of what the law says about shooting anyone and fully prepared to face the consequences of your act, then shooting might be an option. Your choice. If you're going for a head shot to instantly incapacitate the bomber, remember the detonator might be a 'dead man switch', designed to detonate when it's released.
- If both hands of the bomber are visible and empty, maybe you can jump him and take him out of the picture using brute force. No rules in this one, folks; you either have to shut down his brain until you can restrain him with belts and such, or you have to fight him and try to control him so he doesn't get to the bomb switches, probably somewhere around his mid-section. What's your best option? I don't know; I'm not there.
- If there's no way to get out of the bus or train then, if there's room, drop to the floor with your feet toward the bomber or IED. As mentioned earlier, that's so the shrapnel goes into the soles of your shoes instead of the top of your head. If the bomb goes off and you're not killed, see if there is any way of escape, so you can get out of any secondary explosion, and crawl toward that exit if you can.