Yesterday morning, Christmas Day, a bomb went off in an RV parked in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Next to nothing is currently known about the attack.
A potential suspect has been developed, but the stated facts don’t make much sense at this time.
The purpose of this article, however, is to discuss the fact that being prepared would have helped a lot of people in the area. This attack, and it’s immediate effects in the area, validate everything that we talk about.
Let’s analyze what the immediate, second, and third order effects were, and how you can prepare to mitigate them in highly likely event of additional attacks.
But first, as we always do, let’s see what the Ultimate Tactical Handbook has to say about seeing an event like this and then not preparing yourself for more:
The prudent see danger and take refuge,
But the simple keep going & pay the penalty.
Learn from the Nashville incident, so that you are prudently prepared.
First, let’s analyze the initial situation and discuss preparedness steps.
The first warning many got was a loudspeaker blaring from the RV, telling people that a bomb was going to go off and to evacuate. That went on for a while, and then a countdown began.
Many of the witnesses reported staying in their apartments, waiting to see what was going to happen. Those are people are lucky that only a few were wounded.
From a preparedness standpoint, if you hear an announcement that there will be a bomb going off, why on earth would you stay in your apartment? Remember the verse above? Is staying put when warned that a bomb is going to detonate prudent or simple?
If you ever hear such a warning….it costs you nothing to grab a go-bag and LEAVE. If there is no bomb, you can always come back. If you choose to stay, it could cost you your life.
As we are discussing leaving, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a couple of very specific things. First, someone telling people to evacuate could be trying to draw you into the open for a different attack, so it should go without saying that you should leave ARMED & AWARE. It’s worth noting that multiple witnesses have reported hearing a lot of gunfire before the bomb announcement.
Second, never leave without a first aid kit. If the bomb detonated as you were leaving, you might need to treat yourself. If you got out of the immediate area before the bomb detonated, you might be in a position to return to help the wounded.
The next preparedness item from this is that the bomb did massive damage to the first floors of about 41 buildings, most of which had apartments above. Do you have light rescue tools readily available to assist you in exiting your own home or apartment in such a situation? Can you find them in the dark, with smoke all around? Would you be able to assist others trapped inside?
On that note, author Mark Sibley, In his excellent novel Mongol Moon, addresses a threat most of us never think about. In one scene, a person who is normally well-prepared was in his office on the second floor when the power went out, but all of his supplies, including his FLASHLIGHTS, were downstairs. A tragedy occurred in the book because of this simple oversight. This amazing book can be found at www.amazon.com/dp/1734077115. Do you have flashlights in every room of the house?
A well-stocked first aid kit is an essential. I have several throughout the house and in each bag, as well as in the car.
Just before the blast, as I mentioned before, multiple witnesses reported hearing a lot of gunfire. In fact, the Metro Nashville PD admits that they were in the area responding to multiple shots fired calls when their officers heard the announcement. Do you have a plan for responding to an active shooter while at home?
I know that this may seem only to apply to people living in apartments, but recall the shootout in Jersey City, just about a year ago. A group of black Hebrew Israelites opened fire in a Jewish market, then continued their rampage through a neighborhood. It led to a many-hour standoff. What is your plan?
You could arm yourself and remain in place, hoping that the attackers don’t run into your house to hide from the police. I’ve said many times that hope is not a successful strategy. A better idea may be to arm yourself and leave the neighborhood, remaining on the alert as you leave. Every situation is different, but planning now prevents panic when it happens. Have a plan.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, streets were clogged with debris, parking garages were damaged, and traffic lights were out everywhere. Have a plan to leave areas you frequent on foot. Remember though, to make sure you take some type of go-bag or bug-out bag with you, since you don’t know how long you’ll be gone.
I’ve mentioned it a few times but I always keep in my car a “get home bag” and a couple of other bags. My get-home bag contains rain gear, spare underwear/t shirt/socks, a poncho & cordage for shelter, a pry bar & fixed blade knife for light rescue, a full first aid kit, some food, hand sanitizer, and wet-wipes, along with a radio. More on radios in a bit.
A second bag in my car just contains clothing and boots. In it are a basic long sleeve shirt and a pair of rugged pants (always wear long sleeves and long pants, no matter the heat, for protection), and a set of camouflage gear so that I’m adaptable to the situation, and a pair of good boots. Most work clothes aren’t conducive to preparedness, especially business casual or business dress. And work shoes are generally useless.
The third bag in my car was originally a US Military “Sleep System Carrier”, and is fitted with a shoulder strap, so that I can wear it across my body, while also wearing a backpack. Inside this bag is a pair of tarps, some more cordage, a survival kit, fire making supplies, and a hatchet. This is my longer-term survival bag, or “campsite” bag.
Having a few items on hand can help you survive by walking out of an area affected by an attack or disaster. You can come back for the car later.
The next immediate effect was the loss of phone communications and internet nodes, due to the damage at the AT&T switching station. I have written several articles on buying handheld radios and learning to use them, along with having alternate plans for communicating with your family that don’t involve cell phones. Get radios, learn to use, keep them charged, and KEEP THEM WITH YOU.
It’s worth noting that in an emergency that involves risk of life or property, anyone can broadcast on any channel without a license, and this event certainly qualified.
The Channel 3 Project of AMRRON (www.amrron.com) would have preparedness-minded patriots monitoring FRS channel 3, CB channel 3, MURS channel 3, and 146.420 every hour at the top of the hour.
Also, I have the local amateur radio disaster assistance frequency programmed into my radio, mostly for listening purposes. You can gather a lot of information by listening to your local disaster channels or the national Urban Search & Rescue frequency. Listening to local ham repeaters will also give lots of local intelligence and an awareness of what is going on. You can find them at arrl.org.
Another good use of radio in this situation would have been coordinating an escape before the blast with your neighbors. If you had planned ahead and had a group of people all prepared and on the same channel, a couple of armed people could scout ahead and secure an exit path for the rest of the families, and then performed rear security while you loaded the cars and left the area, or they could have leapfrogged ahead during a foot egress.
Plan NOW and make SOLID plans with people on how you will reach each other, and how you will react in order to keep everyone safe.
It’s also important to note that unless you’ve done some preplanning, your cell phone wouldn’t have been able even to help you navigate out on foot. Without a cell network running, it wouldn’t have been able to display mapping for you, despite the GPS inside the phone still working. Google Maps does allow you to download large areas to use offline, and if you’ve thought ahead, you will have already downloaded a map of your immediate area for use. For example, I have all of Metro Detroit as an offline map.
Another good app for navigation is Sygic. It allows you to download entire states to your phone, so that even if the cell network is down, you can navigate, as long as your phone has power. Always keep battery banks handy.
Here’s a note about the solar power banks….everyone complains that it takes too long to charge the bank by solar. Yes, that’s true, but to RUN your phone from it, you only require a trickle charge, as long as you put the phone in airplane mode. Putting it in airplane mode stops the phone from wasting mass amounts of energy looking for a signal. You can put it back in regular mode once you’ve gotten away from the immediate area, if you wish.
Now that we’ve addressed the first-order effects of the attack, let’s discuss the second order effects.
Immediately after the attack, the mayor established a curfew in the area of the attacks. While this normally wouldn’t be too much of a problem, many people live in that immediate area, and businesses were already on reduced hours/staffing due to COVID. It has set up a situation where you might see people run out of food & water quickly. The lesson here is to always have a few weeks worth of food & water on hand for such an emergency.
A second order effect here is also damage to building water systems from the blast. Do you know how to find safe water in a city? A sillcock key is invaluable in urban survival. Most businesses have outside water faucets for watering lawns and other things, but they require a sillcock key to open. I bought mine for about $8 at Lowe’s. Get one and keep it with your supplies.
Looting/security is another second order effect. People from outside the area will try to wander in and take unsecured items, or just generally walk around to “see what happened”. These “sightseers” frequently walk into unsecured buildings, “just to see”. With law enforcement tied up with the incident response, your security falls to you and your neighbors. The time to discuss and plan for this is NOW. Understand your local self defense and citizen arrest laws.
A word about the curfew….some may say that the curfew will keep this from happening. First, curfews only apply to the law-abiding, criminals aren’t dissuaded by them one bit. Next, ask yourself how hard it would be to tell an officer that you live in the area, but you had to evacuate without your wallet and ID? The curfew isn’t a deterrent at all.
Another second order effect is fire. Late last night, about 18 hours after the blast, a fire ignited inside the AT&T facility (allegedly). This led to additional evacuations, and an extension of the power outages and cell phone/internet outages in the area. Do you have supplies on hand to deal with fire? At least one fully charged fire extinguisher that is checked regularly is essential. Fire blankets and escape ladders are also a good idea.
Lastly, let’s discuss the third order effects. There are two: Tyranny & Riots.
Why tyranny? The mayor issued a curfew that lasts for several days, despite the immediate attack being over. Yes, he says it’s just so that they can secure the scene and work the investigation, but a days-long curfew seems excessive.
Next, the FAA issued a NOTAM or “Notice to Airmen”, establishing that the airspace over downtown Nashville was “National Defense Airspace”, and warning that aircraft traveling over the area could be subject to the US Government using deadly force against airborne aircraft. This warning is in effect until the 30th. It’s worth noting that order wasn’t put into effect until 2:15 PM, almost 8 hours after the attack. Odd.
Why would they need to shoot down any aircraft over the scene of the attack, for 5 days? This was (allegedly) not an aircraft attack, so why the very public threat of shooting down aircraft?
That’s why I label Tyranny as a third order effect; it’s very easy to issue draconian orders without question in the immediate aftermath of an attack. We need to monitor these orders and see if they are extended.
The other I listed is riots. As the investigation progresses, a narrative and motive may come out that makes one community rise up against another in rage. I would have called this a small risk in any other year, but right now, this nation is a powder keg, and any small spark could lead to widespread violence, so we should be prepared for it, and have plans to either bug in or bug out, but at least have a plan for riots or disturbances.
This incident is wake up call. I anticipate many more just like it in rather short order, so prepare as if your life depends on it, because it just might.