Terrorists don’t work by the clock and don’t care how long it takes to reach their objective and spend years and years to meet their goals, so communities must be vigilant and better prepared, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Wilson Lee, a guest speaker on “Terrorism Awareness — Understanding the Threat,” at the Marina Sheriff’s Community Advisory Committee Monday, October 29th, at the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey.
Lee has been a deputy for 20 years and was in the U.S. Marine Corps prior to that time.
Lee provided information about the Community Anti-Terrorism Training Institute (C.A.T. Eyes), a program designed to educate citizens around the world to be effective eyes and ears for potential terrorist activities.
C.A.T. Eyes was founded in November 2001 in response to the 9/11 attacks, with the initial charter of giving U.S. citizens a program that will empower them to fight back against terrorism, Lee said.
“Watching America with Pride, Not Prejudice” is the program objective, and understanding that actions, not race, are indicators of potential terrorism, according to Lee.
A basic course teaching students what terrorism is, how to detect it, and how to properly report the information will help reduce racial discrimination and sensitize the eyes and ears of all students against terrorism, Lee said.
He discussed the prejudices formed after 9/11, and said terrorism has made an impact on each individual in a different manner.
In 1972, the attack on the athletes in Munich during the Olympics had a strong impact on Lee, who says he was a boy at the time.
Lee related a story about watching for actions and trusting your instincts, as he spoke about a man in an Orange County city taking photos of the police department, the courthouse and a U.S. Army center.
Someone considered taking photos of the infrastructure as unusual and reported it, and upon questioning, it turned out that the man had no identification and no record, said Lee.
Lee said the FBI definition of terrorism is, “The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
Some terrorism activities include domestic actions, such as when a vehicle dealer was “hit by SUV terrorists,” said Lee, referring to an attack in 2003 by Earth Liberation Front.
Terrorists can also include the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and black separatists, militia groups and others, Lee said.
Lee presented “a general profile” of terrorists as “intelligent, well-educated, obsessed with or initiating change, middle class to affluent and age 22 to 25 years old,” but he pointed out that this is also a generality.
There have been no domestic terror attacks since 9/11, although the “Millennium Bomber” who attempted to bomb LAX was apprehended by an alert border guard between Canada and the U.S., and other potential attacks have been thwarted, said Lee.
The U.S. has a lot of Muslim residents who are really good people, but who may donate to a cause or charity they think worthwhile, not knowing what the charity may really be sponsoring, said Lee.
Lee detailed some of the existing conflicts in the world and spoke of both right-wing and left-wing extremists who attempt to justify their political goals by violence.
Lee also said the media is being used in some instances by individuals such as Eric Rudolph, who planted a bomb to devastate first responders, and after the media explained that the bomb wasn’t effective because it was too weak, he devised another bomb that was stronger. Rudolph committed a series of bombings across the southern United States, which killed three people and injured at least 150 others, according to Wikipedia.
Individuals need to share information, remain vigilant and participate in disaster preparedness training, such as CERT (Community Emergency Response Training), Lee said.
The C.A.T. Eyes training program is available for corporations as well as individuals.
Information on terrorism-awareness training, www.cateyes program.com/.