Terrorism in Paris! Now What?
8 Ways to Develop Your Psychological Body Armor
Paris may be down, but they are not out. For centuries, Parisians and the French has proven to be a resilient people. They will overcome and move forward from the tragic events that occurred recently.
This article is the first of several that will deal with how to cope in these tough days. I will show you the eight steps you can take to strengthen you psychological body armor.
How do you develop Psychological Body Armor that will help you survive and thrive in these uncertain days?(Author’s Note – this principle will work for any type of stress.)
The First Step in Building Your Psychological Body Armor is to Know the enemy as you know yourself. The enemy here is not the Radical Islamist, but the Stress and Fear of what they can do, in a word, the enemy is stress.
“There is no greater mental health issue facing us as a nation than the effects of terrorism.”
Richard Carmona, M.D. Surgeon General of the United States; April 4, 2003.
To be sure no one misunderstands, terrorism is primarily psychological, to counter the impact of terrorism we must remember that is counter-terrorism is primarily psychological.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will suffer defeat. If you know neither the enemy or yourself, you will succumb in every battle. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
My few blogs, which will come in rapid succession will give you eight practical, proven tips to help you put on your Psychological Body Armor. For those of you in the faith community, this can tie into the Armor of God that Paul talked about in the New Testament book of Ephesians.
The concepts and ideas that I will be sharing are from a man whose research I hold in high regard. Dr. Charles Everly is an expert on terrorism, resilience, and the human mind. If you are interested in this topic, order his book Psychological Counterterrorism and World War.
Principle #1 – Know the Enemy as You Know Yourself. On Knowing the Enemy – The Nature of Stress
Jonathan R. White, a Law enforcement and military consultant, has written a clear, and concise article that demonstrated the unique qualities of terrorism entitles The Nature of Modern Terrorism (here is an excerpt)
Many Americans have not yet come to grips with the meaning and function of terrorism in the modern world. During President Bush’s administration, federal officials described terrorism as a war, and they responded accordingly. The military even developed an acronym for it — GWOT for Global War against Terrorism. Things changed with President Obama. Officials loathed to utilize even the term terrorism, preferring legalistic jargon about violent criminal extremists. All of this is understandable because terrorism is not a physical object that can be touched and measured. It is an abstract idea that means many things to many different people.
Regardless, security forces and citizens, in general, need to understand the full implications of modern terrorism. The reason is simple. Methods for engaging in political violence have changed, and multiple forms of terrorism will probably dominate the “battlefields” of the twenty-first century. In fact, the future probably will not bring many battlefields, but it will involve increasing amounts of subnational and individual political violence.
Although the term terrorism has been around since the French Revolution and it has been used to describe a variety of differing activities over the past two hundred years, modern terrorism is a new phenomenon. It requires supporting systems from the technological world. First, to be effective, terrorism must be seen and heard. As one terrorist commander summarized, it is better to kill one person in front of a camera than to kill a hundred in a secret location. Terrorists need an audience.
The second aspect of modernity’s impact on terrorism involves mobility. This can be done locally or globally. The goal is to get to the target and get away. An attack can originate in the hills of South Waziristan and be carried out in London, or can be launched from a local neighborhood in Boston because the supplies needed for an attack can be gathered from a distance.
Finally, the modern world provides weapons or materials that can be turned into weapons. These devices, in turn, are more powerful than instruments of the past. They can be used to kill a relatively large number of people. The destructive power of weapons-grade or homemade explosives has only increased since the Second World
These three factors — instant communication, mobility, and access to destructive technology — mean that terrorism will continue to plague the world. Any small group of people or even an individual can participate. Two people can bring Boston to a halt.
All of this implies that Americans need to begin to understand a new enemy. Terrorism is not a war in the traditional or constitutional sense. Terrorism is a method of fighting and it requires innovative tactical and strategic responses. It also requires responses that emphasize rationality over emotion. The first step to developing rational responses is to understand the nature of modern terrorism.
Terrorist, regardless of ideology know that their activities will cause fear and stress. Knowing that can help you see it for what it is and refused to cave in.
In the next few days, I will give you some tools to understand how to develop the psychological body armor you will need to prepare to thrive in the world that we live in.
Next article will be, Know the Enemy as You Know Yourself – On Knowing Yourself – Your Vulnerability
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[i]Everly G.S. & Castellano (2005) Psychological Counterterrorism and World War IV. Elliott, MD: Chevron Publishing