Custom Architectural Bollard - courtesy FEMA

Custom Architectural Bollard – courtesy FEMA

I had a brief discussion just last week with a retired local electronic security expert. We discussed how difficult it is to convince people and businesses to be pro-active in security matters to try to mitigate disasters. Their attention, and dollars, is more easily directed towards profits and other immediate and imminent concerns.

It is much easier, he said, to sell after the fact (after the horse is out of the barn) or when it is mandated by either government (i.e. fire alarm systems) agencies or insurance companies (coverage limitations).

This discussion came after the tragic vehicle attack in New York this past Halloween, October 31, 2017. Immediately since then I have noticed an uptick in U.S. cities taking action in response to this event as well as the other recent vehicular terrorists attacks in London and France.

“It CAN happen here” and “It CAN happen to me” is perhaps starting to take a foothold.

Joe Bartels of KTNV 13 Action News in Las Vegas reported on October 31st, the same day as the New York attack. His TV accounting was entitled: “Las Vegas prepares for possible vehicle terror attacks“.

Bartels reported that local county officials were implementing installation of bollards to protect against
“..vehicle ramming attacks on strip sidewalks.” A local counter terrorism expert was quoted as saying that “The barriers are great…” as a first line of defense.

An article entitled “Manhattan Terror Attack Exposes Bike Path’s Vulnerable Crossings” was published November 1st, the following day, by Sharon Otterman in the New York Times online.

Otterman’s article recalled how a decade earlier a 22 year old bicyclist was struck and killed by a drunken driver not far from where the terror attack took place just the day before. It is somewhat difficult to escape oncoming vehicles along the path itself since there are barriers, berms and concrete obstacles placed along the path’s edge.

Although installation of bollards has been the subject of prior discussions, these barriers were never installed at points along the path where vehicles can easily gain access to the path.

Then on November 2nd, U.S. News & World Report published an article: “Following Attack, 57 NYC Intersections Getting New Barriers

The report cited New York officials having already started to add barriers to intersections including the bike path where the terrorist struck. Of course, one might note it was indeed a metal bollard that eventually stopped the terrorist’s vehicle

A few days later on November 6th, Kiro 7 TV in Seattle Washington reported “Local lawmaker wants to make trails a tougher target for terrorists“.

It was reported a local lawmaker wants to make 175 miles of trails in King County tougher for terrorists to target. He suggests installing “…barriers, bollards and even boulders in key spots…” This would be an effort to make it impossible for a vehicle to drive into the trail.

The news also reaches us from across the Atlantic from the United Kingdom. On November 7th the Christian Today reported “York Minster responds to terrorism threat”.

The York Ministry will became “..the first cathedral in the UK to install security blocks aimed at stopping terrorist attacks, following advice from the Counter Terrorism Unit.” A protective barrier of 12 removable blocks is to provide a physical defense and will be a visible deterrent at the front of the ministry.

Terrorism will not go away soon; it may never completely disappear. We can choose to act preventatively or continue to keep our heads in the sand.