Guns Stopped Terror: Licensed to Carry, and Maybe to Live

On the one hand, we live in a world in which they now grow grapes that taste like cotton candy. Those grapes are, in a word, amazing.

On the other hand, we live in a world of “miracle and wonder” in which the “bomb in the baby carriage was wired to the radio.” Now the radio might be a bluetooth detonator, or the weapon might be a knife or a pressure cooker, but the principle is the same. Savages are using our technology against us in our own streets:

NEW YORK -- Authorities are investigating three incidents -- explosions in New York and New Jersey and a stabbing attack in Minnesota -- that took place within a 12-hour period on Saturday and sowed fears of terrorism.

Officials said they could identify no definitive links between the disturbances — a bombing that hurt 29 in Chelsea, an explosion along the route of a scheduled race in Seaside Park, N.J., and a stabbing that wounded nine in a St. Cloud, Minn., mall.

But each incident in its own right raised the possibility of terrorist connections, prompting federal and local law enforcement to pour major resources into determining exactly what happened and why.

Whatever you do, say some politicians, don't call it “terrorism.” Or, if you're Hillary Clinton, you give a confusing, passionless, lethargic statement and then do nothing, or blame a YouTube movie.

In the post-9/11 world, it's not paranoid to assume that Islamists are behind such bombings. Until reliable evidence emerges to the contrary, that is always the way to bet.

The third of the weekend's incidents was more direct -- not a faceless bomber who could at least conceivably have been a Luddite Unabomber type, but a confessed Islamist. He was stopped by a good guy with superior firepower:

(Reuters) - A man who stabbed nine people at a mall in central Minnesota before being shot dead is a "soldier of the Islamic State," the militant group's news agency said on Sunday, as the FBI investigated the attack as a potential act of terrorism.

The man, who was wearing a private security uniform, made references to Allah and asked at least one person if they were Muslim before he assaulted them at the Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud on Saturday, the city's Police Chief William Blair Anderson told reporters.

Authorities declined to identify the suspect, who was killed by an off-duty policeman, because the investigation was under way.

The “thin blue line,” off-duty in this case, but armed, took out the terrorist. Had the off-duty cop not been there, and had he not been armed, the “soldier of the Islamic State” would have killed Americans on our own soil.

This may or may not be a coincidence, but all of the weekend's incidents occurred in blue states that tend to elect politicians who are hostile to the Second Amendment: New York, New Jersey, Minnesota. Terrorists tend not to attack in the red states. They tend not to attack hardened targets (when they do attack military, they attack recruiters in strip malls, or they attack on bases that President Clinton turned into federal “gun free zones”).

They tend to attack where lots of unarmed civilians will be gathered, and now, twice, they have attacked a conspicuous feature of the modern world: health and fitness. On April 15, 2013, two radicalized Muslim brothers set off pressure cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon. On September 17, at least one radicalized Muslim attempted to bomb a Marine Corps charity race being held in Seaside, New Jersey. There may be two messages in such bombings: You're not safe in your crowds, and you're not safe even if you’re fit.

But you might be safe if you're carrying a firearm, like the off-duty police officer in Minnesota.

And you might be able to make others safe if you're carrying and you know how to use your weapon, as the off-duty officer evidently does.

Glenn Reynolds famously wrote about an “army of Davids” that can take on big media from their laptops. That army and its Davids cuts both ways, of course. The Islamists undoubtedly see themselves as Davids (even though they hate the Jews) taking on the Great Satan. But the Great Satan's own citizens can be Davids taking on Big Islam when it invades our countries and our government proves impotent, or even duplicitous.

Our authorities have developed a 15-year habit of denying terrorism even when the bomb still smokes and “Allahu Akbar!” still rings in the air.

The Minnesota cop wasn't in denial.

Despite eight years of President Obama's open hatred of gun rights, more and more states have adopted some form of handgun carry law, from concealed carry requiring training and fingerprinting all the way to “constitutional carry,” in which no instruction or licensing is required at all. All 50 states issue some form of handgun carry licensing to citizens.

The odds of you or I finding ourselves in a terrorist incident remain quite small, but they are not infinitesimal -- and they seem to be growing.

We're not seeing blockbuster 9/11 attacks, but we're seeing atomized versions of that in more places, more often. If you're a terrorist of any kind, are you more or less likely to attack where you believe you will face fire from angry, ordinary Americans?

Our government's bad habit of denying terrorism isn't going away. That is getting worse. It's time for more Americans to arm up, train up, and keep our heads on a swivel.