The “New Norm” that's what a local expert on security and terrorism said of the kind of terrorist attack in Spain. These deadly attacks are what called Fred Burton, a former counter-terrorism agent calls "Soft Targets."
He said they are hard to find out about before they happen and even more difficult for law enforcement to protect citizens from. “All it takes is access to a car or truck and a willing driver,” Burton said.
“The question becomes when will we start seeing that tempo in North America in the United States and in Canada.” Burton said while Europe has a much bigger Jihadi problem than the U.S., he wouldn't be surprised if these sort of soft attacks start happening here more often.
“If you think of our city here in Austin or you pick in city around the globe and you think of the number of places that have a large number of pedestrians that walk, that's the challenge. How do you defend hundreds in some cases thousands of potential target sets? You can’t.”
Surreal is what Nayara Storquio said of the Spain attack who was on vacation there, “If I had stayed 30 minutes more, maybe I would’ve seen it happening. Maybe I would be hurt, maybe my friends would still be there, it's really crazy, really crazy.”
She said she was in the subway when the deadly incident happened.
She said there was a stark difference of people on the streets after the attack happened “If you look outside in the street, there's no one outside everybody is inside. The information we have is don't go out, stay home.”
While she wasn't in the exact location of the deadly attack, being so close, is something she said she will never forget, “There's a lot of people that are hurt or died and I will remember about that forever,” she said.
Burton said for those traveling, it's important to research where you’re going, be aware of current events, register with the state department and be prepared even at home if you're going to places that attract a lot of people.
“Have a plan. Think about what you would do if God forbid you were in a similar circumstance. Be able to react very quickly, typically what happens is you will perceive danger before you actually see it, your gut reaction. Most people expect law enforcement to protect them in these kinds of venues and the reality is they can't meaning you have to take responsibility for your own security, the security of yourself, your family, your minor children. You have to make sure that you think about these kinds of things when you're out and about,” he said.