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Anti-terror expert: One American can save a lot of lives

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Joe Ruffini made most of the 188 people he spoke to laugh during his visit to the base Aug. 6.

You can bet the humor used to lighten up the former U.S. Army officer and current international anti-terrorism expert's three very real and raw seminars won't make Islamist terrorists crack a smile.

Chris Williams, 460th Space Wing assistant installation anti-terrorism officer, coordinated Mr. Ruffini's visit and said even though the terrorism expert's messages were sobering and sometimes challenged political correctness, it's more important to be informed than blissfully unaware.

"This may be a controversial subject, but be aware and understand the threat that exists," he said.

Mr. Ruffini made sure his audiences knew the difference between people who are Islamic and those who are considered Islamists. He said following Islam is a religion and a choice and should be protected just as any other. Being an Islamist is an extreme religious agenda bent on world domination at any cost. Parts of the Islamist agenda include, but are not limited to; fund raising, backing or taking part in terrorist activities and slowly working to change state and national laws and work place rules to first accommodate, then adopt Sharia laws.

"My concern is people in positions of authority in corporate America and in government are not doing what they should do to safeguard this country," said Mr. Ruffini. "Not because they don't know what they should do, but because it's too controversial to take steps in that direction. Knowing a lot more about what the over-all jihadist agenda is, I'm very, very concerned that at this point I think that the jihadists are politically succeeding with great leaps and bounds."

Mr. Ruffini showed slides of top Muslim American leaders who have been arrested for either taking part in or supporting terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the globe. In some cases, he showed these, now incarcerated, leaders once standing with or sitting next to American presidents.

"What kind of message do you think this photo sends to the bad guys that their leaders can get so close to an American president?" asked Mr. Ruffini.

The threats, said Mr. Ruffini, are real and relevant and while he doesn't expect Americans to singlehandedly stifle the Islamist agenda, he asks that we remain vigilant and unafraid of reporting suspicious activities.

"I don't think at this point in time the average American has the capability to stop terror at the macro level," he said. "The best the average American can do is make them choose another base, another school. People are going to die and be killed as this war goes on. The idea is, let's minimize the suffering and let's minimize the death. Taking measures that move the terrorists to select targets other than our base, our schools and our community should be our collective focus."

So what can the average citizen do to battle terror in America? They can be vigilant. Mr. Ruffini said it is the duty of Americans to be the pre-emptors. He said Americans should not just sit back and rely on law enforcement to identify a threat.

"There's more eyes and ears among civilians then there are with law enforcement and first responders and men and women in uniform," he said. "We all have a responsibility for mutual protection and we need to understand that when we see something that doesn't look right, we shouldn't hesitate to pick up the phone. First of all, we should know who we need to call and secondly we shouldn't hesitate to pick up the phone."

Mr. Ruffini stressed to law enforcement officers and first responders that they can't do it alone and it is the responsibility of the first responders to appreciate and respect the civilian input. Law enforcement, first responders and other local organizations in attendance included: Aurora Police Department , Denver Police Department, Denver Joint terrorism Task Force, Bureau of Reclamation, Civil Air Patrol, Colorado State University Police Department, Denver Mint Police Department, Colorado Information Analysis Center, Terrorism Liaison Officer, South Metro Fire Rescue, 140th Wing command chief, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Douglas County Sherriff Office and the Englewood Fire Department.

"There has to be a good relationship where the people are not belittled or embarrassed to the point where they will never make that second call," he explained. "And the main teaching point on this is that in this war on terror, one vigilant American, in or out of uniform, making the right call at the right time has the potential to save many, many lives."

Mr. Ruffini pointed to the true story of how the terror cell dubbed the "Fort Dix Six" plot to kill American military in New Jersey of was thwarted by a worker at a photo processing center as the prime example of how Americans of any walk of life can make their home towns safer for everyone.

So, why haven't there been small scale attacks in America? Mr. Ruffini asks himself that question a lot and even predicted that the U.S. would see such violence years ago.

"The question that I get all the time that is so hard to answer, and it's embarrassing that I can't answer it, 'Why haven't the suicide bombers, the bus bombs, the car bombs - why aren't they a matter of daily life in a place as big as America?' The only thing I can come up with - and I mean the only thing and I'm being embarrassingly honest here - is that politically and socially, they're making so many strides with the slow Islamization of society, of schools, of neighborhoods," he said. "Maybe they're afraid that violence and subsequent anger of the American people that it will generate, may cause the pendulum of public and political opinion to negate their political and social progress to date. That's all speculation. I don't know. I predicted that the suicide and car bombings would happen here years ago and thank God they have not as yet."

If it happens soon or in a long time, Mr. Ruffini hopes his work helps someone have the courage to make the right call at the right time.

"If one person who has listened takes action at the right time and it saves lives, then everything I'm doing, as far as I'm concerned is worth the effort," said Mr. Ruffini. "It really is my hope that in the future somebody's family member will be alive because somebody actually heeded my message and made the 911 call before the terrorists could do their deeds."

Mr. Williams asked that people here at Buckley take away the local message so our base is a harder target for terrorism.

"What Buckley needs to do is show that we're a harder target than the guy next door," said Mr. Williams. "Anything from reporting suspicious packages to calling in possible surveillance of the base. Complacency will be our downfall."

Mr. Williams said to report suspicious activity by calling the 460th Security Forces Squadron at 847-9250, the Office of Special Investigations Eagle Eyes program at 847-6624 or by dialing 911.
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