How Safe Are The Hotels In The US?

MJS

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After the recent attacks in India on the hotels, I knew it would only be a matter of time before people here in the US started asking about the safety and security of the hotels here. While reading todays paper, I came across two articles.

Yes, it could happen here

Like the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in America, the Mumbai terrorist assault last week began with a hijacking. Islamic militants seized a private fishing boat at sea rather than commercial jetliners, according to U.S. counter- terrorism officials. But the attackers displayed the same deadly ability to coordinate a complex operation against multiple targets as did their predecessors on 9/11.

The terrorists were from a Pakistani group called Lashkar-i-Taiba, which has loose links with al-Qaida, U.S officials believe. The attackers began by boarding the boat in the Arabian Sea and killing the captain. They then piloted the boat toward Mumbai Harbor. As they neared the coast on Nov. 26, they launched several rubber lifeboats for the final amphibious assault.

The attack was meticulously planned: The raiders dispersed to several targets across the crowded city that had been studied by advance reconnaissance teams. They maintained communications silence on the way in, U.S. officials believe. And most important, they carried with them enough guns, ammunition and supplies for a long battle inside India's largest city.

Then the mayhem began: The terrorists stormed their targets — three luxury hotels, a Jewish cultural center, a railway station — turning the nearby streets into a free-fire zone. It took about 10 hours for Indian anti-terrorist commandos to arrive at the besieged hotels, and it was almost three days before the attackers had been captured or killed.

US hotels wary; Police study tactics

NEW YORK — - Shortly after news spread that gun-toting terrorists had launched a deadly siege on Mumbai, 75 blue-and-white police cars carrying 150 officers fanned out across Manhattan, lights flashing.

Their mission: To quickly shore up security with a show of force outside the Waldorf Astoria, New York Palace and other hotels.

The response, though strictly precautionary, demonstrated that the deadly attack in India had far-reaching implications for police and private security officials in New York and other U.S. cities.

"I think that this could be a wake-up call," said Robert Grenier, a former CIA official with the Kroll Security Group.

Now, IMO, it always seems like we are so relaxed, and this is when things happen...when our guard is down. So, now we have these attacks, and now it dawns on people, "Hmm...could this happen here in the US?" So now, I'm sure people are running around, trying to analyze things, come up with procedures, plans, etc., in the event something like this happens. My question is, terror attacks are nothing new, so why wasn't a plan already in place? I guess nobody ever thought they'd use jets into buildings or coordinated attacks.

So the questions are: Do you think that something may, down the road, happen at hotels in the US? Should we start beefing up security, having armed guards stationed in the lobby of the fancy hotels? I'm sure this isn't the picture people want to see when they're dropping big $$$ on a vaca. with the family.
 

Bob Hubbard

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Could it happen? Sure. Likely? no.

But, banks have armed guards now, and are still robbed. 2-3 armed gunmen with MP5's can easily overpower a rent-a-guard carrying a 9mm hand gun. It's an illusion of safety.

Best way to stop it is active coastal monitoring with a rapid intercept of suspicious craft in US waters.
 
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MJS

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Could it happen? Sure. Likely? no.

For the sake of discussion, why do you feel that its not likely? Not saying that I disagree with you, just playing devils advocate. :) IMHO, the goal of a terror attack it to try to take out as many people as possible and cause as much chaos as possible. I'd think taking out the subway system or blowing up a bridge in NYC vs. a hotel would give them (the scumbag terrorists) a bigger thrill.

But, banks have armed guards now, and are still robbed. 2-3 armed gunmen with MP5's can easily overpower a rent-a-guard carrying a 9mm hand gun. It's an illusion of safety.

Very true.

Best way to stop it is active coastal monitoring with a rapid intercept of suspicious craft in US waters.

Agree. Of course, seeing that a cruise ship recently was the target of pirates, but fortunately outran their boat, I'm sure people will be weary of cruises. Me...I'm thinking of taking one next year with the wife. :)
 

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I think it's much more likely that we will see continuing attacks on US citizens abroad. Doing so places the response in the hands of the country in which the attack occurs, and limits the extent to which the US can get involved. Even if every person killed was an American, it would still be an attack on, for example, India. Or Spain. Those countries are not going to respond in the way that the US does. Plus, it would have an alleviating effect on US citizens at home. "Well, what were they doing there? Everyone knows that El Bumholo is a dangerous place to be."

9/11 was a huge strategic error on the part of al Qaeda. They anticipated a response similar to what they saw after the USS Cole attack, the embassy attacks in Africa, or in Somalia. I don't think we'll see any large-scale attacks here for a long time. *knock wood*
 

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For the sake of discussion, why do you feel that its not likely? Not saying that I disagree with you, just playing devils advocate. :) IMHO, the goal of a terror attack it to try to take out as many people as possible and cause as much chaos as possible. I'd think taking out the subway system or blowing up a bridge in NYC vs. a hotel would give them (the scumbag terrorists) a bigger thrill.

Because the US works differently than most of these other countries do. Israel still gets cafe's blown up every couple of months, despite armed ready-to-kill patrols walking the streets. But it's easier to sneak across the borders there, than here. They are closer.

Ships large enough to cross the ocean to reach us are noticeable.

Of course, line of site patrols and shore based monitoring stations, combined with eye-in-the-sky would greatly improve things, as would reviving PT Boats or a modern equivalent for rapid interception duty.

I think rather than shoot up a motel 6 here, they would target our airports, ports, or stadiums. All are good targets, unless it's a Kansas City Chiefs game, in which case there won't be anyone there. :D


Agree. Of course, seeing that a cruise ship recently was the target of pirates, but fortunately outran their boat, I'm sure people will be weary of cruises. Me...I'm thinking of taking one next year with the wife. :)

Have fun. Been wanting to do that for a while. Course, I'll do the Caribbean, not the Indian. :)
 

Blindside

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Very, very few places are equipped to deal with multiple well-trained armed gunmen storming a building.

It would be Virginia Tech x5, and the only thing to do would be to pick it off before it happened, hardening to prevent such an event is simply not practical.
 

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I don't worry as much about well-trained gunmen and/or large scale attacks. What scares me is suicide bombers/small groups of dipsticks with automatic weapons in shopping malls, big box stores, etc. These attacks take far less money and time to plan and would be devastating as terrorism is, for most of us, something that happens in other countries.
 

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Do you think that something may, down the road, happen at hotels in the US?

Sure, why not? Of course, it doesn't have to be hotels, that is just the flavor of the week. It could be anything.

Should we start beefing up security, having armed guards stationed in the lobby of the fancy hotels?

While that should be up to the hotels in question, the thought of that happening is not pleasant. Terrorists don't have to just target hotels. Or airports. They could target anywhere there are people. In other words, anywhere. What shall our response be? Tightening security at every last place the terrorists hit? Closing that barn door after the horse is gone? How long would it be before everything was militarized in the name of security? I'll take my chances with the terrorists, the chances of them killing me are low. The chances of my government taking away my liberty in response to those terrorists is high however.

If I have to pass through TSA security to enter a hotel or a mall, I'm going to shoot myself. Or find myself a Unabomber shack, we'll see.
 

Xue Sheng

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How Safe Are The Hotels In The US?

Well they are pretty good at protecting you from the average rainstorm or snowstorm but beyond that I would say not very
 

Brian R. VanCise

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It is very, very hard to protect soft targets. In another life (almost
icon12.gif
) I was responsible for creating and implementing counter measures to all sorts of crisis. Armed terrorists, militants, disgruntled workers, etc. that go after almost any soft target will cause havoc. It is very, very hard to stop incidents like these. Very hard.
icon9.gif
Good intelligence is usually the best way. However good intel is not always available!
 

rhn_kenpo

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It is very, very hard to protect soft targets. In another life (almost
icon12.gif
) I was responsible for creating and implementing counter measures to all sorts of crisis. Armed terrorists, militants, disgruntled workers, etc. that go after almost any soft target will cause havoc. It is very, very hard to stop incidents like these. Very hard.
icon9.gif
Good intelligence is usually the best way. However good intel is not always available!

Counter terrorism agencies and defense departments around the world have given this question a great deal of attention. The have generally agreed that empirical evidence supports the point made above. Superior intelligence about planned or pending attacks trumps all forms of ex-post defense or target hardening. Knowledge is the key tool, and the US is very good at obtaining this knowledge. Not perfect of course, but very good. For various reasons, other countries are not so good. And many don't have the physical infrastructure to secure their borders either.

Over the years I've interacted with a lot of policy makers/wonks and academics on various issues, including counter-terrorism. Without a doubt the most intellectually flexible and creative lateral thinkers I've encountered are at the pentagon. There are dozens of people there wo are paid to do nothing but think. I'd actually consider them defense or counter-terrorism philosophers, not analysts. The perspectives and scenarios they consider, and the creativity and diversity they bring to this process is incredible. But as we've seen, they will miss some critical signals here and there too.

R
 
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MJS

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Because the US works differently than most of these other countries do. Israel still gets cafe's blown up every couple of months, despite armed ready-to-kill patrols walking the streets. But it's easier to sneak across the borders there, than here. They are closer.

Ships large enough to cross the ocean to reach us are noticeable.

Of course, line of site patrols and shore based monitoring stations, combined with eye-in-the-sky would greatly improve things, as would reviving PT Boats or a modern equivalent for rapid interception duty.

I think rather than shoot up a motel 6 here, they would target our airports, ports, or stadiums. All are good targets, unless it's a Kansas City Chiefs game, in which case there won't be anyone there. :D

Good points. Then again, when it comes to sneaking around in the US, I don't think we've nipped that issue yet. Those 9-11 hijackers bypassed alot. Seems like they also like to target things that represent something. I mean, look at the targets on 9/11.




Have fun. Been wanting to do that for a while. Course, I'll do the Caribbean, not the Indian. :)

Thanks. And yes, I stick to the Caribbean as well. :)
 
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MJS

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Sure, why not? Of course, it doesn't have to be hotels, that is just the flavor of the week. It could be anything.

True.


While that should be up to the hotels in question, the thought of that happening is not pleasant. Terrorists don't have to just target hotels. Or airports. They could target anywhere there are people. In other words, anywhere. What shall our response be? Tightening security at every last place the terrorists hit? Closing that barn door after the horse is gone? How long would it be before everything was militarized in the name of security? I'll take my chances with the terrorists, the chances of them killing me are low. The chances of my government taking away my liberty in response to those terrorists is high however.

I agree, they could target anything. I just mentioned hotels due to the incendents that already happened, and the articles that I saw in my local paper. :) While we would probably find trying to protect every hotel in the US non-productive due to the fact that there probably aren't enough people to do that, I would say that there are certain things that should have some extra protection. ie: subways, train stations, etc.
 

Drac

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Could it happen? Sure. Likely? no.

But, banks have armed guards now, and are still robbed. 2-3 armed gunmen with MP5's can easily overpower a rent-a-guard carrying a 9mm hand gun. It's an illusion of safety.

The bank guards in your city carry??? Ours have DO NOT and are usually the worst Barney Fife stereo types..Its laughable....

I WAS an armed rent-a-cop for the Harley Hotels..I caught car theives and broke up fights and made arrests..But never had to deal with gunman..

Best way to stop it is active coastal monitoring with a rapid intercept of suspicious craft in US waters.

I agree....
 

Xue Sheng

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Here is a thought.

Hotels are not safe so do what you can to make yourself safe.

If we were to make the safe, or at least as safe as possible people would complain and likely not stay at those that were the safest because it would be to difficult to get a room and regain access once you left for the day. We want safety with absolutely no inconvenience what-so-ever... sorry not happening

Look to 9/11. Afterwards people were outraged that security was so lax so it was made tougher…. Now people complain, moan, graon, whine it is to tough
 
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