Too many of us don't stop to consider the serious dangers of international travel, but Dom Raso emphasizes that the threat is very real. Simply being an American means there's a giant target on your back, and he urges us to know the risks and be prepared.
"It's never going to happen to me."
"That's the extreme case."
"I'll take my chances."
I talk to people all the time about the serious dangers of international travel. And those are the kinds of responses I almost always get in return.
Too many Americans don't take the time to think about what their citizenship means in the rest of the world. I don't care if you're a CEO or a college student—in many parts of the world, being an American means there's a giant target on your back.
To ISIS, al Qaeda and other radical Islamic terror groups, you are a precious and rare commodity. One kidnapped American can be used to intimidate the public back home ... to hold over the heads of our government for ransom money or political demands ... to create a bloody torture or execution video that serves as a recruitment tool ... or to steal personal identity information that could be used in a future terror attack.
I can't say it enough. Think like the enemy.
We've already seen Americans become victims of terrorism overseas: Journalist James Foley was beheaded by ISIS in 2014. An American college student studying abroad was killed in the Paris attacks in November. How close and how realistic does the threat have to be before you take it seriously?
"We need to be doing way more to educate the country on the seriousness of international travel. You are a target. That doesn't mean you shouldn't travel. It just means you should know the risks, and be prepared for them."Dom Raso
You might be going on your next vacation, ready to relax in the sun, or you might be heading to Europe for business—having dinner in unfamiliar crowds or at the bar—but wherever you go, I promise the threat is real. The question is, will you be prepared for it?
Going to public places overseas is less safe than it's ever been because radical Islamic terrorists are willing to take their fight anywhere. I know how they think and I know how they select their targets and what kind of vulnerabilities they're looking to exploit. I've continued to study these threats and prepare myself because terrorism doesn't wait for you to be ready.
August 21st was a normal day for most people on the train from Amsterdam to Paris, until a radical Islamic terrorist opened fire. Thank God there were five men, including three Americans, who took action to take that bad guy out, fighting him hand-to-hand even as he fired upon them and tried to slash them with a box cutter. Five hundred and fifty-four passengers were on that train. But because of those heroes, not a single one died.
No one could've expected a terror attack on that train. But two of those men were members of the armed forces, and I promise you the thought crossed their mind at some point. They were prepared to fight for their lives and, because of it, 554 people survived that day.
We need to be doing way more to educate the country on the seriousness of international travel. You are a target. That doesn't mean you shouldn't travel. It just means you should know the risks, and be prepared for them.
"Taken" was a movie. But this threat is real.