Matt Bracken: Is the NFL ready for a stadium attack on a Las Vegas scale?

This essay was published earlier today at Western Rifle Shooters Association.

Is the NFL ready for a stadium attack on a Las Vegas scale?

by Matthew Bracken

My first novel, Enemies Foreign and Domestic, published in 2003, begins with a sniper shooting into a packed football stadium. Ninety bullets are fired from long range into an upper deck, precipitating a stadium-wide panic stampede that results in over a thousand deaths. In the book, a combat veteran holding a semi-automatic rifle is quickly located by a SWAT counter-sniper in a helicopter, after a citizen’s tip is phoned to the police. However, the veteran is just a patsy, and the true perpetrators of the massacre are a pair of mid-level federal law enforcement agents who are seeking to increase their departmental budgets and overall bureaucratic power. The liberal mainstream media accept the false narrative without close examination. Right-leaning military veteran “gun nuts” are universally tarred as potential mass murderers. Within a week, semi-automatic so-called “assault rifles” are banned. The first chapter can be read here.

My goal with the plot of Enemies Foreign and Domestic was to encourage news consumers not to blindly accept convenient official explanations after traumatic national events. Since the release of this novel, we have, in fact, seen federal agents and bureaucrats at a much higher level than my two fictional villains conspire to commit mass murder with the intention of spinning a false news narrative. We know this intentional mass murder plot as “Operation Fast and Furious”, whereby thousands of semi-automatic rifles from Southwestern gun dealers were deliberately sold to criminals with the expectation that they would be transported to violent cartels in Mexico. This resulted in mass carnage which would then be blamed on the Second Amendment and lax American gun laws. Honest gun dealers were coerced by the ATF into making otherwise illegal straw purchases to criminals in bulk quantities. No attempt was made to track the guns once they left ATF observation at the point of sale. The Mexican government was never informed of the murderous gun-running plan. Operation Fast and Furious was not a legitimate law enforcement operation gone wrong. It was a covert murder plan from start to finish, conceived and carried out for political purposes.

Before the evil scheme was exposed after the shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010, President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and Secretary of State Clinton were regularly touting as fact the lie that 90% of the guns found at Mexican murder scenes had originated in the USA. Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress after stonewalling their attempts to investigate Operation Fast and Furious, when the half-hearted investigation was leading directly to his office. None of the principals behind this murderous plan have ever been held accountable. I revisit Fast and Furious in case any readers of this article learn the premise of my first novel and declare that federal law enforcement officials would never be involved in a mass murder scheme concocted for political ends.

That Rubicon was already crossed with Operation Fast and Furious.

Since then, we have witnessed other scandals which involved selling the American public a false narrative. One example is the lie that the deadly attacks on our nearly undefended diplomatic missions in Benghazi were the result of an angry local response to an obscure video about the life of Mohammed. My point in recounting this history is to encourage Americans to always search beyond the “official narrative,” which, as we have seen, can sometimes be manufactured from whole cloth for public consumption. If the false narrative coincides with the liberal mainstream media’s underlying biases and preconceptions, you can be certain that very little honest journalism will be done to expose the lies and reveal the truth to the public.

This brings me to Las Vegas, with its ever-changing timelines and other dark mysteries, such as the motive of Stephen Paddock, the presumed shooter. Columnist Mark Steyn proposes a theory of the case that, in the absence of any declared motive or connections to international terrorism, “the medium is the message.” In Las Vegas, then, the message would be that the ready availability of semi-automatic firearms constitutes a menace to American society, and the Second Amendment must be curtailed to prevent future massacres. Limiting the right of Americans to keep and bear arms has been a long-standing goal of the Left. So-called progressives well understand that their dream of imposing a “socialist utopia” cannot be achieved while Americans possess sufficiently effective weapons to mount a furious armed resistance. If Paddock had left a note declaring this end to be his true motive, he would have discredited his own purpose.

Of course, Paddock might have simply been a deranged psychopath, bent, for his own twisted reasons, upon topping the record books as America’s most successful mass shooter. We’ll never know because he’s conveniently dead and, apparently, he left no departing message. The lack of a declared motive, the ever-shifting timeline, and the fact that it took more than an hour after the shooting had ceased for the police to enter Paddock’s suite means that mystery may cloud the Las Vegas Massacre for years or decades to come.

One outcome is certain: millions of Americans are unlikely to accept any “official narrative” released after the investigation has concluded, and with good reason. The FBI and other federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies have squandered their reputations for honesty and integrity in recent years, and we can no longer assume that politics and corruption have not trumped even-handed truth telling.

This brings me to the NFL. In 2017, we are in a season of national discord, with American politics more radically polarized than since the 1960s, or perhaps even the years before the Civil War. The Las Vegas Massacre has shown us that billion-dollar corporations like MGM, as well as the Las Vegas police, were woefully unprepared to deal with a sniper standing in the window of a hotel overlooking an open-air concert.

Should we assume that the NFL is any better prepared to deal with a stadium sniper similar to the one described in the first chapter of my first novel?

Bear in mind that my fictional sniper was not perched high up in a stadium light tower, or hidden in the stands, but was located in a separate building three-quarters of a mile away. His rifle was aimed just over the near side of the stadium, dropping plunging fire into the opposite upper deck. Perimeter security measures taken to prevent firearms from being smuggled into a stadium will do nothing to hinder a distant sniper using this area-fire tactic. In my novel, a SWAT counter-sniper in a helicopter is able to kill the patsy left holding the rifle, but only after the shooting had ceased. But do NFL stadiums have police helicopters with counter-snipers standing by, ready to protect the fans who are packed in like sardines? And not only at the Super Bowl, but at each of the dozen or so weekly NFL games played in uncovered stadiums, or the hundreds of college games?

Greatly increasing the likelihood of a long-range sniper attack on a stadium is the fact that the distant sniper will have a good chance of getting clean away. In my first novel, three rifle magazines, ninety rounds, are enough to precipitate a panic stampede that kills over a thousand fans. If the distant shooter escapes, he can easily leave false clues at the scene, blaming his ideological enemies for the massacre. The Left can blame the Right, or black can blame white, or vice versa. Current events demonstrate that many, if not most, purported “hate crimes,” such as painted swastikas and nooses left at colleges, have been false-flag operations done to discredit the political enemies of the left-wing hoaxers.

Imagine the national outrage after a stadium massacre if overtly racist anti-black hate literature is found among the expended brass shells in the sniper’s lair, calling the mostly-white victims “race-traitors” for attending the NFL game in the wake of ongoing anthem-kneeling protests. The resulting social explosion would make the aftermath of the Las Vegas Massacre seem like a church picnic by comparison. This prospect must certainly be tempting to malefactors bent upon driving the United States toward civil war and anarchy. And, of course, an Islamic terrorist would need no reason beyond spreading terror among the infidels.

At an absolute minimum, large open air concerts and stadium events need a police helicopter with counter-snipers ready to launch on a moment’s notice. Acoustic gunshot detection systems must be installed around these venues to immediately locate a distant sniper’s location. Vectored to the area by the acoustic system, the helicopter’s onboard FLIR can rapidly find the sniper, and the airborne police counter-snipers can finish the job. Stopping a sniper after just a few minutes is a far better outcome than allowing him ten or more minutes of uninterrupted carnage, as in Las Vegas. Bear in mind that Paddock ceased shooting for his own reasons. The police did not stop him.

All the necessary elements (SWAT, counter-snipers, and police choppers) are typically already located in close proximity to these outdoor events. These elements need to be staged together, ready to fly, and able to detect gunshot locations as well as the FLIR signatures of open or broken-out windows in line-of-sight buildings, muzzle flashes, and humans hiding in unoccupied structures. The fatal fiasco of Desert One in 1980 largely resulted from a lack of coordination and practice between the disparate elements of the ad-hoc Iranian hostage rescue mission. In the aftermath, the U.S. military created the Joint Special Operations Command. Similarly, American law enforcement needs to rethink and revamp its approach to providing security for large outdoor events before a predictable tragedy occurs.

In addition, fans attending stadium and other large outdoor public events must be repetitively instructed to avoid blindly attempting to flee in the event of an emergency. Airline pre-flight safety instructions can be used as a model. In Las Vegas, most of the non-fatal injuries resulted from trampling, not from bullets.

A final note: in this article I chose a method of attack (indirect plunging fire from long range) that is simple, but would not be easy to pull off without considerable thought, planning, and practice. There are other tactics that I chose not to describe that would be equally as devastating, but would be much easier for an average maniac to employ. Law enforcement needs to think out of the box, and anticipate novel forms of attack.

They failed in Las Vegas.

Let’s hope they will not fail in the event of a stadium attack.

19 thoughts on “Matt Bracken: Is the NFL ready for a stadium attack on a Las Vegas scale?

  1. The stadia events are so numerous that your excellent ideas re deterrence would not be willingly undertaken by those in the game(s).

    I have wondered if “taking the knee” wasn’t an excellent excuse for fans, remembering the murky lessons of Las Vegas, to simply abandon the seats pre-emptively.

    I don’t even go to malls anymore.

    • How much ammunition do you think a small drone could possibly carry? Certainly not much, especially since only one magazine could be utilized. I don’t believe even DARPA has weaponized a drone capable of firing a large number or rounds.

      Nor do I believe that large military drones, like the Predatorsflown by the Air Force and the CIA, which are capable of carrying two Hellfire missiles, have been designed to strafe with machine guns or small cannon (20 or 30 mm cannon).

  2. In my book Rage over Jerusalem I describe the Jerusalem plague where a quarter million people are at risk of being infected with a deadly bacteria, After authorities know all about it.
    In the end it is only the individual who is willing to put his life on the line for the others who save us from calamity. Be it Normandy or Doctor Reuven Orr in Jerusalem . The link is on this page.

  3. I enjoyed Brackens novel very much.

    I’m reminded of the quote in the excellent introduction to Orbans speech featured in GoV. The quote told about the Hungarian army switching sides and joining the rebellion. I’m also reminded of the letter from a reader from Romania, who said people had guns during the Communist takeover, but the Communists overcame that with massive killing and torture.

    I think guns are necessary to be a free people but it would be a huge mistake to shoot at the military and probably the national security agencies. Domestic armed forces are always unreliable when it is ordered to suppress their own civilians although it has been done obviously.

    Better to take some civilian casualties rather than have the military see citizens as the enemy.

  4. Another blogger I really trust on this is the guy who does Woodpile Report, and he emphasizes in every issue to avoid crowds. Also the confusion in the investigation of the LV attack speaks volumes. Anyone who’s gone outside the network fake news outlets has little doubt there were multiple shooters in at least 2 other hotels and at ground level on the perimeter of the crowd. The cover-up has been botched; few serious conservative observers believe it. The NFL is apparently a leftist outfit that holds its fans in contempt. Seeing NFL fans killed likely appeals to the Left as much as seeing country and western fans killed. So many now believe that ‘nothing is as it seems.’

  5. I often ponder how much I no longer participate in the activities I used to. And it really isn’t about possible terrorism, either. It is the toxic culture of materialism and noise. I cut the tv cord a long time ago, not even watching local news. I asked my husband just what is news anyway? Nothing useful. If we need something that is the only news worth knowing, but everything else seems like psychological warfare.

  6. Matt/Matthew (don’t know which you prefer): I have a couple of questions for you:

    The first is that government personnel turned out to be untrustworthy in quite a few situations & I was wondering if you think there are any fixes to that threat? I liked your concept in The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun (haven’t finished reading it yet, but I like it so far- even though I know almost none of the nautical stuff).

    The other is if you would put out any kind of instructional material for long term hardships? There were the 100 Deadly Skills books that were good & different, but I can’t help but think that something with more meat on it would be great. I know more about how to handle myself to a decent degree, but I can’t help feeling it’s not quite a proficient level. I’m open to an e-mail, if another book is a pain in the [fundament].

    I don’t know how much longer I’ll be living here, but there’s not much to say I won’t be stuck here regardless & things can always pop up somewhere else, I suppose. I’m not very patriotic, but I don’t like unjust situations & would be inclined to interfere if something was going off, wherever I was.

      • Looks great, thanks!

        Don’t know if you’ll see this, but I also had a question on distance swimming (email is ke2567@gmail, if it’s too long for here): I know that the side-stroke is used for long-distances & that exercising will build the athleticism, but isn’t there also an aspect of warmth to that? I remember hearing things about muscles in blood vessels, brown fat, and mental abilities to keep yourself warm (like picturing a fire warming you or one with all your blood vessels opening & whatever body part being submerged in warm orange liquid).

        Could you educate me on that? I’d like to build to a 20-mile swim, to be more clear about my meaning of “distance.”

  7. Given the thought that there were 4 or 5 shooters in the Las Vegas crowd, the government seems to be covering up a proper investigation. There is a video (taken down by now) of a wounded attendee who stated he was shot head on by somebody in the crowd. Shooters in a football stadium would not work but your lone shooter perched a half mile away is chilling indeed.

  8. Matt, I like your work but I don’t get your thinking in this case.

    The tactics and cooperation you are advocating for “SWAT, counter-snipers, and police choppers” will give TPTB a massive tool to suppress anything coming from a big, unruly crowd – which you and I might be a part of in the future.

    I for one am ok with empty NFL stadiums.

    • The problem with not discussing stadium attack scenarios, nor even LE being in any way prepared for them, is that they are likely to be false-flag attacks blamed on “alt-right white nationalists.” The MSM will amplify this false narrative without question and use it as a weapon against patriotic Americans. Getting out in front of the event by writing about it is like setting a back-fire in advance of an approaching firestorm.

  9. Worth mentioning a relevant piece of info re. ‘Fast and Furious’. When drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s hide-out was raided recently, not only was the drug kingpin recovered, “but a (“massive”) .50-caliber rifle, capable of stopping a car or shooting down a helicopter, that originated with the ATF program.”
    34 such .50-caliber sniper rifles “were sold through the program”.

  10. Paddock was a licensed pilot who owned 2 planes and the shooting occurred literally across the street from a major airport. He could have killed far more people with a plane full of fuel and explosives than he did with a few rifles.

    Makes me question the official story and / or his motivations.

  11. We have never been supplied with a list of the names of the ” Victims ” in the aircraft involved in the 911 tragedy. No photos of the gravestones of the Sandy Hook ” victims “….no list of the names of the Las Vegas ” Victims “. How come ?? We have a long list of the names of our fallen soldiers of the Vietnam war. ” Theatre and Mis direction” is the name of the game…… Russia BAD,,,,,US;GOOD. A few more years of Common Core Education ; along with Flouridated tooth paste and High Fructose Corn Syrup , and this place won’t be inhabited by human beings.

    • The names of the trade tower victims including those on the planes are rung out every year at ground zero. One of the passengers of the Pentagon plane was the wife of the Solicitor General. Those names are also known as are the Shanksville names. So, not sure what you’re talking about here.

  12. Best defense is an educated, trained, and aware populace. Best example is Israel. Know where the treats come, what threats look like, and act accordingly.

  13. Matt,

    Pretty sure there are at least several large Midwestern universities that have taken at least some of the precautions you describe at their football games.

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