Community Learns to Recognize Terror

Posted: Sep 12, 2006

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A day after 9-11, one man is making sure people in Southern Colorado spend as much time preparing for another terrorist attack as they do remembering September 11. Joe Ruffini says it's all about trusting our instincts. He says no terrorist plot has ever planed itself and it's up to citizens to keep their eyes open for suspicious activity and most importantly report it. Ruffini, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and current anti-terror consultant in Southern Colorado presented "A Citizen's Day of Knowledge and Empowerment," at Pikes Peak Community College Tuesday. Ruffini used the events of Beslan, September 11 and Columbine to illustrate the diverse yet equally devastating manner in which terrorists act. Ruffini says he wasn't trying to scare people at the seminar, just prepare them for what he calls the inevitable.

"When you have an enemy that not only does the bad deed but tells you he's going to do it to you," said Ruffini, "it's not paranoia, it's just vigilance to be prepared."

But with Ruffini's warning, came a message of empowerment, that the average citizen can do something. Ruffini says looking, listening and most importantly reporting unusual activity is a simple yet effective technique that has thwarted countless terrorist plots. Andy Anderson attended Ruffini's seminar and agrees.

"If one person pays attention," said Anderson, "pays attention and reports it, then it could prevent what's happened in the past from happening again."

Ruffini says it's how Britain's liquid bomb scare and the millennium bomber plots were stopped. Ruffini adds while we may stop countless terrorists' attacks, terrorists need only succeed once to win the game of terror. He says for that reason, we need to spend more time reporting suspicious activity and less time wondering if it really is.

"We would rather have a false report and nothing happen, than no report and something bad happen... that's just good common sense."

Ruffini says terrorists don't work on a timeline. Rather, he says they'll wait for an opportunity to hurt the most people and get the most coverage to make the biggest statement for their cause. For more on terror awareness, you can visit Joe Ruffini's website at

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