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Terrorism and Personal Security

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Terrorism and Personal Security

Reduce Your Chances of Becoming a Target

Thomson South-Western,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

How to avoid being a victim of terrorists – and (info we hope you never need) how to survive if you are held hostage.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


For sheltered North Americans, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks drove home the reality of globalization: it’s a dangerous world out there, and affluent Westerners are targets. In this straightforward guide, former CIA operative and instructor William “Mac” Epps uses eye-opening details to reveal the hazards you may face when traveling abroad. He offers dozens of useful tips, bolstered by examples from real-world hijackings, bombings and kidnappings. Epps’ incessant paranoia can seem a bit much - he advises readers to be suspicious of everyone they meet. What’s the fun of traveling abroad if you’re terrified of everyone and everything? Yet his bottom-line advice isn’t that you should cower in your hotel room, simply that you should be constantly vigilant about your safety - and you should know how to get out of a jam if you get into one. getAbstract recommends this guide to international travelers.


Heightened Hazards and Hard Targets

As the economy becomes increasingly global, businesspeople are traveling more and more to the world’s remotest corners - and increasingly putting themselves in harm’s way. Affluent travelers always have faced the risk of petty crime, and thievery remains a hazard. But as terrorists intensify their attacks on the U.S. and Europe, and as kidnapping becomes a growth industry in such countries as Mexico and Colombia, the stakes are perhaps higher than ever. True, simply walking down the street in many U.S. cities places you at risk of violent crime, and most business and leisure travelers survive their journeys abroad having suffered nothing worse than jet lag. Still, you face the remote possibility that you’ll be killed or seriously hurt simply because you are a relatively affluent Westerner. That alone makes you a tempting target for terrorists bent on making political statements and for criminals seeking a payday.

No matter how determined terrorists or criminals are, they’re also opportunists who seek easy victims. They’re looking for a “soft target” who is:

  • Accessible – If you’re easily reached, your...

About the Author

William M. Epps served eight years with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, where he worked on counterterrorism and taught courses on personal security, narcotics, and science and technology. Today, Epps is a bank vice president and international business development manager in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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