Surviving a Suicide Bomber: Snowball in Hell Version – Mark Hatmaker

First and foremost, it is a goddamn shame that any human being has to take the time to seriously write an article with the above title, but the world not conforming to decency and honor at all times—here it is.

The very nature of the chosen environments for the majority of suicide bombings [crowded venues] and the added aspect of the scum not caring at all about being able to leave the scene of the crime makes specific measures and predictions tough tough tough to implement.

There are a few general guidelines to keep in mind. We will divide these into three tiers: 80/20 Scanning, Alarmed But Uncertain, Full-On.

80/20 Scanning

If you are in any crowded venue, whether that be sporting event, concert, farmer’s market, airport, mall, hell, all things in life where good people congregate to go about living and having fun, we’ve got to admit the possibility that bad things could potentially happen.

This is not an advocacy of shunning all events that would draw a crowd or living scared but it is an urging to use a bit of Pareto’s Principle vigilance. That is pay attention, to everything. Place 80% of your attention on the fun at hand and allow 20% of your attention/time be devoted to scanning what is around you.

Treat the event as a springbok might at the watering hole on the Serengeti, a place to slake thirst, mingle with other springbok, maybe get the cute one’s number, but always keep in mind there may be a lion in the bushes or a crocodile in the shallows.

Drink the water, mingle, have fun, but stay awake.

General Scanning Rules

Back-packs and large bags. Many venues ban these, some do not. Your job, my job, our job is to look for the backpacks and large bags in the venue and if we see them, report them if they prohibited at the event. If they are permitted, allow your self to do a bit of profiling of the backpack wearer or bag-holder. Look for intention signalling.

What those might be, we’ve discussed in many other past articles, but I’m sure you are already aware of intention signals at this point.

Allow your 20% Awareness scan to include any odd behaviour bag-holding or backpack-wearing or not. Awareness is and has always been the key in all survival situations—that and a huge dollop of luck.

We add to our luck by staying awake and aware.

With awake and aware in mind—PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!

It is impossible to be here, now when your tiny screen has captured your attention.

Phones out mean you not only miss the snowball’s chance in hell of spotting trouble, you are less than fully present at the event you presumably freely chose to attend.

Putting the phone away is a win-win.

Alarmed But Uncertain

Obviously if we see something, we say something.

But…this is where we get a little dark, a little Machiavellian.

Let’s presume we see something a little odd, but not quite odd enough to raise an alarm. We’ve seen something that gets our gut going but we’ve got no real actionable “tell” we can point to but we want to pay a bit closer attention while at the same time playing it safe rather than sorry.

I’m going to say something mighty obvious and a bit self-preserving here, the further you are from a bomb-blast the greater odds of your survival and the lesser severity of injuries incurred.

No-brainer, right?

Dark Time

The more people between you and the suicide bomber the greater your survival odds.

With these uncertain tells in mind, I am advocating you begin removing yourself from the immediate area of your possible-concern.

By all means, keep your eye on your concern and if your ‘tell’ escalates give alarm NOW. If your tell-signal diminishes, well, nobody but you, and those in your charge know that you were silently using the crowd as shields.


We’re in full-on hell here.

If we have failed to spot and we are close to the epicentre of the blast, well, fortune will do what it does.

If there is a split-second between “Oh, shit this is going down” and the actual triggering of the device here is your snowball’s chance in hell protocol.

Hit the deck. IMMEDIATELY.

These devices are meant to fragment and/or send projectile material through human flesh. Whether this material be nuts, bolts, ball-bearings, what have you, dispersal physics says the vast majority of this material will go up, down, and outward.

Your job is to create the smallest profile in this dispersal cloud.

So, with that in mind…

  • Hit the deck!
  • With the soles of the feet pointed toward the scum-bomber. We are creating the smallest profile in this position and attempting to protect vitals.
  • Cross the legs to insure a smaller profile and to decrease the likelihood that the blast will catch a splayed leg and shear it.
  • Go facedown, hands over the head and ears, fingers interlaced, with elbows tucked to sides over ribs. Again, protect the vitals.
  • Close your eyes—tight.
  • Open your mouth. This is counter-intuitive but this tactic is to help equalize the pressure of the bomb blast. Opening the mouth can reduce chances of ruptured eardrums and lungs.


“Never do anything for the first time in combat.”

It is not enough to merely read an article and nod our heads and think to ourselves, “Good idea.”

We must put it into practice.

We can and should be drilling awareness/alertness every single day of our lives.

When it comes to the Full-On Survival Posture I recommend hitting it right now, hit the deck and assume the position.

And if you’re really serious, over the course of the next week, while at home give a tennis ball to your family members and ask them to do you a favour. Over the next seven days, a couple of times per day, at least, tell them to toss the ball onto the floor of the room you’re in, the front yard while your trimming the hedges, anywhere anytime that you aren’t really thinking about it.

Tell them to catch you unaware.

Treat where the ball lands as the bomber’s position, hit the deck and assume the position.

If we’re lucky two things will happen with the Drill Week.

One-Your friends and family members have a laugh making your lunge for the ground for seven days.

Two-You never ever need such dire advice.

Peace, love, and harmony to the good and kind!

Death to villains!

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