Saturday, January 2, 2010

'Get the Terrorist' Program for All

Flight 253 from the Netherlands to Detroit - One 23-year old Nigerian is taken out by passengers Alain Ghonda and Jasper Schuringa. That tells me that maybe what we need is to take the 3 oz bottles out of the little plastic baggies. Keep our shoes on and leave laptops in the bags. I'm pretty sure the marmalade I brought back from Barbados wasn't loaded.
But instead how about training all passengers on self-defense?

Let's forget forboding, irritating security at all airports worldwide that is obtrusive, annoying and evidently not working. Forget massive amounts of troops overseas for years on end that seem to result in Al-Quaida moving training camps to more fertile breeding grounds (read Yemen.)

Let's put our effort toward training every day Americans on thwarting threats. Rather than relying on ill-trained TSA guards or putting our faith in drones flown out of Nevada, how about we each take a little piece of responsibility in our own protection?

So here's my idea: a two-day "Get the Terrorist" program. Teach regular Americans how to identify suspicious activity, radicalism, fundamentalism and how to report it. Volunteers of course. This should also teach the difference between a regular Joe and fanatic. Obviously this isn't easy. But if you notice someone who checks no bags, pays with cash, wears a skull cap and shouts "Allahu AkBar" as he boards your plane, I might reconsider my trip to Aunt Bessie's and call my local FBI agent.

Of course, if all of this gets missed and you end up on the plane or bus or train or some very crowded public place that could cause mass casualties with a person like this, then the program should teach you how to take this person out. Just like Alain Ghonda and Jasper Schuringa had the nerve to do. Just like the Flight 93 passengers had the nerve to do. When it comes to terrorism on American soil, our military is not going to be there to do anything about it.

We, the American people, are going to be there. We need to be able to do something about it. And we need to be able to recognize the difference between a bottle of water and the PETN that this kid exploded in his pants - or at least be able to put it out, take him down and land the plane safely.

(Time Magazine article in the link above on What We Can Learn from Flight 253)

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