Thanks to courage and quick thinking, three American service members took down a terrorist on a French passenger train. I truly hate to sound like a broken record but once again I am writing that it is not a matter of if but a matter of when it happens here in the United States. I’ve attended and been a speaker at several rail security and safety conferences, discussed the terrorist threat in the U.S. and either we (TSA, rail, state, local) law enforcement truly have a handle on the railroads and the terrorist threat or we are fooling ourselves. I know that recently the FBI came out and said that they do not have a good handle on the Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVE) and that they rely very heavily on the use of the See Something Say Something campaigns. This leads me to a statement by a terrorist expert when I asked him about this. His comment will always stay with me; “ya know, no one thought a whole heck of a lot about airplanes on September 10th.”
That leads me to what we are doing in my state. We continue to emphasize a program to educate local law enforcement on what is normal and not normal on the rails so that during their patrols they can keep look out on the tracks for something that just doesn’t seem right. The challenge is that this program has no true backing from any government agency or railroad and to be honest we are doing this gratis out of concern for our state and communities and to be honest document that it does work. As I always end on these blogs, I hope that we truly have a handle on the rail terrorist threat and that I don’t have to tell the media that I raised this issue for several years and no one listened.