(CBS) — Three Americans received the Legion of Honor Award from France after they took down a heavily armed gunman on a high speed train last Friday.
The incident raises questions about security procedures on trains here, reports CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov.
Get on an Amtrak train and 500 destinations await you. The rail line covers more than 21,000 miles in the United States. But after the three Americans and British grandfather jumped to action to stop that train gunman in France, an obvious question is, could that happen here?
“Since we’re dealing self-radicalized amateurs for the most part, what you saw last week is extremely possible,” said Robert Pape, head of the Project on Security and Terrorism at the University of Chicago.
Even so, Pape calls the possibility remote.
“Precisely because there are many, many people who are going to have to observe somebody, especially with a gun,” Pape said.
In part, because passengers, like those on the train in France, would notice a would-be attacker, a possible deterrent. But that still doesn’t stop someone from bringing a gun onto a train.
An Amtrak spokesperson says currently, it has uniformed officers, special operations units and often dogs at some stations. Amtrak also checks IDs and randomly screens some passengers and baggage.
Pape says anything more than “Would be a gross overreaction and I think by overreacting to such a degree, it would be extremely expensive,”
As for travelers, Anna Valente says, “Anything for safety I am all for it.”
Train security, especially for Metra, was beefed up during the NATO Summit here three years ago, but Dr. Pape points out that causes huge delays and inconvenience.