'...John Muhammad and Lee Salvo[sic] were caught because leaked information about the suspects' automobile and license number was picked up by members of the public, one of whom spotted the car within hours and alerted the authorities - blocking the exit from the rest area with his own vehicle to make sure they didn't escape. "You can deputize a nation," said one news official after the fact.
Yes. With proper information, the public can act against terrorists - often, as we found on September 11, faster and more effectively than the authorities.'
Of course some of us recommended this absolutely bloody ages ago. My only change of view since I wrote about this idea of a massive police reserve is that I was thinking too small. My idea was to recruit two million police reservists trained in firearms use to act as 'first responders'. This country has sixty million people. Two out of sixty is just not enough. I think the Swiss solution is far better.
Every single fit Swiss male (not sure about the women) undergoes military training at age 18, and is in the army reserve until he is thirty. They all learn to shoot, and they are all equipped with an assault rifle which they keep at home. I believe we should have something like this in Britain, but with some obvious modifications. Young people would have a choice, whether to do national service in the Army/Nave/Air Force or the Police. We wouldn't need to keep people in the active reserves for as long, women would do national service as well as men, criminal records, mental instability or muslim agitation would mean no training. You could also have a stream of national service for conscientious objectors and pacifists which involved working full time for an aid organisation, charity or some other kind of properly organised, genuine public service.
But crucially, all reservists with weapons training, whether armed forces or police, would be issued sidearms. They would be advised to carry them on their persons in concealed holsters, although of course it wouldn't be compulsory. They would be permitted to take these weapons on any form of transport except planes. With some extra training, they would additionally be provided with large-bore, low muzzle-velocity weapons to take on planes.
The consequences of these actions would be completely transformative. No matter where wahhabist terrorists struck, whether it was Bolton or Bristol, Glasgow or Gloucester, there would be young men and women primed and ready to take them on. If you drove past a power station, and saw a group of terrorists preparing to sabotage it, you could take them on. You wouldn't have to wait around for the SAS to make it over from Herefordshire...
Let's face it. There are just too many juicy targets for the anti-terrorism police to ever have a chance of protecting all of them. So we'll just have to do that ourselves!