Why Was “Watch List” Terrorist Able to Open Fire on Paris-Bound Train?
Because We’re Afraid to Identify and Eliminate Threat, Cautions O’Neill.
It could have been a bloody nightmare. A train packed with 550 travelers bound for Paris via Amsterdam. Suddenly, a man (26 year-old Ayoub El-Khazzani) emerges from a car bathroom, packing an AK-47 and 500 rounds. Most people facing this deathly scenario would be frozen with fear.
Fortunately, a trio of Americans—two U.S. servicemen and a college student, three childhood friends—didn’t hesitate. When one said, “Let’s go,” they went: charging and overtaking El-Khazzani. A Frenchman who tried to disarm El-Khazzani was shot for his efforts. Fortunately, no one was killed.
Now the question remains. How was El-Khazzani, a man on authorities’ terrorist watch list, allowed to travel so freely?
Former Navy SEAL Robert J. O’Neill has his thoughts, which he shared with anchors’ Anna Kooiman, Clayton Morris and Tucker Carlson on FOX & Friends.
Highlights from their exchange:
Morris: “We’re talking about this train infrastructure in Europe where these guys will just hop on and off the train. No showing of ID, no metal detectors, armed with an AK-47 and 500 rounds. Are you surprised by that?”
O’Neill: “It doesn’t surprise me. We’re as a society reactionary. We think because of 9/11, they’re just going to go after airports. Any train you take from DC to New York, you see there’s pretty much nothing there, maybe a dog or two. They’re not looking at that because we only react. We don’t think ahead… It’s the whole normalcy biased thing.”
Carlson: “European authorities asked: This guy was on a list…Why wasn’t he being watched? Their response made sense: there are too many people on that list; too many people to keep track of, too many crazies.”
O’Neill: “Yeah, there are a lot of crazies, but I think the people that have a tendency to travel to Turkey to get trained and then go to Syria for whatever reason, maybe to fight with ISIS, that should be a red flag. At some point you need to profile someone. It’s not so much what they look like, it’s where they’ve been. The only way to stop terror is to eliminate the threat.”
Kooiman: “We don’t want everybody living fear. That’s one goal of terrorists: to make us live in fear and change the way that we live our daily lives. Look at the way we travel and go on airplanes and have to have all this security and can only have 3 ounces. Everybody acts like it’s so annoying but it prevents, potentially, some big-style attacks. Are we going to see different style security measures taking place?”
O’Neill: “I would be willing to say that based on everything that happens, they’ll make it worse on us. We had one guy try to blow his shoes up, now we all have to take our shoes off.”
[With regard to the attempted train attack, O’Neill adds…]
“If it weren’t for those three brave Americans that took him down.... For someone to get that close, with an AK-47 that close, it’s scary. These guys proved it’s OK to be afraid, but bravery’s not the absence of fear. Recognize fear, push it aside and do it.”