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21 August 2015


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Medicine Man

God be with them.


Semper Fi, when it really counted.

David Habakkuk

Latest reports suggest nobody was seriously injured. It was a enormous stroke of luck that the marines were there, and behaved with such presence of mind and courage. All honour to them.

Seamus Padraig

Those jarheads deserve a medal.



News on the 22nd indicates that the two service members were a USAF man and an Army National Guardsman. pl

Patrick Bahzad

Yep, I'll update the info currently released for publication in a new post. There's more that can be said now about the gunman as well



The initial reporting that the heroes were marines is funny and indicative of the general ineptitude of the press with regard to anything military. pl

Patrick Bahzad


You'll see I have updated the post. One passenger still sustained a serious gunshot wound to the back and neck, but it's not life-threatening.


An anticlimactic moment for the USMC PR department for sure.

Patrick Bahzad

I wouldn't be surprized if they get the Legion of Honour for what they did (talking about Alek Skarlatos - National Guard - and Spencer Stone - US Air Force - )

Patrick Bahzad

it was actually a quite attractive fellow American lady travelling on the same train who said they were Marines ... After that, it went viral ...

It was clear quite quickly that the guys involved were from different arms branch, but it was not made public until much later.

And of course, always look and sells better in the press, when the cavalry comes in the shape of two US Marines ! Too good a story to miss

Farmer Don

When you travel by train in Europe, you can just walk into the station with your bags and go directly into a train with out any security check. Lots of people don't even have tickets and just buy them from the conductor when he comes around.

Security largely is the result of a lack of people riding the train with an urge to kill others.

Not much different from life in general.

Patrick Bahzad

true but don't think this issue has not been thought about by people whose job it is to give the politics options and solutions.

implementing the kind of security screening you have at airports is impossible, as train transportation is very different in nature and structure to commercial flights.

what is probably about to change, is the level of security routinely provided on specific trains and lines.


Link to picture of the 3 out of 4 passengers that subdued the attacker. Spencer Stone who was injured is not in photo.



David Habakkuk

Patrick Bahzad,

I am too ignorant about French decorations to know what is appropriate. But I do very much hope that, after due consideration, Skarlatos and Stone are appropriately recognised by the French government.

If we are to get out of the mess we are in, some restoration of older notions of honour and dishonour is clearly absolutely indispensable.


Check the numbers, there are many many commuter trains in the morning and evening, no chance to check the passengers.

There could be of course more civil police officers on the trains, but there is no practical recipe for much higher security considering the size and number of trains.

Allen Thomson

A slightly technical question, but doesn't "the primer of the AK was faulty" mean that the primer in the chambered round didn't go off? If so, is this something that AK-47 rounds are known to do?

The Beaver


He is not in the photo because he was still being treated at the clinique in Lille when the Mayor of Arras rewarded them with a medal. It is only at 19:30 (French time) that he joined his buddies at the Police station of Arras ( the British citizen had already left to join his family somewhere in France since he resides in France)

Farmer Don

I was in no way criticizing the security of these trains.

My only point, if any, was that with all the vulnerable infrastructure, and unprotected people available everywhere, the very limited amount of attacks means that the number of people wanting, willing & able to do these types of things is very small indeed.

Patrick Bahzad

Think your point is valid, just that maybe law enforcement does a decent job also preventing some of the attacks way before they're likely to materialize.

However my follow up question regarding numbers of would be shooters is, how many people did it take to bring down those planes and buildings on 9/11 ? How Many did it take to launch the Bolshevik Revolution ?

Numbers alone are not the sole indicator that should be used to measure a risk or threat and any successful attack acts like a force multiplier and Echo chamber for the organisations taking credit and all the ideologically fragile youth who might want to emulate another gunman.


Patrick Bahzad ,
sir a passengers got very lucky here seeing that his Ak jammed.

BTW, what kind of security measures are there to protect the train tracks?

It could be more devastating to derail a high speed train (while traveling in high speed) rather than on board shooting spree.



Firearms seldom "jam." Usually the dummy can't make the action work because he is so excited. pl


Farmer, I do not have any problem with critique. :-)

My point is that it is impossible to provide real security in trains, shopping malls and pedestrian areas, I assume we will see such attempts more often in future and some will succeed.

The question is how we react as society.


In addition to that we're speaking of an AK, the epitome of a rifle that just doesn't jam, is really easy to use ... childsplay, so to speak, and readily available worldwide.




turcopolier & confusedponderer ,
So I have heard and hence the "luck". But I don't think we can forever hope for dumb and amateurish terrorists.

If ISIS is allowed to be, one day we might see terrorists with proper training and planning in action.

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