Jessica Mondillo’s Blog

Amtrak’s New Safety Measures Could do More Harm than Good

20 February 2008

Amtrak is a high speed train with service across the country. After September 11th, many people started traveling on the train more because there were fewer time consuming security checks. This is partly due to a lack of security increase on trains after 9-11. To make up for that, they are now planning to up security on Amtrak trains.

Starting this week, 3 new safety measures will be put into effect on the Boston/Washington DC trains. First, carry on bags will be randomly searched. Second, bomb sniffing dogs will be on the platform or in the train. Third, will be officers with automatic weapons will be patrolling the train.

Yes randomly searching carry on bags is better than no search, but is it really effective? Probably not. It will lead to racial profiling or just a waste of time. And if, God forbid, somebody did bring a weapon or explosive onto the train and their bag was not searched and the train blew up, how good was a random bag search? Not very.

Bomb sniffing dogs should be very effective. They sniff around. They tell you if there is a bomb. Why they cannot just sniff the passengers as they enter and all the luggage instead of being on the train is beyond me. I guess the terrorists will build a bomb on the train, without any explosive materials. Also, this could be a deterrent from using the train for people who are afraid of dogs or have an allergy to dogs.

The scariest part (at least in my mind) was the security guards with automatic firearms. If these guards are truly carrying automatic guns, they have to be federal agents because only federal agents can carry a fully automatic firearm across state borders. Now if you are on a train and, God forbid, something does happen, you don’t want a person shooting the criminal with a fully automatic gun. Anyone near the criminal will also be dead because an automatic firearm will shoot 50 to 100 rounds in seconds and spray a large area with bullets. When you add the variables of movement and bumps, the shots will hit an even larger area and potentially more people.

Now let’s assume the article was wrong and the fully automatic firearms are actually semi-automatic. Hopefully the criminal will be standing still, the officer will be well trained and there are no movements or bumps. Then the officer will most likely hit the criminal. If there is movement or bumps, then the officer could very easily miss the target and hit an innocent bystander. Also, for this to be legal, the officer would have to be licensed to carry in 8 states plus get a special license for Washington DC, which currently has a total gun ban.

The other issue with this is if an armed guard is standing in the cabin, the criminal knows who to target first to stop resistance and get an extra gun and ammo. This makes it easier for him to attack the train if he wants.

To me it was pretty scary that people did not think of the repercussions of these security methods on Amtrak. 86% of people thought that the security method were a positive thing according to an AOL poll.

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  1. * tk says:

    I’m sure the people that run security for Amtrak thought of the “reproductions” [quote], they probably even considered the repercussions as well…

    You sound like a typical anti-gun advocate, fail to consider the whole picture and focus on the fact that “OMG!! a gun is involved, it must be dangerous”…

    Nobody wants to see innocent people get hurt, but what do you think disarming a society is going to lead to? the criminals certainly aren’t going to stop anytime soon.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 1 month ago
  2. * Jessica Mondillo says:

    Oddly enough I am one of the most pro gun people you will meet. I never said in this post that I was for disarming people, I am saying that I don’t think armed security guards are much use. Honestly, armed citizens would be better but conflicting state laws won’t let people carry concealed between states even if they have a federal firearms license, yet drivers licenses carry over between states. Why am I against the security guards having guns, most of them are probablly not well trained and people think that just because you add a guard you are safer, when in fact you probablly aren’t especially if they have automatic weapons.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 1 month ago
  3. * LEO says:

    Amtrak doesn’t have security guards, the have FEDERAL POLICE OFFICERS, like all railroads.

    Having automatic weapons has nothing to do with federal job status or crossing state lines. Get your facts straight.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 11 months ago
  4. * Jessica Mondillo says:

    Automatic weapons cannot be carried unless it is in a locked case and being transported to or from a range unless the person has police officer (state or federal) status AND is fully trained.

    I used the terminology from the site I found the information on, and they called them security NOT federal police officiers.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 11 months ago
  5. * maximus says:

    Well I hate to break this to ya buddy but when it comes firearms (if youve ever held one) automatic stands for gas operated ejection system. That means you pull the trigger once BANG! then the trigger moves forward again and you can pull it again for another shot. One at time with an automatic system. If they were arming rent-a-cops with M16’s they would be asking for a lawsuit. Thats why don’t just have normal 10 dollars and hour renty boys. They have fully trained professional security that has the same amount of authority as a county sheriffs deputy. And no, not just feds can carry weapons across state borders. As a police officer I can take my sidearm anywhere with me in the U.S. I just can’t take my M14 or my shotgun.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 8 months ago
  6. * Jessica Mondillo says:

    First of all, I have held a firearm, many times. Second you did not pay attention to the information I was basing this artical onwhich NEVER specifically mentioned if it is a certified police officer who is carrying it. Third, depending where you are automatic has a different meaning. All the firearm owners in my area refer to the type of “automatic” you are refering to as semi automatic. Different government organizations (once again depending where you are) are refering to fully automatic military style firearms as well as the semi automatics and in some cases, guns that cannot even be considered semi automatic.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 6 months ago

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