Recent terror attacks in Madrid, New York and London have brought home a fact that probably, in hindsight, should have been obvious - citizens, not professionals (like the police, the army, or paramedic) are the first people on sight when a terror event occurs and they are often responsible for the survival of the unfortunate people who receive the brunt of the terror. Check out this article in yahoo, or type "first responder" into the web and you will see many more....
It should be obvious that, in fact, the terrorists can strike anywhere. Police won't get to the scene for a while, and if the scene is big enough, they won't be there in numbers. Regular, ordinary brave people are the ones that pull the injured out of the situation, apply first aid, and bring them to hospitals.
All of our focus so far has been on training "elites" to come down and protect everyone, or to invest in high technology, when really the secret to fighting back lies within everyone. If we treat our own countrymen and women with respect and confidence, they can hold the line against terror, and when something happens, they will respond and minimize the damage.
It is interesting that a country, the United States, which was founded by free people, free to bear arms and to have their own property, has moved to a model where the ordinary folk are assumed to be passive and defenseless until the elite show up to fix everything. This model of people as the "problem" rather than the "solution" is everywhere, although it can be subtle.
The real solution, which we will come to over time if there are enough bad incidents, is to allow the citizens to bear arms and to rely on them to be the real "first defense" against terror. In fact, the most effective policing is always by those that know their community. They know who is local, and who is not, and who could be causing trouble. They also have incentive to avoid harm, since they live there along with their families.
This already occurs, in a large part, in places like Florida. When a hurricane rolls through, looting is sometimes minimized. Why is this? Lots of times you see the "you loot, we shoot" signs, and people mean it. They take their own steps to protect their property.
Not to turn terror into a political issue but it is obvious to me that there is a linking between the liberal mindset that people can't take responsibility for their actions and the state has to do everything and this "elite" approach to terror awareness rather than calling on people to stand up and do it themselves, as the first line of defense, as first responders...