I wondered earlier today how a mere ten terrorists could bring a city of 19 million to a standstill. Here in the U.S., I don't think it would happen. I think we have armed security guards who know how to use their weapons, supplemented by an unknown number of private citizens who are armed and capable of returning fire. The Indian experience shows it is vitally important that this continue to be the case. This is a matter of culture as much as, or more than, a matter of laws.
This is a really strange and immature coping mechanism that manifests on the right in times of high profile tragedy. Rather than contemplate being a victim of a terrorist attack, the subject imagines him or herself as the star of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. I'd say it's simple racism, but it really is fear masquerading as bravado, a cultural chauvanism that directs itself at other Americans as readily as it does at foreigners. It is the "short skirt" theory of violence. If it happened, you must have been asking for it.
Look, I admit to doing this too. I have my own little fantasies of disarming the baddie with a well placed strike to the wrist, downing him with a left hook to the liver, then grabbing the now-abandoned gun to give my compatriots time to escape and seek aid (I suppose it's my wussy liberalism that prevents me from systematically gunning down the remaining perps with my shirt torn masculinely asunder). The difference is that I don't explode these adolescent dreams into a full-fledged national security policy.
Anyway, as Serwer notes we saw this same thing after Virginia Tech (although Hokies apparently aren't "real Americans" to Hinderaker, presumably because they're attending college). I'd also like to add that a) your average security guard is neither trained nor equipped to counter highly trained suicidal terrorists bent on destruction and carrying automatic weapons and grenades, and b) a firefight breaking out between, say, the terrorists and hotel guests, will not only likely turn out badly for the guests, but will make rescue operations an absolute nightmare for the police.
Via Ezra Klein.