And to that extent, it's very important to say there is risk, there are limits to what government can do -- to have an open system that works (inaudible) there will be limits to what we can do prevent.
And I think the president and the secretary should be applauded to the -- to the extent that they continue to talk about risk is not something can be eliminated. That's an important message Americans need to hear.
Now, we also need to avoid this excessive secrecy impulse because if the overwhelming majority of the people we need to talk to, particularly in the front lines of running trains and being a part of it, aren't in the clearance system, then we're keeping them out of the loop.
We really need to work much harder, pushing beyond the envelope of the very good things that have been done around information sharing and get us into amongst federal players, law enforcement, state and local security officials to how do we get it out to citizens, how do we get it out to owners and operators, designers of systems so that they can start to be a part of the solution set.
So the last piece here is we need to be very careful not to overreact. When things go -- when essentially something goes wrong and we overreact, we're only motivating the very threat that we're trying to all spend some time reacting to -- trying to prevent.
So the way forward. Essentially, the overarching message I'd like to convey, and happy to hear in the testimony provided by both Administrator Pistole and -- and Commissioner Boynton, is that many of these thoughts are clearly in the mix, but we need to put them on steroids.
We essentially really need to move away from this inherently federal screening law enforcement effort to one that basically says for mass transit, particularly rail, freight and so forth, we really need to have the public engaged and powered and focus on this -- the issue of resilience of the system as a key security imperative.
The reason for this is pretty straightforward in terms of the why we have the diversity of the system means that we have a lot of passengers and a lot to protect, so we need them involved.
But also, I think, I want to really highlight the extent to which -- and, particularly in transit -- there is an extraordinary opportunity. If we think about the nature of transit, and I spend a lot of time on Metro-North coming to New York, particularly, is most transit passengers often end up on the same train at the same time, and many times even the same seat. They end up knowing the rhythm of that system pretty darn well.
I can tell a story of Metro-North. One of the kind of unofficial rules is you do not use cell phones before 8:30 in the morning. Somebody who is not aware of this rule and actually starts chatting it up at about 7 a.m. on the train to New York will die of a death glare of 40 other passengers aboard the train.
People immediately will know the anomaly and, in this case, it's not forcible, but it -- it can feel that you're definitely isolated.
The fact is folks on that train are aware of their environment. They know the rhythm of the environment. They're vested in that environment. And they are folks that are assets. A little different from aviation. I fly a lot, but it's different airports, different airplanes. I don't know that -- have that same feel.
Passengers are very much the part of a solution. Of course, conductors, who in many cases know the same faces, they may not know all the names, in some cases they do because some of these are frequent, but they are part of this. The people in the station. We need to expand this into really who owns, who's operating, who's vested in the system. They're the passengers, they're the transit authorities, and how we bring them in is absolutely essentially to going forward.
So what does that mean? We really need to move beyond the public education (inaudible) See Something, Say Something just to law enforcement will take care of it, to one that gives them much more granular detail about what you should be looking for, what you should be doing, and how you can help.