Yesterday, in Boston, started out as an All American celebration – a beautiful Spring day, Patriots Day, Marathon Day, a Red Sox game. What could be better? Then, suddenly, without warning, it was all shattered by a senseless, cowardly act of violence, the type with which we have become all too familiar. The Trade Center bombing in 1993, the OKC bombing of the Murrah Building in 1995, the “Unibomber” in the late ’90s, “9/11,” the “underwear bomber” in 2009 and various school shootings from Columbine to Va. Tech to Newtown. Yes, these acts of violence have become all too familiar.
Make no mistake about it. Yesterday’s bombings were an act of terror. Everybody knows it; everybody acknowledges it, except for President Obama, who, for whatever reason, political or otherwise, seems reluctant to use the word “terror.” In his speech to the Nation he called it a “tragedy.” Tragedy, my eye! Superstorm Sandy was a tragedy. The fact that there were multiple bombs, makes this an act of terror. Some people might defend President Obama’s reluctance to use the “terror” label as a desire not to “get ahead of the investigation.” In my opinion and a that of a majority of Americans there is no question that it was. To paraphrase the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart “I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it. Other, less articulate people would say: “If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” The only question is were the terrorists domestic or foreign.
At last count, there were three fatalities, including an 8 year old boy, 150 injured, and countless traumatized. Many of the injured were in grave condition. Eyewitnesses have described the scene as akin to a war zone.
For the most part, our law enforcement agencies, local, state and federal, have done an excellent job protecting us from acts of terror. Police and other agencies have devoted countless hours training; governments have provided substantial funds to improve our internal security; and by and large, the public has been accepting of various inconveniences, such as heightened airport security, designed to keep us safe. Kudos to the police, medical and hospital personnel and various other first responders for acting swiftly and decisively yesterday. Undoubtedly, their actions saved many lives. Even “regular” people were quick to assist others in need. Many people ran TOWARD the blasts not knowing if there were other bombs about to go off. Once again, Americans demonstrated their mettle in a time of need.
PREDICTION AND CONCLUSION
Yesterday’s events remind us that despite all of the above, we are never 100% safe. There are numerous “soft” targets available to terrorists, such as sporting events, schools, or shopping malls, to name a few. These venues are easier to attack, and terrorists can inflict maximum civilian casualties and get maximum publicity for the deed. We can, and undoubtedly have, prevented many terrorist acts, but we can’t stop them all. The one in a hundred that we don’t prevent is the one we hear about. This is a fact we all have to live with.
Despite the complicated nature of this case, for example, a huge crime scene area that police have described as the largest they have ever seen, I predict that the perpetrators will be found and brought to justice. I say this because (1) there is a full court press on the part of local, state and federal law enforcement; (2) there is a high degree of public outrage; (3) and someone with a cell phone or video camera must have seen something and taken an incriminating photo. All these people should turn their pictures over to the authorities. They might not even realize they have useful information.
The best act of prevention is a vigilent and educated public. You all know the drill. Be observant. Be aware of your surroundings. Know the location of the nearest exit from a building or stadium. Report any suspicious persons or packages to the proper authorities. “If you see or hear something, say something.” Your actions could save many lives, including your own.
Above all, go on with your lives. Don’t cower in the corner. If you do, the terrorists win.