Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Security in Boston?

Boston media sometimes hilariously refer to that city as the "Hub," as if it had a universal importance far in excess of its actual minimal importance in the country or world. But it is a big city, and one would assume (with scant evidence, incidentally) that its police department is up to the job.

But in all of the (often very weak) reporting coming out of yesterday's horrific bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, some obvious questions are not being asked.

Here's a big one, in my opinion: Did Boston police prepare for this event the way a big-city police force should have? Did the Boston cops make serious attempts to fully secure the area of the finish line in the days and hours before the Marathon? Did they perform at international big-city standards?  (Or did they fail to prepare adequately for this event and then, afterward, charge around grabbing   people who looked Middle Eastern, just like in the old days when they used to charge into Mission Hill to toss black kids on the street whenever a big crime occurred?)

In New York for a major public event that draws tens of thousands into a confined urban area like that, the N.Y.P.D. would have assiduously secured the location beforehand. For example, trash cans would have been inspected and secured. Surveillance cameras would be deployed.  Officers trained to identify suspicious behavior would have mingled in the crowd. Disasters might still occur, but the likelihood would be greatly diminished, and the culprits would be likely grabbed.

The bombs that caused death and injury yesterday appear to have been fairly crude, breathless accounts in the media about "powerful bombs" aside. All bombs are powerful, by definition. But anyone who has even been in the proximity of, say, a 500-pound aerial bomb that hits the ground knows the difference between a huge, sophisticated blast and a crude improvised explosive blast -- and these in Boston appear to have been the latter. Deadly, but simple. That is, exactly the kind of bomb that can be placed in a street trash receptacle, or hidden in a package on a corner.

The sort of crude bomb that the despicable Irish Republican Army used to deploy to terrorize London back in the days.

And they should know something about the IRA in Boston, where bars that supported fundraising for the terrorist group used to sell drinks called the Irish Car Bomb.


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