Monday, April 15, 2013

10 Things: Boston Marathon Explosion

Obviously you have heard about the tragedy in Boston this morning.  Here's 10 things about the incident:

  1. Yes, I went out of town to do a marathon, no it wasn't this one (after my email, Twitter feed, Facebook messaging, and cell text messaging blew up asking where I was I realized that when I said I was on my way to a marathon, I should have specified that the one I am doing is NEXT weekend).
  2. There is very little you can do to prevent a situation such as this (by all accounts, probably an IED attack).  Even people who are in war zones who are specifically looking for IEDs have difficulty identifying them until it is too late.
  3. I would hesitate to point fingers until a thorough investigation has been completed (terrorists? Maybe. Muslims? Not necessarily.  North Koreans? Not necessarily.  Mentally ill psychopath? Just as probable as anyone else).
  4. Kudos to all of the emergency responders who responded almost instantaneously--both race staff and city responders.  These events usually have emergency response as one of the cornerstones of their pre-planning but since it has been a while since there has been a major terrorism incident, you have to wonder how much pre-plannning went into the possibility of a terrorist attack at an event such as this.
  5. The possibility of what happened today is one of the reasons I tend to avoid large, highly public events which draw tens of thousands of people.  Soft target + major media coverage = a very tempting target.  
  6. What if you are caught in an incident such as this: obviously each situation will vary but a few things you can do (if you aren't one of the wounded in which case your first and only priority should be seeking medical care): photograph and video everything from your vantage point then turn this information over to the authorities, help others if you can, don't touch anything unless you are picking up an appendage for reattachment (it is infinitely helpful for investigators if everything--body parts, bomb parts, everyday detritus, etc--is left where it fell), avoid the media (I know, anathema in today's society but this keeps conflicting info/misleading info/biased theories/etc from becoming unproven media fodder).
  7. There are so many countries where things like hospital surge plans, thorough screening of everyone entering a public place, and armed guards are common's sad that it is getting closer and closer to this in my country.
  8. As usual, the first reports of this incident didn't come through the major media outlets but via Twitter and Reddit (I know, I said don't talk to the media/post to the media but people are going to do this anyway thus the instantaneous reporting from any and all disaster scenes).  Also this.
  9. Kudos to the people who came to the aid of those in need--everyone from people who helped the injured seek help to those who opened their homes to strangers who had no place to stay since they had intended to do the run then hop on a plane home.  Disasters often bring out the best in people.
  10. I know that runners tend to go as ultralight as possible (I mean who wants to schlep a bunch of stuff over 26 miles?) but you should ALWAYS carry some basic EDC stuff for use in the event of a disaster--knife, cell, cash, water, ID, etc.
More on this as further information is available...

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